Last Friday I scored much sough-after tickets to a Sid the Science Kid event at our local Children’s Museum. These tickets included a meet & greet with Sid, pictures with Sid, and a viewing of a world premiere Sid movie (complete with the voice of Christopher Lloyd as a mad scientist. Priceless!).
Now, I know that my three year old will not sit still for an entire 75 minute viewing of anything, even of his favorite kid scientist. I was smart enough to sit in the very back row; we got to hug Sid and get N’s picture taken before the movie, and we were able to sneak out halfway through.
But during those 40 minutes the movie was playing, here is what I observed:
* Kiddos enthralled with Sid and Gabriella
* The adorable baby girl next to us eating Cheerios
* The two moms in front of me gossiping about people they know
* Dozens of children trying to get their parent’s attention
* Dozens of parents on their smart phones
The theater was lousy with bright small screens. Or, in two cases, giant ipad screens. Parents were…what? Busy? On their screens while hoping that the giant screen in front of the room would occupy their kids?
I was a little bit sickened, to be honest. I have read the emails and blog posts going around about mamas missing their kids’ lives, but this was reality. Children were being ignored while their parents were on their own little screens.
What is so important on your phone that you need to ignore your child?
Later we tried to see the geckos, but there were many parents taking pictures with their ipads. Do you know how stupid you look taking a picture of a lizard with your ipad? And do you understand that you can’t even see your own kid when doing that AND you block the view of anyone standing behind you?
Then it was moms on their phones while riding the carousel. My son LOVES the carousel, and he wants to narrate the entire thing to me. “Look at that, Mama! Look at the lights! Look at the lion! Look at the stars!” I saw child after child unhappy to ride the carousel because their moms were ignoring them.
Now, I’m not going to lie. I send a text or two when we are out and about. I snap a few photos here and there with my ancient slide phone. But when I am with my child, especially out and about at something fun or special, I want to actually be there. Because I don’t know if he will be my only, I want to soak up every single second that I can with him.
And parenting is hard, and sometimes it is very lonely, but what are we missing?
My child barely fits on my lap anymore…and how many times did I wish away laptime because I wanted him to just go to sleep?
My child doesn’t need me to feed him anymore…and how many times did I wish away feedings because they were in the middle of the night, or I didn’t want to deal with the mess of flung green beans?
My child won’t always want me to ride the carousel with him…or take him to the children’s museum or the zoo…or play ball with him in the yard. How soon before he stops asking because I am perceived by him as too busy?
I don’t want a smart phone. I am afraid it would distract me from what is really important: raising my son and actually being with him.