I get it all the time. The judgy looks because I’m in a restaurant reading a book on my iPhone while my kid is playing on her iPad. I can just hear the whispers, “So sad. Look at that. They haven’t said a word to each other.”
Well, guess what judgy-mcjudgersons! I probably just spent the last five to six hours in full-on communication with my child. I listened to her sing and watched her dance and helped her with some sewing projects, then helped with her homework, and went out back and talked about the trees and the clouds in the sky, and made up poetry together. I showed her things in the garden, and read to her from books, and answered her five million questions about everything from rainbows to Ancient Egypt and how toilet paper was invented. I took a walk around the block with her and we shared thoughts about her friends, her life, and her dreams.
Then we went to dinner.
And, you know what? I’m freaking exhausted. I’m an introvert and all that beautiful communicating I did with my daughter? Wore me the hell out. So if I want to have a quiet little dinner together in a restaurant, where someone brings me food that I like and brings her food she won’t bitch about, while we both stare at our portable screens? Then I’ll do that. And, no, it’s not sad and it doesn’t mean I’m a bad mother or that our world is going to hell because parents don’t pay attention to their kids these days.
Let me tell you when you should be judging me. If my daughter is trying to talk to me, or interact with me and I ignore her in favor of my phone? Fine, then judge away. But otherwise, you have no idea what I’ve done with my child that day.
For all you know, I’m suffering from a migraine and I’m coping with my child the best that I can in that moment. For all you know, I’ve just come away from hosting her and three of her friends on a fantastic camping adventure.
Mothers are beings that exist outside of the realm of being a mom. They are not endless vats of all-love, all-attention, all-focus, and all-warmth. They are humans who need moments to recharge, too. They get tired. They have interests outside of their little bundles of joy. They have curiosities to settle and friendships to maintain. They are real live people with real live needs. And sometimes those needs are as simple as a quiet dinner in a restaurant with a book and a happily eating child poking at her iPad screen.
Oh, and to Tonya Ferguson who wrote Dear Mom on the iPhone? You don’t know crap about that woman, so keep your self-righteousness to yourself.
Thanks for hearing out my rant. Good day.