By JENNIFER HICKS
Dear Mum on the iPhone,
I see you at the park with your kids, phone in hand. Your cherubs are running around playing and calling out “Mummy, watch me!” They go down the slide squealing in delight, yelling “Mummy, watch this!” As they climb the ladder to go again, they shout “Mummy, I want you to watch me!! Mummy, watch! Mummy! Mummy!! MUMMY!!!!”
But you’re not watching… because you’re on your phone — checking Facebook, email or Pinterest.
You’re not watching… because you just spent every waking hour before arriving at the park watching everything your child did. Every. Little. Thing.
You watched as he ate his breakfast and “drove” his waffles around his plate. You watched as he held the fork upside down and stabbed at bites with the handle and said “Mummy, now watch me do this!” And then he picked up his napkin and put it on his head. And you were watching.
You also watched as your daughter picked out her clothes — only the shirt with the monkey on it would do today. Then you watched as she got dressed. You watched while she struggled to put on her socks — determined to do it herself. You watched — sometimes helping and guiding, but knowing that letting her figure it out is an important part of learning and growing.You watched when she twirled around her bedroom. You watched as she played with her stuffed animals. You watched as she put away her toys. Slowly. Stopping to play with most of them on the way to the toy box. You were watching it all.
You watched as your kids brushed their teeth and hair. You watched as they played blocks and Play-Doh and had a dance party. You joined in because you love being a part of their fun. You watched while they pooped and helped wipe their bottoms. You watched them wash their hands with too much soap — or maybe not enough. You watched as they splattered water all over the sink. You watched them jump off the stool and run around the house with wet hands.
You’ve been watching your kids — playing with them, helping them, singing and dancing with them all morning. All day. And now, at the park, when they can run around and play, you’re taking a few minutes for yourself on your phone.