Conscious Aging: The Need to Check In?

There’s an ad on TV about a young mother of two babies who goes out for the evening with women friends while her husband takes care of the kids. She checks in on them via an app, where she can see her husband cradling the children. Everything looks fine. She can, we are assured, take the dance floor and sing to her heart’s content, totally without worry. She has just seen with her own eyes that everything is under control.

I’m curious about this now-constant need to check in. When Sara and Matt were small, Jerry cared for them if I was out for the evening at a board meeting or a social event with friends. We didn’t have cell phones, and therefore no apps to live stream what Jerry and the kids were doing. I must say I never gave it a second thought. He was their father, and every bit as capable as I was to take care of them.  I could have called on our land line, I suppose, to ask if everything was going well. But I didn’t, assuming he might be busy with baths or bedtime stories. Our kids were good sleepers. Once their bedtime hour passed, I was confident that they were in their rooms and Jerry was probably on the 3rd floor doing stock research on the computer.

I’m wondering if this constant need to check-in assuages guilt and anxiety, or creates more of it? Suppose you have the capability to check in, but don’t feel the need? It isn’t only checking in on small children. At one point, Matt and Amy boarded their dog Bob at a kennel that offered a similar app. They could check in on Bob while were were all in La Jolla, enjoying spring break on the beach.

What are your thoughts about this? Do you value being able to check in on a constant, around the clock basis? What do you check on: current news? family members? your house, if you happen to be away? your bank accounts? who might be approaching your front door? Do you value online access day or night, or do you wish you could more comfortably put down your phone along with its illusion that constant access means being in control?

4 thoughts on “Conscious Aging: The Need to Check In?

  1. I must admit…..I have little patience with people who need to be constantly “in touch” with someone or some thing, It wears me out when I’m with them, and interrupts conversation or the ambiance of the situation. We have no children or grandchildren, and our aging parents are all now gone. But a plain old cell phone or a land line worked just fine. I’ll give that for some people it’s a convenience, a safety issue, or for other necessities……but I think for many it’s a fad and they feel “not with it” if they are not keeping up with the latest trends. To use your phrase Pam, they do it because they can!

  2. for Phyllis: Couldn’t agree more. When someone I’m with thinks to say “do you mind if I get this?” when a call interrupts our conversation, I say as non-confrontationally as possible “I really do. I’m enjoying our conversation so much.” Sometimes the person takes the call anyway.

  3. That is funny. you would think most women would be so happy to get away finally that they wouldn’t look back! Haha. It’s a control thing. Constantly checking in with all the technology is because you can, and because you want to be in control I’m assuming?

  4. for J: Don’t know what kind of Momma that made me, because I most positively did NOT check in all night. Jerry would have been perplexed, thinking I didn’t trust him, and I would have been unable to concentrate on the evening. For all my occasional neglect in this way, the kids turned out just fine.

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