Thomas Lee and Cell Phone Parenting

(The names have been changed to protect the annoying).

Yesterday the family and I went to the pool. There we were introduced to little Thomas Lee. How do I know his name was Thomas Lee? Because his mother said his name over 7000 times while we were at the pool.

“Thomas Lee, don’t you run around the pool!”

“Thomas Lee, don’t throw water on other people.”

“Thomas Lee, don’t go in the deep end.”

“Thomas Lee, don’t take those children’s toys.”

Thomas Lee, watch where you’re going.”

“Thomas Lee, come here this instant.”

“Thomas Lee, no diving.”

“Thomas Lee, be careful.”

This went on for the entire 45 minutes we were at the pool. We heard “Thomas Lee” over and over again. I’m not sure why the mom felt inclined to include the first AND middle names. It was never just “Thomas” and it was never the full/middle/last name combo, which parents use when they’re really upset. Maybe if she used the child’s full legal name it would have had some effect (I doubt it). Clearly the first name/middle name combo wasn’t working, because Thomas Lee was non responsive to any command given.

And look, I get it. I’m a parent. I understand until children reach a certain age they don’t respond to any command given to them the first time. I’ve gotten to the point with my son where I automatically repeat any instruction three times because I know the first one isn’t going to be heard, the second one barely registers, and then the third one finally does the trick. That’s why I sound like a stuck record player whenever I’m talking to my son:

“Sit down, sit down, sit down.” “Over here, over here, over here.” “Stop it, stop it, stop it,” and so on. I get it. Kids are brain damaged. Parents use most of their words during the day repeating themselves to their children.


If you’re a mom or dad and little Thomas Lee, (for example), continues to reject your instructions, if he does not respond after three commands given, if he pays no mind to whatever variations of their name you use, if they continue to go about their business in absolute disregard of your authority, then something is wrong. A line has been crossed. You have been directly challenged as a parent. Your child has recognized that you are going to allow whatever sort of ridiculous behavior and so they are going to continue to act like…well, children. You need to step it up.

What made it worse is the entire time Thomas Lee was running around like a hooligan, his mother was not trotting after him trying to grab him and straighten him out. Instead she was calling out her instructions from the comfort of her poolside recliner while holding her cell phone six inches from her face. Frankly I’m not sure how she even saw little Thomas Lee acting like a doofus because she was looking at her IPhone instead of the I-Son, (see what I did there?)

Again, I get it. I’m a parent. Let’s be honest, most of the time we would all rather catch up on ESPN, Facebook, or read articles on, (wink wink), than pay attention to our children. It’s a thankless and exhausting job sometimes.

But…nobody wants to hear our children’s names called out in public 500 times. Nobody wants to watch us disengage from our parenting responsibilities so we can catch up with whatever Kim Kardashian said or who scored the latest touchdown, homerun, goal, basket, race. Nobody wants to have their lunch, pool, or social experience ruined by our kids because we, as parents, failed to get our rear ends off the recliner, put our phone down, and keep the peace.

Can I get an amen?

Thomas Lee, I will never forget you, EVER. Because your name has been seared into my brain. Thomas Lee’s mom? Do us all a favor and get up and be a parent. Cell phone parenting your son from the sidelines isn’t working and it’s driving the rest of us crazy.

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