There’s nothing like that moment when you realize that putting in all of that mental, emotional, and physical effort into “modeling” the proper behavior for your kids, is as futile as cleaning your house when you have toddlers. <!--break-->One less-than-polite response to your husband, or curse word uttered in traffic with a car full of kids, unravels your perfect parent persona and lets your kids in on the secret that all rules are made to be broken, and mommy is the biggest offender. I’ve determined that nothing can make me break my own rules as much as those addictive little necessary evils: my phone an iPad. Here’s where my mobile dependency has caused my mommy “modeling” to take a serious face-plant:
- That’s MINE!
Granted, these devices cost a pretty penny and hold everything from my most treasured photos to my work emails, so it does make sense that I be protective of them when they’re being sloppily man-handled by a 5 year old. But when my daughter is playing the latest Toca Boca creation and I hear the “ding” of a text, meant for me of course, and see those marker-stained little fingers deftly close out the text and keep playing like she owns the place, I feel completely compelled to snatch it right out of her hands at lightning speed. “Mom, no grabbing! That’s rude!” she says. Touché.
- No “toys” at the dinner table.
Except when mom has to check on tomorrow’s weather, text dad to ask him to pick up milk, or Google that night’s unanswerable question from a toddler … and ok, I might as well check Facebook while I’m at it.
- Look at me when I’m talking to you!
No one can stand to be half-listened to. How many times have you prodded your kids (or, ahem, your husband) to stop what they’re doing and look you in the eyes so you know you’re being heard? All the time, am I right? And how many times have you half-listened to your kid while perusing recipe ideas on Pinterest until she stands there with her hands on her hips saying “Mommmmmm!" for the 30 millionth time? Or is that just me?
- Be present in social situations.
We’ve tried to teach our daughter that while she might not always feel like being a social butterfly, she does have to respond in some way when people address her. And there’s no watching TV when we have company, she has to greet and say goodbye to the host/hostess – the basics. Have I ever checked my phone with company over? Guilty. But not when you were there, promise.
So there you have it. My mobile devices are zapping my will power to be models of the lesson I’m trying t o teach my kids and turning me into a mommy hypocrite. Maybe it’s time to take a break and unplug. Or, maybe it’s just time to impart one of the greatest rules in parenting, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Yeah, it’s about time they hear that one.