Cellphone Parenting

marzo 17, 2019

One of my existential pet peeves is how easy it is for humans to reproduce.

Surely this at some point constituted an evolutionary advantage, but nowadays it seems more like a curse to humanity than anything else.

I have the utmost respect for (fine) parenting, but sadly that is the least of what I see nowadays.

Three (haunting) memories have engraved themselves in my mind:

I was at the subway once, and this middle-aged woman was chatting with a middle-aged man who I really hope wasn't the child's father. The child, a little boy of around five, was trying to get her attention. He kept asking for his mom, who literally had her back to her little son and kept pushing him away and trying to keep her conversation.

I get that sometimes children are bottomless pits of attention (though isn't that the point, kind of?), but if you are in public transport, and you are out with your kid, aren't you supposed to be... I don't know, hanging out with him? More than the stoicism with which she was ignoring her five year old son, though, what really struck me is the disgust laced in her voice when she said "shut up, leave me alone!" If you wanted to be left alone, ma'am, maybe you shouldn't have had a kid.

And then! Then, when the kid gave up on her attention (because there's only so much pining a little guy can do), he kept asking for her cellphone. This she reluctantly handed him to buy his silence, and the kid put on some random YouTube video and watched it in silence. How nice. How educational. How good for his brain.

The second time was less shocking, I guess, but just as sad. Two women, of about thirty, kept chatting and chatting of their conquests, their friends' conquests, their cousins' conquests-you get the idea. This is not in itself bad: women just wanna have fun, right? Except, next to one of the women was her kid, wearing huge earphones plugged to a huge phone and playing who knows what game. And they didn't acknowledge or talk to him once.

This was an almost thirty-minute subway ride.

Not. Once.

Oh, sorry, yes. Once. When the mom checked her WhatsApp messages.

Than it's back to negligence gameland. 

The last bitter anecdote of this sad compendium was actually the first time I realized cellphone parenting was a thing. And it features a father, so you can see that parent indifference is not a gendered issue. 

You might not know this about me (because why would you), but I used to own a Facebook store where I sold Kpop merch. I regularly had to send this merch through a mailing service, and so I was at a Turbus line (now Starken) and there there was a father with a one/two year old in a stroller. This was a BABY. The minute she started to cry, he put his cellphone in front of her and called it a day. 

Let's take a second to cry for the next generation of neglected, tech obsessed, confused, lonely children these people are currently raising. 

As someone who is not sure if she'll ever have one (1) kid (maybe even two if I have a partner/wife), I get it. Kids are hard. They are tiring. They have weird bouts of energy that don't match yours. They don't always understand your logic, your reasons, your words. They entail a lot of responsibility. But guess what: IF YOU DON'T WANT KIDS, DON'T HAVE KIDS.

We need to normalize not wanting kids; we need to normalize that parenting (like relationships) is not a life obligation. It's a choice and therefore should be fun, altogether enjoyable. We need to normalize choice, birth control, and abortion. We need to normalize the fact that less people having children not only is not bad, it's actually beneficial for Earth. (While we are at it, we could also normalize adoption, but that's an issue for another day.)

Please, just stop having kids "just 'cause". There are so many hushed accounts of how people don't enjoy being a parent. And it's okay, to an extent. It's okay to have made the wrong choice back then and now be trying to do the best you can. But then at least stop spreading the lie that children are the right choice for everyone always and that you'll eventually love them no matter what. Because it's not true. And it's tangibly harmful.

And it's much easier to fool yourself into thinking you're spending time with your child if you take them out and give them a cellphone and call it a day.

But, I hope, not all is lost.

And in order to restore your faith in current and future generations, I will share one wonderful memory equally prominent to me.

I was at the subway and a young father, dressed in office attire, carried his baby on his arms. I'm bad at guessing baby ages, so I will just say this baby held her head and seemed generally aware of her surroundings, though she was still tiny enough to be comfortably carried in a sling. Make of that what you will.

Not only he had gear (baby towel and that big bag filled with baby miscellany),he had a necklace made of beads of different sizes and colors his baby was playing with. And he was talking to her! He was pointing out the stations on the board, and asking her questions she clearly would not answer, but are extremely beneficial to her development and brain.

And my hope in the future was restored (for about two second, because then anecdote number one happened on my way back-but hey, you win some, you lose some).

You Might Also Like

0 comentarios