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Motherhood and Technology: It’s Okay, Really

I feel as though I have been reading a lot of anti-technology, put away the smartphone, the laptop, the Kindle Fire and pick up your kid blogs as of late. And I get it. I definitely do. My children are only children for this moment and I want to be present.

I want them to remember me as being with them, not as looking past them to a smartphone, playing Draw Something while they’re trying to show me their latest hula hoop trick.

And even for me, I want to be here and now. I want to remember that hula hoop trick and the grins on their faces when the hoop finally shakes its way down to the ground and they run off to their next adventure.

This is not in defense of texting during your kid’s tee-ball games or playing Words with Friends during church – but I have to say that I don’t want to be made to feel yet another layer of Mommy-guilt for having Facebook open on my counter while I am making lunch.

So, this is a little shout out to technology, because I distinctly remember the long dark winter days when I was home – alone – with my first son. This was in the days before Tweeting, before blogging and Facebooking. He may have even preceded that glittering mecca of Myspace.

While my friends were still out there in the real world, I slowly adjusted to my new life at home, buried beneath mountains of laundry, catering to the whims of a miniature person who couldn’t even give me the courtesy of a thank you smile when I wiped his bottom for the thirtieth time in a day. Somehow an email or two from friends or a Nextel Walkie-talkie style How’s it going from my husband just wasn’t cutting it. I was in the pit, so much so that I can remember getting weepy watching VH1 Behind the Music.

Emphasis on: I was watching VH1 Behind the Music.

Sure, it could have been hormones and the bumps of adjusting from a 9-5 life to suddenly living a 24-7 life of laundry, bottles and poop, a life of financial frustration, all while starting my master’s degree remotely. But really, I think I was lonely. Being a new stay at home mother is long, lonely work.

Then, I stumbled upon blogging. Now, Alex, (or, The Boss, as I dubbed him) had a larger audience than just me. And now I had a connection to a world of other people who understood right where I was coming from, because they were there too. From late night feedings to the sweet joy of an afternoon nap beside my baby, they felt me. From laundry cluttered, kid-overrun living rooms everywhere, we united.

And so, thank you, technology, thank you internet and blogosphere, thank you Mark Zuckerberg and Flickr and WordPress. Thank you for helping me stay connected with friends I would have probably lost touch with long, long ago. And thank you for creating spaces for me to reach out with other mom’s in the battlefield and for the other artistic friends I would never have met had this creative, open space never been founded.

Thank you, for helping me forget that VH1 is even still in existence (it is, isn’t it?) because my life is too full for lame television. My life is lived here, in this house, with this family.

And also a little out there too, so that if there’s ever another lonely stay at home mom in need of a lifeline, I’m here to say, you’re not alone (and that laundry can wait. You go enjoy your baby, every single moment you have.)

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2 Comments

  1. Mel

    Well said!! I agree 100%! My husband is an electrician and we have a small farm. During planting season and harvest he rises at about 4am & doesn’t return till past dark. Those times make for very lonely days. Since I’m not originally from here I don’t have many friends but blogging and twitter have allowed me to meet other like-minded moms and stay sane!

  2. Amen! How would we have ever met half-way across the country? How would I ever have connected with folks I barely knew in high school and now I realize are wonderful sweet people? You take the good with the bad. I’m so glad I can text my husband at any moment of the day and let him know what I’m thinking. How would one ever remember to pick up the milk or learn to be so quick witted without texting?

    What scares me more about technology is teaching our children to treat it with respect and not get consumed by it. It’s such a different world they live in than the environment we had. I recall my parents getting a “bag phone” for me in college but making me pinky swear I’d never actally use it unless the car was on fire because it cost something like $4 a minute.

    This is one of the many reasons we put our daughter in a classical christian school. But I’m not niave to thinking that it’s part of life. And I’m sort-of thankful for it. Because my head is not currently buried in Tolstoy. I’m online. Commenting on your blog. Charging my phone. Checking facebook. Getting emails.

    I’m thankful. I think we all are – you were just brave enough to put it out there.

    Amanda

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