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Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine.

Dear Mom on the iPhone,

I see you at the park with your kids, phone in hand. Your cherubs are running around playing and calling out “Mommy, watch me!” They go down the slide squealing in delight yelling “Mommy, watch this!” As they climb the ladder to go again, they shout “Mommy, I want you to watch me!! Mommy, watch! Mommy! Mommy!! MOMMY!!!!”

But you’re not watching … because you’re on your phone–checking Facebook, email, or Pinterest.

You’re not watching … because you just spent every waking hour before arriving at the park watching everything your child did. Every. Little. Thing.

You watched as he ate his breakfast and “drove” his waffles around his plate. You watched as he held the fork upside down and stabbed at bites with the handle and said “Mommy, now watch me do this!” And then he picked up his napkin and put it on his head. And you were watching.

You also watched as your daughter picked out her clothes–only the shirt with the monkey on it would do today. Then you watched as she got dressed. You watched while she struggled to put on her socks–determined to do it herself. You watched–sometimes helping and guiding but knowing that letting her figure it out is an important part of learning and growing.

You watched when she twirled around her bedroom. You watched as she played with her stuffed animals. You watched as she put away her toys. Slowly. Stopping to play with most of them on the way to the toy box. You were watching it all.

You watched as your kids brushed their teeth and hair. You watched as they played blocks and Playdoh and had a dance party. You also joined in the playtime because you love being a part of their fun. You watched while they pooped and you helped wipe their bottoms. You watched them wash their hands with too much soap–or maybe not enough. You watched as they splattered water all over the sink. You watched them jump off the stool. You watched as they ran around the house with wet hands.

You’ve been watching your kids–playing with them, helping them, singing and dancing with them all morning. All day. And now, at the park, when they can run around and play, you’re taking a few minutes for yourself on your phone.

Maybe you work from home and you’re still actually working, checking email, responding to clients, sending a proposal. Your lucky kids have the benefit of spending some of that time playing outside, making new friends, running off steam, enjoying the sunshine. Kudos to you for giving your kids such a fun way to spend part of their day while you take care of business.

Maybe you have a friend or family member who’s been ill and you’re taking some time while the kids are happily occupied to send some texts to check in on them, arranging the timing to know when you should drop off dinner at their house. Or you might be looking for the email follow-up for your own test results you’ve been waiting on. Maybe you’re writing or reading kind messages on Facebook, offering condolences for the loss of a loved one. All while your kids are outside, enjoying some free time to play.

Maybe you’re on Pinterest looking for ideas to help your kids adjust to their dad’s latest deployment–finding tools to help them stay connected or searching for party ideas to welcome him home.

Maybe you have an older child in school and his teacher emailed you about a concern with behavior that you need to address … and now that you have a few minutes with your younger kids happily playing at the park, you return a message.

Or maybe you realize that watching your kid every second of every day isn’t necessary and that it’s totally acceptable–and actually good for everyone involved–for you to have a few minutes to yourself. At the park. On your phone.

Dear Mom on iPhoneSo, to you, dear Mom on the iPhone, I say this:

I’m not going to judge you. I don’t know you. I don’t know your story. But I do know that you don’t need to watch every hop, skip, jump, twirl, swing, bite, song, dance, blink, or breath to be a good mom. There’s a lot that demands our attention in this parenting life–and a lot that we want to soak in and enjoy. There’s also a lot that happens in our lives outside of parenting that we cannot neglect. While parenting might be our most important and rewarding job, it’s not the only one. We’re all working on balance and finding that area where we can be satisfied that we’re making enough time for it all. For the record, we’re all failing at that. Every single one of us wishes we were better at juggling our responsibilities … and many of us spend time beating ourselves up for how we’re doing. You’re doing fine. As long as you’re doing your best to make it all work for your family, you’re doing just fine, and that’s what matters.

It’s actually good for your kids to know they’re not the center of your attention every second of every day. It’s good for them to learn to play independently and do things on their own without accolades for Every. Little. Thing. That’s good parenting–allowing them to learn that some things are satisfying just for the fun and enjoyment of doing them, not for the praise or attention that comes with them.

So, find your balance. Be a mom, wife, sister, daughter, friend, neighbor, mentor, employee–wear all the hats you need to wear. Do what needs to be done … which sometimes includes taking a little time for yourself–even if it’s just checking Facebook while your kid runs around playing at the park.

Sincerely,

This Mom with an iPhone who isn’t judging you for yours

 

 

If you liked this post, check out another parenting post of mine: Sometimes the Truth Hurts. You can also find links to my most popular posts in the sidebar on the right.

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Comments

  1. Amen, Sister! In the old days the pleas of “Mommy watch me” were probably ignored by women deep in conversation with each other on the park bench. It’s just a different distraction. And I know I keep saying this, but I think it is really, really important for children to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them every minute of every day. Of course parents need to respond and clap, but kids should be playing for the sake of playing, not for approval or attention.
    Great post, Best Fren Jen.
    Lorinda McKinnon recently posted…Comment on Endurance Crackers with a Sweet Twist by LorindaMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      “Amen, Sister!” right back at ya!! You know I feel the same! Thanks for the support and love! <3

    • Please do not do this if you have a toddler. How many times have I had to babysit your child from falling or getting whacked by the swings? Do not do this at a playgroup meet up either and expect the other moms to babysit your kids.

      • Thanks Amy, I really appreciate that you care for my kids.

        But no, you don’t need to babysit my kids at the park – they’re fine – in fact, they’ll be finer still if I’ve had a chance to socialise at playgroup.

        • Wow just because someone writes that it is acceptable to be looking at your iPhone instead of watching what your toddlers are doing does not make it ok i wouldn’t take my eyes of my children in parks beaches or anywhere danger lurked a child can go missing in a second I’m surprised that parents can use this post to tell themselves thats it ok. Would anyone send there toddlers to the park unsupervised, most parents know that there’s not much time to yourself when you have small children and take there responsibilities seriously can’t believe some of the comments

  2. I love every word of this. First of all, women in general need to quit judging other women. It’s time we start building each other up instead of trying our hardest to break each other down. There are so many possibilities of what she “might be doing,” so to judge her without pretense is unacceptable. I wish more women were like you. I know I am.
    Mandi recently posted…My Milkshake Brings All the Boys To My BlogMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Thanks, Mandi. There really are so many explanations for what she might be doing. Most definitely.

      • Great we have iphones – in reality some people have different phones too. Not to digress but let us not stray from the matter – sounds to me like a guilt trip being justified. A bit ridiculous to say that it’s ok to sit looking at your phone because we have gone to the park and paint a utopia of pre-park motherliness, because it does not befit a total population – pats on the back to the ones that are just catching up right now, they’re angels. A tad self-indulgent to justify the fact that you were not watching at the moment your kid face-planted and hurt themselves by writing an epilogue of martyrdom to alleviate the fact that you was playing adult top trumps on tinder or whatever it is that
        made you write this total drivvle.

    • When we judge, it’s a reflection on us, not on the person we’re judging. Are we worried we’re on our own phones too much, or perhaps that we’re inattentive sometimes? And maybe we are, but we can’t all be present 100% of the time – monks don’t even manage it, and they live in solitude. No one with a toddler is going to manage it!

  3. This was great, because not only was it a message about not judging other moms, but it really helped us see the seemingly inattentive mom at the park from another perspective. Great post!
    Emily recently posted…A Very Special NeedlepointMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      I think that a good place to start–considering where other people are coming from. :) thanks!!

  4. Finally! she could have only been on that phone for a few seconds while someone posted that about her so its good to hear a more well rounded follow up to that article!

    -Tara
    Tara recently posted…Nap/Break time humorMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Yep. Could have been the first time she picked up her phone that day. I appreciate the comment, Tara!

  5. betsy couzins says:

    Another great post! I absolutely agree. She’s probably posting pics of them playing on Instagram anyway.

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Thanks, Betsy … And you’re right about that! Who doesn’t love sharing their cute kids on Instagram?!

    • Stephanie Carlson says:

      Some of my best pictures come from the park, which is what I’m usually doing w/ my phone.

  6. Yes, Jennifer! I came to the very same conclusion myself, long before that other article was published. I realised that it’s okay for moms to look at their phones, and there’s no need to be judgmental about something you don’t know about them. I wrote about this in a guest post in which the message was, ‘We’re distracted parents. And that’s okay.’
    Tarana recently posted…Five tips for the Perfect Blog GraphicMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      It’s part of helping our kids understand they’re not the most important people in the world. They are to us, but not everyone!

  7. I’m usually as wordy as they come, but I have no words for this – it’s already perfectly done. YES to every word.
    hollow tree ventures recently posted…The Best Mother’s Day GiftMy Profile

  8. So very well said!

  9. Yes, yes, and YES!! This post is so articulate and so perfect. I have nothing to add–all I can do is share it. You’re awesomesauce!
    Foxy Wine Pocket recently posted…Pro Tip from the Baby Files: Get a DogMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Thanks, thanks, and THANKS!! :D

  10. All the yesses! Playground time is mummy rest time. I always told my kids that! I’m not here to play with you I’m here to chat with my friends… go play!
    Molley@A Mother Life recently posted…Little Toes, Big TroubleMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      It’s why I had two kids–built in playmates ;)

  11. Jessica Robertson says:

    Amen when I saw that article in its original form I thought.. bite me, its either this or drink. Tiny humans.. gotta love em but they are soo draining!

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Indeed! Love those kiddos, but we need a break too!

  12. Wrote a very similar themed post a year ago – so tired of the sanctimommy nonsense…lol…

    http://positivelymomstreet.blogspot.com/2013/05/its-okay-to-look-away.html

  13. JennyPenny says:

    Oh my gosh…my thoughts exactly. I want my kids to go to the park and interact with other kids or even just learn they are capable of entertaining themselves. I’m not going to feel bad for taking a tiny bit of time to read a book on my phone.

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Yes!!! I want them to play with other kids … they need that time as much as I need a break!

  14. Before my iPhone I would have had a book. I’ve never given my children every second of every day. They are doing just fine!

  15. Thank you! The original article that you are responding to made me feel like Sh*t. But you are absolutely right – there aren’t many “free” moments for me in my day – my kids or my job or taking care of the house demand all of my time. And chances are good that even if I am on my iPhone a the playground, it is because I am still taking care of one of the aforementioned responsibilities – just doing it remotely.

    Thank you!

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Yup … we have to be able to take care of business sometimes!

  16. Rhonda Steinhagen says:

    THANK YOU!!! So refreshing to read a blog supporting other moms rather than judging them! Come on…sure childhood is fleeting. But so is the moments of free time any parent has to do anything seen as frivolous. So, if playing on an iPhone, sending e-mails or reading entertaining blogs floats your boat…than have at it!

  17. You never know someone’s story unless you ask or engage in a conversation. And as moms, we know we ALL have a story or two or three . . .Great post – thanks for sharing it with us!
    Kathy at kissing the frog recently posted…Let’s All Thank a TeacherMy Profile

  18. Christine says:

    Yes mommy’s need their time and yes your phone is a great way to take some time for yourself. I am guilty of being on my phone in many places. My issue is the playground/park is probably the one place you do want to be watching your child(ren). What if your child isn’t being safe at the playground or, dare I say, your child is not playing nicely with others. I hate it when, as an example, a kid is throwing sand at another child and no parent is there to say stop that’s not ok. Or even worse if I see it and say something to the child then the mom runs in like super mom saying you can’t tell my child what to do. Well if your busy on your phone and your kid is throwing sand at my kid, I’m going to say something and you can’t get angry because you aren’t paying attention. It’s not about children being the center of our attention, it’s about making sure our children are safe and teaching them to do the right thing. No parenting isn’t easy and yes it is a 24 hour job. This doesn’t mean you can’t turn the TV on and get on your phone for some time to yourself, there is less you have to worry about if your child(ren) are inside the 4 walls of your house and you aren’t paying attention to them. How bad are you going to feel if your kid gets hurt at the playground or hurts another child at the playground because you were on your phone. Find another, more appropriate place to get some time for yourself.

    • vanessa says:

      I’ve never known a mom to not have part of her brain paying attention to her kids 24/7. Even when sleeping. And yes, the play ground is the perfect place. Even if you’re staring like a psycho at your child, they can get hurt. I’m a mother of three, and can not be up all 3 butts at once, and have been pushing one on the swing while another got hurt. It happens. I am a playing mom at the park, but you’re ridiculous.

      I actually prefer the mom on the phone over the mom who runs after her child with arms held in a semi circle ready to catch them because God forbid they fall!!!! It’s ridiculous. Those same mom’s have often given me stink eye when I use the time to relax and read a real life on paper book. Because I’m tired.

      My goal of bringing the kids to the park is simple. Get rid of their energy. THEIR ENERGY.

      • Christine says:

        You missed my point Vanessa. I am not a mom that runs with her arms held in a semi circle ready to catch them because God forbid they fall. I have 2 very active boys and I am tired too. I sit on a bench or blanket and let them play and intervene only when it’s needed or asked by one of my boys. We have been to the ER plenty of times. Yes kids get hurt. I was in no way trying to say that they don’t. What I am saying is I am not ok with inappropriate behavior that occurs at the playground when children aren’t being watched. Playing at the park is just like any other thing with children. You have to teach them what is appropriate to do and say around other kids, for example it is not ok to throw sand at people, or it is not ok to tell someone they can’t have a turn on the swing. You have to be paying attention to do that though. As I stated, I have been on my phone at the park too. There is no perfect parenting.

        • You’re kidding right? Inappropriate behavior happens right in front of you. Along with injuries. Have you never parented a toddler? My kids move so fast, even standing right in front them, I find it difficult to quickly grab a fist or shovel and redirect.

          I’ve so much as looked down at my sandal and then looked up to see my kid falling or fighting over a toy. The level of vigilance you’re promoting is unhealthy, for kids and parents. Take an anxiety pill.
          Guggie recently posted…Why Catholics Don’t CircumciseMy Profile

          • Christine says:

            Thank you for your judgement of me when you don’t know me at all.

    • Darlene says:

      I have to say first of all, that I agree with everyone that Mommy needs some time to herself every day. However, I also agree with Christina in her comments about the playground being an inappropriate place for attention deficit. We all read the papers & watch the news on TV. We all know about all the children who disappear from playgrounds in mere seconds. It takes so little time to scoop up a child & vanish. Give them their independence, but be alert to their every move, as well. They are our angels on earth & it is our duty, our responsibility to be their supervisors, their saviors. Talking on the phone is one thing, but texting, e-mailing, facebooking, etc is just too distracting.

      • Regina says:

        FOR YOU. Too distracting – for you. Not for everyone because you don’t get to speak for everyone.
        You are a sanctimommy.

        • Christine says:

          How nice of you to judge someone you don’t know.

    • daniela says:

      Thank you soooo much for this comment!!! My thoughts exactly!!! Its one thing to take time to yourself at home, but in public they definitely need your undivided attention. Especially if they are little like mine is.

    • Amanda says:

      Christine…. If I am at the park with my children sitting on the bench which is located say 20-30 feet away from the slide…. And I’m using my phone…. I look up every minute or so….. I am in a place where they can communicate verbally….. I am not using headphones so I am able to hear everything going on….. Then what’s the problem really? If were mothers then already were masters at multi-tasking…. If I couldn’t bring something (or another mom to talk to while our kids play) to occupy myself while my kids play at the park …. I might not be so inclined to take them so often. And I’m a huge park goer, especially in nice weather. And I’m happy to report my kids have never been to the ER injury/accident related. Thank God! Trust me if I’m reading/scrolling on my phone and a kiddie dispute erupts I hear it and address my kids if needed. I call them over every so often just to check in like “r u having fun”? “R u thirsty”? Etcetera. I really love this article btw

  19. WORD.
    Deb @ Urban Moo Cow recently posted…So Much BetterMy Profile

  20. Stay @ home Dad says:

    Do people still use iPhones?

  21. Thank you thank you thank you! I want to kiss you for writing this! I sure hope whomever wrote that other one reads it.

  22. I love this! So supportive. I am guilty of checking my phone *gasp* in public while my children play. I try not to do it ALL the time, but I do it. And, if someone chooses to assume I am ‘one of those moms who completely ignores her poor kids’, well, they’d be wrong. If was reading the paper, making a grocery list, or checking a datebook, I am pretty sure no one would bat an eye!

  23. L. Smith says:

    Yes, God forbid you give your child attention when your child wants it. It’s much better to make your child think that whatever you’re doing with your face buried in your phone is more important than them and their needs. This just reads like justification for selfishness and inattentiveness. Some people say “hang up and drive.” I say “put your phone away and pay attention to your kids.” Their childhoods will be over in a flash. Are you going to remember the times you interacted with them, or the times you ignored them because you just had to look at one more Facebook post?

    • I think you missed the point of the article about being less judgmental and not making assumptions about what the other parent was doing on the phone…

    • Regina says:

      Spoken like a true sanctimommy.

  24. Thank you for this wonderfully affirming and refreshing piece.

  25. Great article! I do have to say though that it is one thing to check your phone but it is another when you are on the phone the ENTIRE time your kids are at the park- especially when they want you to play with you. I’m sure for most it isn’t the first chance we have had to check our phones the fifty million times we do a day.

    • Regina says:

      You still don’t get to judge. Even if you never see her look up from her phone.

  26. I almost had tears in my grateful eyes while reading this. I work full time and I have a long commute. Somedays I come home early, bring eagerness to take my girls to the park or library or mall but also bringing some work home. So yes, while my girls take in fresh air, run around and squeal in delight, I squeeze in an email, throw some attention to my girlfriends, or bookmark a recipe and that too while keeping an eye out for falls, booboos, bigger kids and predators. And Somedays I have to pretend that I wasn’t looking at my phone amidst all this so that all those judging, tsk-tsking moms will shake their heads a little less at me.

  27. I almost wrote this exact same thought in a blog just last week. That article you’re referring to made me crazy. As a mom running a business and working from home with two small children, I have to take the moments I have to ensure my business runs successfully. If I don’t do that, my business will fail. Which leaves me with no income… So then what? Does it make me a bad mother for desperately trying to balance working from home and being a mother? Would people judge me the same way if I went to work outside of the home everyday and took my children to daycare? It just makes me crazy reading these opinion articles that judge mothers who like this article said “don’t know each others’ situations”. So mind your own business other women at the park silently judging me for being on my phone for 5 minutes. I could be in an office, not at the park with my kid… but hey, then I’d have a whole different group of judgmental folks judging me for that. So, to each their own, moms generally do what they believe is best for their family. Period. Loved this article.

  28. Or maybe like me and some other mom who are answering emails for your son’s Scout troop who you also a leader for, trying to figure out details for a sleepover for 120 kids and how to keep costs down for parents. Or speaking with your son’s autism therapist. No one know your story. Maybe you just need me time to be a better mom later. Kids need to go back to playing on their own it builds character. Ok rant over.

  29. I do have many things to say about this article, however, I feel like anything I say would be taken as judgment. I would ask anyone who has read this and felt like – yes, finally someone can relate -that they take a deep look inside, and be sure that feeling is not coming from guilt!

    • Morgan says:

      No guilt at all. There are working moms out there who not only work from home but take care of their kids 24/7. Many moms can relate and it’s moms like you who make us “working” moms feel bad about picking up the phone while we’re with our children. We all have different lives, we don’t all just stay at home, or go to work all day, we have lives outside of parenting that need attention as well. Stop being so “judgey” and think about it from a parents perspective

    • Regina says:

      Bless your heart. You seem to have really tried not to be judgy. You didn’t succeed.

  30. Morgan says:

    If I saw you in public I would hug you for minutes! Whoever wrote the story about the mother at the park on her phone not watching her kids is clearly not a parent. I spend every waking hour watching my kids, playing with my kids, and secretly observing their every move. I take my kids to the park when I need a break, because when we are not at the park, I am teaching my kids, playing with my kids, watching them grow. THANK YOU for writing this. I no longer feel like a bad mom for being on my phone at the park, for when I am, it is with importance and it’s almost the only time of the day I do so!

  31. jmw123 says:

    Seriously? You’ve spent alllll day long watching every single little thing they do, pushing their waffle around on their plate, every little twirl, and now you come to the park and it’s time for me time. For one thing, it doesn’t take but a minute while you have your nose buried in facebook, and we all know how addicting that is. I’ll just look at it for a minute and 45 minutes later you look up, and some stranger has nabbed your kid. I don’t say mothers don’t need me time, but let’s do it some place where children don’t need to be watched. If you insist on burying your nose in your iPhone at least set some kind of reminder to look up occasionally.

    • Casey Lee says:

      “I’ll just look at it for a minute and 45 minutes later you look up, and some stranger has nabbed your kid.”

      Excellent point. Just the other day I was so very thirsty while my children were playing at the park. There was a water fountain in the center of the playground, so I leaned over to take 7 sips of water. During sip number 6, someone “nabbed” my kid. As a mother, I should have realized that 5 sips of water is more than enough, maybe even too many. One only needs 4 sips of water to survive. I now realize sip 6 was excessive and selfish of me and I will live with regret for the rest of my life. Also, I will never drink water again. Too painful.

      • Okay Ladies-ENOUGH! I read this article not wanting to like it because I agreed with the other one. I agreed only because I personally knew young mothers who did that-these were moms who work all day, most therefore not being able to see their children very often, and yet when their child finally has some of their time-where is mom’s attention? On facebook, e-mails or online shopping,etc. Only “me time” mom gets? Oh please! Lock yourself in the bathroom like the rest of us moms did! Seriously, ladies you are now mothers-whether you like it or not you are a mother 24-7. Even if you work in or outside the home. There is no “off time” you are always on the Mother job. No little Johnny does not need your eye on him 24-7-but he needs your attention available for him. Ladies you have made every conceivable excuse (or reason if you prefer-they read like excuses) for being on your phone-but unless it is 911-it is just an excuse. I can hear all the yelling coming at me now. I agree with some parts of this article-can see how some of it could be-but it still sounds like excuses and guilt. Guilt is a subject we moms are long familiar with. Yes, I am a mother-of 2. Yes, I am old. 57. My kids are grown. Maybe that is why I see this from my grandchild’s eyes. When Mom is home-mom is on her phone. When they are out-eating, shopping, park-anywhere-mom is on her phone. I really see this because I am there and when I saw her doing it, I began watching and saw so many others doing it. Eating out meant no conversation with her-and my grandchild gave up trying to tell her about her day! If I had had a smart phone when I was a young mom would I have done this? Probably so. Would it have been okay? no. Are there worse things? yes. You women on here are so determined to prove you are right that you are “calling” each other names on a screen. Talking about how you don’t have the right to judge-since when is expressing your opinion or entering a debate “judging”? Oh yeah. When you disagree with someone-that is judging? Well, I must be judging then-wish I made the money a judge does! Btw I did not read the other article as judgmental-merely trying to get young moms to realize what they are doing. Probably written by someone my age-you know so much wiser. ;) There are as always 2 sides to this issue-discuss it-maybe enlighten-BUT STOP name calling! Or I will put you in time out! Now have an intelligent and civil discussion and for heaven’s sake-consider both sides (this article and the other one) and leave the excuses , guilt and know-it-all attitude at the door! Now I am leaving before I am called “sanctimommy”!

        • Michelle says:

          “Seriously, ladies you are now mothers-whether you like it or not you are a mother 24-7. Even if you work in or outside the home. There is no “off time” you are always on the Mother job”

          Bet you wouldn’t say that to a man about being a Dad…

          Anyone else find it beyond ridiculous how in order to be a “good mum” you have to be a perfect superwoman but to be a good dad you pretty much just have to make sure your kids don’t get killed/seriously injured on your watch?

          • Holy mother!!!!!!
            truer words have NOT been said in every single one of these replies! Bravo. High five! I sincerely love and appreciate you comment!

  32. I may have actually shed a tear or two due to the perfection of this. I hate having to explain my parenting choices to other people. Thanks for not judging!

  33. I am touched by this post. We re always judging without even knowing and its important for us to empathise with others. It wiuld be lovely to pass a smile and let the other mom know she is foing just as fine.. rather than being judgemental!

  34. I adored this post. Judging judging judging… and allowing other’s judgement to preoccupy our own thoughts far two much. It’s a two way street the whole judgement think, because we spend too much time seeking approval / justification for our actions. You’ve written this so beautifully. Lovely way to hap upon your blog for the first time, fellow blogger, Alexx.
    Alexx Stuart recently posted…Food Revolution Day 2014My Profile

  35. THANK YOU for writing this! Exactly what I have wanted to say but couldn’t find the words! Great post!

  36. Amazing post Jennifer! Ahhhhmayyyyziiiing!

  37. You can rationalize anything with time and effort

  38. Courtney says:

    Funny, my girlfriend just posted a “Dear Mom On the iPhone,” letter but it was the complete opposite of this one. And might I say I was a bit surprised she posted it. For that one time you don’t look when your child says “mommy, mommy, look at me”, you have already looked one thousand times that day already. I love the point that states that it is good for children to understand that they are not always the center of our attention. So I commend you for this article…more to my speed. I have 10 and 12 year-old daughters who still “mommy, mommy” me every moment of the day I am with them….and yes most the times they get my full attention and sometimes I lose myself in my iPhone and don’t look. And guess what…they are still two loved, well-adjusted individuals who are very close to their mom and have never really felt slighted in any way (okay..maybe a few times…but that’s okay too ;) ) Cheers to us all moms…we rock…no matter how we do it! xo

  39. Thank you!!
    Suzanne recently posted…Norwex Gifts for Moms, Grads, Dads and MoreMy Profile

  40. I needed to read this today, thank you! So many are so caught up on what everyone else is doing instead of working on their own personal goals. Finding the balance of keeping our family happy without the expense of our own happiness is a constant battle, and the last thing we need to do is judge others who are in the same battle. Thanks for the great reminder!
    Mary recently posted…What a year!My Profile

  41. Great thoughts on this. Damn, Mom’s can be a judgmental group. Supportive is so much better! I’m keeping this so when the judgmental Asshat’s say something to me about looking at my phone, I’ll just get their email and forward this to them.
    Rhonda recently posted…Facebook and Other Social Media: Love It or Over It?My Profile

  42. Casey Lee says:

    First – fabulous article. My children are older now, we did not have smart phones when they were of the age to go to the park, so I’m not writing this out of guilt. I’m writing this because, as someone above pointed out, how about we all stop judging each other? It doesn’t matter what that woman was doing on her phone. It’s her prerogative to do what she wants. There were times when my own mother (gasp) chatted with a friend at the park or (the horror) was inside the house while we were out playing in the neighborhood. We survived.

    Second – to all of the people who are criticizing, if you are so busy not taking your eyes off of your child for one second, how do you know that iPhone mom did not glance up plenty of times to keep an eye on her kids? You don’t. If you did, that means you were watching her a lot more than you were watching your kids. A glance only takes a second and does not require complete head movement.

    Third – if a vision-impaired person were to take their child to a playground……oh never mind, that just makes my head spin.

  43. Crystal says:

    Cute, but I don’t fully agree with it. Yes, I agree parents shouldn’t judge other parents, because you don’t know them or their situation and this explains that beautifully. But I also think there is a time and place you choose to be on the phone and I don’t think the park is one of those places. Parks can be dangerous in so many ways…your child falling off of equipment, being bullied by other children, being around strangers, just running off in general, etc. I believe taking your kids to the park needs your most undivided attention. Yes maybe answering an important text or phone call is fine, but to sit there playing round on your phone just doesn’t settle right with me.

    • Regina says:

      “if you are so busy not taking your eyes off of your child for one second, how do you know that iPhone mom did not glance up plenty of times to keep an eye on her kids? You don’t. If you did, that means you were watching her a lot more than you were watching your kids. A glance only takes a second and does not require complete head movement.”

  44. Sadly, the most judgmental are those who aren’t parents. or those who are now grandparents. when you are a young mom everything you do is wrong and if you compare yourself with older parents, everyone tells you “they know how to be parents because they are older”
    I’m glad to see how others mom’s think about parenting, so I can realize that I’m not doing it that bad how everyone who doesn’t have kids think.

  45. That’s some fucking super hamstering. If you actually believe this I fear for your children. Its parents like you that leaves little doubt that this world has gone to hell.

  46. I am a mama, partner, employee, daughter and friend with a Galaxy S4 and I love this! Thanks for the benefit of the doubt.

  47. On Same Page says:

    She be preachin’!

  48. When you have your child at the playground or any other public place, they can be gone or hurt in the min or two or ten your eyes are looking at your phone, I don’t have a problem with a quick call when the kids are playing, because you can talk and watch your child at the same time. But save your internet searches for later at home, when it is safe to take your eyes off your child for a few min. Most kids that are used to having their parents attention are not going to be screaming Mom watch this, Mom, Mom at the play ground. I have never heard my grandson, beg for our attention anywhere in public, because if he looks our way, he sees our eyes on him and smiles, because he knows we just saw the neat thing he did.. So many kids are begging for some attention or help on the playground and Moms and Dads don’t even look up. I suspect that is the norm for those kids, even at home. I see it everywhere, no wonder so many kids don’t know how to make eye contact anymore. No one is ever looking back. And I notice the playground bullies are always the kids with parents MIA.

    • Regina says:

      if you are so busy not taking your eyes off of your child for one second, how do you know that iPhone mom did not glance up plenty of times to keep an eye on her kids? You don’t. If you did, that means you were watching her a lot more than you were watching your kids. A glance only takes a second and does not require complete head movement.

      • I’m not usually alone when I go to the park with my grandson. Either his Mom is also there or his Grandpa. And you are right a glance only takes a second, kids need more than just a glance here and there. If a child is calling and calling their parent or crying because they are hurt, or hitting other kids or throwing sand or walking out of the park and a parent does not respond to any of those things, I’m going to look around to see why. And the why, is usually because they are looking at their phone. Kids have been ignored long before smart phones, I have been a the pool with my kids years ago and heard all the begging for Mom or Dad to watch them do something amazing. And they were too busy chatting with their friends. I’ve pulled a lot of kids out of the water that would have drowned with a parent sitting right there, because they had more important things to do than watch their kids. One day, every parent will realize what they missed, but there are no do overs.

  49. So wait. You go to the park WITH your kids? I just send them out the door.
    Frugalistablog recently posted…You’re a terrible writerMy Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      You’re cracking me up!!! Winner for Best Comment = Frugie!!

  50. For those of you who think using your IPHONE is harmless, just about 2 weeks ago I was driving home down the one of the busiest streets in our neighborhood when out of nowhere there’s toddler, looking to be 15-18 months old, standing in the middle of the street. I slowed down waiting for an adult to freakout & come running over to grab her, but no one was around, no one was reacting. I came to a complete stop as this little cutie continued innocently across the street. I inched my car up in disbelief that she was outside, IN THE STREET, all alone. Another car approached from the opposite direction, but thankfully, the other driver saw the situation and slowed down as they passed. I was just about to jump out of my car when I saw the mom sitting on her front door steps just 4-5 feet away from the street, face down in her cell phone, completely oblivious to that fact that her baby was no longer sitting a few feet away from her playing. I rolled down the window and yelled to this mom, not once, not twice, but three times before she looked up from her phone. She threw her phone down & ran across the street to grab her baby without even so much as a thank you. This could have been a tragedy! There are cars parked on the street which would have made it impossible for cars coming from the opposite direction to see her before she stepped out into the street. In a matter of seconds this baby could have been seriously injured, killed, or abducted, all while the mom was having some “me” time with her iphone! This article is just an another excuse for bad parenting! There was a time when people didn’t own cell phones and went to the park and interacted with their children. As a parent who takes her child to the park almost every day, seeing moms ignore their kids at the park is a big pet peeve of mine especially when your kid is being rude to my kid for no reason. Maybe you should get off your phone & teach you kid how to be kind & respect others, which is a far much more important use of your time than work emails & facebook posts. Being a parent is not the part time job. I really wish moms & dad would stop trying to make it out to be. If you choose to be a parent, then be PRESENT & if you choose to not be present, then just stop blogging your excuses!

    • Regina says:

      Spoken like a true sanctimommy! Where shall we send your badge of honor??

      • Somuchlove says:

        I’m sorry that’s not a sanctimommy, that’s a concerned mom.

      • Christine says:

        You should probably watch the name calling Regina. That is an awful story about a child who very well could have been hit by a car.

      • Spoken like a self-righteous twit. Tell me, Regina, how is you calling people sanctimommies any less judgmental than the people who don’t agree with this article? Oh, and if you’re really handing out badges, I’d love one!

    • amen!!! this article just seems to be giving everyone an excuse to ‘break from parenting’, which is insane..especially while we’re out of our yards where we cant control our surroundings and there’s a ton of dangerous situations our lil one can get into in a split second!!! the only thing i use my phone for at the park is to take photos of my kiddos enjoying their time in the fresh air! :)

  51. Jessica says:

    after reading this I let out a big sigh and a few tears sprang, (but didn’t fall) as I sat at my desk. Thanks for the validation. I spend a lot of time with my 3 boys, and they are the lights of my life. And I also spend a lot of time not with them, working, volunteering, wearing many different hats and juggling many responsibilities. I’ve created a safe loving network comprised of myself and my husband, our families, nannies, au pairs, coaches and friends that all are involved in my boys lives, happiness and ultimately, their successes. And it works for my family. It takes a village, and we’re part of the village. But I love my phone, and I can handle a lot, but I don’t like to be judged. Aren’t we all doing the best we can the only way we know how? Thanks for the post.

  52. Somuchlove says:

    I understand that we need a break. I believe public places are the worst to be more focused on the phone and not your kids. Not because they could get hurt, but because some sick person could just come up and grab your kids. While we all have one eye on the kids and one eye on the phone it can happen so fast that once you realize your kids are gone it’s too late to run after the person who took them. I also think it’s crazy that moms label each other.

  53. Stephen says:

    Lol the pedofile watching your kid play without supervision thinks the same thing.

  54. This is a fantastic article. In the past it might have been a deep conversation or a good book. Children need to learn how to play, negotiate, make friends without their parents hovering.

  55. It always amazes me when people call others judgmental because they have a difference of opinion. Exactly who is being judgmental?

  56. This is spot on! By the time I have gotten to the playground with my 3-year-old son, we have already been up for two or three hours and have shared thousands of words and dozens of watchful interactions. By the time we are there, I am ready to rest my little introverted self, and to let him negotiate his small universe on his own for a while. Thank you for writing so elegantly on this topic, and defending the phone-focused mommies and daddies.
    Dawn Pedersen recently posted…We Can Work It Out! Kids & Conflict ManagementMy Profile

  57. Amy Dillon says:

    I like this perspective also. There needs to be balance. My issue is that it might be a bit difficult with an only child who might not have anyone to play with, or a special needs child who needs to be watched. In my case both. But we strive for balance no matter our demographics.

  58. I have been meaning to check out your letter after reading your post in the FTSF group and have been so busy with my daughter’s big pre-school show today. But seriously, said a mouthful here and yes guilty of checking my phone while my kids are at the playground usually for Instagram, not Pinterest because hell at that crafty, lol! ;)
    Janine Huldie recently posted…Pin It Party – Week 52My Profile

  59. YES YES YES stop the judging. When did we become the moms who had to watch every freaking thing our child does? Give all of us a break and realize that we don’t have to be their every moment cheerleader. After all we remembered to feed them this morning.
    Kerri recently posted…Mom in the elevatorMy Profile

  60. Well done – this is a game changer. Makes me feel more than a tad guilty for being too judgey. However – would I feel the same if it was a dad hanging all over his phone? Hmmmm….
    Kelly L McKenzie recently posted…Mommy DearestMy Profile

  61. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this! I really needed it today.

  62. I agree with Christine (posted on May 7th). The park is the last place you want your face buried in an iPhone or book, or whatever. It it the primary place you want to keep your eyes open. While the writer of the article meant the lesson to be “It’s ok not to attend to your kids every waking minute of your life,” the time for a time-out is NOT at the park. Whoever called her Sanctimommy needs a time-out.

    I’m a dad, not a mom. I have custody of my 3 children, they were 3, 6, and 9 when they came to live with me. They came to live with me because the court determined that they were being neglected by their mom, because I petitioned for it.

    Kids get abducted at the park. Kids run into the street after a wayward ball. Kids play hide and seek with other kids without telling you. Kids fall and get hurt. Sometimes badly. Things happen.

    You don’t take your eyes off your kids at the park. That’s just stupid.

    • Belinda says:

      Please provide links to, say, five recent news reports about children that were abducted from a park, in full view off all the kids and all the parents that were there.

  63. Krista says:

    Sure, because at the end of my days I will have been so glad that I didn’t miss out on those few precious moments of facebook or other social media instead of my kids. This entire article is stupid and is making excuses for lazy parents. And if you’re not watching your kids at a public place, then you’re a special kind of stupid; there are no words to describe it. If you want to be this kind of parent, just don’t have kids.

  64. Thank you for the deployment statement…I cling to my phone these days. And if he messages, emails or calls me…I drop everything.

    • Amen sister!
      I don’t put my phone down. It’s always on-ringer fully on– can’t put it down because you KNOW that’s exactly when he’ll be available.

  65. Josh V says:

    The only thing I’d be judgint is why anyone would still have an iphone. They’re the new blackberry!

  66. I didn’t like the first iPhone post. I mean, yes, we’re addicted to our devices, and yes, we need quality time with our children, but the biggest message, as your post reveals, is that we have NO IDEA what someone else is going through. We are seeing only a fleeting moment of that person’s life…. as long as children are safe, let’s withhold judgment of other other mothers. It doesn’t help any of us. Thanks for sharing this.
    Sarah @ LeftBrainBuddha recently posted…Dear Mom-to-be: Let me explain why I didn’t buy you a baby shower card…My Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Exactly! Thanks for commenting :)

  67. Yep sometimes when we are out is the first time I get to sit down, relax and do what I want to do. The other day my son and I were in Rita’s. After we sat down, I asked the lady before me about how she liked what she ordered because it sounded good. We had a little back and forth small talk and then I started looking at my phone. My son said, “You and that lady seem like you could be friends.” I said, “I was just asking about her drink.” He said, “But you have a lot in common.” I looked at the lady and her little girl, I shrugged and said, “How so?” He said, “You are both doing the same thing.” I look at the lady again and she was looking at her phone. All I could do was smile. I guess a lot of mom’s have this in common. ;-)
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    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Sounds like we could be friends too!! ;)

  68. Amen, it would be so nice, if we could all stop judging each other. But can I still judge the people on their iPhone (texting, reading) while driving? Congratulations on a great post!

  69. I love this and agree 100%. We have no clue what other people may be going through. Here, here, and amen to that. I am so happy for you that it’s getting so many shares! Congratulations! xo
    Kristi Campbell recently posted…From a dad, who thinks his wife gave his special needs son the worldMy Profile

  70. I think this is a response to that blog that was posted condemning that mom on the iphone right? I could of sworn I read a different blog post with a much harsher opinion and I’m so glad you wrote this! Mothers are so guilty of judging each other; stay at home vs working, boob feeding vs bottle, etc. Thank you for posting this! When I read the other one the first thing I thought was, maybe she is having an emergency and needs the IPhone or maybe she has had enough of her kids today and wants to multitask on something else. LOL, anyways, I’m glad you wrote this if it was in response to the other one because this take is so much better. And if you have no idea what I’m talking about, Ill send you the other post so you can see :)

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      This is in response to the one condemning the mom on her phone (because she’s missing out on all the good stuff her kids do every minute of the day–she must have much more interesting kids than mine … Lol). I know there are some responses besides mine out there, but I haven’t read any. Feel free to link up any others. :)

  71. Great post! Also great that it is being shared so widely. Congratulations!

  72. Tammie L says:

    I used to take my four to the playground in matching t-shirts or bandanas so I could quickly see where they were and what they were doing. But I was also watching the other kids play and if I saw them doing something dangerous or unkind I’d say something. Usually just something like “Let’s share” or “Be careful” or “Maybe you should ask your mom first”. Instead of judging each other, maybe those who are paying attention to the playground scene could watch the other kids too. I truly understand those times when you just need a quick mental break to connect with the real world. So go ahead mom, we’ve got your back!

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      What a great comment!!!

    • Are you serious? Okay, I’ll take my 2 and 4 year old granddaughters to the park and send them off to play and count on the other moms to keep an eye on them so I can Facebook. What a great idea!

  73. THANK YOU for this. So much. I am almost crying I am so relieved to read such an articulate, wise, compassionate answer to that f***ing ridiculous “Dear Mom” piece of garbage “you missed the breeze blowing your child’s hair” nonsense. Did I say thank you yet? Thank you. xoxoxo Proud to know you, sister.
    Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. recently posted…A Letter to My Mom on Mother’s DayMy Profile

  74. debbie raley says:

    Oh, precious Momma’s, your job as a Mommy is such an exhausting and exhilarating work!
    Most days you are lucky if you get to brush your teeth!
    Little people are the most demanding people on the planet, and that is truth, but can I offer a few observations that you all might not have thought about? Count this up as my input, after having brought up four daughters of my own, and now have 10 grandlittles to my list of treasures as well.
    Timing is everything, and location, location, location is too.
    Your children, as a rule, go through a strong phase of needing to be validated as being valuable to you. It presents itself as, “Mommy watch me, watch me!’ There is balance to this need, as others have stated, and you will learn to find the balance of it. Do not discount, however, how very important it is that your child does hear that affirmation. To do less is to send them a message of not being all that important to you, which no Mother wants her child to believe. It will peak during that 3-5 yr phase, but then begins to level off. What this means for you is this….it is a season of their life, it is not a permanent fixture. This time is to build confidence in your child, and goodness knows, our children will be torn asunder by the outside world around them, so a little bit of extra layers of confidence from the nucleus of the family will do them no harm, but rather, will give them a measure of extra coating against the coming tearing down, because as we all know, and remember, children can be terribly cruel.
    Because I was a young first-time Momma when the peak of childhood kidnappings began to really make the news, google ‘Adam kidnapping’ and you will read of the horrific tragedy that took place to a family. I was carrying my first child then, so imagine my horror! I made my mind up right then, that no matter the situation, when in ‘public’, my eyes would never, ever be off of my child/children. So, when I say, location, location, what I mean is this. When in your home, you can be reliably secure in knowing that you don’t have to watch every single time they call out, ‘watch me’, but, when you are out in settings such as parks, etc., your vigilance could mean the difference in their safety. Goodness knows, no mother ever wants to be the one whose child disappeared right out from under her nose. The lifetime of guilt would destroy that Momma. Using caution is never a bad idea, that whole ‘an ounce of prevention’ as it were. You young Momma’s live in a time of constant demands for your attention, both human, and technological. Mothering is, and has always been about ‘balance’. Finding it takes time, but, doing so makes for a less stressed Momma, and children who grow up in a secure environment. Bless your hearts, ladies, you are the strength of life, your hearts are what feed theirs, your courage is what makes them brave, your vision is what gives them freedom. Finally, what most Mother’s will not say out loud? We are all terrified we are not doing it right! Remember to be kind to each other, each woman is traveling her own journey, with her own challenges. Kindness goes a long way to help assuage that terror……

  75. Preach it Mama!! Amen!! (BTW- I’ll be across the playground, probably on my iPhone!)
    Lisa @ The Golden Spoons recently posted…What I Hope They Would SayMy Profile

  76. Amy Lynn says:

    For all those debating the playground I don’t even really think that is the point…I have been guilty of being on the phone (when maybe I should be playing with the kiddo) at the playground, at home, etc etc. I think it is more about showing others some grace along the way, realizing that it’s okay for kids to do this and that by themselves and taking a moment to breath, etc etc.

  77. Amanda says:

    Although I would have agreed 100% with this, I have recently had a change of heart. I found out in January that two of our foster children were having sex after we closed their door at night. If that weren’t enough, we were investigated by CPS for negligent supervision. It was ultimately determined that it was not due to a lack of supervision, but it was still enough to shake up our whole world. I completely agree that moms need to ease up on each other and even take some time to themselves. I hesitate to do it at the park or any public place, however, since finding out that those two will take any opportunity to perpetrate awful things with each other and any child nearby. I would challenge you to read the book “mommy please read this” about child sex abuse. It could make you reconsider the amount of time or location spent paying attention to something other than your children.

  78. This is well thought out and spot on. The truth is women judge each other too often–about kids, parenting, balance, and it needs to stop. I found the “I phone mom” article terrible judgmental and short-sighted. If the kids feel loved, and they are cared for, the i phone won’t ruin the family. Good work.
    Christina recently posted…If my baby were a British AristocratMy Profile

  79. To the mom on her cell phone while her kids are playing at the park: two words – pedophiles and injuries. I’m sorry, but a public park is where your kids NEED you to watch them every minute…not while they’re playing safely at home. A mom can take care of facebooking and texting and email checking while her kids are playing in their rooms (or the family room or whatever room) or taking a nap or watching a movie….or even after they go to bed. But when you have your kids out in a public place, a place where they can hurt themselves or wander off with that nice man looking for his puppy, that’s when they need your eyes on them the most.

    And don’t any of you DARE accuse me of being judgmental. I’m not judging anyone…God knows I was and still am far from a perfect parent. I’m simply pointing out the obvious. And what’s wrong with going to the park with your kids and actually playing WITH them??

    This article absolutely horrified me. I know what can happen when you let your small children play outside unsupervised….I watched my 5-year-old baby brother get hit and killed by a car. And yes, “unsupervised” also means not paying attention to your child because you have your head buried in your phone or your book or your tablet.

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      I’m really sorry to hear about your brother, Amyjo. Sincerely. That’s terrible. I watched my brother get hit by a car also. But my dad wasn’t being inattentive. He was right next to him but my brother ran into the parking lot.

      But I’m going to say that having my eyes on both of my kids doesn’t insure they won’t get hurt. Siblings don’t play side by side all the time and there were plenty of times that one kid was climbing the ladder to the slide while the other was swinging. And even if I didn’t have my phone in my hand, there’s no guarantee that one of them wouldn’t get hurt or snatched by a pedophile with me watching from 10 feet away. Phones aren’t the only distraction–our kids can actually be the exact thing that makes us take our eyes off of our kids.

      We can’t live with them in a bubble. They WILL get hurt. I was standing right next to my daughter when she smacked her face off of the corner of a table. I’ve had them fall off their bikes when I’m in the driveway with them. They’ve fallen down running down the sidewalk with me right next to them. That’s life. It happens, and me being next to them with my eyes on them doesn’t stop any of those things from happening.

  80. all it takes is a second to lose track of our lil ones, especially at the park when they’re running around like crazy little hooligans who just broke out of jail! :P i just worry that with everyone’s heads down on their phone, one just might disappear either into traffic or by a stranger taking advantage of our distracted minds. i totally know the feeling of wanting a break to do mommy things and i’m guilty of it too. i just think that it should almost be the opposite. when you’re out at the park, you should be focused on your kids and at home you can take mommy breaks while they’re playing in the safety of your home. :)

  81. Safety 101..DON’T take your eyes off your kids at the park!

    • So, I have four kids. It’s impossible to keep my eyes on all four at once. Does this mean we stay inside forever? This is why there are never kids playing in neighborhoods anymore. Did your parents keep their eye on you 100% of the time?

  82. Am I the only one that thinks playing WITH her kids is FUN? Seriously FUN! I love playing with my kids, playing with YOUR kids, engaging them, watching them learn, interact and giggle. When I see a Mom off to the side interacting with her ‘gadgets’ I think “Oh she’s shy”, or “Good for her for the downtime, I wish the twins would let me take an eye off for a second for that”, or “Yo, Little Timmy’s about to fall over here, don’t worry… take a breath… I got this”. My kids get worn out and nap (and I nap with them!!!!) and yours gets the attention they are asking for.
    Still… I’m sad. I’m sad that we all have to be EVERYTHING all the time. I’m sad that we need to be judgmental and unsupportive of each other as Women and that we can’t just be a community and ‘Help a Muther out’ Ya know?
    I’m also HAPPY. I’m Happy to play with your little cutie, s/he is entertaining mine. When I was growing up I had “Other-Moms” who not only gave my Mom a much needed break, but also another perspective on what I could get away with as a kid. New perspectives are good. For Everybody!

    • Not everyone loves playing with their kids. I honestly don’t. I do, however, LOVE reading to them, baking cookies, quading & boating and camping, taking them to swimming lessons, talking about their/my day, making jokes, teasing each other, giving hugs & kisses and a thousand other things. I used to feel guilty that I didn’t “play” legos or Barbie’s with them, until I remembered that my own mother never played tag or toys with me, and I really didn’t give a crap. I was too busy playing with….other children!!! I’m happy my parent’s raised me in a social environment where I was free to play with my peers while they visited their friends.
      I do admire the mom’s that get honest enjoyment out of it though, and it makes me smile to see it. Different personalities will find pleasure in different things:)

  83. Amen! As a third grade teacher, this rings so true regarding intrinsic motivation.

    It’s actually good for your kids to know they’re not the center of your attention every second of every day. It’s good for them to learn to play independently and do things on their own without accolades for Every. Little. Thing. That’s good parenting–allowing them to learn that some things are satisfying just for the fun and enjoyment of doing them, not for the praise or attention that comes with them.

  84. Thank you!!!! I just read the original post “Dear Mom on The iPhone” and frankly I felt horrible after reading it. I felt like I was being judged even though that woman doesn’t even know me. I had so many thoughts in my head of how her post was so judgemental. Now after reading yours I am filled with happiness and tears again as you managed to write exactly what I was feeling. I think moms don’t need more criticism from other moms, they need praise, and understanding. You did an AWESOME job at responding to the original article. Thank you! And, thank you for the praise… from one mom to another you are an awesome mom!

  85. BRILLIANT POST!! I love love love this. Everything about it speaks to my mama heart. Thank you for shining the most important aspect of motherhood we all have our own unique lives and stories- NONE of us should ever judge.

    Lets all just respect that, shall we?
    Chris Carter recently posted…Ten Years of ThankfulMy Profile

  86. Steph B. says:

    This piece focuses on cell phone usage at the park. This is a public place, where social interaction takes place. Why not use your phone while at home, and actually interact with other parents while in public. The conversations I have had with other parents at the park who were not on their phones have been so helpful to me as a parent, and have even turned into actual friendships. I have gotten (and have given) great advice, shared funny stories, and talked about things completely unrelated to our kids as they play together in the sand. Let the kids play (no one is going to kidnap them… that is paranoia and guilt tripping that is not supported by the fact of how abductions take place), and try striking up a conversation with another parent who has also been watching their kids play and learn all day. I am sad to see an article defending private phone use in public places when so many mothers already feel so alone as it is.

  87. If a Mom is spending so much time watching her child’s every move at home, surely she can take some time at the park to interact with them as well. Sadly, while at home, many moms are on their phones or laptops while the children are entertained by television or their own Ipads.

  88. This was great! All I can say is THANK YOU!
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    • Real Life Parenting says:

      No, thank YOU, Daphne! :) You made me smile!

  89. This literally made my day and tears to my eyes. I, a 34 year old wife and mother, was yelled at for taking a picture of my child while on vacation with my own family – a picture that- i may add was being sent to her father, who is on a 6 month deployment and missing the pivotal 1.5th-2nd year of her life. I take pictures of everything. I take video of everything. We are able to video chat frequently, but he is NOT home.
    I was flabbergasted and incredibly hurt by the comment. The whole time I was with the fam, the commented on how much time I was spending on the phone – & that perhaps my TODDLER who is teething would be better behaved if I paid more attention to her and not the phone.
    I’m not texting. I’m not emailing, I am keeping her FATHER in the loop.
    And GodDA** IT– I DESERVE A BREAK ONCE IN A WHILE! I am so over all the MOMMY SHAMING!

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      I’m so glad this struck a chord with you. I find it so frustrating that people jump to the worst conclusions all the time. I’m really over it. And you’re absolutely right, we deserve a break sometimes!

  90. Also- where do y’all live that there are pedophiles lurking everywhere? I mean obviously we should be on our toes, but where in the world are you taking your child if this is a concern?

    • Wow. Are you serious? Go here and check to see how many live near you: http://www.familywatchdog.us/

      I live in a very small town and there are PLENTY registered sex offenders in my town and surrounding towns. I hope someone is looking out for your kid besides yourself.

  91. I loved this and saw it on huff post – only right I come to the original to post my comment. I am the working mum who grabs the rare minute to check up on work e-mails so I can still spend the time with my kids.
    Mummy to boyz recently posted…Saint George erupts!My Profile

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Thanks so much :) I think people don’t give enough credit to that occurrence. The kids get to be at the park, you get to watch them for whatever time you can, AND you can get work done. Sounds like a win, win, win.

  92. Nice try. This is the same tactic my 14 year old uses when he is defending a deception. “If you don’t see it, you can’t prove it.” All the mothering happens when no one is looking. When someone IS looking they see a mom at a playground with kids on equipment with her face in a screen. That’s the LAST place a mom needs distraction.

    Would you think so highly of the woman if you found out that she wasn’t, in fact, the mommy but the nanny or the daycare provider? One of the kids was her kid but the other her charges?

    Same lady, same kids, same setting, but a few dollars an hour being exchanged? Now how does it look?

    All the distractions you try to embed within the story are as distracting as the phone is to the distracted mom. You can only fool the ones who want to APPEAR to be wondermommy when, in fact, they are behavior isn’t so wonderful at all.

    The only thing you left out is the kids being up at the top of the slide with their own face in the tablet their mommy bought for them and the baby sitting in the stroller with his tablet toy too.

    We aren’t buying it. We are onto park mommy.

  93. you are lying to yourself says:

    The big lie here is that this isn’t mom checking Facebook while her kids play at the park (if that’s all it was that would be fine), because we all know that those moms addicted to their phones rather than their kids are the ones checking Facebook and unimportant emails and meaningless chats with friends while their kids eat breakfast, go to the bathroom, change clothes, play and generally do anything. Their kids are used to having to ask for mommy’s attention because she rarely gives it first; texts, Facebook, status updates and the phone come first.

  94. Oh I adore this! So beautifully written and what appreciation, understanding and grace you show. Bless!
    Tarquin Roberts recently posted…Happy Marriage: Build Them UpMy Profile

  95. Dave Morrison says:

    Yeah the problem with this article is that she like some people I know was probably on her iPhone all day long. The chances she’s on her phone for any of the reasons in this article are quite slim. Funny how how children always had the full attention of their parents in 200,000 years of humanity before the smart phones of 2005? Now all the sudden being a parent got so crazy they can’t make it through the day without their phone at the park? Give me a break and be a bloody parent to your kid. That’s what I so anyways…

  96. No, no-no-no-no-NO! Sorry, this does not deserve a pat on the back from me! Yes, it’s true I shouldn’t judge, I don’t know her story. But in my experience, the Moms on the phone are the ones with the worst kids! They push, they hit, they’re loud and obnoxious, all because Moms not watching them. Then Mom gets defensive because you’re “parenting her kids”. In public expec illy, get off your phone, parent your kids, teach them how to behave around others.

  97. Thank you for this. I hold in such mommy guilt that this was refreshing to hear

  98. That is very real. I am a father of twins and a felt really touched by this.
    Thanks!

  99. thank you so much. i went down the rabbit hole of the blog you referenced this from and was paralyzed from the condemnation and religiosity. so glad you took the time to do this.

  100. Suzanne Rakutis says:

    Dumbest blog i’ve ever read. It only takes a second for ur child to be seriously hurt at a playground. How would u sleep at night knowing that if u were “watching” it may have been avoided. What if the gate is open and your child wanders off or God forbid, a kidnapper wanders in. Nothing on your phone is more important than the well being of your child so put your phones down and watch ladies…it’s called motherhood!

    • You should think about what u just said – MAY HAVE BEEN AVOIDED. Motherhood is knowing u can’t protect them from everything. Accidents will happen, and “watching” it happen does not make u any better of a mother then the other mothers whose hearts stopped at the cry that came a second later. Even if u followed ur child around attached at the hip like a siamese twin ( which I equally doubt n hope u don’t do) there is still the potential for a trajedy. In my opinion, the answer is a cross between both. I’m glad this blog came across my path just like I was with its counterpart stating the opposite. Who hasn’t had the frustration of a parent not being attentive to their misbehaving child? Or the over protective one running around after their child like the air is gonna hurt them. I’m also glad someone pointed out about reading a book or talking to other parents being equal to a technological device because a distraction is a distraction. My child has gotten her fair share of painful play time reminders as I have prevented some too. We sleep just fine at night whether they may have been prevented or not, n have the same big smiles on our face when we get up in the morning too:)

  101. I don’t know if you know who that woman is, but I do. That picture of that mom is a friend of mine, and she is a bit freaked out that you used her picture without her consent.

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      I do know who that woman is, Alison … it’s me. The Girl took that picture at the park one day, specifically to be published by The Huffington Post. I didn’t snipe anyone. (That would be weird and totally uncool!)

  102. Nup. Not buying it. Let’s be honest – you probably looked at it while they were doing all the other things described in this post. Not judging – guilty as charged. I know because I was the parent in the park before we had smartphones and am still parenting in the smartphone era. I experience my youngest child constantly telling me to stop looking at a screen and give her the 100% attention that my pre-smartphone kids got. And that’s what I hate about it – it introduces a tone to family life that was previously absent. So don’t try and rationalise your smartphone addiction. Seeing your mum talking to another mum is not the same as seeing your mum hunched over a small inanimate object. And when you are talking to another mum you can still be watching and making eye contact with your kids. iPhones are great. But monkey see, monkey do. Will your kids be watching your grandkids play in the park? Or will they be just like mum?

  103. Wow thanx for writing this!! A moms entire life every single day, all day is dedicated to her children and home. GOOD FOR US if we can find half hour a couple times a day to enjoy a moment to ourselves! One can bet, that unless it’s urgent business, that we have first tended to hungry tummies, little bottoms and the things we do around the clock. Love the part about healthy for them to not need someone praising their each move :). Thanx…this calmed my anger about “mom on the iPhone!

  104. Thank you! Yes!!! It’s so sad to see all this mummy judging going on. We don’t all have to have the same opinions, but looking at a mum you don’t know and assuming that the way she is parenting is right or wrong is crazy. More support and care for each other and less judgement would be great!

  105. morgan fraser says:

    Thanks for the iphone comment quirkymommy shared it on facebook and you made my crap day not so crap. Im a working mum and its nice to read something that recognizes that there is more than just the mum in me.

    morgan
    new zealand

  106. Yes, a million times yes! And there’s no reason that this can’t apply to dads, too.

  107. Well said!!!

    And can I add that if I happen to give my daughter something to eat/drink after playing at the park please also don’t analyse it to ensure it is organic, contains a superfood and all 5 food groups, low in salt, sugar, preservative, gluten free and rainforest friendly!!

    Some days we do well with food and strive to be healthy. Other days suck and yes the three year might get a store bought non organic chocolate bar!

  108. Completely DISAGREE!!! Its the kids whose parent(s) are on the phone, not paying attention, that are the most vile. I don’t have an issue with the occasionally checking the phone, but I’ve seen kids, hit, kick, push & say some pretty digesting things to my child as well as others. The whole time the parent is clueless to their child’s behavior. For us that do pay attention, it’s not our job to make sure your child is having fun & being respectful. If your child is constantly asking you to “watch this” “watch me” tells me you’re not paying much attention to them anyway.

  109. Yes, you do.

  110. What an important and wonderful post! I started reading with growing dislike, I mean, how many judging hate-those-parents-with-a-cell-phone-in-the-park blog posts haven’t we read? But. Soon the smile got broader and the feeling inside started to fill with happiness! THANK you for writing this, and for sharing it!

    I plan to translate this into my own language (Swedish) and post it on my own blog. Referring to you, of course! I hope it’s ok?

    Many happy hugs!

  111. Not judging is a good thing but I disagree. Maybe because my kiddo is 23 now and my only one…? I say watch mommy – watch every single thing and put the phone down because before you know it, they won’t be there for you to watch anymore!

    • And I agree – mommy should be paying attention all the time!

  112. Ummm please get off of your phone and watch your kids at the park.I have had to watch plenty of other peoples kids while they where on the phone not looking after their children and I have saved more than a few from falling or getting blasted in the face because they where walking in front of the swings or at the bottom of the fireman pole or wandering into the parking lot…. So no mommy you are not alright get off of your phone and watch your kids.

  113. This blog just popped up on my Facebook wall, which led me to read the full blog article. I agree with some of the points people have about not using your phone around children, but I also really see this action as a sign of the times. We are in a technological era for sure and things just aren’t like the old days anymore. I think parent can sometimes be given one hell of a guilt trip, for the most minor of actions (for example, light use of a phone for checking social media when in the presence of you children).
    Dad2twins recently posted…Twin Dad Relationship StrainMy Profile

  114. Maybe she takes them there twice a day, maybe its every day weeks on end! You follow her all the time and know she ignores them constantly yeah? Youv seen it once youv seen it a thousand times and will continue to see for a long time. She’s human give her a fucking break , she has another 18 years of that x

  115. Tearing up as I read this! I haven’t taken my infant daughter to the park yet but there are times at home when I catch a moment to myself & respond to emails on my phone while she just sits & throws her toys around. I remember feeling bad about it a few months ago just because there was a week straight where I had to keep my phone attached to my hand & I felt horrible for not giving her enough attention. This took some burden & guilt off my shoulders. Though I will still try to give her every minute of my time, I feel incredibly relieved to know that there are moms out there that understand if I can’t devote every second to watching her chew the corner of her stuffed toy. I appreciate this post & I appreciate you <3

  116. Petra Felix says:
  117. I kind of see where this is coming from but would you not rather look away from your children and at your phone in the safety of your own home, not in an open park where anyone and everyone can wander near your children? I think that’s why people are quick to judge in that situation – it’s more of a safety issue than anything else.

  118. Tammi Cole says:

    Bravo! I don’t know why we mothers tend to be so hard on other mothers. We do need our alone time and we shouldn’t feel guilty for sneaking it in when we can as long as our kids are in a safe environment.

  119. I LOVE this….
    I’m a single (widowed) mother with a demanding career in Television. Yes I’m on the phone, Yes I’m watching my child and Yes I don’t know how I do it!!!! (No I don’t have a nanny and No I don’t have family helping me) My child has never been in the emergency room getting stitched or a broken bone, he hasn’t gone missing or been kidnapped or put poop in his mouth at the park. My kid doesn’t get his feelings hurt because a work call interrupted his conversation, because he knows he is the most important thing in my life.
    So last summer I’m at the park with my boy in a conference call and I’m interrupted by a mid Twenty Year old guy dressed like he’s in Super Tramp telling me that I’m an awful parent and I should hang up the phone and pay attention to my kid. (who’s happily playing with a new friend) I paused and turned to him…”Yeah I can do that, but can I get your mom’s phone number so I can call her and tell her what a little jerk she has raised!” My Producers and Executives erupted in laughter as this guy walked off.

    • Real Life Parenting says:

      Oooh! Wish i could have been there!!

      And, you’re absolutely right. Our kids dont have to have every second of our attention to know they’re our priority.

  120. A great reminder that you NEVER know someone’s story. Our assumptions are usually wrong anyway! Let’s spread more love and less judgy hate!

Trackbacks

  1. […] But it’s also okay to ignore your kids sometimes. (Hey-o! It’s about balance!) […]

  2. […] A great blog in honor of Mother’s Day. Something I have really thought about this week as others perhaps looked at me and I thought to myself, come on, judge me, I dare you! I have spent the last week at my son’s bedside in a hospital, where he almost died. It took the doctors 3 days into his recovery before they told me the actual disbelief they had in his recovery. So the couple of hours I take for myself scattered across a 12 hour vigil each day is critical for my own mental health. I check emails from work and friends, surf Facebook and work on a project for work.  It also really helped me to be more aware of my own occasional leap to pre-judgement of others actions.  We don’t know the other peoples story so it’s not our place to question their actions or reactions.   A Judgment Free Letter to a Mom on her iPhone. […]

  3. […] Share the Joy, Pain, and Power of Female Friendship. Two of my favorite posts by Jennifer are Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine and You Might Be an Asshat if You Think People With Food Allergies Are Ruining Your […]

  4. […] Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine. You’ve been watching your kids–All day. And now, at the park, when they can run around and play, you’re taking a few minutes for yourself on your phone. […]

  5. […] I like them a bit raw and edgy. For example, my two posts that have received the most attention (Dear Mom on the iPhone: You’re Doing Fine and Disney and the Gays) were completely written, edited, graphic created, and posted in 2-3 hours […]

  6. […] assumed that I was an uninvolved, selfish mom who only cared about her alone time with a book or on her phone. You thought I was neglecting my kids and the opportunity to spend fun time at the pool playing […]

  7. […] announcements aren’t really about helping other parents and kids (including the ones that are just opposite-side rebuttals to the originals). They’re about the writer’s own desire to vent.  Like this post […]

  8. […] conclusion to this post and I’m not trying to make a splashy statement of any kind, (in fact, I more so want to create a judgement-free zone here!!) I would love to hear thoughtful ways […]

  9. […] dare you to read her “Dear Mom on the iPhone, You’re Doing Fine” and NOT stand up right where you are and fist bump her.  The Huffington Post did….so […]

  10. […] This post originally appeared on reallifeparentingblog.com […]

  11. […] This post originally appeared on reallifeparentingblog.com […]

  12. […] you to Real Life Parenting blogger mom for sharing this story that really needed to be shared.  Thank you for giving us moms […]

  13. […] This post originally appeared on reallifeparentingblog.com […]

  14. […] γράφει η Jennifer Hicks για το Real Life Parenting […]

  15. […] (To read the FULL letter, go to reallifeparentingblog) […]

  16. […] “Querida mamá con iPhone… ¡Lo estás haciendo bien!” http://reallifeparentingblog.com/dear-mom-on-the-iphone-youre-doing-fine/ […]

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