Today I Did an Experiment: I Didn't Put Down My Phone Once & My Kids Are Fine

Brandie Wood, a mom of twin boys from Lakeside, California, worries about how much time parents are spending on social media and ignoring their kids. So she decided to conduct an experiment about it. 

What a dumb idea. 


Brandie wrote on her Facebook wall in a post that has since gone viral: 

Today I did an experiment, I watched my boys play. As I sat quietly in the corner of the room I tallied how many times...

Posted by Brandie Wood on Monday, November 2, 2015

Listen, Brandie sounds like a wonderful mom and I'm sure she has a huge heart and just like every parent out there she wants to do the best for her kids. But the mom who never, ever puts her phone down while her kids are playing so they can "look to her" is just as great of a mom as Brandie is. Maybe even better in some ways.

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Before you bust out your pitchfork, hear me out. I'm not saying parents should be glued to their mobile devices and laptops and never pay attention to their kids. I hate seeing cell phones at dinner tables or when it's designated family time. But when your kids are just next to you playing? Use your phone. Stalk your friends on Facebook. Surf the web. Instagram your lunch. Your kids don't need your undivided attention when they are playing. They need to learn that they are capable of playing independently, and that sometimes Mom wants or needs to be doing something that doesn't involve restacking their block tower for them. 

I know a lot of parents who have cell phones. I have never once seen any of them refuse to hug their kids, or read them a story, or prepare them dinner, or push them on a swing, or change their diapers because they were on their phones. As much as I appreciate Brandie's concern for other parents, I think most of us are doing just fine. And if her experiment holds true for cell phones, then why doesn't it hold true for doing other things that take us away from our kids? Her heartfelt post could have easily said: 

"As I sat quietly in the corner of the room I tallied how many times they looked at me for various reasons: to see if I saw their cool tricks, to seek approval or disapproval for what they were doing, and to watch my reactions. I couldn't help but wonder if I was folding laundry/washing dishes/making lunch/dusting my filthy house what message would I have been sending?"

The exact same message you would have been sending if you were on your phone. Sometimes moms don't have the time or interest to watch their kids playing. And that's totally okay. 


Image via © Laurence Mouton/PhotoAlto/Corbis

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