Parenting is a hard gig, and most of us are genuinely doing our best. If you see people out and about with their kids, the truth is that you’re only getting a snapshot of their day – and their lives – so if you have an opinion about what you glimpse in that moment, you’re probably better off keeping it to yourself.
Cell phones make life both easier and harder, and while sometimes we are looking at our phones while with the kids, it’s really none of your business why.
Maybe we need a mental break. Or, like Tracy Bennett, we could be using our phones in an attempt to thwart the very outcome you’re so concerned with happening.
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She was standing in a customer service line because she’d forgotten her Costco card, and as it was taking forever, she decided to grab her phone and see if she could use the app to check out.
Which is when some random stranger decided to inform her that she should be paying attention to her fidgety kids instead.
Excuse me. What?
Her post, shared in the group Breastfeeding Mama Talk, is getting plenty of well-deserved attention.
“To the man at Costco today who glanced over at me on my phone while my babies were fussing and felt the need to say, ‘You see these babies? They fuss like that because they want your attention. Maybe you should get off of your phone and give them your attention.’
First of all, I had no idea the toddler saying, “Mama, pizza, mama, pizza” over and over and the baby making pre-cry warnings to alert me that if we don’t move soon he’s going to lose it wanted my attention. Thank you for that brilliant analysis of the situation.
Secondly, I had been in the Membership line for 15 minutes already. I pulled out books, snacks, patty cake, and even took to creepily pointing out items in buggies as customers left the store to entertain them.
Thirdly, you had been in the Refunds line next to me for a total of two minutes or else you would have seen the smiles and laughs and interaction.
Lastly, after 15 minutes, these babies got a bit fussy. And on the meltdown scale, they were barely even at a 1. Sensing the meltdown brewing, I took out my phone, downloaded the Costco app and texted my husband to ask what our log in is in an attempt to just get my membership card on my phone. Because I ran out of tricks and my kids ran out of patience and now my goal was to just get us out of this line as quickly as possible before they released the kraken.
But thank you for your parenting advice. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to shame a young mother with two tiny children. Thank you for seeing a stressful moment and deciding, ‘I think I’ll make this worse for her.’
Everyone, if you see a mother (or father) with young children out in public ANYWHERE, assume she is stressed out. Assume she is trying her damndest to get through the situation. Assume this is the very last place she wants to be. Assume she’d rather be home cuddling, playing, running around with her babies. Assume she probably has had no sleep since her first child was born. Assume she is hungry because her toddler decided he wanted extra eggs this morning so she gave him her breakfast in addition to his own. And if you have nothing kind or supportive to offer her, please mind your own business.
Our babies are healthy, our babies are happy (despite the fact that they are not currently pleased with standing in line at Costco), and our babies are loved fiercely by us. And for the love of God, our babies can wait 2 minutes while we try to solve a problem on your phone.”
Take our advice – the next time you want to make a face or a judgement when you spot a parent doing something you would “never” do, remember this article.
And definitely, do not, ever be this guy.