Okay, pop quiz.

When Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver travels to the land of the Lilliputians, which of Gulliver’s personal effects do the Lilliputians conclude is “the god that he worships?”

Answer: his pocket watch. Gulliver described it to them as his oracle because he consulted with it before he did anything.

I wonder what my little Lilliputians consider my iPhone to be?

It is my watch, my book, my daily planner, my email manager, the remote control for the TV, my own personal pint-sized TV, my music shuffler, my scriptures and the way I answer my children’s endless stream of trivia questions like how long can a rhino’s horn grow?

I’ll admit, it’s nice to be able to say, “Rhino’s horn, eh? I’m not sure,” reach into my back pocket and then seconds later say with authority, “The longest rhino horn ever recorded was a 59 inch white rhino horn. Hey, that’s taller than you!” 

But what about when when we’re all at the park, lounging by the pool, or just sitting in our own living room and I’m trying to conduct business on my phone via email and text, or worse, knee deep in a Words with Friends competition, and my children say “Mom, watch this!” and I barely look up…well, all of a sudden, my phone has gone from “pocket watch” to “the god that I worship.”

Which is why I’ve made up a few Mommy iPhone rules as part of my New Year’s resolution that stretch beyond no texting while driving. That’s a given, right?

1.) Headphones are for when I am alone, the children are asleep, and/or passing time on an airplane. Otherwise music, scriptures and audiobooks are played on our loud speaker for all to hear.

2.) No phone whatsoever during bedtime routines including rocking my baby to sleep.

3.) Use phone as a phone only while on outings and on errands with the kids and keep those conversations brief. Tip: You have the right to hit decline on any incoming phone call.

4.) A la the 4 hour Work Week, I only need to check my email twice, maybe three times a day. 

5.) Limit my other iPhone time to the same number of minutes I’m willing to let my children watch Dora the Explorer. (Which in my case is 24 minutes. Okay, sometimes 48.)

5.) Keep a password-lock on my phone and change it often. It’s the only way to keep that thing from becoming my 4 year old’s oracle too.

With these simple rules I not only hope to more present and engaged with the real-life scenes being played out before me, but when it’s time for them to get their own oracles, I mean cell phones, they will use them wisely, in moderation. 

Sigh…kids with their own cell phones…now that’s a whole other post. Which, of course, I don’t have time for because Dora just ended.


Read more by Margaret Anderson at www.jamsandpickles.wordpress.com