There are two blog posts circulating around the internet right now – both beginning with, “Dear Mom on the iPhone,”
I read the first one and felt convicted. I shed a tear or two. I felt sad that I had, at times, checked out of my kids lives to get one mindless moment for myself to scroll through Instagram or check Facebook status updates of my friends. I remembered vividly a recent trip to our neighborhood park. While my oldest (12) chased my youngest (almost 2), I laid down on the slide and CLOSED MY EYES to bask in the sunshine that day.
Then I think I sat on a bench and texted a few friends. I snapped some pics and uploaded them to Facebook. I was grateful that Logan was keeping Beckett busy. Truthfully, some days I’m so overwhelmed by the crushed crackers on my floor, the toy trains in my toilet and the non stop tantrums that I need to sit and check out. And there are many times I grab my phone and check Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter more than I need to. I felt like the post was a great reminder that childhood does go quickly, and my children need and deserve my undivided attention at times.
Then I read the second post. And I felt relieved. I found myself saying, “Yeah! Yeah! YEAH!” Is it possible that it was OKAY to be checking my phone while my kids play? I started thinking about all the times I use my phone to send videos and pictures of what’s going on at home to my husband who travels a lot for work. And how I use it to find recipes for meals for my family or to tell me what time the grocery store opens and closes. I felt justified.
Honestly both posts have their valid points. And, like with everything, moderation is key. There ARE times I play on the iPhone more than I should or more than I need to. There are times it’s good to remind myself the tantrum Beckett is throwing probably has more to do with me not being tuned in to his needs than him trying to make my day more stressful than it already is.
But both posts made me realize that I don’t need the approval of two random internet bloggers about my parenting. I don’t need to look to the internet to tell me if what I’m doing is ok. Because the care of my children is entrusted to me by the most important judge of all. I answer to God and every hug and kiss I give, every word spoken (good or bad), every decision I make – I answer to Him.
There are plenty of things I can improve on as a parent. But I know that if I have my eyes fixed towards Him, and not towards the approval of other parents or friends, I’m heading in the right direction. I’ll make mistakes, I’ll do things I shouldn’t – I’ll spend more time than I need to mindlessly scrolling through Instagram pictures. But I’ll do a lot of things right too.
I’ll give lots of kisses, I’ll give lots of hugs. I’ll take my kids to the park and out for bagels on a cold morning. I may be a girl, but I’ve been known to wrestle and play rough – it’s what happens when you’re a mom to boys. I logged countless hours driving matchbox cars around the floor when Logan was little, and find myself doing the same with Beckett’s trains.
I’ll take them to church, where they’ll learn about Jesus and how much He loves them. They’ll make friends and learn to trust God and find joy in His promises. They’ll learn to pray, and to worship and they’ll learn to dance and sing loudly when a good song comes on.
Parenting is a journey. It’s one none of us get exactly right. But I’m grateful that when the self doubt sets in, the questions roll around in my head or I’m not sure how to handle certain parenting moments I have something greater and bigger to turn to than a few blog posts.