It's been around for a while (years) but for some reason it's making a resurgence now and being posted again. A lot.
It's so popular that there have been lots of responses and rebuttals.
But y'all. It still irritates the ever-loving spit out of me every single time I see it posted.
So I figured I'd give you my perspective. And maybe it will make me feel a bit better.
Yes. I am often on my iPhone at the park. There are many reasons why. And they are probably reasons that not everyone would understand or guess.
Let me fill you in on a little secret. When you are a military wife, and especially one with a deployed husband...phones are your lifeline. Every time that phone rings? You FUMBLE to answer it. Those calls get you from week to week (and sometimes it's month to month).
You use the phone to email photos of missed birthdays, first steps and lost teeth. You send videos of first words, school plays, and spelling bees. This is not an exaggeration. Jimmy has seen so many firsts (and lasts!) through video and photography.
When a hero is killed that phone is how you connect. You cry together, pray together, sit in silence together. You PRAY that phone will ring after long bouts of silence.
Now add in the working mama piece.
Emails to compose, blog posts to edit, calendars to fill, paychecks to deposit. All on the phone.
Now add in the grocery lists, to do lists, timers, alarm clocks, emails to teachers, etc.
All on the phone.
And why do I do this at the park instead of watching my little girl twirl?
Well first off...that doesn't happen. Magical twirling in the sunshine that is. What really happens is whining
THAT BUG TOUCHED ME!
SADIE POKED ME IN THE EYE!
I'M HUNGRY? DID YOU BRING ME A SNACK?
CATE LOOKED AT ME!
and on and on and on.
And you know what?
ALL I WANT IS ONE EVERLOVING MINUTE OF SILENCE. I want the four of them to PLAY TOGETHER for a little bit. I am tired. And I miss their daddy terribly.. And I want to take a minute for ME. To get my thoughts in order and breathe.
I want to pin a pretty dress to Pinterest and dream about one day getting to go on a date with J.
I want to write an email to him telling him how much I miss him.
I want to read a chapter of a book or practice an Italian lesson so I can learn to communicate here.
I want to look at photos that my friends (who are SO FAR away) have shared because I miss them terribly.
I have five minutes to get together a grocery list and the park is the perfect place to do it because the girls can entertain themselves.
All.Day.Long. every single day we paint and sing and read and watch YoGabbaGabba and make cookies and take bubble baths. And then we brush hair and clip toenails and brush teeth and do homework. We color, brush MyLittlePony hair, build with Legos. We dance, sing Frozen songs, argue, and laugh. We skip, practice play lines and songs, fall down and have to get BandAids. We drive back and forth and back and forth to post. In the car we sing some more and argue a lot. I have no privacy. No area of our home is sacred and safe from the "MOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMYMOMMMMYYYYY". Not even the restroom.
So YES. I'm on the damn phone at the park. And sometimes during gymnastics and play practice. Because I believe that life will go on and my girls will survive even if I don't watch them every single second of every single day.
I believe it's okay to do things for me.
I believe they will be okay (and even flourish) because of this. I believe that encouraging independence and saying "I want to be alone" is OKAY.
I believe that you can experience life fully and embrace meaningful moments. AND that after the fact you can share these moments with an absent spouse via technology. They are not mutually exclusive.
And above all I believe that moms should stop judging other moms. It's exhausting.
Oh. And P.S...If you would like to encourage my girls to twirl magically in the sunlight feel free. But be forewarned...it will not end well. It will involve flailing limbs and a possible black eye on your end. Because they are, after all, Howells. Magical.