Sometimes I read something and its message touches me but doesn’t necessarily have an impact. Sometimes I read something like “Dear Mom on the iPhone” and its message resonates and, in this case, ruffled my feathers. I see Ms. Ferguson’s point. I do. The problem is, she judged too soon, before she saw me.
I am a mom. I spend a great deal with my children. In fact, at the moment, we are together 24/7, with the exception of the hours they attend school. We live in a small one room place.
I have an iPhone. It is my connection to the world around me. I use it to navigate around the new city we live in. I use it to talk to business partners, check my banking balance and since I don’t know anyone in my new community, it’s my social life-string.
So while Ms. Ferguson may see me on my iPhone at the park while my daughter twirls and my son does the monkey bars and both holler, “Mom, watch me!”, she doesn’t see that we have spent a lot of time together. That when we bought that dress my daughter twirled a gazillion times. In fact, every time she wears the dress the first five minutes of my life are set aside to watch her twirl. That we just came from another park, where I “did” they monkey bars with my son–over and over.
She doesn’t know that I also want my children to learn to entertain themselves. This does not mean I don’t love them and that they are the center of my universe. I just don’t need to be the center of theirs for them to have an amazing childhood.
Perhaps, she also doesn’t know that the moment she caught me looking at my iPhone I was checking my bank balance to see if we had enough money to stop at the store on the way home and get ice cream, or looking at a map to see how far away her friend was that we were to meet after our time at the park.
I don’t want him my children to have to be so responsible at seven and nine. I want them to play and lose track of time and be absorbed into their own imagination. I want them to discover time alone is okay.
Children can be a priority without my world coming to a halt. I know they are my responsibility and they know I love them tremendously.
Parenting hasn’t changed so much over the centuries, but the judgment has. We are all doing the best we can with what we have. It’s time to rise up and celebrate what we are doing well as parents instead of standing in the distance and casting judgment.
This comment, Ms. Ferguson, is a crock:
You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are. They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime.
What I have shown my children is independence. I’ve introduced them to their imagination. I have nurtured and raise them to say, “please” and “thank you”. I have shown them I am human. I have shown them responsibility and integrity. I have shown them that they are bigger than my heart and together we are a team.
And for all I know, Ms. Ferguson wrote the post one day while parenting, perhaps from her iPhone.
Isn’t it time we empower moms? We become a community of support to nurture one another. What would happen if we all said to one another, “I know things are hard, but you’re doing a great job”?
Ms. Ferguson isn’t going to change my method of parenting.
I’m going to continue to have long conversations about nothing with my children, because that conversation is of far more value than my judging another mom who is probably doing the best she can.
I’m going to continue to praise my children and others we encounter to teach my children the art of kindness and the power of words–better to build than destroy.
I’m going to worry about the dirt in my own laundry rather than the laundry of a mother I may or may not see again.
I’m not in a competition. I’m doing what works for us and that’s all I care about.
I’m going to be the woman who arrives at a conference and everyone knows me, not because I judged the mother with the screaming child who sat between us, but because I reached out and gave her a break and treated her child like he was mine.
I accept that I am far from perfect. My children all ready know I am human.
I am going to celebrate the little things–the things you may not see, and continue working on my goal of raising confident, empowered children who accept others so their future isn’t littered with harsh, judgmental posts about how someone else is failing.
I invite you to join me.
Take a moment and go strongmomsempower.com and take the pledge to be a strong mom who empowers.
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