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To Have and to Hold: One Mom's Smartphone Struggle

Will an iPhone make me the world's worst mom?

On numerous occasions people have asked me why I don't have an iPhone (or a Blackberry, for that matter). I ask myself that on a daily basis. The honest answer is: I'm afraid I'll be a really crappy mom if I get one.

I can see myself now: "Get off my leg kid, I've got to read this juicy email!" Or : "Yea, yea, I'll help you down from the monkey bars from which you dangle precariously—right after I check out this hysterical YouTube video. Hold on!"

All I have is a very basic phone. The camera is broken and I don't even text on it. Gasp! I do carry it with me everywhere I go just in case my son's school ever needs to call me. I don't make many phone calls on it because it seems that whenever I put it to my ear my two-year-old yells "me talk, me talk too!"

I've tried to hand the phone off to him in the hopes of getting it right back but it's nearly impossible. I'm sure I've used all my get-out-of-jail-free cards with my friends, who have graciously carried on chats with my sweet boy who narrates, with no volume control, everything in his line of sight, then abruptly hangs up on them.

Full confession here, I am a total email and internet junkie. Whenever I have a free moment, I run to my computer. Naptime, go to computer. Bedtime, go to computer. The kids are distracted for a millisecond, go to computer! I check news, email, stocks, Facebook and scan my google homepage headlines countless times a day. I pay bills, cruise real estate sites, and shop on Amazon and iTunes often. And, when I really want to waste time, I chat online.

After I leave the house I go cold turkey. It's just me and my boys. But there are times when I wish I'd succumbed to getting a smartphone.

The other day I placed a desperate call to my husband because I was hopelessly lost in Brooklyn. He guided me to my destination (and kindly averted my potential unplanned tour of Coney Island) while sitting at his computer, tracking my progress on google maps. Somewhere between Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Bridge, my antiquated self seemed hopelessly lost, too. 
You're probably wondering why a technophile who thinks the you've got mail "ding" is music to my ears wouldn't want the world at her fingertips at all times? I'm just worried that when the microchips fall, I might reach out to grab my phone versus my boys.

The one thing in my favor is the outrageously bad cell phone reception around here. There are not many playgrounds that have reliable reception (Bedford Hills and Katonah probably have the best in the area) so perhaps that will automatically curtail my usage, if I take the leap. 

Also I suppose frowny librarians would deter me from whipping it out in the library. 

I do love when I'm out with my husband and kids, and if we desperately need to distract the kids, the iPhone provides a quick snippet of entertainment, via an uploaded home video or easily accessible YouTube clip. And if I've forgotten my camera, he always captures those unexpected photo opps. And long car rides?  My six-year old is infinitely soothed with "casting" the phone in his favorite fishing game.

I should admit that I have set the high score on this super-cool motorcycle racing game on my husband's iPhone while waiting for my little on to wake from a stroller nap. 
So here it is. I want an iPhone. I do think I need to get an iPhone. I'm afraid of the equivalent of the iPhone "crackberry" syndrome. I have proven self-control in other aspects of my life, so I finally think I might be up to the challenge.

If I do cave in, and you see me around town shaking my kid from my leg as I plead to read one just more email, please remind me of my fears and then rip it from my white-knuckled hands if I don't let go!

Michelle Sinclair Colman is a freelance writer and author based in Waccabuc. She writes a regular column about her life with children for the Bedford Katonah Patch. Colman is the author of such popular children's books as Urban Babies Wear Black and Eco Babies Wear Green.

Michelle Sinclair Colman May 26, 2010 at 04:52 PM
Now's my chance to put my money where my mouth is! iPhone 3GS, 16GB for $97 at Walmart! http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=1045939


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