We’re All Mothers Now

A man works from sun up to sun down. A mother’s work is never done. — Unknown

A friend of mine likes to quote that saying when she wants to provoke her husband. Works every time. The saying came to mind again when I read an article about the necessity of smart phones–to stay connected and working. From the New York Times’s Steve Lohr a week ago:

Such a digital connection can have its downside. The perils of obsessive smartphone use have been well documented, including distracted driving and the stress of multitasking. CrackBerry, a term coined years ago, is telling.

The smartphone, said Mr. Meyer, a cognitive psychologist, can be seen as a digital “Skinner box,” a reference to the experiments of the behavioral psychologist B. F. Skinner in which rats were conditioned to press a lever repeatedly to get food pellets.

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With the smartphone, he said, the stimuli are information feeds. “It can be powerfully reinforcing behavior,” he said. “But the key is to make sure this technology helps you carry out the tasks of daily life instead of interfering with them. It’s about balance and managing things.”

James Joyner muses:

The social — and, increasingly, professional — expectation of being constantly available, however, is much more bane than boon. I’m generally more than happy to take a couple minutes out of my evening or weekend to help someone out with a quick question so they can continue progress on whatever they’re doing without waiting until 9 am the next workday. But, for many people, it has become more than that: a culture where one is never truly off work. While I have no idea what to do about it, that’s not a positive development.

Eh, I don’t know why these people are complaining. Moms are never off the clock. And there’s always a kid interrupting, bugging, and harrying the mother during her tasks. I’ve breastfed. The smart phone has got nothing on a 3 month old.

With smart phones, we’re all mothers now.

Via @Armano

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