Just one more second, honey (and other things moms say while texting)

I vowed I wouldn’t become one of them. You know, the smartphone drones whose thumbs furiously fly on their screen while their child swings alone screaming, “Mommy, push me. Mommy. Mommy!”

We’ve all seen them. We’ve all judged them. And now, I fear I may becoming one. I had this revelation last week while I attempted to send a text while on a moonbounce. Yes, it looked as ridiculous as it sounds. My two daughters jumped around me giggling while I tried to stabilize myself on the bouncing contraption, eyes glued to my cell phone screen.

This was my biggest fear when I got my smartphone. In fact, until I traded up a few months ago, I was one of the last people in the world with an old-school flip phone. The guy at the phone store said it was a relic as he ushered other workers over to see the much-rumored flip phone of years past.

I resisted the smartphone craze for so long because I was determined not to become a techie mom. I did not want to text while my children played. I did not want to check emails at traffic lights. And most of all, I didn’t want to be that mom who is constantly saying, “Just a second, honey. Let me just finish this one thing.”

But, here I am admitting I’ve fallen into the trap. I don’t think I am as bad as many people (isn’t that what we all say?), but I am determined to be better. I don’t want my kids to grow up looking at the back side of my cell phone while I say “hold on” for the 100th time.

Bottom line: moon bounces are for bouncing, not for texting. Parks are for swings and mulch cakes, not emails. And children don’t wait forever. I’d hate to look up one day to find my kids aren’t begging me to play anymore because they were tired of hearing “just one more minute.”

The truth is this period of my life is “just a minute.” And then, these moments — and these children right here at this age right now — are gone. They don’t hold. They don’t wait. They fly by at warp speed, and if I’m not careful, I’ll miss them while trying to “finish this one last thing.”

How do you balance the convenience of cell phones with your kids? Do you find yourself getting lost in your phone or email, or are you able to step away and just be in the moment?

4 comments

  1. Day80

    I was that mom you are describing. Then my phone was stolen at a soccer game. It was like giving up air for the first few days, but now I am going on 2 months without a cell phone and I couldn’t be happier! My kids don’t have to worry about me putting them behind people who aren’t even with me. Its like when you go to a store and you have been waiting in line for hours and hours and they answer the phone and start to help the person sitting at home in their jammies eating ice cream… My relationship with my boys is sooo much stronger and I honestly don’t think I will worry about a cell phone for a really long time. I have a home phone and Facebook so I’m not concerned about missing out on things, I just can’t be distracted when I’m with my family 🙂

  2. John Charity Spring

    As a society, we can no longer ignore the fact that we are in the midst of an epidemic of inattentive younger mothers. If these hordes of younger mothers do not follow Stewart’s example and reform themselves, our society will suffer catastrophic consequences.

    This very paper reported last week on a study which showed that young mothers are increasingly ignoring their babies and infants while they spend their time sending text messages to other inattentive mothers. This is causing documented harm to the social and intellectual development of their children. As a result, we are facing a coming generation which does not have the skills and abilities required to be productive citizens. The increased costs of law enforcement, welfare, and remedial education is unimaginable.

    It must be stated plainly, although those who are guilty won’t want to hear it. Ignoring one’s child in order to send mindless and frivolous text messages is an act of pure selfishness that harms both the child and the whole society. This practice must be eliminated before it is too late.

    • Laura

      There is no doubt in my mind that many children were told “Just one more second, honey,” while their mothers were busy “quilting” (listening to the latest gossip from Agnes). and I’m sure throughout the centuries, many mothers made social calls, read books, or even simply daydreamed instead of being mentally with their children. On the other hand, here is how I used my smart phone today: I talked to my mother who lives far away (and my baby was able to talk to Grandma for a minute as well). I spent 5 minutes on facebook and got to see fun pictures of my cousin’s brand new baby; I have over 70 first cousins that live all over the country and cannot feasibly keep up with all of them in person. Lastly, I sent a whole slew of texts over the course of about 20 minutes to tie up loose ends for our church meeting tomorrow night. 10 years ago, I would’ve had to call a physical meeting with my committee, and five mothers would’ve had to bring our collective nine toddlers to the church and spend an hour telling them “Just one more second, honey!”

      Distracted/neglectful parents are hardly a new thing to society, it’s just more visible and there are more opportunities to do so. I am far from perfect when it comes to not being a distracted mom. But, I try to limit all frivolous distractions to a half hour during nap time. I don’t feel guilty whether I’m reading blogs (yes, it’s nap time right now), playing arcade-style internet games, reading a classic novel, or even working on a sewing project for fun. All are distractions and all have a useful purpose. Also, while I do take my phone with me when I leave the house in case I need to call someone for an emergency, the phone is always on silent, and I end up using it maybe once a month, and usually it’s a quick call to coordinate something with my husband. I figure that’s the glory of texts and voicemails!

  3. Brad

    The same can be said about anything. This is nothing new, parents have been saying “just one more second” since there were parents. I don’t think phones are any more of a problem then tv, books, house work, work, or anything else parents do that compete with family time.

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