Today our family went to lunch after church. We ordered our food, sat down and talked for a while and when the food arrived, we ate. We all finished eating at different times and as per usual, we checked our phones. As my husband and I were looking down at our phones, one of the men working at the restaurant came to clear our plates. As he leaned over my daughter, Hannah he said “Well it looks like you are the only one without a phone, maybe you will get their attention later.” (Wait, WHAT?!?!?!) I looked up at this man and when I saw his condescending grin as he expected, what? An apology, an explanation, my theories on parenting? I smiled and looked back down at my phone. (Try me, you high and mighty son of a $!&#?)
I’ve read the Facebook posts and seen the YouTube videos about how we need to spend more time looking at our children and less time looking at screens. Yeah, and news flash, I was looking at a screen when I did that. Here is another news flash:
All of my kids can cook, quote the bible, pot a plant, keep a journal, crochet, paint on canvas with acrylic and watercolor, take an interesting photo, read your cards, play poker and blackjack, and build a better mousetrap. My kids play every sport in which they have shown an interest. They have taken theater classes and attended the symphony. They have terrific grades and can hold a conversation with any adult…any adult. This list goes on – I won’t bore you with the books they have read or the personal discussion we spend hours in. I am ridiculously proud of them. (Obviously) I am also ridiculously proud of my husband and me. We like to spend time with our kids.
Sometimes we like to take a few minutes and focus on something other than our kids, like on a Sunday, after church at lunch. When we look at our phones to plan the day or talk about current events. Philip Seymour Hoffman died today. We love his work (the kids mostly just from “Hunger Games”) and as we were talking about this tragic event and navigating through discussing the drug overdose of a famous actor with our kids, some guy picked up our plates and made a remark about how we would rather look at our phones than talk to our children.
I smiled and looked back down at my phone. I do not want to take away his self-righteousness or discount his concern. It’s not the time for a snide remark or witty retort. As I glanced at my daughter after he walked away, it was clearly a complete non-event for her. She will never remember the exchange.
Score: Mommy 1, judgmental busboys 0