Thursday, November 5, 2009


I was in the YWCA this morning, waiting for a 10 o'clock appointment who was running late.

As I was sitting there, several young mothers entered or were leaving with their toddlers, I presume before and after swimming classes for the latter.

Just about every other mother who entered or left the building had a cell phone either held up to her ear with her hand or held up to ear with shoulder.

For some reason, I found this distressing.


Anonymous said...

How many of them gave their kids a hug, kiss and engaged in conversation about their swim class? These same moms are on their cell phone, talking and texting all the way home...all the while shushing their kids because "Mommy's on the phone". It's sad. I see it all the time too.

Anonymous said...

What's distressing is they drive that way.

Anonymous said...

I was driving down High Street the other morning and a mom pushing a double wide stroller across the street in front of me was holding her phone up to her shoulder and talking. She never once glanced up or down the street to make sure everyone was stopping. Felt like yelling "dumb broad!"

Anonymous said...

Give me a break people! None of you have a clue as to how much hug time or other quality time these moms have with their kids. They just as easily could have been talking to someone else in person. Stop judging mothers who are trying to juggle many responsibilities over too short a day--and who love their kids. We all get distracted by lots of things. And yes, we all need to slow down a bit. Sometimes it's possible and sometimes not so easy.

Seems like the negativity about cell phone use is just because it's the latest thing out there to focus on. Maybe it's the only time they can catch up with someone they need to talk to. Or they have to get information to someone in a timely manner. Who knows. So please don't be so damn eager to judge others making their way in this crazy world. Seems like we need less criticism of one another and more understanding. Sheeesh!

Gillian Swart said...

I have to say, anonymous, now that I have time to chime in again, that all of them put the cell phones away shortly after entering the YWCA and did sit in the window watching their kids in the class. I'm not clear on whether it's a Y rule to shut them off, though.

But I also have to say that I see a heck of a lot of women driving along w/kids in the car and talking on a cell phone. I can't think of much that anyone would have to talk about that's more important than the safety of their child/children. If you need to talk to someone in a timely manner, pull off the road.

And texting should not even be considered while driving, in my opinion.

Of course, in my own fickle manner, I also don't like it when I'm talking to a mom on the phone and they cut me off to listen to something their kid is saying in the background ...

Michelle said...

Interesting that everyone posts "anonymously." if people want to judge others, they should at least own up to it.

Anonymous said...

Please look both ways if you are crossing the street whether or not you are pushing a couple of toddlers in a stroller. Sometimes cars will attempt to pass a car that has stopped in the middle of the road to let someone cross because they cannot see the person ahead of the car.

Anonymous said...

I'm surprised the little rug monkeys weren't texting the mental-absentee parents: ND DPR CHNG SITTNG N FLTH.

How did we all get so ^&$%# important that we need to take phone calls wherever we are? Or is it perhaps a need to FEEL important that's unhealthily morphed into the idea that idly chatting in public about which brand of hot dogs to buy puts one on the same plane of importance as an investment banker making a deal over the phone, or a doctor receiving an emergency call?

Personally speaking, whenever I get bent out of shape over some halfwit speaking into a cellphone in public* I like to sidle over and insert myself into the conversation, using phrases such as "So when are those sores going to heal?" or "Do you think they know about us?". Then I give'em a great big grin before telling them to hang up...unless the call is taking place in a bookstore and I'm browsing, in which case I simply say "Take that outside before I hang it up for you, 'k?". The situation isn't helped by the fact that to me, most people are simply two-legged speed bumps, but it IS aided by my being in wonderfully physical (and hence imposing) shape.

Public conversation, public input, right?

- The Carrot

*Approximately every 10 minutes.

macsurf said...

I don't think it's fair to equate mom's talking on a cell phone with them some how depriving their kids of emotional and physical affection. That's a bit over the top in terms of judgementalness.

But I do think the critcisms about driving a car with kids in it while on the phone, and even being distracted while walking on or crossing a public street because mommy is on the phone.

Last summer I had a mommy who was yapping on her cell phone ram her double wide, SUV stroller into the back of my legs as I stood chatting with a friend in front of the book store on State Street.

She did offer a tepid excuse me but, as is so often the case with some of these thirty something generation of parents, I got the distinct sense she somehow thought it was my fault she rammed into me while on her cell because I had had the nerve to stop to chat with a friend as I exited the books store.

macsurf said...

anonymous, I don't see it as an issue of someone's perceived sense of "self importance"

I see it as a very unattractive sense of entitlement. many of these people seem to believe that they and their children can do no wrong.

When I'm in the States during the spring, summer, and early fall, I work in the resturant biz.

I am appalled at the way in which many of these upscale, obviously well educated, Status Utility Vehicle driving thirty and early forty something parents allow their precious little Olivias and Trevors to behave, even in a very nice restaurant where an adult party of two at the next table is dropping more than a hundred bucks for dinner and they have to put up with little T & O's antics.

Several years ago, not long before my 85 year old mom passed away, my brother, his wife, and I took her to the now defunct Lindberg's on Ceres Street in Portsmouth. It had long been her favorite restaurant, dating back to the days when it was the Blue Strawberry.

We sat down in this very pricey atmosphere and at the table next to us was a very upscale, thirty something, bourgeois bohemian couple with an adorable little boy about three.

It was 8:30 at night. The poor tyke must have been exhausted and his behavior, and his screaming and crying showed it.

My late mother, a bit of a patrician snob if ever there was one, turned to me and said, "This is unacceptable."

The next tHing I knew, she was over at the couple's table, politely but telling them they had one hell of a nerve to be subjecting other diners to their child's behavior, and that they should be ashamed of themselves because this was obviously the fault of their selfish parenting and not the fault an adorable but terribly over tired child.

Then, just to add insult to injury, and this is a direct quote, she said, "Perhaps if you are unable to aford to both pay a babysitter and dine out, you should stay home."

There was a tense moment. The couple took their leave and, after they left, the owner came over to the table, put his arms arpund my mother and said, "Eleanor, thank you!! That child has been carrying on almost since they came in. I spoke to them but they did nothing. You sure put them iin their place."

It's all about entitlement folks, and, is, to use a little slang, ain't pretty.

Anonymous said...

I'd be careful about criticizing motherhood, particularly if you've never been a mother yourself. There is a 700-women strong organization in town called the Newburyport Mothers Club, and they don't take kindly to people who judge.

Sarah Swart said...

Is this about cell phones, or about kids acting out? I have been the parent of a child acting abominably in public. On vacation, in a lovely restaurant in the Napa Valley, about 60 miles from our hotel. It was meds-related, it turns out. More than anything else, I needed someone to help me manage her.

On the subject of cell phones, however, I work in a child-centered facility where cell phone use by parents is discouraged. And still commonplace. In fact, putting our 'thanks-for-hanging-up' notice out was controversial even among staff. No idea why.

macsurf said...

Anonymous, my mother was a mother who had the good sense to know a todler has no business being in an expensive restaurant at 8:30 at night, over tired, and desperately cranky.

And Ms. Swart, the resentment of the "Please Hang Up" sign goes right back to a sense of entitlement.