Most moms want to practice present parenting, not present but absent parenting. It isn’t like moms think their phones are more important than their children – hello! – so why is it moms can’t seem to put their phones down? I have a few thoughts on that.
It’s not like moms want to ignore their kids.
It isn’t like they say, “Whatever, Facebook and Instagram are way more interesting than my real life so the kids can fend for themselves.”
Moms don’t think children are less important than their phones or that sending a text is more important than changing a diaper. They don’t think taking a photo is more important than making a memory or that this text message Just Cannot Wait.
No, that’s not why moms can’t seem to put their phones down.
Moms don’t want their children to remember being prioritized under Candy Crush or ignored while they surf Pinterest looking for recipes they’ll never take the time to make. She doesn’t scroll through her social media feeds because it makes her feel like a better woman and mother.
No, that’s not it either.
Moms don’t avoid doing housework or reading Llama Llama for the 4,398th time because it’s a more productive way to spend her hours, nor does she do it because the 2016 election shenanigans are more captivating than her preschooler’s rendition of Let It Go.
Moms keep picking their phones up because it’s the easiest and quickest way to zone out.
And if anyone needs some time to zone out, it’s a full-time mom.
Motherhood is all-consuming, completely wonderful, the best thing ever, and utterly exhausting. It’s not easy being hyper-vigilant with little ones all day long. Sometimes you just want to take a minute, stop feeling the Intensity, and get a bit of escape.
Sometimes you want two minutes to ignore the fact that the toddler took off his dirty diaper and rubbed his butt on the carpet and that the baby has four teeth coming in but that don’t actually ever seem to come in All The Way.
No, it’s not better than carving out a few “me hours” a day when the kids are cared for, but it is a lot easier. Of course, it’s not as fulfilling as taking a day off full of stress free and regenerating activities while the kids are being watched, but it is cheaper.
Yes, I do feel guilty for looking at my phone off and on while we’re at the park, but it’s okay if I don’t watch their every move, right? Yes, I do wish I had a better outlet for stress relief and one that felt more meaningful instead of just a time suck. But a few minutes on Facebook while the kids are playing in their fort isn’t so bad… is it?
Life is constantly vying for our attention while demanding this that or the other and sometimes it is just too much. Sometimes a mom needs a minute to herself.
Not for very long.
Not all the time.
And not because she isn’t completely absolutely 100% smitten with her kids.
She does it because mothers – even the best ones – need a break every now and again.