I’m finally commenting on ” Dear Mom on the iPhone”

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So, yeah.

 

I got really sick of that whole “Dear Mom on the iPhone” convo that went on a few months ago. Lots of accusing. Lots of excuses. Truth somewhere in the middle. Nothing new there.

 

I don’t even have a smart phone, or a tablet, or any other way of connecting to the cyber-world when I’m out and about, so it’s possible I just wasn’t bothered because I didn’t feel personally targeted. Whatever the reason, I just didn’t have much to say about it.

 

Until now.

 

I was so, so upset the other night at a ball game that I’m writing my own stinkin’ letter here, people. But, never fear– it’s not directed at all of you checking your phone when you’re out and about. Read on and I think you’ll see why I was so upset…

 

“Dear Mom on the iPhone,

 

Hey, there. We haven’t really met. Your son plays on the same team as mine, but it’s usually your husband who’s here at the practices. He seems friendly enough, though I can’t say I agree with his “lock the toddler in the truck while I have a cigarette” method of parenting.

 

Your boy seems to be a decent little ballplayer. I know he really wants to try out being catcher and Coach says he sure can– he just has to have his cup. Do you think you could help him remember that? Or make sure he has one? Eight-year-old boys can be forgetful and, well, they can’t get to the store on their own. I bet he’d appreciate your assistance.

 

Anyway, I also see you have two younger daughters. So do I! Your baby girl is adorable. Her red-gold hair is gorgeous.

 

And your toddler? A springy-haired delight, that one. She kind of idolizes my girls and a couple of the other sisters. She’s younger than them, but that doesn’t stop her. I love that spunk.

 

I was handing out lollipops to my girls and a few of their friends at the game the other night. Your daughter looked at me with such wide eyes full of longing. I told her I’d be happy to share with her, but she had to check with you or her daddy first.

 

She scampered off, curls bouncing.

 

You were on your phone, and that’s fine. I have no idea if you saw your son up to bat or not, but that’s not really any of my business. Your priorities are your own and I don’t know what you were looking at or working on.

 

But your girl.

 

Oh, she fairly danced around you, just trying to get your attention. She stood patiently to your right, just waiting. She tapped your shoulder, but you didn’t respond. She looked around for her dad, but he was in the truck. She tried to get your attention again and, seeing an opening between you and the phone, started to climb on your lap.

 

You elbowed her out of the way.

 

This sweet, dirt-streaked, playful two-year-old went to ask your permission and, frankly, waited more patiently than is typical for such a little one.

 

And your elbow met her cheek as you knocked her away.

 

You never even looked at her to see what had happened or what she had wanted.

 

She wandered off up that dusty knoll over there. You know that one by Field A? She seemed fine, physically, but clearly bummed.

 

I’m really hoping she was just bummed about not getting a lollipop.

 

But I doubt it.

 

So I’m just going to say it– when your phone becomes SO important that you will physically knock your child away rather than turn away from it? It’s time to power down, friend.

 

It’s time.

 

I’ll have the lollipops at the next game, too. I hope to see you there.

 

–JL”

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14 comments to I’m finally commenting on ” Dear Mom on the iPhone”

  • Lori

    Wow, I think I would have went over to her and asked her if the daughter could have one. That is just so sad. I love having my phone available to me while I’m out, but to physically elbow them away from you is just sad. And if the children are treated like that in a public place, I can only imagine what goes on at home where there is probably even more technology to distract mom and dad. Sometimes I think people need to be reminded that the kids are more important, than any of your iphone games or apps, and if you are struggling with that you definitely need to take a week off the phone.

  • mlearley

    Wow oh wow! I seriously felt like crying for that little girl.

  • Susan

    I’m not justifying knocking your child over because I am busy on my iphone, but there are always things going on that you may not know about. My son played baseball for years, in addition to karate, soccer, basketball and golf. I spend my life taking him back and forth to different practices and games. Believe it or not, I don’t even like most team sports, especially baseball. It’s torture to take him to a 2.5 hour practice. I take him because HE likes baseball and wants to play, not because I want to be there. Do I spend my time on my iphone or ipad, Yes, I do. It’s either that or go crazy. I do this 5+ days a week because my son loves sports and I love my son.

    • Oh, my beef with her had not one thing to do with her not watching the game. That’s her choice. But, yes, I definitely do draw the line at knocking a 2yo in the face because she dared to “interrupt” her precious Mommy-on-the-phone time. (And, for the record, I spend most of practice chatting, so I’m not a great example of perfect attention either. :) )

  • Cristina

    We should not judge other parents. That is all.

    • Well, I don’t think we need to specify “parents” there, really. In Perfect Land, we shouldn’t judge ANYONE. This is true. Nonetheless, there is nothing that will convince that there’s a good reason to elbow a toddler in the head rather than respond to her. I’m willing to own my judgy-pants on that one.

  • Cristina

    we can’t be perfect, of course we always judge people. but we can fight it (and we can refuse to write about it). we have no idea of what that woman has been going through. Yes, it is shocking, but still we have no idea. I am just saying we should work on stopping the “mommy wars” instead of reinforcing it.

    • I appreciate your take on it and choice to not write on such topics. It is always good to err on the side of the high road. :_ The “mommy wars” that concern me are those where women are truly making valid choices, but are getting attacked for it because someone has a different opinion. This does not seem to fall in that area for me. Abuse, hurt, and neglect are not valid options in parenting. I was, of course, the one there, which means I have a more complete picture of expression/context/overall setting. I’m okay with reinforcing speaking out against this type of behavior– perhaps if more people did, there might be less of it. (A girl can hope.)

  • Kellyn

    Mercy…let me say I am a sports mom with an itty bitty that tags along so that I can enjoy my daughter playing the sports that she loves. There are many nights I leave work early so I can drive her and watch. My itty bitty and my teenager both know that there are times I have to work for a few minutes before we can enjoy our night at the ball field, BUT they also know that they come first. If I am on the phone with a client I put them on hold for my children’s needs. If its simple “I want…” I ask my kids to wait just a few minutes but I ALWAYS acknowledge them first.

    While we do not know this mothers story, I have to say I am angry for the child. No child should be pushed away with an elbow. Ever. Take the 2 seconds to say “hang on honey”.

  • I actually don’t hear any “judgment” here. There was no generalized statement about this woman being a “bad mom,” but a comment regarding inappropriate behaviour. I would agree that we don’t know the details of this woman’s life, or even her day, but that does not excuse elbowing a toddler. I work with young moms and while we often know that their life experiences include incredible amounts of trauma and abuse, we invest months into teaching them how to put their child’s needs first. Mom might love her daughter very much, but that doesn’t excuse that kind of behaviour.

  • Um, wow. The people essentially *defending* that “mommy behavior” and asking YOU not to judge? Well… they are judging. ;) This could go round and round, huh?

    That’s what blogging’s for, friends. To EXPRESS OPINION. (just in case lower case wouldn’t get my point across)

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