Sunday, February 05, 2006

Sunday breakfast

So glad that Blogger is up and running again. I was having withdrawal symptoms. Scary how fast I can get addicted to things.

Today, I've got a wee rant.

My husband and I went out to the local White Spot for breakfast. It's something we like to do fairly often. Usually there's a mix of young families, couples and older folk who get up and going early.

Seated at the table across from us was a couple with their son of perhaps nine. Nothing unusual about that. Dad was showing some travel brochures and he was talking about vacationing at Puerto Vallarta. Okay. But what got my attention was the behaviour of the mother.

She was on her cell phone for the entire time - or at least for the time we were there. She was still on it when we paid our bill and left. She put the phone down briefly to order her meal, then continued talking after the waitress left. When her meal arrived, she just shifted it to her left hand so she could eat with the right. Was it business? I don't think so - it sounded like 'girl' talk to me. I wanted to get up and rip that thing out of her hand.

Presumably, she went out for Sunday breakfast to spend time with her family. Well, as far as they were concerned, she might as well have stayed home. What does her behaviour say to her son? - Mommy would rather be on the phone talking to a friend than talking to you and dad. - Maybe this was her idea of quality time. She just has a different definition of quality. It was very sad.

So why should it bother me?

I don't like to see parents wilfully neglect their children. I've seen the negative results. I feel that if you make the conscious decision to have children, there are certain responsibilities that go along with that choice. One of those is to be present - not just in the physical sense, but the emotional one as well. I know it's not easy being a parent. It's physically and emotionally draining - but it can be amazingly rewarding too if you put some effort into it.

Maybe it's where I live. I see families and children with all the material goodies, but no sense of connection to each other. The kids are dropped off and picked up at scores of activities; they go home to X-Boxes, computers and surround sound TV; the parents work, come home tired and impatient. More often than not, everyone has dinner separately. When they do get a chance for an outing together, mom sits with a cell phone glued to her ear! As I said, it's sad.


Anonymous said...

I hope that kid rebels.

Anonymous said...

Very timely post, at least for me. I see myself in this mom, only with the computer. I am really going to stop hiding behind it in the presence of my kids so much.

Anonymous said...

I've actually seen a parent come in to help at their child's school, answer their phone in class and proceed to have a conversation right there in the room. The teacher had to ask them to please go outside and the child looked miserable.

Being at a gradeschool everyday I'm always shocked to see what parents do around the kids and worry about what message it sends those kids.

Anonymous said...

I watched a Law and Order the other night on a similar issue. The officer wanted to remove the child because her parents were two famous people that never spent time with her, so the child was injuring herself for attention. By the end of the show, you get the idea that you can't help everybody.

I have a cell phone, and I hate it. I hate phones. I have a Pavlovian response to throw phones when they ring. Being connected really gets on my nerves sometimes.

Phish wrote a song called "Slave to the Traffic Light". So many of us now are slaves to our freakin' phones. If it rings, we can't do anything until we take care of that. It feels like someone butting into your life. How many times have I been trying to work, have a meeting, a conversation, or watch a show, and the phone rings. You're expected to stop everything for that phone, for the person on the other end. I don't like it.

This also brings up the issue of cell phone etiquette. People don't realize how annoying (or rude) it is to talk on your cell phone constantly in the presence of others.

As you can tell, you touched a nerve Ell. And that's why I like you and your blog.

Anonymous said...

Amen! I so agree with you about negligent parents who overschedule their kids, and everyone is busy all the time.

Anonymous said...

Yes it is sad. It is too bad she isn't listening to her son at this age.. there will come a time when she wants to talk.. and he will be the one not listening.

Anonymous said...

i just wanted to add, mmm white spot, i miss white spot.