Since the rise of the smart pone in the mid-2000’s, there has been increasing criticism of parents spending too much time looking at their phones instead of their kids. It has even gone as far as random strangers posting photos and accusing parents of ignoring their kids, so they can Facebook, Candy Crush, or a laundry list of other assumed things. You have probably seen the photos floating around the internet of “look at millennial parent playing on their phone instead of soaking in these memories”, such as this one that went viral in 2017.
<insert major eye roll>
Society seems to forget that parents have always had outlets like beauty shop time, romance novels, soaps, and Oprah at 4. It baffles me that people harp on today’s parents, mainly moms for not helicoptering over our kids 24/7. As if our moms and grandmothers didn’t plop down on a bench at the park and crack open the Harlequin. If they even took us to a park at all, and rather didn’t just tell us to go play with the neighborhood kids while they “laid out” on the lawn with their legs oiled up with baby oil. Just make sure you start heading home when the street lights came on.
Moms of the previous generations spent hours at the beauty salon gossiping and hanging out with their women friends about every little thing. While a neighborhood mom watched her kids (ahem, sent them to watch TV or to the backyard) or we sat in a corner of the salon breathing in the fumes. Don’t dare mumble one word of complaint to your mom either or ask how much longer her perm will take. Other days would be filled with their favorite soap line ups, that you didn’t DARE interrupt! So seriously, shut the front door about us “young moms and our phones”.
Millennial parents are by far under more pressure to be the perfect parents. Yes, previous generations had their mother-in-law’s, or that nosey aunt or uncle. Some may have even had the snooty neighbors who the block may have felt the need to keep up with. However, putting distance between the snooty neighbor or mother-in-law was much easier than the constant bombardment of parent shaming from the millions on social media. The constant media presence of impossible parenting expectations is always in our faces, always lingering somewhere either on TV or in our news-feeds. We need that few minutes to ourselves like our parents did. Our few minutes of peace just so happens to be handheld instead of mounted on a bulky wood stand in the living room. Just a newsflash, cell phones are for more than just browsing Facebook. Many young parents use their phones to keep track of their family and personal calendars, run business’s and a number of other non-social media and Candy Crush things.
The next time you walk past a young parent seemingly ignoring their kid, remember that everyone has an outlet; past, present and future. The most adult thing you could do is mind your own business.