Jennifer Ginsberg: The other day as I arrived at my yoga class, a few of the women also waiting to take the class were having a heated discussion. I settled into child's pose so I could inconspicuously eavesdrop on their conversation. They were outraged over a new policy at the yoga studio -- No Cell Phones On During Class. I was stunned that this issue was prevalent enough to warrant an actual policy. How is it possible to use your cell phone in downward facing dog pose?
"I need to have my phone on at all times" one woman declared, "If they call me from Kyle's school, I have to answer."
"I totally agree." her friend replied "This is bullsh*t! My phone needs to be on in case Maddie needs me."
I have been going to yoga classes for my children's entire lives and never once have I considered bringing in my cell phone. What if my kids have been needing me all this time but I couldn't be reached? I imagined Shane sitting on a therapist's couch as an adult and processing his feelings of abandonment over the fact that I left him with a babysitter so I could salute the sun.
I began to obsess on all the possible scenarios that would require my immediate attention- illness, injury, a natural disaster, or a terrorist attack. What kind of narcissistic, piece of shit mother am I to relinquish my responsibilities so thoughtlessly in an effort to perfect my Warrior 1 Pose?
Wait a minute ... how did our parents do it without cell phones, Internet, or email? When I was a child my parents could not be contacted electronically, yet they were considerably more reachable than most of my friends, with all of their technological devices, are today. Is it possible that being physically and emotionally available involves more than having an unlimited calling plan with free nights and weekends?
Is this illusive idea of accessibility a realistic life lesson for our children? Is the fact that our kids can immediately call or text us with their most minor complaints teaching them how to effectively deal with life's natural stressors? Since they are so used to being able to instantly reach us, how are they supposed to develop the ability to think for themselves and effectively problem solve?
When do our kids have the opportunity to cultivate the quality of patience? Is the immediate gratification of cell phone contact preparing them for that inevitable moment when they will actually have to wait for something that they want?
In the event of an actual emergency, how would contacting me via cell phone really help the situation, anyway? If I don't trust the person that I leave my children with to respond to an urgent situation appropriately, than why am I allowing her to watch my kids in the first place?
But ... what if I am being a selfish beast for not keeping my cell phone on my person at all times, turned up to the loudest and most obnoxious ring-tone, ready to respond to any crisis?
Oh, f* it. I am turning off my phone and leaving it in my car when I go to yoga. One of the most unrelenting facts of motherhood is that you must always be available for your children, day and night, including weekends and holidays. I need a psychological break, and the idea that I can't be reached by anyone for an hour and a half is an incredibly appealing concept, selfish or not.
I also need to have time to center myself so I can focus on the important things... like how I am going to get my yoga teacher's gorgeous abs and her amazing, Madonna-biceps. Namaste'!
|Jennifer Ginsberg is a Los Angeles writer and mother to three, surprisingly angst-free children. As a former actress/waitress, turned clinical social worker specializing in addiction, turned full-time mother/part-time psychotherapist/writer, Jennifer is particularly well-versed on the topic of angst.|
Find out more about her life at angstmom.com