In these days of technological advancement and economic tussle, it is imperative for couple or parents to keep body and soul going and maintain the strength of the family. Oluwatosin Omoniyi writes
This may require both husband and wife observing the long hours of the day working to eke a living. While doing this, the children and some other house chores are either left at the mercy of house helps, nanny or grandmas. There is actually nothing wrong in nannies, grandmas or house helps keeping watch over the children whom the parents are working so hard to cater for. But as the old saying goes in Africa, no true eyes like that of the real mother that can actually take good care of one’s children. Thanks to phone technology, it has become so handy mostly for working parents who use it to monitor their children and their activities.
Ayo and Seun Ajibade are both working parents. Ayo works with a new generation bank and Seun works with one of the top oil companies. Both husband and wife leave home by 5am and return by 7 and 9pm daily. This has been the routine ever since they got married and produced three children, all in primary school. Ordinarily, the belief would be that their children might be wayward because they have little time for them. The kids are always at the mercy of different house helps. Alas! No. Their children are well behaved and always chorus to one another, visitors and even their aunty what mommy said, or daddy warned them against. “Daddy said, once it is 8pm, we should go to bed, mommy said we should never play outside the gate,” and so. They are really conscious of their parents; it is as if the parents are with them.
Seun told New Telegraph that since she had to work to augment her husband’s income and sustain the family’s expenses, she devised a way of joggling between her responsibility towards her children and her work. According to her, all it takes is load her phone. She befriends her children’s teachers in the school; calls them often on the phone to monitor her children, their performance, moral and cordial relationship with other kids. By weekend, she sorts out whatever needs to be sorted out. During the week, right from the closing hours of school, she begins to call her children, chat with them, ask them about their irritability in school, what subject they found difficult. When they get home, she said she would ask the type of food prepared for them, if they loved it, after that, she calls them some minutes later to know if there is any homework and if they have done it. “I make sure their father also checks on them through the phone. I bet it our kids are doing well, they are morally and intelligently sound. God is also on our side,” she said.
Rosemary Udo is an air hostess while her husband is a banker. Automatically, they are both not always at home with their four children. But they claimed they were able to cope well through phone parenting. They monitor through phone, chat via Skype and even Whatassp. “We know when they are down, when they are upset or something is wrong with them. Honestly, I can vow that we bond even more than those who see on daily basis,” she claimed. In fact, this couple got a bit advanced with technology by installing CCTV camera almost everywhere in their house!
For Modupe Adeyemo, a single mother of two and a writer, to work is to pray. She said she gets home daily 9.30pm, by which time, her children would have fallen asleep. “I am not trying to whip up sentiment but as much as I have to be with them, guard and shape them up during their formative stages of life, I also have to work to cater for us all. So, I’m left with the option of phone parenting,” she said. Adeyemo explained that while she is at work or on a long journey, she calls too frequently even to the irritation of her children and their nanny. She said she would call to find out how they are doing, what type of food they are eating, which compound are they going to play ball and what time will they promise to return to the house, “ I know it sounds ridiculous but that is my safest way of being involved with them in spirit. If I wasn’t there physically by the design of circumstance, I determine within me that I would not lose them to the world. Already, children of nowadays are smart and strong-willed, so it takes extra grace, determination and strong involvement to shape them to what you want. So, I take the most advantage of the phone. Thanks to technology advancement. At times, we go Skyping just to see their surrounding and to create the impression that mommy may not be around but she hovers around. That way, I believe that I have done my best possible, God will perfect it for me,” she said.
Winnifred Ajeyigbe, a woman activist and mother of two, corroborated Adeyemo that prayer is work in action. It is now left for parents to know how to strike the balance being successful working parents and a worker. “It is a difficult thing to do, I must confess but it is achievable with determination, focus and the cooperation of your spouse and children,” she said.
Grace Essen, a columnist and mother of three, said that it difficult situation that one cannot really give a definite answer. “It is also not a question of good or bad. It is just an experience that has emanated from our new way of life where both parents leave the children at home maybe with a domestic staff or maybe with no one at all, and then call their children on phone to monitor them,” she said.
Essen added that it is not possible for parents to be physically present with their kids all the time as they may want to, but technology has afforded them the means to still close the gap at least to an extent, and just have to embrace it and make the most of it, of course applying caution where necessary. “We must keep in mind that the present economic situation leaves us with less choices, think of a single mom who must work to support herself and her children and maybe extended family too, she really has no choice but to parent any way she can, which might mean parenting over the phone. But a woman who has husband might opt to stay home with kids or look for a more flexible job, knowing that even if it comes with less pay or no pay at all she has a husband who would meet the needs of the family. Parents must find ways to make up for the time they spend away from home,” she explained.
According to Theresa Oloyede, an educationist, phone parenting isn’t really a bad idea but may also not be the best as kids aren’t too happy about it. Physical bonding and presence is more like it. Oloyede explained that, as the world advances, children advance and become smarter. She said that they may tell their parents what they perceive their parents wish to hear or know but may actually be smarter than that. “I am actually talking about giving more thought to all the missed opportunities for communicating in physical with a child, for simply being with them. Those lost moments of being together are what you will miss the most once your children are grown. We should be more worried about disconnectedness and developing minds.