In Defense of Using Technology as a Mom
The other day, I did the seemingly inevitable. I dropped my phone in the toilet. I was rushing, trying to answer an email while simultaneously taking a fast pee break and SPLOOSH. There it went. I immediately turned it off in a panic, burst out of the bathroom frantically and dashed it into a bag of rice, which for the record WORKS. (My dad also wrapped it in a paper towel and I highly recommend this method.) Besides the obvious dread that my phone would never turn back on resulting in me losing precious information and photos, or that it would turn back on but be damaged somehow, was the fact that I had just lost access to emails, Facebook, Instagram, non-iMessage texting and everything related to my blog. My family lovingly reassured me that my phone would probably be fine, but the fact remained that for 24 hours I would be without my technological best friend. I felt naked.
In complete honesty, I still had my iPad, and wasn’t locked out of all my email accounts, but still. I use that phone for everything. I told myself this would be good for me, a 24 hour technology purge. I would probably even sleep better and feel rejuvenated. To my surprise, however, that was not the case. Let me explain.
First of all, a disclaimer. I do not live with my nose in my phone 24/7. I am not that person who is missing precious milestones because I was glued to my Facebook feed when my daughter took her first steps. But there are a few reasons that my phone enriches my life as a mom and I want to share why I am so grateful for the technology we have today.
Let’s start with the fact that I am that person who incessantly records those milestones with my phone camera. All it takes is a quick swipe and tap and I can watch my son saying “hey daddy” for the next three decades. I can even set it down with the camera on and record our moments together. One day when they leave for college I can sit on my couch licking my empty nest wounds and listen to their first words on repeat if I want. And of course there are many times I don’t record except in my physical memory because I chose to be fully in that moment. But I like having the option to do so if I choose. It’s a balance.
I don’t think it can be denied that being a mom can be lonely, the coziest lonely if you will. I have children dripping off me 24/7 and I love it, but the facts are getting out and talking to other moms can be super hard right now. So, while I don’t live off of scrolling through my Facebook mini feed, I am very grateful for the friendships I’ve made via my social accounts. I love sharing mommy moments I have with other moms and relating to each other, even if it’s via our phone screens. We still empathize, connect, encourage and laugh together, even if it’s after 11pm and we do it via the use of a ton of wine and laugh emojis. I’ve made so many incredible and inspiring mommy friends all over the world, many of whom don’t even speak the same language but we can still connect and support each other.
And no, I am fully aware that cyber friendships don’t replace real in person laughing and connecting. But right now for my life that’s hard to make happen. I can click on the photo you posted today and comment and talk when I maybe couldn’t get together in person. I may not be able to hug you in person, but I can say I’m sorry you had a hard day and let you know I care.
Along those lines is the distraction my phone provides, sometimes in the middle of the night when my babies are nursing nonstop, I can’t sleep, and so I read or look at soothing pictures of the water. I’ve been nursing my babies a long time now, almost 15 months. I love it, and I cannot count the hours I’ve spent staring in their eyes while they did. But sometimes, when they’ve been nursing literally constantly, it’s hard. I feel like my nipples have been sucked clean off and all I want is to run away from all that touches me. And sometimes I get through those moments by catching up with mommy friends on Instagram, or retweeting some yummy recipes. (Did anybody see those mommy shaming articles that were circulating a while back about ‘brexting’? Yeah, shut those down.) I distract myself, I get through it, and then I hold their hands and enjoy it again. Breastfeeding is beautiful, but it’s also a lot of hard work.
And of course there are many ways to distract yourself, and reading is one of my favorite ways, but sometimes I can’t grab a book and I usually do have my phone, which also means I can read if I choose to that way. And yes, I’m a huge advocate for real life paper crack the delicious binding books, but we are talking mom survival mode here. We do what we gotta do.
And of course, as in everything, balance is important. I don’t think it’s healthy to constantly be staring at a screen, for physical or emotional reasons! But I for one am very grateful for the opportunities we have with modern day technology and how much it enriches my life as a parent.