The best of times….the worst of times.

It’s true. I have become my mother.

That’s not entirely accurate. I don’t bowl on a Wednesday morning league and I don’t sit for hours talking on a phone that still has a cord and is attached to the wall (my childhood in a nutshell, circa 1975).

It is true, however, that things my mother has said have suddenly been flying out of my mouth. Given that my children are now young adults and I’m just now discovering this is a huge accomplishment in my book.

“Things sure are easier nowadays!”

So maybe “things” is over-the-top subjective. The “things” my mother means are what technology has improved. Cell phones. Dishwashers (yes, we did not have one until I was in high school). Back-up cameras in cars (she still doesn’t know how to use that new-fangled invention).

Flashback to 1986….riding without a helmet on the back of a motorcycle driven by my boyfriend (whose complete and total objective in dating me was to get me into bed) driving over 100 miles an hour down a country road. At night. In a miniskirt.

I would return home (by curfew of course…I was a nice girl. Hence, getting me into bed really WAS a conquest.) My parents would always be in bed.  The next day may or may not include a question of what I had been doing the night before. Usually not. It was as if anything BEFORE curfew was fine and good. Anything AFTER curfew had to just reek of sin.

Fast forward 2014, the year my youngest graduated high school. I might not have been totally aware of where she was at any given moment, but truth me told, it wasn’t hard to figure out (thank you Find My Friends app).  I could even tell you where my oldest daughter was…what street she was on. And she was living 5,000 miles away in Europe.

That, to me, IS good.  I’ve never been one to feel the need to check up on my kids. I’ve always felt completely comfortable leaving them home for a weekend or even a longer vacation.  They rock. Trust is never an issue.

Safety, however, is what we all take for granted. The world of cell phones ensures 2015 mom that if you can’t reach your child one way, you can find out pretty quickly where they are and that they are safe.

It is the best of times for parents. But let me clarify.

It is the best of time for parents…of teenagers.

If you are a parent of a young child, it is the worst of times. I don’t know how you guys manage it.

Facebook. SUCH a distraction. And you don’t have to be home to be distracted by it thanks to smart phones.  Today’s young mom’s don’t know what it was like to be away from the house and not have the ability to either call someone or be called. Remember running to the answering machine when you got home and hoping that the red blinking light meant your boyfriend had called?

I feel for young parents. The distractions that take us away from being in the moment and truly enjoying our children while they are changing minute by minute take inordinate amounts of self control. When the first in-car DVD player came out, I remember feeling so sad for parents who could now just plug their kid into TV in the car as well to ensure quiet on their commute. I was sad for those that missed out on singing favorite songs with their kids and in our family enjoying books on tape on long car trips.

I worry for a generation of Mombies….moms who are zombies, slaves to their phones. I truly believe it is an addiction and I don’t envy them in that regard. My youngest was two when we got the internet (yes, dial up…”You’ve Got Mail” style…). It was a blessing for me as a work-at-home mom but now that social media is such a part of everyone’s life, it’s a blessing to me that my kids are young adults and not the small children needing my time and my attention ,needing me to engage with them outside, engage with them through reading and crafts and non-electronic methods.

I’m blessed by the technology and fearful that it may drive a wedge in relationships for the generation behind me. A teacher once told me that my daughter had a lot of influence over her peers and that she needed to “use her power for good.”  I’m trying to be optimistic that technology can play the same role.


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