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August 27, 2019

Filters, Phones, and Spelling Games

Wow – I had to get my two oldest teenagers new iPhones recently, due to plenty of issues they were having with their old ones. I use hadto lightly…it was more like after 2 hours on the phone with Verizon, trying to fix the issues, I either break down in tears and beg them to please, please, PLEASE just fix the issue…or I say, “just give me two new phones and be done with it.” It’ll add to my monthly bill? Sure. I’ll have to pay extra for shipping? Of course – I’d love to! I’ll do anything to get off of this phone call with you. Set me free. I beg of you.

Of course hearing they were receiving new phones rather than getting old ones repaired, I became somewhat of a celebrity in my own home. “You’re the best mom!… Wow! Thank you!…Really? You did that for us? ” …Oh go on. It was nothing. I quickly forgot the pain I endured to make it happen.

The thing is fellow parents, it’s not nothing. We live in an age unlike our parents did. Our cost of living is insane. We no longer have choices about things like phones and laptops. It is a necessity. My children use their phones in school. My almost 17 yr old told me this year attendance will be taken using their phones. I feel stupid. I mean, what? I have no clue how that works. In the 80s we just shouted out, “here!” Does this mean they can’t even forge a note to get out of school?? What fun is that?

Can we talk about time? What is worse than the cost of technology? It. is. time consuming. Two hours of my day to figure out we need new phones. A trip to the store for screen covers and cases. Yes I forgot to order them. I will be researching safety filters tonight, (another time snatcher for mom), because they didn’t have internet access on their old phones. They need it now. And the monitoring I have to do with four children and four phones! Good Lord. Yes – I could start a new paragraph outlining the safety issues of technology, but I will assume you catch my drift. Technology has a whole lotta pros. But it has absolutely added extra steps and headaches for us parents.

I won’t start talking about video games because that is an essay in itself. But thinking about technology has me remembering my first video game. I had the Magnavox Odyssey and it was cool as hell. I loved that thing! Mom never scolded me for being on it too long, because…well…we just didn’t do anything for too long. Plus my favorite game was spelling. I know – dork.

And phone calls? No monitoring unless she suspected I was planning on sneaking out, (fast forward to high school and no longer playing spelling games), then she would have to oh so carefully pick up another receiver in the house and listen in. I am sure mom often regretted what she had to hear. Sorry mom. The real talent came when hanging up the receiver used for spying. Remember? You had to very gently place it back on the base so the one actually having a conversation wouldn’t hear it “click.” It was best to hang it up with your finger first.

There was one other form of monitoring. It was the kitchen timer I had to set next to the phone if I wanted to make a long distance call. The phone company charged by the  minute. tic, tic, tic,tic, tic….DING! Time’s up.

Every generation of parents think they have it harder than the ones before, I’m sure. But I can’t help dreaming of an imaginary day where my teenagers are looking straight ahead, (rather than down with thumbs flying), with their expensive, brace clad smiles, books are the only option when it’s raining outside, and the only filter needed is for coffee.

*during the production of this article, it was counted that the author (mom) was interrupted by the sound of her 9 year old daughter yelling, “STOP!” three times at the top of her lungs. Her 16 yr old brother thought it might be funny to take her…you guessed it…her phone. 



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