Stop Shaming Moms for Being on Their Phones.
I can’t turn a corner without a post on social media, a story on the news or a conversation among parents telling me how my smartphone is coming between me and my child. So it’s no wonder a stranger felt she had the authority today to tell me to get off my phone.
I own and operate my own birth services business. At any time, I could be doing a number of important tasks from my phone. A business owner could send emails, attend conferences/webinars, ship goods, maintain a website/blog or any other multitude of tasks from their phone. Today I had a couple hours between my last meeting of the day and my 6pm Lamaze Childbirth Class. I’m only 5 months postpartum and my exclusively breastfed baby still stays with me during my work day, so I was deciding what he and I should do during that time. I looked at my options to either work in an office space alone indoors, or to work outside from my phone, and I knew outdoors would be best. It was a beautiful 60 degree day on the downtown square where I work from, so I got a drink at the local coffee shop and sat out front to soak up the good weather.
I answered a few emails and sent out some invoices, then took a few minutes to talk to my baby sitting on my lap and enjoy my drink. I suddenly realized a Doula client had questions about an urgent medical issue. As I was taking care of that, I started a phone conversation with one of my Lamaze student’s Doula who had questions about their birth plan. All of this is a normal day’s work for me, and the fact I was doing this in an environment that felt so peaceful, made it extra special.
As I was on my phone call, a woman walked by (who had already walked by earlier). She walked up to my baby and started talking to him. I continued my important phone call. In my head I was thinking “don’t touch my baby” and kept an eye on her as she got closer and closer. Then something happened I wasn’t expecting. She put her hand down on my table to get my attention and told me to get off my phone and pay attention to my baby.
In my head I thought, “Do what?!?! Pay attention to my baby? The baby that I’m with 24/7? The baby I have carried and fed from my body for the last 5 months? The baby I work with, sleep with, shower with and eat with? This baby?!”
Despite her interference, I did not respond in anyway simply because I was in the middle of a phone call gathering information for a client who is facing a life-threatening situation. And that is no exaggeration. At the time, my client’s situation was more important.
How did this make me feel? Honestly, I know she’s wrong about me and it didn’t make me question my parenting or phone use. It did make me want to hide though. There was an audience. There was a table full beside me and people going in and out of the coffee house. It made me wonder if there is a place in our society for moms like me. Then I realized why it REALLY hurt. I looked at the table beside me filled with college aged women. They smiled at me as to say, “it’s ok”, but I want them to see better examples of mothers being respected. I want them to see better examples of mothers filling more than one role in our society. Why couldn’t they see a someone stop me and say, “Good for you for bringing your child along” or “Good for you for balancing work and motherhood” or even “I’m glad you are out with your baby today”.
This experience left me feeling sad, but not defeated. This isn’t my first rodeo and I have a tough enough skin that I’ll get back out on the next beautiful day. What if it had been a new mom? What if it had been a mom out with baby for the first? What if her skin wasn’t as tough?
Now I have a couple questions to leave you with the next time you consider saying something about moms on their phone.
What if that mom is working from her phone? What if being on her phone is the only way she keeps her baby with her vs sending baby to childcare?
Why are moms expected to be tuned in to their kids needs 24/7? Before phones, it was TV, (did your mom not tune out for her soaps each afternoon?) and before TV, I guarantee moms were tuning out over a newspaper or a book. Tune out! Recharge! So what if it isn’t work? Let moms play candy crush or scroll Facebook for all I care. You can’t be everything 100% of the time to your children.
Should’t our children learn our needs matter too? As long as what you are doing on your phone feels good to you, then it’s OK. If your relationship with your phone doesn’t feel good, then work on healthy phone use practices. Just know you can be a good mom and use your phone too.
I’m going to continue to take my kids with me when I work and I’ll continue to work from my phone. I hope if you see me out you’ll see the positives vs the negatives and know i’m A mom trying to do my best like every other mom.
In The Comments
Have you experienced a similar situation? If so, how did it make you feel?