Why I’m Ditching My Phone for More Time With My Daughter

ByLeslie Goldman
Mar 2017
illustration phone conversations
Image: iStock

Whenever I’m out with our daughter on a walk, it seems that 80 percent of the moms I pass on the street are attempting the stroll/text/sip combination known as the Mom Walk. The walk, much like it sounds, goes a little something like this:

1. Load baby in stroller, toss diaper bag underneath and head out wearing yoga pants and exercise-appropriate top.

2. Stop at Starbucks for drink of choice.

3. Hold cell phone in one hand and stare at it while pushing stroller with other hand. (If you own a dog, loop your stroller wrist through the leash, so as to leave your phone hand free for texting/Pinning/Instagramming.)

4. Do not look up for oncoming traffic, potential muggers or unicycling clowns … not that you’d notice a unicycling clown, because you are totally zoned out to your phone.

5. Walk very slowly. Seven minutes per block is a reasonable goal to aim for.

6. Occasionally toss Goldfish or Plum Organics Teensy Fruits in child’s general direction.

Last year, model Peaches Geldof was both Mom Walking and TWS (Talking While Strolling) when her stroller hit a bump, and her then-five-month-old son took a tumble, falling to the ground and spilling out of his pram. (Nobody was hurt, and Geldof blamed the incident on a hole in the sidewalk.) Not that I’m passing judgment: I’m guilty, too. Lately I’ve been blasting Sesame Street Pandora in an effort to assuage myself of the guilt; blaring Ernie’s reggae version of Rubber Duck somehow makes me feel like I’m being a more involved mother as I plod towards the park, furiously scrolling through Facebook.

Sounds hilarious but in all seriousness — the Mom Walk is rife with peril. We all know not to text and drive, or to text while drinking. But texting while strolling has its disadvantages, too.Not only is staring down at the phone murder on our necks and backs, and not only is it dangerous to walk without looking where we’re going or being aware of our surroundings, but it robs us of sacred time with our little ones.

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I’m not saying we need to be interacting in a meaningful, fully engaged way with them 24/7, but for many working moms, a late afternoon walk is our most quality bonding time. Why waste it on email multitasking when we could be pointing out birds and fire engines or sharing the highlights of our day with our babes?

I’m going to try leaving my phone at home during our next walk and see how the experience changes. The fact is, the world won’t implode just because I can’t snap a pic of our daughter laughing on the teeter totter. In fact, I bet I wind up capturing so much more.

Do you purposely leave distractions at home so you can spend more time tuned in to your kids?

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