As soon as My hub and I settled into our seats, we quickly whisked out our phones and hand it over to our kids. We ordered our supper and happily daze away in peace.
I am aware of the judging glances and what other parents or non parents are saying of us. Probably shaking their heads and passing judgement on us for exposing our children to electronics instead of having a quality, in depth, eye to eye conversation. Some times, I ignore them. At times, I just want to yell out and tell them my reasons, or some may say excuses. Most of time, I just quietly tell them in my head, pretending that I can send mind to mind message to them.
Since I can't quite turn to these strangers and tell them to stop passing judgement on me- I shall do it here on my blog. Before you pass judgement on other parents: here are some of my 'excuses' and perhaps other parents too.
1) You have no idea how hard it is to feed my kids. You are very lucky that your kids love and enjoy eating but mine do not. I do not need to explain extensively how hard it is just trust me- it's tortorous and it drove me to tears and near depression many a times multiply that by 2 kids. Giving them the phone, distracts them so that I can deceptively stuff the spoonful of food into their mouths. But don't you worry, I am discerning enough to know when to put a stop to this bad habit. Now that Sonshine is older, we can order him to eat without the phone and he's been phone free during meal times for a long time. As for doll, I'm working right at it. But you probably don't know all these and it's easier for you to judge me in that mere moment you remotely met me in the restaurant.
2) Sometimes we need to space out. I don't have a live in helper nor grand parents whom I can easily hand my kids over to get away. In other words, the kids are with me 24/7, all year round and it repeats itself. There's no escape route for me- na da. In order to get some peace and quiet, to earn myself some quietness, I hand them the phones just to shut them up. You may see a family at a dining place with kids furiously tapping their fingers on the phones while the parents daze away. But you never know, they may have had a horribly bad day just before stepping into the restaurant. And just to earn themselves some chill time, they liberally allow their kids to tap away on the phones. Cut them some slack will you?
3) Trust me, I am not as liberal at home as I am when I am out. At home & on weekdays when we hardly go out for meals, it's hands-off from the phones/iPads. They have zero iPhone/iPad play time on weekdays. My kids know that and they don't suffer from any form of withdrawal symptoms either. Neither do they ask to play, not even a squeak. But knowing that they really enjoy playing and watching, we decide to let them play when we go out and eat on weekends. Just to reward them for being phone free for the entire week or well, simply put a smile on their faces. Again, you wouldn't know that would you? Seeing my kids glued on the iPhones during meal times, it was so easy to make an assumption that my kids are ALWAYS on the electronic devices, wasn't it? You wouldn't have known that that was their only precious tiny opportunity to play on the phones for the entire week, would you? I don't expect you to but, don't be quick to judge ya?
4) And ahem, my kids are doing well in their studies so, I know that their time on the iPhone is not wasting their brains. Don't you worry, I watch them like a hawk in this aspect, especially for doll since she is still very young. But the fact that her attention span is great (she gives her full attention during our reading time), not easily distracted, she learns well and retains well, I think a little exposure to the iPhone is not hurting her and Sonshine.
There I let it out! Should I print this out and hand it to the next parent who throw me a dirty glare? LOL! Seriously, I think at this day and age, it is not realistic to abstain our kids from electronics. The exposure is everywhere. That said, of course I'm not for kids playing electronic devices especially at such a young age either. And if possible, I will choose not to expose them. But I have succumbed and instead of regretting it, I decide to allow it but control my kids' usage and what they are exposed to wisely. I think the key is how we parents manage it. It is very much like fire, it can be a good servant but it may be a very very bad master. So parents should always lord over the phones and not the other way around. Wisdom and a lot of control is key.
So anyway, next time you see a family with kids lost in the world of iPhones in dining areas; don't be too quick to pass a judgement. Let's cut each other some slack, parents to parent! :)