Parenting Fails I Blame on My iPhone

by Erin Blakeley
Originally Published: 

While I cannot imagine delivering a baby in an Internet cafe and then resuming my online game—as one young woman made news doing in China this weekend—I have at times ignored rather pressing needs in the service of the siren-like qualities of my iPhone.

Do any of these sound familiar, or am I alone and in need of an intervention?

Burning Dinner

Most of the time, this happens when I have called up a recipe on my iPhone and my brain pulls me over to something non-recipe-related, like checking to see if that dress I have my eye on at J.Crew has gone on sale. And occasionally, this slight attention lapse results in the smoke alarm going off. While I’ve had to throw out a few dinners, I haven’t burned anything down. Yet.

Not Noticing My Children’s Arrival

I call this the pickup conundrum. Often, I bring my phone to school pickup so that I don’t have to talk to anyone. (If I really want to go unnoticed, I’ll wear sunglasses and take out my phone, and it’s like I’m invisible. It’s glorious.) And yet, using my phone as a prop to pretend I’m too distracted to talk to anyone actually becomes a little distracting, and then I fail to notice that my kids have arrived. Probably not the welcome they are hoping for.

Missing a Hit or a Goal

Youth sports sometimes last for a loooong time. I try hard to pay attention, but when the mind wanders, the thumbs will follow. Before long I find myself on Facebook, ogling the adorable children of a college friend I haven’t seen in 16 years rather than the adorable child of my own who has just scored a goal or blasted a hit right in front of me.

Recording the Moment-Itis

A good portion of the time, I am trying to use my phone for the good, noble purpose of recording the lives of my children. But I’ve found it to be a slippery slope. I take out my phone at the school concert, eager to record my daughter’s first song. But then I miss the next song because I’m choosing the best photo, selecting the right filter and trying to come up with a witty caption for Instagram.

Falling Into the Trivia Trap

My son and I are watching The Karate Kid, and he wants to know if it came out the same year as The Goonies. Instead of filing the question away for later, the temptation is to look it up right away. Before I know it, I’m browsing through Sean Astin’s complete filmography. And who was the actor who played Chunk? The IMDB website is a black hole that is hard to crawl out of, and by the time I do, my son no longer cares about the answer.

In short, even when I’m trying to use my phone to be a better parent, I’m usually not.

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