It's the only way I don't completely lose my sh*t.
I have a confession: I use my iPhone to cope with the stress of parenting. (I know, I know, I'm not proud of it.)
Here's how it usually goes down: One or both of my kids loses their sh*t. I attempt to calm them down and soothe whatever their needs are at the time.
I try the tried-and-true list of: hungry, angry, lonely or tired. However, none of those things appear to be the problem, or if they are, my kid(s) don't admit to it.
Because I can't control the situation and I feel like a parental failure, I bust out my phone and check Facebook. I scroll through my newsfeed. I text a friend of mine, "My kid is going nuts and I'm going to lose it."
The reason I revert to obsessively checking the phone is that the level of emotional intensity I'm surrounded by is so high it makes me extremely uncomfortable so I distract myself and disassociate by looking at my phone.
I'm sure I'm not the only parent who does this. In fact, the other day I was in a restaurant with my son and I caught another mom looking at her phone while her kid was throwing a tantrum.
Sometimes when we don't know what to do as parents, we zone out as a defense mechanism.
When my kids have sudden meltdowns, it makes me feel I'm failing my child, so I look to the device in my back pocket as a means of chilling out.
I've tried to stop this obsessive iPhone behavior but attempting to staying in the moment, no matter how uncomfortable that moment might feel.
Yes, my child is upset. Ye,s I've tried unsuccessfully to calm them down and no, none of my efforts have worked. And you know what? That's OK —because I tried.
I'm not a failure if my kid's having a tantrum. That's what kids do; they have tantrums. We try our best to handle them appropriately as parents but if all else fails, the tantrum will eventually pass. My kid will cry, scream, but eventually realize he cannot whine his way into getting what he wants.
Most importantly, I need to forgive myself. I can't solve every problem. I can try my best to be emotionally present for my children but ultimately, I may need to check out sometimes ... for my own sanity.
However, the next time I feel like taking out my phone in a moment of panic, I'm going to try breathing instead.
This article was originally published at The Huffington Post. Reprinted with permission from the author.