I love my iPhone. Maybe a bit too much. It is always with me, waking or sleeping, handy and ready should I need it. Now that we are living in a different time zone from many of our family and friends, however, I have discovered that this wonderful little device can be quite a nuisance if not properly controlled. It took me a few weeks of midnight Facebook updates popping up on my screen and 2 AM phone calls ringing through before I discovered the “Do Not Disturb” icon (genius, whoever came up with that one). All I have to do is set up the hours that I don’t want to be bothered with beeps or buzzes or rings and I get to sleep through the night with my (dark and silent) phone beside my pillow. And that got me thinking. Wouldn’t it be great if I could transfer some of those iPhone controls onto my kids and my life? For instance…
I would love to have a button I could push that would keep my kids from bothering me between certain hours. It’s bed time, NO DISTURBING MOMMY. No whines, cries, or shouts allowed. No “I have to go potty” or “I want another drink” may be uttered. No baby in the process of “sleep training” (sheesh, is sleep training supposed to last 13 months???) who screeches from 4:30-5:30 every morning. No dog who barks at 3 AM when a cat runs through the back yard. Just silence. Sweet, sweet silence.
I have a 1-year old and a nearly 3-year old. I haven’t known privacy since the moment I went into labor with my first child. Sometimes I find myself dreaming about taking a shower or going to the bathroom by myself. With the door shut. And nobody crying and banging on the door trying to get in. Just me, alone, experiencing privacy. I want an icon on my life that says “Do not look. Do not touch. Leave me alone. I will contact you when I am darn well ready.”
How awesome would it be to program your life to your exact specifications? I would check off boxes in my settings like no temper tantrums, no arguing, no complaining, no brother-hitting, no floor-licking, and no poop on the floor. I would set the day to include lots of fun and laughter and good food and good attitudes. Words like “I love you”, “please”, “thank you”, and “this broccoli is delicious, Mom” would be thrown around freely. I would schedule nap times–and the kids would actually sleep. I would set up my to-do list and everything would be crossed off by the end of the day.
I would change this one slightly to be “transportation mode”, rather than just “airplane mode”. Transportation mode would allow me to control my kids’ behavior while we’re in transit. They would play happily in their seats, sing songs with me, and enjoy watching cloud animals out their windows. They would come up with creative ways to pass the time in the car or the shopping cart that did not involve kicking me. They would fall asleep in their car seats if it was naptime instead of becoming manic-depressive lunatics. They would not throw shoes at the windshield. They would respect the driver’s need to, you know, drive.
Sometimes, as a mother, I would just like some guidance. Someone to come alongside me and show me the way. And if I get lost (which I often do), to redirect me and get me back on the right path. Being a mom is one of the best parts of my life (despite the rants in this post)–but it is also, far and away, the most difficult (again, see the rants in this post). It would be amazing to–in a what-should-I-do parenting moment–to click a button and see the best solution. Or (and this happens, too), to see the best way to fix a problem I’ve already created.
If two kids have taught me anything, it’s that I can’t parent them (effectively) alone. I need guidance. Thankfully, I have my own parenting “navigation tool” of sorts–and it’s even closer to me than my iPhone. I have Jesus and God’s Word, ready and handy at all times.
And, if I get really desperate, there’s an app for that, too.