I Am the 20% But I Found Help

The latest estimates on parents who hand their cellphones over to their kids should surprise you. Twenty percent of Moms and Dads have used cellphone as pacifier.

WTF? Just 20 percent? I think I smell some burning pants.

Just this week, I was dealing with a sick husband and a 6-year-old who just couldn’t take the quiet anymore. She’d played with her LEGOs. She’d read books. She’d colored. She’d thrown a “tea party.” And bless her heart, she was about ready to burst from all the being good.

Until I handed over the iPhone.

Yes. Angry Birds is part of my parenting arsenal. And I’m not ashamed of it.

I was, however, finding that the very thing that saved me from going nuts on a parenting level was making me nuts on a phone owner level. The iPhone 4 battery is not designed to meet the attention span of a child PLUS the usage requirements of her mother.

I don’t know how many times I’ve gone to check email only to see the ominous warning that only 20 percent of my battery remains.

I was ripe for a sales pitch.

And then it came. Hey blogger lady, want to try our handy dandy smart battery for the iPhone? With the amount of PR pitches I get on a daily basis (and make fun of on Facebook), you have to dangle something really good to get me to bite.

But I was easy pickings this time. I am the 20 percent. I needed help.

And I’m relieved to say that I don’t have to write back to the public relations peeps and say “this thing sucked.” The Third Rail Mobility System ($89.99) is pretty sweet, and this week it allowed the 6-year-old to get on with her bird flinging for a good long time.

It was heartbreaking to say goodbye to my Perry the Platypus cover. Not just a sign that I “get” what 6-year-olds are talking about, it has borne the brunt of my attached-at-the-hip-with-my-iPhone ways, and has the missing chunks of plastic (cellphone went airborne as I tried not to get hit by a bus, and no, I don’t want to talk about it) to prove it. But the Third Rail requires you to put your iPhone in a case that can be synced with its battery, so I swallowed my love for all things Peeeeerry.

Why? Because when my phone is screaming “all you are is want, want, want, and all I do is give, give, give, and I can’t take it anymore” I just hook that little battery to the back of the case, and she settles right down. It begins recharging the phone’s inner powersource, and I can play Freecell check my important work email.

As for why I’m going out on a limb and calling this thing my lifesaver where anyone can read it, can we talk about the option of not having to leave your phone on a charger? I mean, you can, and you should. But while you’re out getting stuff done with a fully-charged phone, you can leave the little Third Rail at home to charge by itself. So when you don’t have time to be away from your phone you don’t feel like you have to ration every precious Facebook-checking working moment.

And if this doesn’t convince you that you reeeeeally need to do something about how your kid is sucking up all the good battery life on your phone, I’ll be the one sitting in the doctor’s waiting room with the quiet child. Keep yours away from mine, m’kay?

Oh, by the way. To all you people who are all haughty that you already got the iPhone 4 S, it works for the new thing too. Maybe Siri can help you hit the Third Rail site to get yourself one.

Are you a member of the 20 percent? 

Disclosure: Third Rail Mobility gave me a system to test at my leisure. They didn’t pay me for the commentary on this post. Funeral services for the Perry case were on my own dime. 


  1. I totally ration my phone time when I travel because I'm worried about the battery running out. If I even go on Facebook or Twitter, I'll go right back off after a minute or so and stop the app from sucking juice. My only problem with this little number is that I have an android. Bumma!

  2. Do yourself a HUGE favor. Buy an itouch on Ebay for your daughter to play with! I love your writing! Jenn from http://mysuburbanbliss.com/

  3. I so need to do that Jenn! And thank you!!

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