Friday, March 16, 2007


"I am very important. I am on my cell phone and
I'm much too busy to play with my children on the beach!"
March 16, 2007

Today's post is by request. Coffee Friend #2 asked me to address the appalling habit some mommies and daddies have of talking on their cell phone while they are with their children. Of course, I do not mean a mommy who makes a quick call to ask the daddy what time he'll be home for dinner, I am talking about the mommy who calls everyone on her speed-dial list to catch up, clearly sending the message to her children that they are the least interesting people in the world to her and that she'd rather talk to anyone else but them.

You have seen these people. They are in the park, the coffee shop, the grocery store, and in their cars. Especially in their cars. Instead of taking this precious together time to chat with their offspring, point out sights of interest, push them on the swing, give them a cuddle, teach them manners by example, and otherwise engage them, they are on the phone barking orders into their cell phone to someone at work, talking too loudly to make sure the rest of us see just how very indispensable and important they are.

Yes, we see you! Aren't you important! By your conversation I can tell that you sell stuff! You have a job! You have a home to take care of! You have friends and family who want to hear from you! Yes, we get it, you are very special and you know lots of people.

Meanwhile, their neglected children stand quietly, politely waiting for mom or dad to get off the phone so they can ask if they can go potty, or go play on the slide. In the car, strapped into their car seats, they stare off into the distance, eyes glazed over, wondering to themselves what on earth they did to deserve being ignored like this. Or worse, they don't give it any thought because it is the norm.

I have a theory that if people could only see themselves behaving badly they would stop much of their bad behavior. So today, I am holding up a metaphorical mirror as you're on the phone. See those sweet kids at your feet waiting for your attention? See yourself? You don't really look important do you? You kind of look like a jerk--or worse--you kind of look like a bad parent.

Hang up now. There's someone more important to talk to waiting right next to you.

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