For several years now, I’ve been in a long-term relationship with an Android – the smart phone variety. And while I was unsure of its necessity, in the beginning, I’ve come to rely on it so much that I feel like it’s a natural extension of my arm.
Look, I know that there’s a lot of judgment out there when it comes to the whole “mom-holding-her-phone” thing. But for the most part, I think it’s a bunch of baloney. The smart phone is one of the best things to ever happen to motherhood, and I’m not going to lock mine up in a cabinet anytime soon.
Our smart phones allow us to do so much more than just flip through Facebook. Mine allows me to juggle work, childcare, and keep in touch with friends and family, all from the palm of my hand. Sure, mindlessly scrolling social media can be tempting, but there’s a lot more to them than that.
Smart phones allow us to stay connected at a time in our lives when those connections matter most. Motherhood can be lonely, even though it seems as though you’re never alone. When times are tough, there’s a lot to be said for being able to text a friend or three to commiserate about the daily grind. No one quite understands the humor in a diaper explosion like a fellow mom. And as a working mom, my phone helps to keep me connected to my spouse – we might even text more than we talk, and that’s mostly because our time alone together is so limited. That .GIF feature on most messaging apps? It’s been a game-changer for sharing the perils and pratfalls of parenting. If a picture says a thousand words, a .gif or a well-selected emoji speaks volumes.
Aside from keeping me connected, my smart phone is the only reason I take so many pictures of my kids. Before I had a smart phone, I had a camera. It was a nice little digital point-and-shoot that my mom bought me as a gift before my wedding. I used it to take photos of wedding venues and dresses. Then I took it on our honeymoon and took hundreds of beautiful photos of Maui. And then it sat in its case collecting dust. For years. I’m not a natural photographer, and I’m definitely not the type to stop the action to get the perfect shot. But my smartphone allows me to record my life in pictures in a way my camera never could. It’s always in my hand or my pocket, enabling me to photograph everything from life’s little moments to random recipes I find in magazines while waiting at the hair salon. Without my phone, I’d be lost.
I can also appreciate the freedom offered by smart phones. In the past, Google and my ability to communicate via text and email from virtually anywhere have saved me more than once on the job. My husband relies on his phone to communicate with co-workers and clients on a daily basis – just because we are at home or out at the zoo, doesn’t mean work stops. Sure, you could do the same from a computer, but a smart phone puts the world in your pocket, and that’s so much more convenient.
Despite my undying love for my phone, I do have limits. I don’t like to talk on my phone while checking out at a store, and I try my best not to use it during dinner at home. I very rarely let my children play with it, saving that tactic for dire emergencies when I need to distract them from a meltdown.
Recently, I saw a post on social media featuring a photo of a mom at an airport, scrolling through her phone while her baby laid on a blanket on the floor. As they often do, the pearl-clutching mom-shamers descended on this poor woman like vultures, berating her parenting and shrieking about her poor neglected baby. These were Internet strangers who knew absolutely nothing about this mom, her baby, or their situation in that moment. In fact, as the woman later revealed, she and her babe had been stuck in the airport for 20 hours, and baby was finally getting a chance to stretch out while mom texted updates to family and friends about their situation.
The thing is, when you see a mom (or dad) on their phone, you just don’t know what they’re doing or why. And it’s none of your business. Smart phones are here to stay, and I for one will never give mine up.