First World Problems and Mommy Guilt

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I love my tablet and smartphone. Sometimes when I pick up my youngest from daycare, I’ll take my smartphone and keys but will leave my wallet in our locked car.

What’s wrong with this picture? I’m more concerned about texting, emails or phone calls than my ID or money being stolen. Clearly, this is a “first world problem” which needs to be rectified.

For those of you who don’t know, the term “first world problem” was coined by a Canadian alternative rock band called the Matthew Good Band. And then the Urban Dictionary came up with a definition: Problems from living in a wealthy, industrialized nation that third worlders would probably roll their eyes at.

There is a website called first-world-problems.com and it’s a popular hashtag on Twitter (#firstworldproblems). It’s pretty funny and ironic to see what some people complain about.

The troubling issue for me is that, while I thoroughly enjoy my tablet and smartphone and my first world problems, there is a dark side to my love affair with technology – how the raw materials used to manufacture smartphones and tablets are extracted from the earth.

I recently read an article about how much tin (I was surprised to learn) is in a tablet, where it comes from and how it is mined. You can read the full article here. It’s a long expose but worth five minutes of your time. It seems that a large portion of tin is gathered in illegal mines in Indonesia in awful working conditions.

Awesome! (Think sarcasm here.) As a Mom, I’m a caregiver/nurturer and I’ve just been informed that my “first world” love affair with technology is causing other families to suffer. Do I turn a blind eye when I purchase my next tablet? Or should I simply accept that we are all part of a world economy and that it is up to each individual country to better look after its workers?

Honestly, I wish there was a simple solution; unfortunately, there isn’t. Since I can feel my Mommy guilt coming on, here’s how I choose to deal with my new revelation.

1. Educate myself and understand the impact my technological purchases have around the world.

2. Appreciate how lucky I am to live in an industrialized country which affords me and my family many great opportunities and items to purchase.

3. Don’t sweat the small stuff all of the time. Yes, my house is a mess but I have a roof over my head and am able to feed my family everyday.

Well, I’ve got to go to the grocery store. I’m making cupcakes tonight and only have green food colouring for the icing. My son asked for blue. Ah, first world problems.

What’s your take? Do you care where your smartphone or tablet comes from? Tweet me @weebootMom or email me at weeboot@gmail.com

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