I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone. It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it? You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard, you teach them manners, have them do their chores.
But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..
Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl. She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her hair. She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her.
I get it. We all need to spend less time on our phones and more time experiencing life. But ugh, can we all please just stop criticizing moms for five minutes? Having small children is an incredible, poignant, dazzling experience. It is also sometimes exhausting, frustrating, and grueling. Yes, there are beautiful moments of sun shining behind hair, but there are also tantrums, constant negotiations, endless dish washing and laundry folding and other general drudgery. Taking your kids to the playground is a great way for them to blow off steam and -- I think equally importantly -- give everybody some time on their own.
When I read articles like this, I feel like I'm being criticized for not giving my kids my undivided attention for every second of every day. Maybe this makes me a terrible mother, but I'd lose my mind if I tried to do that. I don't actually spend playground time on my phone, but I resent the fact that I'm not "allowed" to by the Mommy Police (notice how there's no Daddy Police, by the way?). And I'm counting the days until my kids are old enough for me to bring a book and read while they play.
So here I am justifying my choices and sort of stressing out that maybe I'm doing it wrong, that maybe this lady is right and I'm not trying hard enough. Every day I read a new parenting article (usually on Facebook) about something I'm probably doing wrong, and it makes me tired. I have two kids under five -- I'm already tired. I know I should stop reading these articles and trust my own instincts, but it's almost impossible to escape them.
But then I find articles like Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine and I feel better.
I'd love to hear how others cope with the constant barrage of online parenting advice/criticism.