Dear Mom Judging Me For My iPhone

iPhone Mom

A couple of weeks ago, Jeff and I spent a morning running around after our children during a carnival hosted at their school. As hour number three approached, my capacity for other people’s children rapidly reaching code red zone, I pulled out my phone and hopped on Twitter for a few minutes. Of course, those few minutes happened to coincide with my bumping into one of my children’s teachers.

After she greeted me, she gently pulled the phone out of my hand and whispered “tsk, tsk” as she shook her head. My face turned red as she gestured to the surrounding children whom I clearly should have been watching instead. My phone shamefully remained in my coat pocket for the rest of the afternoon, while I found other ways to occupy the time, none of which included actually playing with the kids who blissfully ignored my presence while they ran around with their friends.

I forgot about the whole interaction (or, rather blocked it out) until I came across a post yesterday, Dear Mom on The iPhone. It begins…

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

I see you over there on the bench, messing on your iPhone.
It feels good to relax a little while your kids have fun in the sunshine, doesn’t it?
You are doing a great job with your kids, you work hard,
you teach them manners, have them do their chores.

But Momma, let me tell you what you don’t see right now…..

Your little girl is spinning round and round, making her dress twirl.
She is such a little beauty queen already, the sun shining behind her long hair.
She keeps glancing your way to see if you are watching her. 

You aren’t…

It goes on and on and on about the precious moments that a mother is missing while immersed in technology. “Now you are pushing your baby in the swing. She loves it! Cooing and smiling with every push. You don’t see her though, do you? Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing.”

Bad, bad mother, the comments preach. How selfish! How self-absorbed! How dare a mother absentmindedly push a swing when she could be relishing every single back and forth motion. What is our society coming to?

Well, I am that mother at the park on her iPhone, thank you very much. I’m the one who gets scowled at and pointed to and written about. Sometimes it’s the park, others it’s an indoor playzone or maybe it’s a birthday party. If I’m out with my kids, and they are entertained, it’s not uncommon that my iPhone is entertaining me. But that fact doesn’t make me a bad mom. In fact, I’d argue that it helps make me a better one.

Checking in on Twitter or Facebook allows me to collect myself and maintain a sense of humor about things that might otherwise set me off. It’s kind of the social media immersed mother’s version of a long drag on a cigarette. It helps ground me and gain perspective. The permanent marker covered Evan a few years ago would have been far more upsetting than amusing were it not for the ensuing hilarity in Facebook comments. Having my friends and community a simple click away is a much needed break at the very least, and a near lifesaver at the most.

I work from home, and part of working from home (FYI, Marissa Mayer) means taking that work with me, wherever my day may go. I am fortunate to have the freedom and flexibility to bring my kids into school every day and pick them up at three and spend the afternoon and evening hours with them. And I treasure that ability. If it means having to respond to e-mails or follow up on things while the rest of the working world is still behind a desk, I don’t see that as a problem. Would it be better to get a traditional desk job and have a nanny caring for them all day and night.

Besides, being on my phone in public, at places like sports practice where the kids are surrounded by friends and the park where they can run around and play, makes it more likely that I’ll be off of the phone when I’m home alone with them.

And maybe, I’m on my phone at the park because I don’t really feel like engaging with that preachy looking mother who, if not judging me for my phone use, would most certainly find something else about me to be appalled by.

I would never, ever claim to be a perfect mother. I have moments of stellar mothering and moments of complete crappiness, and they are usually separated by mere seconds. At the end of the day, I strive for two things: 1. To make my children feel loved, and 2. To have the proud parenting moments outweigh the regrettable ones. Adding “always place undivided attention on my children 24/7” to the list really wouldn’t benefit my children and it sure as hell wouldn’t benefit me.

One small snippet that someone happens to witness at a park or a restaurant or in a parking lot hardly paints a thorough picture of any family, so judging based on what you happen to catch in a single moment is laughable. Almost as laughable as the notion of taking my kids to a bounce zone and having my eyes glued to them jumping up and down for four hours straight.

About the writer


In addition to being the founder of all things Scary Mommy, Jill is also the New York Times bestselling author of Simon and Schuster’s Confessions of A Scary Mommy and Motherhood Comes Naturally (And Other Vicious Lies)

From Around the Web


Anita 4 months ago

I have had that happen. My son straight up refuses any and all forms of a hat rain or shine, winter or summer. I actually had a lady come up to me when he was 5 months old and scold me for not putting a hat on him in february. He had a blanket on his head and a jacket on and I was so frustrated and annoyed. I hate when people comment on what your kids do or wear like they know better.

Life With Teens and Other Wild Things 4 months ago

Not sure how old this is… but I’d encourage you to look into online homeschooling groups, or even starting one of your own if you can’t find one that’s not overtly religious in your area.

I’m lucky to be in an area where we do have “religious” groups, and also some more relaxed groups, so I’ve been able to pick and choose what works for my kiddo and our family.

Good luck, Mama! Homeschooling can be tough, but it’s also very rewarding, when it’s the right choice for your family. <3

CJ 4 months ago

And that was totally a joke, btw

CJ 4 months ago

I am 100% judging you for that iPhone because you should totally have an Android, just sayin’.

Sunny 4 months ago

I WISH another adult would take my property out of my hands or comment TO my child about how I dressed him. How dare either of those people. I would have a hard time not putting THAT person in his or her place on the spot. 5 months ago

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erika 6 months ago

Yes. Perfect. Thank you. 7 months ago

I love your point about facebook making what would be a mommy tragedy into comic relief- it’s instant friendly support.
I have a hard time with this, because our LIVES are on our phones now- bank accounts, friends, email, pictures, calculators, alarms, music, shopping, coupon apps, etc., etc., and for me, my college classes are easily accessible from my phone. So, a couple days a week, I take my kids to a play group, because, we are together ALL-THE-TIME, and occasionally I set them loose to play with the other kids, I sit back, and read assigned readings, OR check fb. Every time, I feel so out of place, and wrong. Like, why are other people judging me for not building blocks with my kids, when there are 10 other kids around? It’s like the phone is a sin. A sin! I don’t get it, but I don’t care. Thanks for the post, which looks like it’s from while ago, but I will be following you so that I don’t miss anything else!


Kate 10 months ago

OMG. A hundred thousand times yes. I am so sick of reading those “shaming” articles. I agree, it has always helped me stay sane, knowing my mom, or sister,or aunt.or dad was right on the other end if I needed to vent, or a moment to be an ADULT. I think people today forget that moms are so much more than only moms…we are people. Whole, adult people, who need an identity away for their children. And my children never, ever have to question if I love them…I show them every day.

Alicia 10 months ago

While I appreciate your comment, unless you have kids you don’t know the great struggle of the clothing battle every morning. Trying to “stick to your guns” is like trying to wrestle a wet cat into a sweater. It involves far too much energy that as a very tired mom (or dad) it is not worth expending it, especially prior going to work at 8:30 am and that you need to have them fed, dressed, teeth brushed, etc on top of getting yourself ready. It IS very upsetting like you said, when your kid’s jacket isn’t zipped up and they’re fighting tooth and nail at 7am and you know you’re getting judged at the bus stop bc your kid is the only one in an unzipped jacket and shorts! So, in short if your kid is HOT like mine all the time no matter the season, please don’t judge me why she is in shorts and a tank top today. Hope one day you’ll understand when you have kids (if you choose to) and you seem to have a good perspective now, but just keep this site in mind once you get there lol.

rae 10 months ago

thank you! When me and my best friend take our girls to the park we sit in the moms area beside the closed in toddler area (our girls are both 2) and take turns on our phones. She keeps a look out while I catch up on my fb news feed or what ever and I do the same for her. Sometimes we are on at the same time but one of us glances up every so often to check. This is also the time we catch up on what’s new in our lives that we maybe haven’t been able to discuss in the random text we send each other. When you have a very high energy toddler and your a stay at home mom sometimes those 5 minutes on the phone can really center you. We have both got dirty looks and stares while on our phones.

But what these people don’t realize is I’m with my daughter from eyes open to eyes close. We read books, watch movies, dance like fools, sing, count etc. 5 minutes on my phone is my 5 minutes.

Biblegal1 11 months ago

You’ll be singing a different tune if your precious child disappears while you are engrossed in your phone. I am a grandma who is totally enamored with my grandchildren’s antics and conversation in a way I was not with my own 4 children. And I did not even have a phone back then but there were distractions aplenty anyway.

Kristi 11 months ago

A lot of people definitely overuse devices, but there was a lot about paying 100% attention to the kids in the article/in the comments of the articles like that one.. it’s not just our generation that has been distracted from our kids- we just have a different kind of distraction. Before, it was books, it was housework, it was moms at playdates paying attn to each other instead of the kids, etc. People are too judgmental of each other, and our kids are the ones suffering because heaven forbid we don’t pay attention to every single thing!

jmorrow 12 months ago

I know many of you are trying to feel better about what you do, but I disagree with this. I don’t think it is just a matter of paying attention to our children. You are going to raise a child that will surely be addicted to tablets/devices and constant stimulation from media. You are going to look like hippocrits every time you encourage them to study or read a book.

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kim 12 months ago

When my son started 10th grade he announced he intended to wear shorts to school for the entire year. After endless soul searching and many ‘what will the teachers think’ I decided not to force the issue. I did tell him that if he got even a cold, he was paying for the doctor’s appointment and the medicine. He did not get sick once. (I drew the line at sledding in shorts. He could choose to sled in pants or stay inside in shorts) He got tons of attention from many of the girls and I found out in June that he won a five dollar bet. Thanks for reminding me of that very funny year.

Sarah 12 months ago

I was reading some comments and a lot of mom said they felt guilty after reading the judgy iPhone post. I didn’t feel guilty when I first read it. I’m definitely an iPhone mom too. I actually felt sorry for her. She seemed like the kind of mom who makes her kids the center of the universe. I don’t envy anyone with that outlook. It’s not good for anyone.

geekymom 1 year ago

I agree about the whole “book” thing. I thought the same thing. When I was a kid there would be a park full of moms sun tanning, smoking or reading. They didn’t play with us anymore than the moms of today. In fact, my mom almost never played outside with us. We ran around outside and played with the neighbor kids. If you can’t tell I grew up in the 70’s and 80’s. Hence the smoking in the park. ROFL – Those were the days. :)

oneoldmom 1 year ago

You sound like me. I too was in my 30’s when I had my kids. I am not liking how much we are told what to do with our children. I think I’m perfectly capable of taking care of my children and helping guide them in their decisions. I don’t know if it’s just getting older and not putting up with BS or what, but I do not let teachers talk to me or treat me the way they act with some. In fact, I think the teachers at our school cringe when they see me coming. I will tell them I think they are wrong. I was once in a meeting where they announced they would advance the kids to fractions and skip over basic math to get them ready for state testing. I asked them how the kids are supposed to learn advanced math if they can’t add, subtract, multiply and divide. I was told they could use calculators. Let’s just say I wasn’t asked again to be the parent who watches in again after I bombarded them with a barrage of questions about what happens when there isn’t a calculator handy. I can’t remember what the meeting was called, but it was one where they had to have parents attend. This meeting was required for some type of funding they get. They just wanted parents who would sit back and agree with whatever they said. I am not that parent. I sometimes wonder where common sense has gone.

anonomys 1 year ago

im a guy and i dont have kids but i believe that when its cold children should be zipped if i did have kids id be upset 2 if they werent zipped up i have zipped coats for kids several times i dont blame u for being upset when your child doesent have his or her coat zipped up id want it zipped 2 try 2 be strong and stick 2 your guns

RchstrRN 1 year ago

It’s interesting that you rationalize inattentive parenting by glorifying it on the internet, but hey, what ever makes you feel entitled to stare at a piece of glass and plastic while your children keep themselves busy. I think what I find most interesting is the droves of fellow phone junkies that banter in support, giving each other reassurance that they aren’t the only ones absorbed in mindless social networking. No worries, the parents who don’t have an electronic glued to our hands, we…we are still out here parenting, we see your kids and we see you over there, eyes fixed down, captivated by the latest Rotten Ecard on Facebook… Go ahead and click that like, hell give a little LOL if you will, because we’ll keep an eye and an ear out while you scroll away in your self absorbed little world. 2 years ago

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Wendy Sahl Wainwright 2 years ago

I think it's actually much better for our children to watch us be engaged in interesting things than for us to be giving them 100% of our attention every waking moment. For sure that's going to end with their childhood (or child number 2).

Pamela Baldwin 2 years ago

I ones that are watching you, are not watch their children.

k.burke 2 years ago

I am going to keep this short……
You clearly feel guilty for the use of your cell phone and that is why you are trying to justify it to the world. I believe that we do need time away, grown up time, time off from being a mom….. but it certainly shouldn’t be while we are in the presence of our children!!! We should be engaged….. and if they are busy playing, why don’t you take the time to connect with the teachers, your kids friends and other parents in your community while you are at events like “fun night” I actually am disgusted by your response…. and those of the others that are trying to make it sound acceptable.
Enjoy your “Mommy” time!!!

Mrs. Rod 2 years ago

Oh my gosh! Is there anything more BORING than pushing a swing back and forth ad nauseum? I wish we had cell phones and tablets when my kids were growing up. I was bored at the park after 10 minutes but, of course, they wanted to stay for hours.

Here’s a question – if you had been reading a book or magazine would you have received the same criticism? I think not. People are so conditioned to think negatively of strangers on their smart phones (and, I admit there are times I have the same feelings), they’ll jump at a chance to speak ill, not even caring they don’t have all the information.

caroline 2 years ago

Seriously! If moms showed half as much compassion as they do judgement to one another I think everyone would be a lot happier.

Elizabeth Pantley 2 years ago

Thank you Jill Smoker! _ Unless you follow a mother around 24/7 you don't know. You cannot begin to determine how she raises her children by a 5 minute observation.

Diana @ NannyToMommy 2 years ago

The original “Dear Mom on the iPhone” has been copied & pasted and is being passed around Facebook. My mother-in-law shared it. I told her that I didn’t care for it because I felt it was judgmental because the person doesn’t know why that woman is on her phone. But of course I’m the judgmental one for pointing that out. :/

Michelle Cordero 2 years ago

Good for you! You enjoy that phone girl! Your kids will always make sure that you see their achievements. Don't let anyone tell you different.

Todd Toepfer 2 years ago

Justification for experiencing life through the glowing 3" screen? Wow!


Sasha Farley 2 years ago

umm, people are disconnecting with others because of phone distractions,it is dangerous in many ways

Tara Sanders-Vanover 2 years ago

thank you!

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Circassian Bego 2 years ago

Even if the teacher was in the right if this particular mom really should have been watching her kids, her response (as it were) was totally out of line. You do _not_ touch a person’s property or breach the basic rule of physical contact unless the goddamned transit bus is on fire or someone’s in immediate danger. If a body did that to me under _any_ circumstances they’d probably be missing a few teeth not long afterwards.

I realize the original article was meant to be partly sarcastic, but I think I can comprehend that the teacher’s actions were related verbatim, based on the context.


Elizabeth Beaudry 2 years ago

Hey, whatever you have to tell yourself.

Smartest Man Here 2 years ago

Smartphones have only been in the mass market for 5 years. There is no evidence to suggest they are having a positive, negative of null impact on our kids.

However, it might be bad. It might be really bad. I’m not going to take that risk. I won’t judge you, but that means you cannot judge me when my kid is highly successful and yours won’t even call you on Mother’s Day.

Jodie 2 years ago

Had to comment- I was one of those people thinking that about moms and iphones. I don’t have any kids but wow- you make so much sense! You’re so right- I feel terrible for ever judging.
I’m impressed by this blog- you’re awesome!!!

Heather 2 years ago

Awesome. My son was in his diaper for the first 3 months of his life in dead heat of summer.

Heather 2 years ago

Maybe I’m oblivious or maybe I don’t give a crap. As I get older, I pick my friends more and more carefully. I don’t give people like that the time of day. Why do people care so much about what other people are doing? I have enough trouble chasing my 1 year old around, making sure he doesn’t fall on his face, making sure he’s not bored (happiest kid in the world… unless he’s bored), trying work to pay my bills while keeping my son and husband happy. I don’t have the TIME to worry about other people’s problems! Where do these women find the TIME???

Laura 2 years ago

I think what this article was meant when your child is saying mommy mommy look at me spinning or accomplishing the monkey bars and looking for your excitement, and you are face down in your iphone, it was not meant for your children at playzone and parties, they don’t care for us then anyway, but when our children hope we just acknowledged there first bike ride, we do actually see it. I agree with this article to a point because my daughter just recently finally jumped rope and my face was in the iphone, so this struck a nerve.

Ashley 2 years ago


THAT is the most compelling argument for putting down your phone I have ever read. Much more effective than sanctamommy.

Seriously, your story makes me actually stop and think about when and where it’s appropriate to spend time on my phone and be distracted. Thank you for sharing.

Jordan Miller 2 years ago

I just read this article while my 3 year old daughter was playing drums on pots and pans.

Meghan 2 years ago

Hear, here! I’m so glad I’m not the only one whose blood boils every time I see that thing. It is pure sanctimommy, and it chaps my behind.

Cori 2 years ago

I’m a paid FT nanny as well and had to reply to Jennifer M’s post about nannies. If the child(ren) is safe and not bullying your kids, then why is the nanny’s behavior any of your business? I use my iPhone to take pictures of the little girl and send it to her parents so they can be a part of her day. Depending on what moment you look at me, I may or may not be on my phone. I’ve seen mothers yakking away while their bratty 5 year olds bullied my 2 year old charge at the playground. Don’t judge me, just as I won’t judge you.

Justin 2 years ago

Can a dad comment?

Tomorrow, when I take a day off to be with my kids on a vacation day, I’ll be checking my phone.

Yesterday, when I went in to the office early and then spent the afternoon at home with the kids while my wife went to her office, I checked my phone.

Why did I do this? Because I’m self-absorbed and detached from my children? Um, no.

I did so because I have a job – one I don’t leave at the office. Because checking my phone and using it to communicate with the office lets me be with them instead of at the office. Because maintaining our careers helps us build our children’s lives.

It’s called the big picture. Scary Mommy gets it. Tonya Ferguson appears not to.

Kae 2 years ago

I tutored a child once whose father never looked up from his iPhone. This child was emotionally fragile and did anything and everything to try and get his dad’s attention, but he wasn’t as important as his dad’s game. Neither was I when I tried telling the dad what great process his son had made and how well he’d done that day. The kid kept tugging on his arm, hopping for a smile. If your phone means more than your kid, don’t have any. There are to many me only moms in this world who let their poor innocent children suffer. Every day I pick up their pieces and their broken hearts. They share with me the pain, the abandonment they feel from their parents. If you don’t believe it. You’re living in a fantasy world.

essijay 2 years ago

yeah, the reason they were called is because he was sitting in the stroller (we use it to take laundry to the laundromat 4 blocks away) and someone driving through the neighborhood thought it was a toddler with no adult around – which is completely understandable and i’m glad that people would call in those situations. the neighborhood here is full of busybodies, always watching and gossiping – which is the only reason i feel safe letting him out alone, because i KNOW people are watching everything that’s going on in the ‘hood.

there are a couple groups around but they’re all really religious and i’ve had bad experiences with them trying to tell my kid about satan and hell and such – he’s got the emotional age of a 4 year old and i don’t feel he’s ready to hear things like that (honestly doubt he should ever hear it – spiritual decisions should be based on love not fear)

thanks, though, for the advice! :-)

Andrea 2 years ago

I’m sorry to hear that essijay. These stories give child services a bad rep. I’m sure they were just responding to the call, but it sounds like you have neighbors keeping an eye on you. I would definitely try to look into some joint homeschooling options to give you and your son a change of scenery. I don’t know a lot about it, but there are a lot of resources for homeschoolers in my area. Maybe private school tuition breaks in the future? I’m not trying to give you yet another set of mommy advice regarding education. I would crack up if I was trying to homeschool my kids (though when my son was diagnosed with ADHD at 7 it passed my mind for a second). I’m sure the whole scene leaves a bad taste in your mouth, but maybe use it to branch out so your son can make some other buds if none in neighborhood.

Andrea 2 years ago

This was a good one. I’ve talked to daycare centers that have a hard time with parents who are constantly on the phone, did I mention that my iPhone is my best friend? I even mentioned it in a recent blog. I think that there are limits to set. I would absolutely die of boredom if I didn’t bring my phone with me sometimes, other times I really do need it for work. That teacher had a set of balls to take your phone from you…even for a second. We know that our children are precious, we will notice them, we will take our eyes off of screens, they will learn to entertain themselves. I think as long as you pocket the phone at the precise moment of school drop off/pick up long enough to engage your child and teacher if needed it should be sufficient (as far as schools go). If your kid tells you to ‘please get off the phone’ then maybe scale back. I scaled back my tech use one day and thought I was going to replace it with excessive drinking and smoking. We all need time to regroup and refocus.

tara 2 years ago

Generally I step in as the first punch is thrown (hopefully the second before but hey it does happen) I am probably completely deaf and just don’t realize it yet LOL. I also swear by my basement play room and video baby monitor :) I could not imagine 3 girls, my neighbours girls make me want to pull my hair out. Oh and I make sure that I give stupid amounts of praise to whomever was hit and DID NOT hit back :)

Eliza 2 years ago

Yes! Thank you!

I’m a homeschool mom AND I work from home. When I’m out with my daughter, it’s ABSOLUTELY so other people can entertain her and so that her worldview expands beyond my own. If we wanted to play the Judging Game, I so would win. “I’m not shoving my kid out the door for six hours every weekday to be babysat by strangers. She’ll never be a latchkey kid. I’m the one teaching her to read, write, do math, understand history, appreciate science, decode art.” And I LOVE it. Out relationship is great. Sure, we have tough moments, but we have so much fun together.

So when we’re out, I absolutely pull out my iPhone or iPad. I’m either working or planning school or helping organize activities with our homeschool group, or encouraging friends like us through their school day. And my daughter is so glad to have time off from me, too! 😉

Charity Deleon 2 years ago

Social media has become so prominent in society and for many of us super busy moms it a way to stay connected and unwind. I recently started deactivating my facebook occasionally just to give myself a break and free up extra time and when I’m out with the kids I try to only keep the phone out to take pictures of them but it’s hard. It’s our connection to the world.

Anastasia @ eco-babyz 2 years ago

You know, I find it funny that I can relate to BOTH posts :) I am a work-at-home-mom as well and I do feel very blessed to be at the park with my kids when many moms are at an office while their kids are at daycare or with a nanny. I have no smart phone, by choice. But if I did, undoubtedly I would be checking work email while they run around at the park so that they could have my full attention when we get home and I don’t have to run to my computer to answer a couple of important emails.

At the same time, I know exactly what the author of the first article meant too. We hear it a lot from moms who have grown kids, I hear it from my older mom friends “I wish I was more present in their life”. I know what they are saying because my ‘little baby’ is already 4 and my second is 15 months – I do notice a difference in them, their behavior, when I am engaged with them versus with my nose in a book at the playground or even just chatting with another mom. They adore it when I am playing with them, especially because at home my attention is often on preparing meals and housework (just enough so it doesn’t burst at the seams).

I think it’s perfectly fine to have your nose in your smartphone some days, to make appointments, to catch up with a friend, to check a few emails. But I also think we have to be careful not to be doing that all.the.time. Otherwise that’s how your kids will remember you, that your attention was always elsewhere. Who is to say that you will have any of their attention when you are old and wrinkly, yearning to connect with them – but they are too busy keeping up with their social media life. We do need a balance, and that is different for every mom. We also all have different needs in terms of being connected with the world outside of our home. Some moms are fine being with kids 24/7 and only chatting with their friends once a week, other moms NEED to connect with others more and it only makes them better moms.

I don’t think we have to fight over it :) Just need to recognize how different we all are. One mom could be on her phone and fully aware of her kids, another may be so lost in her phone conversation or checking social media that she wouldn’t even notice her kid disappear. You need to know yourself and who you are, raise your children however it works for you – nobody knows you better :)

Garden Tenders/Kim 2 years ago

Thats a scary thought….. I am one of the bench mommies too, and being able to chat while littles safely play “independently” would be nice.

Melanie 2 years ago

Thanks for that. I appreciate what you are saying, but don’t take my comments as saying I’m not keeping a close eye on my kids. My son and pack o’ pals run from our house to his buddies over an over. He is well cared for an looked after.

I’m an awesome mom (as I am sure you are) and I want him to run and play and explore and be outside and get fresh air and play with his friends. He’s not playing alone, he’s playing with kids from the neighborhood of all ages (5-12), where they are teaching each other to skate, ride bikes, and play soccer. It’s brilliant and they love it. If they weren’t playing outside they’d be inside playing alone on the computer or the like complaining of being bored. I’m grateful on play days that he goes to bed tired from play rather than tired from lethargy.

essijay 2 years ago

just be careful with that – i had child services called on me because i let my kid (almost 8) go outside to play without being outside with him. and, of course, the worker comes in and gives me all the horror stories about kids being snatched and predators in their car full of stuffed animals and toys being caught watching kids walk home from school… all said, of course, in front of my child… so now he’s scared to go outside, so he instead he sits inside and whines about how bored he is all day long.

i’m the single mother, homeschooling because i’m too poor to send him to private school (where it’s possible he may be abused there also), with no family in the area – so i’m with my child 24/7 — i’m the mom immersed in my technology because, if i don’t have some sort of adult interaction, i will go completely nuts – and THAT’S not good for my kid. and quite frankly, i don’t want to stare at my child all day every day – oh what a shitty mother that makes me!

Jolene 2 years ago

I feel like this is nothing new. My mom spent so much time in my childhood on the wall phone (I’m 18). Every generation has their same version of this. I agree with you, the post came off as ridiculously preachy and judgy. If the hypothetical mom in question wasn’t on her iphone she would be falling asleep or chatting to another mom.

zeemaid 2 years ago

I’m glad you wrote about this. I saw your response a few days ago in my email subscription and appreciated it then but it was brought back to me again today when I saw the original post shared on Facebook. Of cousre,

It ticks me off on so many levels because I do feel guilty for taking a book or playing on my phone at the park. So much so, I end up not reading or using my phone and envy those moms that can sit there confidently using theirs.

What the writer fails to think about is about how many other times we are 100% focused on our children. She wasn’t at our house to witness the hour spend building sheet forts in the living room or the time spent baking cookies together or blowing bubbles and a 101 other things that somehow end up being done in a day.

Sure some people take cellphones to excess but really were we meant to be plugged into our kids 24 hours a day? Did our parents give us 100% of their attention? Hell no. I was sent off to play outside and told to come back for supper. One of my children is extremely high demanding and if she runs off at the park and is able to play on her own for 20 minutes or so with saying “mom” 50 times, I should be able to take that opportunity for some down time without feeling guilty.

Sorry didn’t mean to go off on a rant.. but I’m sure you’ll understand 😉

Diane Finlay 2 years ago

What if you were reading a book or as many dad’s used to do – take the kids to the park and read the newspaper. So what if you take a moment to yourself.

Laura 2 years ago

Thank you so much! This blog post and the following comments have restored my faith in … humanity? Mommy-hood? Something. I was almost to the point where I never want to make another mom-friend again. So much judging, and I’d rather be lonely but uncondemned. So, all of you, Thanks! Seriously!

Marcie 2 years ago

Hehehe, 50 degree weather here in Canada is down right balmy. You get a couple of degrees above freezing on a sunny day and you’ll see all the kids (and adults) stripping off their coats to enjoy the warm day. I have fond
memories of walking home from school swinging my winter coat around with the sound of melting snow dripping down the gutters:) Weather is in the eye of the beholder and we all feel it differently.

Andrea (Lil-Kid-Things) 2 years ago

I keep seeing such amazing responses to that post that I have no need to read it. Pass the wine, keep the judging. Loved your thoughts!

Nancy 2 years ago

I just came across scary mommy after reading an article about breast feeding. I must have been under a rock or something, because this woman is genuinely THE best blogger I have read. Will tell my daughter:) I am supposedly a grown up now with two grandkids, but am signing up in a heartbeat:) Her sense of humor is joyful, and sums up soooo much of what we as women ( or men for that matter) feel regarding parenting. Wish I had known about her when I first had my kids:) Love!

Kelly Elliott 2 years ago

Love this. I read the original on facebook and was literally laughing out loud. I get so sick of people thinking they are the perfect mom. The can’t be, I am :)

Rebekah @ The Golden Gleam 2 years ago

Oh my, you gave me a chuckle. Imagine the pressure of having to attend to every marvelous thing. It wouldn’t be so marvelous anymore, and yes, we would all be off our rockers.

Crystal 2 years ago

Thank you for this. I saw that original post and saw red. I have been spitting fire about it for weeks now and am thrilled someone managed to write a coherent smart response to it that shares how I feel.

I too am that mom on the phone. I live on the opposite side of the planet from my friends and family-and the phone is my lifeline to them. And yes, my child is spinning–do you know how many freaking hours a day she spends spinning? It won’t kill her to see me check my phone instead, and it may make my day a thousand times better to see a new photo of a friend or to know that my grandpa is doing well or just to check in with another SAHM/WAHM mom friend about their day. Because my kids are awesome, but at 4 and 1, they aren’t exactly thrilling conversationalists.

Lindsey 2 years ago

Amen! This is spot on! Thank you so much! You rock!

Jan 2 years ago

Oh thank god you said it. I read this crap the other day and started to feel guilty; then I came back to reality and realized whoever wrote/agreed with this has never experienced the day to day life of a sahm or wahm. Judgey McJudgersons need to step off.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

That’s not how I intended to get my point across at all; I’m sorry it read that way. My point was, that I’d be equally judged for THAT decision, just as much as I am for my current one.

Working mom 2 years ago

I love your blog. It’s on my must read list. I am sad that you chose to judge full time working moms who use nannies to make your point today.

cathy 2 years ago

What if while you’re on the phone someone comes up and takes your child. It only takes a second. Anything can happen when you’re not paying attention to the kids. If you’re with your kids, be with them, not playing on the phone, play with them!

Jen Provenzano 2 years ago

Sweet Baby Jeebus! Thank you for writing this! It’s okay to maintain some personal interests while still being a world class mom!!! You’re awesome. But, you already know this 😉

Mama D 2 years ago

Amen and hallelujah. Haven’t these preachy sorts figured out that a little “me” time for Mama makes her a better mother? As long as the children are safe, they don’t need Mama’s attention every second of their lives. I would argue that they are actually BETTER for not having Mama’s attention every second of their lives (again, provided that they are in a safe situation.) I’m afraid that I would have given that teacher an earful. The “tsk, tsk” was bad enough, but having the sheer nerve to actually pull my phone out of my hand??

Traci Reed 2 years ago

What these self-righteous Mommies do not realize is that until the last 100-150ish years, nobody was stopping to “enjoy” their children at all. Life was about survival for all but the most upper classes and children were put on this earth to help you survive, not to be cherished and put at the center of the universe.

I get that our time with our children is brief and we need to enjoy it while we can, but to act like my children are the center of my very being would be a contrived falsehood. I feed them, bathe them, clothe them, put a roof over their heads and offer them the best education I can muster. I take them to the park when I can manage it, I make sure they have enough books and toys to occupy their minds (but not so many that they are spoiled and unappreciative) and dammit, because I TRY, I consider myself a pretty damn good mom.

I’m sorry if checking in to my business on my phone while my kids play blissfully in the sunshine knocks me down a peg in your eyes, but not really because you aren’t the center of my life either, Judgmental Mommy.

Facebook Exile 2 years ago

Interesting comments, and I can see both sides of the argument. There are times that the Internet keeps me sane as well.

But I have a bit different perspective on why it’s important, in certain situations, to keep “eyes on”. I made a huge mistake. Please don’t do the same.

Nicole 2 years ago

Oh trust me, I don’t like working at a desk all day either and would MUCH rather be home with my kid where *shock* I will check Facebook and return calls while he occupies himself. Like I said, I totally get your point, and perhaps my underlying guilt at the necessity of being away from my kid all day makes me touchy about the “working mom” thing. Bottom line, we all do the best we can, and “tsk-tsking” others is not cool. I may have punched that teacher in the throat…

Gramma of two 2 years ago

So my 4 yr old granddaughter says to me”come and make your coffee Gramma and lets go to the park.” I don’t take the technology with me,but I do understand that in today’s society technology is a need and not a want.Anyone that would have the audacity to forcibly remove anything from my hand and belittle and berate me in front of the children would be looking at the world through a swollen eye.I am fortunate enough to be a big part of my Granddaughter’s lives and I look after them the same as I looked after my own.I also am of the let them go outside and play era.WE have a fenced yard and a lot of windows.Children need to learn to be independent and that is learned through play.I say let the kids play and let the parents have a break whether its chatting or texting or just having a cup of coffee on the park bench………… Despite my neglect and the neglect of their parents(how dare they work and use cell phones in the presence of their girls) the little ones are intelligent and well adjusted and don’t need constant attention from anyone.Gramma loves you Gracie and Alexis.

Donna 2 years ago

The bottom line is there has to be a balance-no one is a bad mother for checking their phone while at the park(or reading or talking with a friend or knitting/crocheting), that is ridiculous to say so. Of course don’t judge because of a 10 second snapshot of someone. But when you allow it to completely remove you from the situation, so much so your child is basically allowed to run roughshod over others or acting in a way to cause other people great irritation, there is a problem.

On a side note, what that teacher did was out of line. I would express as much in an email to her-she made you feel small and like a child and you are an adult and expect to be treated as such.

Donna 2 years ago

I want to preface this with the fact that I COMPLETELY agree with your post: But when you are out in a restaurant and see a family where the children are carrying on because they are being completely ignored by their parents that have their nose in the phone the WHOLE TIME? Yes it is a snapshot of their lives and a pretty telling one. If you can’t be bothered to sit and have dinner and socialize with your family without your face in your phone the whole time, then there is a problem.

Everyone needs a break, yes, of course. And if the kids are otherwise engaged then what is the big deal? But when you out and out ignore them when you are supposedly having one on one time(like a dinner out), then it is a problem.

Goofus 2 years ago

I will admit to taking quick peeks of things online with my phone, but I more watch my kids, not for the joy of watching them, but for their safety. I don’t hover over them, I watch from a bench. My children mean the world to me. I haven’t raised them for as long as I have for someone else to snatch them up and do what they want with them. I mostly look at the parents who are so engrossed in their phone and think, would you even notice your child missing before you decided it was time to leave?

Kristin 2 years ago

First, the sanctimommies need to stop the judgement. But, silver lining- if they didn’t, we wouldn’t get to read awesome articles like this one. Second, kids need to KNOW they aren’t the center of the universe. Otherwise they grow up to be *that* guy (or gal)- you know exactly the type I’m referring to- entitled, whiny, woe-is-me, self-centered, judgemental…. just like their weirdo parents.

And I would be SERIOUSLY ticked if my son’s teacher grabbed my iPhone and scolded me like a small child…. I’m usually responding to a number of the endless work emails I get ( I work at home also)- I would be seeing red, fo sho. Kudos to you for not responding with something snarky. I don’t know that I’d have had as much self-control. :)

Alan 2 years ago

OK so obviously I am a Dad not a Mom but I figured I would weigh in on this article. There are far to many parents that hover and over protect their children and to be honest it isn’t doing anything good for the development of their children. When I was young i HATED my mother fussing over me on the rare time that it happened…. I was raised to be independant, to think for myself, to learn with guidence rather then having it done for me, to solve my own problems and if and when I couldn’t to be taught the way to do it so I would know what to do again when the time came.

Having a Mother (or Father) running around after their children blocking their development at every turn has created a generation of entitlement, children don’t need to DO anything because it is done for them. Children no longer have basic street smarts that teach them the dangers to aviod in life because they have a parent there to do it for them…. until they are in a situation where their parents aren’t arround and they are clueless. The amount of times I have to slam my brakes because a child playing in the street thinks the best way to aviod an oncoming car is to run IN FRONT of the car and across the street (the longest distance to travel) instead of taking 2 or 3 steps backwards to the closest curb.

I, along with my wife, raise our children the same way that WE were brought up so that our children will be smart, respectful, resoursful, independent ADULTS that do not feel that life should be handed to them. Life is hard, it takes work and it is getting harder and harder every year, and I want my children to be ready for everything that life brings so they won’t be one of the lazy, clueless young adults that feel that the world somehow owes them everything for nothing because they were given everything in life and never had to actually DO anything on their own.

Ok so maybe this is a little off the mark based on the article but basically I am saying that parents do not need to hover over their children 24-7…. parents are (this may be shocking to some) allowed time to them selves WHILE being with their children… and that doesn’t make you a bad parent or a bad person.

congrats to all of the Mom’s on here that get it… enjoy your children AND the moments of time that you take for your self throughout the day that keep you sane :)

Heather 2 years ago

Living in Australia I enjoyed there where culturally they mind their own business and as a mom it was very liberating not having anyone judge me or offer unsolicited advice.

In the above blog had this been the Good-ole-days, this mother likely would not have even been at the park but at home and the kids were just sent outside to play without adult supervision.

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 2 years ago

And just how old are you?

Tinne from Tantrums and Tomatoes 2 years ago

I’m actually more shocked by the teacher’s behaviour! How old is that person?
And also : it is ok for kids to play unsupervised. It helps them build self – esteem, to build healthy relationships with their peers, to stand up for themselves and to not always rely on mommy.

Iska 2 years ago

Not offended at all. You have a right to express what your medical training has taught you.

Kim/Garden Tenders 2 years ago

That is a great point about our husbands and how we expect to be treated by them. I hadn’t thought about that side of it at all.

Beth Ineson 2 years ago

I understand why this seems very logical and innocent. I get why it is offensive to you that others judge. It shouldn’t be that way. I do, however, understand the heart behind the article regarding “cell phone” mothering. There have been many occasions where children whose mothers are busy “staying sane and being better moms” have ruined my children’s time at the park, party, zoo, field trip, museum, etc. Being with our children is difficult and finding “me time” is even harder, but zoning out in public makes the lives of other moms more difficult as they feel obligated to watch out for your kids and theirs. I apologize to the people this will offend, really, I do. Please, though, for the sake of my kids and my time with them stay off your phone and watch your kids or play with them yourself. That might go a long way to helping keep you sane, too. Thanks moms!

Mrs. Gray 2 years ago

I also work from home (ahem, my phone) and feel this very same way! I have been guilty of letting it be a time suck, but I definitely agree with you on the points you make. Thank you!

Sue 2 years ago

I can totally see both sides of it – i took it for what it was to me, an older woman who has grown kids who now feels like she wasted time or didn’t enjoy each moment enough, and who probably forgets how hard it can be. Some days, it’s not enjoying the moment, it’s survival. As a Mom of 5 (stay at home & homeschooling) i have awesome Mommy days where everything is perfect and we’re rocking the whole family love thing, then other days where if i didn’t have my phone and a way to communicate with other adults or my sisters i might jump off the roof:)

Shari 2 years ago

Hell, when it gets to 50 degrees here and the sun’s out my children like to wear shorts and I don’t stop them. Where we live that’s considered “warm” weather.

And, thank you for posting this. I was feeling like a crappy mom after I read that article this last week. Like someone else said, the internet helps keep her sane. The same goes for me.

Natalie 2 years ago

My son wears shorts from time-to-time in the winter. They spend most of the day indoors anyway!!

When my daughter was younger, she would never zip up her jacket. She used to tell me that she had a fire inside her. She had a brand-new coat that her friend was somehow standing on & when my daughter picked it up, the zipper pull popped off. I didn’t bother doing anything about it b/c she never zipped up her coat anyway. A couple days later, her teacher sent a message home that I had to buy her a new coat. Embarrassed into doing this, I went and bought her a new coat w/ a functional zipper. The next day, they were sent home early b/c it was snowing. I was standing outside FREEZING in my 3 layers & zipped up coat… while my daughter was running around w/ her brand-new coat… UNZIPPED!!

Tanya 2 years ago

Wow, there’s a lot of venom here! I agree we shouldn’t judge the moms on the phone at the park. We also shouldn’t judge the moms at the park who are paying attention to their kids, or the moms at the office working while their kids are at the park with a nanny, OR the moms working while their kids are at day care. We should know better. Don’t all of us moms already carry around enough guilt and stress without piling it on each other? Can’t we all just get along?

Aly 2 years ago

I beg to differ. No, I’m not a mom, but I am with my little brother constantly and he’s ALWAYS hot even though he’ll be sitting on the couch doing absolutely nothing. Nothing is wrong with him either, he just happens to be one of those boys that overheats all the time. He’ll come home from school and even in winter when I’m covering up with a blanket on the couch, he’ll be stripping down to his undies and sitting around in them until mom comes home. It’s just how he is.

Carly 2 years ago

I read that article on Facebook just a few hours ago and felt the EXACT same way I even read it to my husband and told him exactly how horrible I thought it was. Yeah lets make every mother feel horrible! I agree that I am sometimes on my phone too much. But I never feel like I should be told about it in that way. making me feel like the worst person ever. We are all doing the best that we can and sometimes those moments on our phone interacting with other moms helps keep us sane.

Shari 2 years ago

This comment was for another post. It posted in the wrong place. Sorry. It was meant for the Faith Hopkins entry.

katie 2 years ago

Thank you, me too :)

Liz 2 years ago

I seriously have my fists in the air right now in a sweet victory dance.

The article referenced really pushed my bottons. I’m so glad that someone wrote exactly what I was thinking.

To add. My children go to the park to play, make friends, and learn independence. They go to learn that they do not need me 24/7. I refuse to be a hover parent.

Lily 2 years ago

As a teacher, I’m embarrassed that a teacher did that to a parent. At the same time, I know that as a teacher I’m expected to be engaged with other people’s kids every single minute of the school day. My cell phone stays in my purse all day with the exception of my 30 minute lunch. If the tables get turned in this situation, and I decided to pull out my phone during the school day, then I would be labeled as a “bad teacher”.

Nina 2 years ago

I may have to borrow that oxygen tank line! Thanks! :)

Susan 2 years ago

I kept thinking when I read that preachy post – why didn’t the MAN who wrote it ask where the hell is daddy while mommy is at the park with three kids 2 years ago

Excellent post! I think we are all that mom at some point… Well except of course that perfect mother who wrote it… I’m just a little confused as to how she found the time to judge other mamas while giving her 100% attention to her own children and then to write about it!
And yes I’m on my iPhone right now and my children are happily playing with other children. I’ll be off in a second playing with them the back on again later.

Catherine 2 years ago

I don’t think anyone thinks that you don’t have to parent. I’m not sure what the point of your original comment was. It’s asinine to think that any parent, ever, has (or should) stare at their kid every second of every day, or even drop everything and look every. single. time. your kid says “Hey, Mom, look at me!” Frankly, I think over-prioritizing attention to the child at the expense of all else leads to a spoiled brat and an adult with no life of her own. When my kids are playing/drawing/watching TV, they don’t need me to hover. In fact, they need to work out their minor squabbles themselves, without interference. When they want my attention, they have it. In fact, I paused in the middle of this reply to watch my preschooler do a silly dance.

There’s a lot of blame placed on the internet because it’s the new thing, and “we didn’t have it when I was raising my kids.” Well, great. Anyone who says that (like some in these replies) knows nothing about parenting in the age of ubiquitous Internet access. I’m sure 20 years ago it was something else that was going to ruin a generation of kids. Whether or not someone is raising nice kids really has nothing to do with whether he or she checks their email at the park (or the carnival, or in the carpool line). As it says in the original post, we really know nothing about that person’s parenting in our little glimpse of their lives.

Jessica Smock 2 years ago

Seriously, do you know what my mom was doing when she took us places during the 1970s and 1980s? (And in all honesty, my mom was a really, really great mom.) If we were at a playground, or at the lake, or at the mall, my mom was probably smoking a cigarette and reading a magazine, like every other mother there. Being outside at a park or something was OUR time to hang out on our own, as well as HER time to relax for a little while. I think we’re so overvigilant now about spend every single second with our kids as quality time or “observation” time. I was just at the library — a big urban library — this afternoon and saw a stay at home dad that I always see in the neighborhood who has a toddler the same age as my son. I was running around, chasing after my son’s every move. Do you know what he was doing? Reading a book and absolutely nothing while his son tore around the place. He didn’t even notice I was there, until I tapped on his shoulder. He said to me, “I just let him do his own thing.” EXACTLY.

Gina 2 years ago

WRONG! YOU ARE A BAD MOTHER!!!! If you HAVE to be on your cell to “get away” from your kids, or unable to enjoy them as they are- You are worse than a child and don’t deserve to be a mother. I hope DCFS takes your kids away and gives them to someone who actually wants them.

OMG I HAVE TO BE ON MY IPHONE OR I’LL DIE_ Pathetic. You are a PARENT, not a 13 year old- GROW UP AND WATCH YOUR CHILDREN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Stop playing with your toy, mommy.

Eloisa 2 years ago

I wonder if people are judging me in the middle of summer when I’m wearing a light cardigan over my shoulders because I’m often cold. Yes, I have a lower hemoglobin level than the average person but my doctors feel it’s acceptable. But I’m out and running around with my kids, I’m at the beach and I’m not laying lazily on my sofa ignoring my kids.
My daughter runs extremely hot as well as my 79 y/o mother who takes tap dancing, yoga and tai chi. I guess there’s nothing wrong with her!

As for my iPhone at the park, I’m usually documenting the day with photos and commenting on what is going on, with the clever comments my kids come up with.
I recently went through a ton of old videos taken on my phone over the past 5 years and laughed all over again. I have these memories forever and remember them exactly as the day I took the initial photos. :)

Judge-y mothers protest too much!

Mindy 2 years ago

Hey Catherine, no, I don’t. But they don’t teach their child to behave either if they don’t see it going on. I’ve been a mom for 24 years and the playground is today the same as it was then, full of moms who want to get a break. I understand that. But you have to parent still!

Leah 2 years ago

Amen! You are completely right, I wrote an article for the local newspaper on this exact topic. Kids want to hang out with their parents – do it now while you as a parent are still cool in their eyes!

I grew up in an era where there were no cell phones (gasp!) so I don’t always have my iphone attached to my hip and I am okay with it, my customers know that they can leave me a message and I will call them back as soon as possible. My customers know that I am a parent first and businesswoman second and they appreciate it.

If you are feeling that stressed out then maybe exercising (playing tag) with your kids at the park is a good endorphin releasing activity that will make both you and the kids happy.

Put the cell phones down ladies… does go on without it.

Mindy 2 years ago

It’s only necessary in public places where there are loonies who will do unspeakable things to our children while our noses are twittering… No one is saying they have to place a lock on them, but it’s nice as a child to know someone is looking out for you in this crazy world, not just babysitting & status updating.

Catherine 2 years ago

Hey Mindy, do you think that bratty, undisciplined kids have only been around since the iPhone? Get real. Barring the odd duck who would have gotten addicted to something else anyway, the internet isn’t hurting our parenting. It’s not the cause of crappy parenting. The “good old days” before connectivity weren’t all that you seem to think they were.

Catherine 2 years ago

Bravo! I always wonder what anyone who thinks we should, could, or would want to keep our full attention on our kids 24/7 is thinking. Do they have kids? Do they remember what it’s like? What a load of crap that “mom on the iphone” poem is. And doubly awful for being a poem and not a well-written essay, like your piece.

Mindy 2 years ago

No need to be sorry! More of us need to actively participate in our kid’s status instead of our own.

Shanan 2 years ago

Did you breast feed?? Kidding! The judgment crap is over the top! Funny I don’t remember my mom playing with me at the park and I really don’t feel sad about it . Go figure ?

WickedSteppMom 2 years ago

Faith; In many cases, the signs mentioned are that of stress-but generally they have other symptoms that accompany them. My husband & children all have higher than 98.6 body temperature…normal for them is over 99. On the other hand, if my temperature actually reaches 98.6, I’m a *VERY* sick woman…my “normal” has been around the 96-97 range my whole 37 years. I have epilepsy & have seen multiple neurologists, epileptologists & a neurosurgeon over the years, and all have confirmed what I learned in my own medical training…”normal” body temp is a guide that can be used a symptom w/other issues, but an “abnormal” body temp alone doesn’t necessarily indicate you have something wrong with you.

Mindy 2 years ago

Sounds like a lot of conviction in the replies… I do not think the original (pointing out mothers who over-indulge in the gadgets) article was focusing solely on the park. It’s everywhere. As for the parents here who tout raising self reliant 5 year olds, I’m sorry your mommy did not dote on you enough or perhaps she worked & you were on your own. But children are a gift & require raising…they could turn out “ok”, or they could long for a someone who cared enough about them to give them their attention. This is a risky gamble. Makes me wonder if while you are buried deep in your gadgets, if it’s your children that are the ones who are being the little ‘playground-darlings’ who push, shove & throw sand… Before you give in to our selfish natures, try for a week putting away the gizmos while with your kids. Focus on them and get to know them better. I mean, if our husbands only looked into the touch screen & not our eyes while we were together, how would it (or does it) make us feel?

Sarah 2 years ago

I wrote about this EXACT SAME POST on my blog yesterday! Yes, agree 100%. This is an important topic that we, as moms & as women, need to talk about. Plus, you know what? If Dad’s on his iPhone at soccer practice, it’s all, “Oh, what a great dad for getting off work early to take his son to practice.” But if it’s me? Well, I’m an asshole missing precious moments and setting myself up for a lifetime of regret. Yeah, right.

Nessa 2 years ago

I wonder why the judgemental parent is so busy watching what you’re doing rather than her children…

realmomof3boys 2 years ago

I think what really upset everyone who read the original post was our mommy guilt immediately kicked in and we all started to question if we were bad moms neglecting our children. It felt like a personal attack from someone who is a “better” mom. The reality is moderation and balance and it is up to each individual to be responsible for their own actions. When someone writes something like this, or says something, they may be well meaning and directing it to someone who may need to hear it but unfortunately they will not, instead all of the amazing moms out there will add another stone to their guilt pile and lose more of themselves in the attempt to achieve motherhood perfection. Unless the actions of another mother or child are negatively affecting you or your child directly, keep your judgmental looks, sounds, and comments to yourself, you do not know the ins and outs of anyone else’s lives and parenting styles.

Shamelessly Sassy 2 years ago

I nearly jumped the curb in my car in the school pick-up line while facebooking in my phone today. I’m an official mom on the phone, and I don’t care who knows it. (The curb jumping thing is obviously a gross exaggeration, for anyone truly concerned. However, I did hold the line up for three minutes. You’re welcome.)

Michelle Ramos 2 years ago

Amen. It’s all part of the helicopter parent mentality that is so prevalent nowadays. The life skill people most need to work on: Minding their own business. If I send my kid with a homemade brownie for snack, I don’t care if you don’t think it’s healthy; it’s what *I,* his parent am letting him eat. If I’m letting him climb the playground equipment alone, perhaps I’m a better judge of his abilities and trust that he isn’t in imminent danger. I think one of the greatest gifts a parent can give their child is to just CHILL OUT.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

Yes, we can. And I didn’t mean to imply that in the least – I, personally, would just be miserable with that set up. But I was always miserable working in an office, even before kids.

Melanie 2 years ago

Hear! Hear! My son is playing with the neighborhood kids outside as I write this, from my living room on the iPad. I check the window occasionally and can hear them. no screams? Time to check Facebook. :)

Missy 2 years ago

I too work from home and I too take my work with wherever I may go. I am not a perfect mom, but I am a good mom. Those judgmental moms have no idea the amount of time and energy I put into my kids. I cannot be their entertainer 24/7. It would make all of us insane. Thank you for posting this! Love it!

Jessica 2 years ago

It drives me nuts that the post on FB cause so many great moms to feel like crap b/c they aren’t all “eyes on the prize” 24/7. Let cut all of ourselves some slack!

Cindy 2 years ago

My husband was born in Siberia. His genetic makeup is such that he can withstand cold more than the rest of us. It is physiology. My children therefore will have some of this tendency as well. Thankyouverymuch.

Dana 2 years ago

Bravo! You and I would get along very well. I am also trying to teach my son to do things for himself and be independent. I thought that was one of the main goals in raising children. I usually refuse to push my 6.75 year old on a swing because I know he can do it himself.

Faith Hopkins 2 years ago

If I offended the way you chose to live I wish to express my apologies, however I was not offering my opinion, I am a pediatric oncologist and am extremely familiar with how the body work and when it is sending signals of stress. This was my concern, however, take it for what you will.

catina tanner 2 years ago

Thanks for the post! I will no longer hang my head low in shame while on my iphone in the park! I would much rather be talking to my real friends on FB than the fake, judgemental ones on the park bench!

The Blasphemous Homemaker 2 years ago

I love this. The same moms who judge me for using my iphone are the same ones usually gossiping to each other and equally unaware of their children. At least I’m actually engaged with mine by pushing her on the swing. Also? I’m going back to school and my textbooks fit on my iphone, so 75% of the time, I’m actually trying to get some studying in while they don’t care what I’m doing so that when we get back home and actually want me, they can have me. Shut your judgmental mommy hole and get mad at me when it’s something major. Not being helicopter mom at a playground doesn’t count as major.

TDawn 2 years ago

I may not have a cell phone, but I’ve never seen a problem with other parents having them. If your kids are safe, cared for, and entertained…then I don’t understand the problem. Just because someone sees you not interacting with your kids for 5 minutes doesn’t mean you never interact with your kids.

I suppose there are always extreme cases of some moms that may be phone obsessed to the point of neglect…..but it’s always wrong to judge the many by the few extreme cases.

Every mom needs to back away for a sec, and doing so when your kids aren’t in dire need of your attention is a perfectly ok time.

The teacher was really being a jerk, btw..for judging and having the nerve to treat you like a child by removing an item from your possession.

Scarlet 2 years ago

Thank you!

Iska 2 years ago

Umm. I have skied in a bikini and I see plenty of runners who wear shorts. Everybody is different. Also your diet can change how you feel. I now eat more meat and don’t freeze as quickly at night in bed. TCM is huge on foods and how they affect your body chi. If the kids are healthy and not running a constant low grade fever, I say let them wear what is comfortable. The body knows best.

Being Honest 2 years ago

Thank you for the reminder not to judge. I still live in the dark ages and don’t own a smart phone. I have to admit, if I saw a bunch of moms/parents on their phones at the playground I might find myself doing a bit of judging and possibly feeling envious too.

But the truth is I am on my computer at home not paying attention to my kids at various times during the day. No one sees that though except my kids. That mom I might start to judge may have been on the floor playing with her kid right before they went outside, while I was on the computer. I’m sharing this because I think it’s good to really look at ourselves and admit we may be judging someone for something we do too but just in a slightly different form. Plus we really don’t know people’s stories, what helps a person, who they may be connecting with, etc.

Here’s to all the moms out there, staying sane and connected in whatever way works for them, while loving their kids all the more because of it!

Just Sayin’ 2 years ago

I just have one thing to say…let’s watch ourselves for hypocrisy.

This article was not implying that you have to watch your children with a glazed-over look while they go about their playing. It is saying that when your children are begging for your attention and you continue on your “well-deserved two minutes of mindlessness” you are sending them a message that they aren’t deserving of your attention for those 10 seconds it takes to watch them do their best cartwheel yet. Cherish these moments when they actually want your attention because someday the tables will turn. SOONER THAN YOU THINK! Someday, you are going to have a teenager and you are going to want their attention (because you are going to question whether or not THEY love YOU). You are going to ask them to do something for you, spend time with you, go somewhere with you and they are going to learn from the “master” that they can listen when they feel like it because, after all, they’ve been in school all day learning and they “deserve” a few minutes of mindlessness that doesn’t involve you interrupting them with questions, concern and love.

Don’t worry, mama’s, we all reap what we sow!! You sow seeds of love and attention that’s what you’ll reap. You sow seeds of “I deserve a break from you” then that’s what you’ll reap.

Now, I need to get off my computer and play with the daughter who just asked for my attention.

Rachel Blackett 2 years ago

opps- *and now my friends……
i think i need sleep lol

Amari’s mommy 2 years ago

I just realized my comment made no sense. I’m on my phone (how ironic) while feeding my son. Lol. Using one hand is annoying. Anywho, I was one of the moms that posted the original post on my facebook with some comments to go with it. And I came upon THIS post. A nd was offended by the comments on this post. But you ladies have definitely changed my perspective. Thank you!!

Alex@LateEnough 2 years ago

I totally agree that a snapshot of a family is ridiculous to judge and sometimes if I answer the email at the park while my kids are happily playing by themselves, I get to have the rest of the time to play. Or sometimes I’m just exhausted and need to zone out on Twitter because I’m a human being not a robot mom. The only time I get frustrated with a mom or dad or any caretaker on their phone is when a child is consistently hurting or being rude to my child, and I find myself parenting their kid, too. I’m tired, too, so get up and get over here, then we can both get back to our phones.

Rachel Blackett 2 years ago

I always feel bad that I am not spending much time with my kids (I am not on my iPhone as I don’t have one, but my laptop while I am expressing) but I don’t get to see other adults very often, and always most of my friends are now living somewhere else so its my only “Non Crazy time” Yes I probably could spend less time on here as I do spend time not expressing on here (But what parent doesn’t?) , but I don’t miss my kids special moments, and what else am I meant to do while I am expressing? Just sit there and stare at nothing cause my son is in bed and my daughter has run off to play? I don’t think so!
Whats the bet that article was written by someone without kids, or had them when the world wasn’t so busy, or has unlimited amount of help

Amari’s mommy 2 years ago

I was one of “those” moms that posted the original thing on my facebook. And was getting offended when I started reading the comments. But after reading the comments for almost 20 minutes I started to understand more about needing the break! I definitely agree with you guys now. Thanks for posting and thanks for xthe comments for changing my perspective!

Andrea 2 years ago

You were watching your phone, that hag had her eyes glued to you. What’s the dif? She’s the weirdo in this scenario.

Jen 2 years ago

*high five* From a fellow mom who’s on her phone while at the park.

Gracenikki 2 years ago

I love that you brought up the point about teaching children how to behave socially. God help the next generation-the art of the conversation may well be lost :(

Momchalant 2 years ago

Get it girl. They may not get on their iPhones in public to maintain their “perfect mother role” but they do it when people aren’t looking. You aren’t human if you don’t occasionally ignore your children for your iPhone. You’re just another awesome mom, like the rest of us.

Stacey 2 years ago

I am that Mom too. In fact I read this while sitting in a McDonald’s playplace with 3 of my 7 children. I really despise articles judging other mothers and that’s what I felt that piece did. I actually wrote my own piece in response that I called, I am a Mom, not a robot.

Great minds think alike! 😉

Tracy Larson 2 years ago

Love it!

Sent from my iPhone… :)

AMummysLife 2 years ago

I am this mother. When I am out and about and the kids are occupied with play or swimming lessons etc, I am on my phone. It is my life line. My only real source of adult conversation. My kids know that if something is important I will pay attention to it but I also need my me time! I’m with the kids 24/7. I need something to keep me sane.

Sara 2 years ago

Lovely post! I am happily at the bounce house trying to get some work done on my computer but needed to read this first because I check in on fb. And I am supposed to be watching 6 kids play!

AMummysLife 2 years ago

I have to disagree with this. I was that girl who wore singlet tops and shorts in the middle of winter and didn’t feel the cold. I was not over weight and was reasonably active and extremely healthy.

I just never felt the cold and I hardly ever got sick compared to my heavy winter apparel friends.

Kenneth 2 years ago

I agree and disagree… there are clearly limits; you’re trying to excuse all phone checking while with your kids, when in actuality, only some of it is warranted. If the kids are running around with their friends and could care less if you’re there – absolutely. And why not? You’re entitled to entertainment just as they are. You’re also certainly on point that misery loves company – and knowing that others are going through the same parenting trials that you are is comforting and educational. If your child is playing alone or with a few others and constantly looking to see if you’re watching for approval and encouragement, then it is absolutely not appropriate. Age of the child also comes into play when defining appropriateness.

But also – what example are you setting for your kids? Kids are vastly intelligent – but not intelligent enough (yet) to decipher the difference between when it’s acceptable or not to be on their phone in social situations. While you may be avoiding a trivial small talk conversation with another mom to avoid a perceived emotional attack, the child sees that it’s OK to be engrossed with your phone instead of having conversations with your peers – which in this day and age is extremely dangerous and breeds social isolation. You in a few short years will be battling with your teenagers by saying “put that phone away at the table” “take the headphones off when we’re walking together” “get off the computer and play outside” and it will be a constant uphill battle because you are in essence saying, “do as I say, not as I do”. The behavior was learned from no one other than yourself.

Regardless of any appropriateness, justification, or timing – it is never ok to judge another parent solely based on a snippet of time (you were able to observe 10 minutes of their life and obviously are all of a sudden made an expert on all things them) and make judgements. If you took a random 10 minute bite out of any of our days with our children, there would always be something “judgeable”. And if you are going to judge, and there’s no stopping you — please, for the love, keep it to yourself.

Mommy Outside 2 years ago

Unfortunately, there are parents out there who do NEED to stop and pay attention. It has nothing to do with iPhones or technology but more about being engaged parents. Yep, I’ve checked my email or twitter while my daughter is playing. No problem with that at all. But I’ve also seen children desperate for attention while they get none. We were at a bouncy castle place a while back with our 2 year old. There was a girl there I’d guess about 5 or 6. Her parents were both there. Sitting at a table eating, and eating and eating. The little girl tried so hard to engage them. Mommy, daddy, look at me! Look at me! They couldn’t stop long enough between bites of chips and chocolate to even give her a glance. It was heart breaking. The poor little girl, with snot dripping down her face, just wanted their attention and got absolutely nothing.

There are also the kids at the park, or wherever who are behaving like complete monsters and their parents ARE locked in on their phones when they should be parenting. Sorry, but it’s true.

So, there is a line and, sadly, some parents cross it.

amanda 2 years ago

How is looking at your phone any different than reading a book or magazine while your kids play?
I remember my mother throwing my brother and I outside after lunch every day so she could read a book. I don’t see anything wrong with that.

Andrea Sargent 2 years ago

I honestly cannot like this post enough. There should be a “LOVE” button. Or at the very least, an adore one. I am so tired of people judging me based on mere seconds in my presence. Take a good look at my kids. They’re doing just fine. And now take a good long look at yours… are they better? Worse? The same?

I promise to not judge yours if you promise to not judge mine, ‘kay? Because any day I survive with everyone intact is a win in my book!

Sara 2 years ago

I agree with Emma 100%!

Sara 2 years ago


Sara 2 years ago

Agreed! I think this is what the original mom on the iphone was about. Finding a balance. Its sad to me how many are lamblasting her post. If you don’t like it move on!

Cowgirl Up 2 years ago

Sorry, that’s just not always the case. Sometimes, it’s perfectly fine to be a bit on the warmer side.

My husbands and son are warmer. We asked doctors – both adult and pediatrician – of this was an issue and they said “no, everyone is slightly different – and there is no one perfect ‘normal’. ”

I would venture to say their doctors probably have a handle on things.

Lisa 2 years ago

Fabulous piece! From one social media immersed mom to another – thank you!

Lisa 2 years ago

I hat that people always comment about my 9 year old son wearing shorts in the winter. Hey – its his legs and if he’s not cold I’m ok with it. Unlike our mothers we now know that not wearing a hat or wearing shorts in the winter will NOT cause pneumonia!

christina 2 years ago

Well said! I’m not sure when it became necessary for mothers to lock their eyes on their children at all times. Seems like we’re supposed to smother our kids–and ourselves with motherhood. Not good for anyone.

Birgit 2 years ago

What do you mean you don’t narrate every move your child makes on the play ground? LOL
I’ll argue that in addition to the moment of collection you get from checking your social media, disengaging for a few minutes from your children on the playground allows them to make sense of their own play. “Look honey, you are having so much fun on the swing!” Hurts more than it helps. As does getting in the way to try to “resolve” of their playground conflicts. When it’s appropriate I turn to the phone (or whatever non-kid distraction) to keep myself from getting too involved.

lacey 2 years ago

i’ve gotten those commenta more times than i can count. my kids are both still in carseats and it’s considered unsafe to wear extra layers in it. i’m damned if i do and damned if i don’t

Stephanie 2 years ago

SERIOUSLY!!! I completely agree, you’ve put my thoughts into the words that I was unable to produce. Who cares that you’re on your phone???? Sadly, I am that working mom, who can’t be there with my daughter when she gets out of school, but I agree, if she’s playing with her little friends and I’m just there as a reassurance for her (she’s 10, way past needing me all the time), I need something to keep me entertained too. Nothing wrong with that. Not like your eyes are GLUED to your phone at all times. We as parents…have eyes everywhere. I now officially know how my mom and dad knew EVERYTHING…

MOM.b.a. 2 years ago

I’ll be honest, if I’m ever judging you for being on your iPhone when you are out with your kids, it’s because your kids are out of control disturbing others and are in need of some immediate parenting. Outside of that? None of my business and you can do whatever the heck you want with your iPhone (outside of hit your kid with it).

If you stay out of my business, I’ll stay out of yours.

Faith Hopkins 2 years ago

For all your children over-heating to where normal seasonal weather is too hot for them, you should know that if this is the case, there is something wrong health wise and their organs are actually working over time- more specifically their heart. Most often this happens in children who carry more fat stores than what is needed, or who have insulin imbalances. Just because the temp is cooler and they are sweating doesn’t mean a thing- other wise skiers would ski in bikini’s, runners would wear shorts in the winter, swimmers would sometimes swim fully clothed. (In non extreme cases).
Catching viruses and bacterial infections has nothing to do with regulating body temp. Over heating is a health condition and it is a symptom of something going wrong.
I don’t normally voice my opinion- but from a medical perspective those comments concerned me enough to respond.

Sara 2 years ago

I agree with your point of view, but I also agree with the orginal mommy on her iphone. Both posting make good points. There are things that we all do that others will complain about no matter how great of a mommy we are. There are also going to moms doing something that we don’t agree with and think that it is wrong and not good for that child. We all need to do what is right for our families and stop worring about what other people are going to do or say.

Jennifer 2 years ago

I can not even imagine the hell that would rain down on someone that took my phone out of my hand and tsk’d me.

Misty 2 years ago

Honestly, I think the concept is the same – if the child is safe and happy, what’s the problem? As a paid nanny myself, I get those looks sometimes too. But they might look at me a little differently if they realized that the reason I am on my phone at the park is to take pictures and videos of the little one and send them to his mom, so that she can feel included in his day! I also spend some time on the computer while watching him at home. Why? Because if I can’t manage my online classes while working full time, I will have to give up this job – and the child I take care of will end up in a daycare, where he would not get any one-on-one interaction whatsoever. I am sure there are nannies who do neglect their responsibilities, but you can’t judge anyone’s relationship with a child based on one observation. The judgmental moms at the park don’t see the countless hours I spend playing with him, laughing with him, teaching him, and enjoying every moment! The nannies you observe might be irresponsible and undeserving of their jobs, or they might be more aware of their precious charges than you think. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Annie 2 years ago

In earlier years “bad” mothers would allow themselves to become immersed in books – even in the park or on a picnic or at the beach. I know this because my own mother did, and my sister did. We came out just fine, and learned how to be patient and respectful of others, which was really really useful. Because if you’re not the center of your MOTHER’s world, how can you be the center of anyone’s but your own?

Kim/Garden Tenders 2 years ago

I am not reading all the comments… Too many. :-)

I get it. I do. You need time to “zone” and relax. I do too, I get it. I have been there.

That being said, I have also been the ignored friend while another mom assumes I will watch their child in the park while they text and “zone” on their smart phone. Its a leash, and its why I refuse to get one until I MUST have one. I have enough leashes and between other people demanding my attention and time I am well leashed.

When it comes to those I love and friends I DECIDE I am spending time with, you will get my attention. I won’t be “multi-tasking” my way through life. I’m not saying that you must 100% devote yourself to eyeballing your child and me, but put the damn phone down for 10 minutes, ok? Better yet, turn the thing off. Leave it in the car. Focus on the REAL life around you, not the electronic life that is contained in that leash. If you can’t do that, you might have an addiction and, well, no one here can help you.

I do get it though. I get needing to zone and unwind. I am a homeschooling mom that goes to school full time. I get the need for mind numbing zones. But when you do something like load the kiddos up in the car, drive to the park; can you give them your attention, at least for a little while? Then you can go back to checking your twitter and facebook pages…. trust me, that status update isn’t that important for the highschool friend you haven’t seen in a decade.

Sorry, had to share my perspective. :-)

Tarina 2 years ago

Exactly!!!!!! How many of our parents used to take us to a park and sit and read a book while we played growing up?? Mine did!! And I guarantee, if they were anything like MY mom, that book took her attention a helluva lot more thoroughly than my playing Draw Something on my phone. I recall having fallen off a slide (or maybe my brother pushed me?) and bleeding profusely for at least 5 minutes before she even noticed I was crying! And I wasnt mad, or scarred for life (well, literally I think I have a scar on my knee, but you know what I mean lol!) – Just because our version of park bench entertainment is electronic doesnt make it any worse.

toywithme 2 years ago

Awesome post! So sick of people passing judgement on others. Hopefully this will give them some food for thought.

Jackie @ MomJovi 2 years ago

A -FREAKING-men. I’d also substitute my use of Facebook, Twitter and IG, which I suppose are primarily accessed through my phone, to this post. I’m so sick of the judgy judgingtons, “Oh, I’d never put a picture of my kids on the Internet” or “how can you tweet with people you don’t even know about your children. Shouldn’t that be private?” And this is coming from people who don’t even know about my secret blogging life.

How about this everyone. You worry about what you’re doing with your kids. I’ll worry about my kid. I guarantee, she’s doing just fine, if not better, than your child who dominates your attention 24/7. Whatever happened to independent play and children learning to do things to please themselves, not waiting for mommy to praise every trip down the slide.

Thank you, Jill, as always, for speaking the truth bubbling beneath the surface for all of us!

Elizabeth Trude 2 years ago

This is what I love: I have three kids and they all are in both arena soccer and taekwando. This means an insane amount of lessons and games during which I have to sit on either craky wooden chairs or inclimate metal bleachers. During lessons I am forever on my kindle otherwise, after four years of this, I would be an anger ball of pure pain and torment. Moms in the dojo and on the field are forever bringing to my distracted attention some “great” thing one of my kids has done (and I have selfishly missed). It used to bother me, so I would put down my reading and stare at my kids ineffectively kicking balls or doing the same goddamned kata that I had seen for every single night that week after dinner. Then I realized: Fuck ’em. I HOMESCHOOL my children. I am with them 24/7… literally. I should be allowed a 60 minute break to read a book without having to be judged and looked askew at. So, now, I even go so far as to sometimes sit within the warm comfort of my hip and happenin minivan, thumpin’ the NPR, reading my Victorian era literature (cos it’s free through the Kindle store). Of course, I park the aforementioned minivan in front of the giant glass window of the dojo so I can occassionally glance up and admire my little weirdos.

The Next Step 2 years ago

LOL – it’s totally okay if you have an android – it’s just those evil Apple products that are ruining our society. :-)

Robin | Farewell, Stranger 2 years ago

Hallelujah! I see lots of that little stuff, TYVM. And when my son really wants me to watch him, I do. But there are times when I’d die from boredom if I couldn’t pop onto my phone for a few minutes, and that would be worse than not paying attention to my kids EVERY SINGLE SECOND, don’t you think? 😉

Also, “tsk tsk”? That just pisses me off. It’s one thing to judge, quite another to actually take a phone out of someone’s hand!

Nicole 2 years ago

I love this post, except for this: “If it means having to respond to e-mails or follow up on things while the rest of the working world is still behind a desk, I don’t see that as a problem. Would it be better to get a traditional desk job and have a nanny caring for them all day and night?” You are now implying that you’re a better mom than the one who has that traditional job and a nanny. Can’t we just stop the judging all together?

Maria Chilson 2 years ago

I have read both articles and I wanted to thank you for the one you wrote today. I too work from home and I check my work email at Walmart or the park. I would much rather take my 3 kids 9 and under, to the park so they could play rather than trapping them at home so I could read my email or have a Skype conversation on a computer. A couple minutes of “grown-up girl ” time interaction on social media, helps me feel grounded, less alone in parenting and I need the funny stories to make it through the situations like stickers all over the wall followed by permenant markers also on the wall. Since I work from home, I don’t see many grown ups through out the work day, social media is wonderful for that. I may check my email from time to time when my kids are playing, but it certainly doesn’t mean I spend the whole park time doing that. In this bad economy other parents should be praising any one who was able to get a job and keep it, and if using your smartphone at the park for a few minutes at the park like a work computer, then hooray.

The Next Step 2 years ago

You may be right – but just because you know someone personally who needs to unplug, doesn’t mean that we should assume to know what is going on in every other stranger’s life we encounter for 28 seconds out in public.

I think the point of this rebuttal is not to judge based on a snapshot of someone’s life.

adrian 2 years ago

Amen! It’s a phone, NOT a freaking oxygen tank. I get a little worried about how addicted everyone is to these little blinking boxes. Especially when I can’t ever drive down the freeway any more without seeing someone checking their phones at 70 MPH. That’s just plain scary.

I think a lot of it is about balance – having some time for your kids, some time for yourself, and SOME time for your social media activities. I’ve had to back off of a lot of social media stuff (hello Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram – I miss you!) and set some boundaries or it does tend to take over my life – including time that I should be devoting to my family. I just want to find that middle ground between being Amish and being Miss Techno-crazy!

Eva 2 years ago

Thank you! I am very happy to know I am not the only one being judged. You make great points and I’m glad you shared them.

The Next Step 2 years ago

question, actually seeking advice here, not judging: how long do you pretend to ignore them while they sort it out for themselves? Cause I have 3 little girls and I swear their screaming while fighting is causing permanent hearing loss and I can barely stand it for a full minute. Seriously – how long before you step in?

grownandflown 2 years ago

Totally agree with the points that moms should lay off other moms and that the lines of work and home have long-since blurred. Maybe the email is from the office you left early to be able to carpool your kids. Whose to say that the text you are reading isn’t coming from your older kid at baseball tryout while you’re with the little one at a birthday party? Maybe it is an issue (family or office) that you have to deal with NOW. Once your kids hit the teen years, texting will be your lifeline to them, btw!

Traci 2 years ago

I wish there was a “like” button!! LOL!

Sandy 2 years ago

Teachers and principals count on parents being cowed by them, and acting like students. Screw that. I had my kids in my late 30’s, and before that I graduated college with honors and worked for years. I’m always polite, but if I don’t like what they do, I let them know about it. I don’t think anyone would have the nerve to take anything out of my hand and lecture me, but if they did it once, they’d never do it again. (And I was raised on the “go out and play” plan, not the hover mother plan, and it works just fine, especially if you want to end up with independent kids who can amuse themselves.)

WriterChickNJ 2 years ago


alison 2 years ago

I’m that mom on the iPhone too. When I read that lady’s post I sank in my seat a little, feeling guilty for needing just a little bit of a mental break. Thank you for your post. So needed that.

Mercy 2 years ago

I fully agree. It peeves me when people tell me how I should handle my children. I live in India, and so many parents are the “hover over your child” types. Mine are 5, 3, and 2, and when we go out for a walk, we mostly have to walk on the road since sidewalks don’t exist in residential areas. Obviously the 2 year old needs to hold my hand, and while one of the older two will hold my hand, the other will “help out” by holding the youngest’s hand and they take turns.
Since they are so young, I don’t trust them to walk on their own on the side of the road, so we look like a train sometimes, and it bugs me when some person just has to say “All your kids need to walk on the inside away from the street.” Well, sure, I’d do that if I was sure they wouldn’t wander into the street while walking or run off. They are much safer holding my hands, even if one of them is nearer the cars. After 10 years here I am familiar with how to safely walk on the roads and those people who tell me off, I just ignore.
As for the phone thing, I agree that kids don’t need your eyes on them 24/7. Saturday mornings we go to the playground for a few hours, and after watching them run and climb and helping the toddler play, once they settle into sand play, I sit on the side and pull out my phone for awhile. I know where they are, can see what they are doing, and need some time to “clock out”.
The parents I find myself judging are the ones who bring their child to the playground and then chase them around and feed them a full meal while the child plays. I’ve seen this hundreds of times. How hard is it to feed your child before you go out to play?

Talia 2 years ago

Yeah, that’s a bunch of crap. Being a good mother does NOT mean you have to have your eyes on your children 24/7. I got so much SHIT for letting my son who is now 8 be free range and not stepping in and letting him settle his own conflicts. My MIL thought I was a terrible mother and didn’t hesitate to let me know it. She of course is “Perfect” *Eye Roll*

Being on your phone while your kids are occupied is a great way to take a breather and time for you. Also, a great way to allow your kids free play that isn’t dependent on you stepping in. So yes, I am that girl on my phone when my son is happy at the park, or at a birthday party, or playing with friends. I need a minute and he needs to learn to play on his own without my entertainnig him.

Beth 2 years ago

GASP! You do that too?!?!?! We have a fenced yard with locked gates and my kids play out back while I clean the kitchen or fold laundry on the kitchen table or my fave, soak up the sun while reading a book! Kids need to be able to entertain themselves. My kids are happy, healthy, well adjusted kids with outstanding imaginations. They know how to go outside and just PLAY! They don’t need scrips or a dozen toys they run around, use sticks as horses, chase each other *btw they are 11 and 2 2 year old twins. Being a mom is hard enough without judging each others.

ButteryMuffyn 2 years ago

Just read the entire article, then realised I didn’t care. I have 4 kids (21/18/13/12) and have overly protected or neglected all of them at one time or another, and yet they are all well-adjusted, confident, well-mannered kids. Surely being on your phone at the park is no different than having a conversation with a friend in person, you cannot possibly chat with a friend and keep your eyes on your precious darling twirling :) Got to the end of the article, realised it was published in a paper owned by LDS and realised, THAT’S why it’s so sanctimonious and judgemental.

Meghan 2 years ago

I totally agree with you! I’m a stay at home mom with a 3 year old and 10 month old. My husband is deployed and I spend 24 hours a day with my kids. The park is a great time for me to take a few minutes to myself!! It doesn’t happen often but when I get a little break I believe that I’m a better mother! Thanks for the article.

Vivian 2 years ago

Well said I have three beautiful grown up daughters if I knew the area they were in was secure I would read a book or a magazine. They are happy well adjusted adults despite my neglect.

jennifer 2 years ago

I know those moms, they are usually the ones letting their kids tear the face off the smaller kids or building a sand pile on the slide, while they yuk it up with gossip. LOL I don’t understand why parenting has to be a competitive sport. We all need a gigantic dose of live and let live sometimes.

Corbyn Hanson Hightower 2 years ago

Ya know what I did when I was a nanny in NYC and later a young mother in the nineties? I had my head in a newspaper. I took it with me everywhere and read it like a tiny drug I could titrate depending on the need of the moment. Sometimes it might be a book–not even necessarily a “good” or worthy one, just anything that would take me out of the rather relentless needs of caring for a little one. I can be “present,” just not as often as the more emotionally-evolved, perhaps.

Jen 2 years ago

My son is getting ready to turn 13 and my daughter (who has Autism) is nine. Kids grow up so fast!!! One minute you are pushing them in a stroller, then next you are standing there clapping your hands watching them accept their HS diploma. I can see both sides…but I am the mom on the playground, so I have a lot of the same perspective as Gracenikki. I am the mom out there swinging, and sliding down the slide, and pushing all the other kids on the huge merry go round to make them dizzy…and snapping pictures with my camera in the process. LOL! And I am sure there are comments being made about this particular type of mom as well.

Lundie 2 years ago

So very nice to know that I’m not alone with a shorts-wearing kid. The INSTANT my 7yo comes home from school, the socks and pants come off and shorts go on (and if he was wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a T-Shirt replaces it as well). Getting pants back on him if we have to go out is a constant struggle.

I’ve just had to accept that as long as he isn’t having constant sniffles he’s perfectly capable of regulating his own body temperature! :)

Jennifer 2 years ago

A-effing-MEN! It’s as if you read my mind!

Ariana 2 years ago

I’m glad that there are at least a few non-supportive responses on here. I support any mother’s need to attend to business, or take a brief mental break where ever she is. Kids drain us, other parents can be annoying…so taking a moment to either do work, or just check in on FB is a beautiful little luxury. However, its also addictive, and like any other addiction it can take over a person’s life, at the exclusion of those around them. Self awareness is key.

melissa 2 years ago

THANK YOU. My husband has been working 60 hour weeks, I work 40 at a desk job and then go home and start over. I only have one daughter, but I feel spread thin. She takes a tap class and I ALWAYS stay for class, but usually I’m reading my kindle when I’m there. I always feel bad becuase I should be “enjoying every moment” but really that’s the most alone time I get in a week. If I’m on my phone or my kidle while she’s at tap or on a swing, look away because it may be the first time “alone” I’ve had in ages and you really don’t want to know how close to snapping I am. it’s a shame we can’t all come together as moms and realize none of us are perfect and MOST of us are doing the very best we can.

tracy@sellabitmum 2 years ago

Yes, this exactly. I am so tired of the judging about every fucking thing.

Arnebya 2 years ago

But Emma, how do you KNOW that way too many of “us” are engrossed for 80% of our waking lives? Where does that statistic come from? And how do you know, encountering me once, for instance, what my home life is like? If you see a person on the phone, that’s all you’re seeing RIGHT THEN. If you don’t genuinely know the person, how can you tell, and more importantly, why is it your concern? How does it affect you? How do you know what’s suffering? You wouldn’t know that my time waiting for the bus, engaged in my phone, is actually me talking to my husband, or playing an online game with him because that’s what we do. We aren’t face to face but we are still connected because it works for us.

And to say you doubt it keeps anyone sane…a lot of what Jill does for Scary Mommy is social media related. And yes, it is sanity inducing because sometimes it’s simply mind-numbing and that, at times, it what a person needs. If, after a horrible day at work, I want to spend time while my kids enjoy the park by reading drivel online, that’s my business. It does NOT mean I am tethered to my phone or that my kids are suffering. Because what you see is nothing compared to what I live. You see me on Wednesday on my phone at the park and judge me. You don’t see me the other days of the week at a different park climbing the damn monkey bars BECAUSE LOOK, Y’ALL, MY MOMMY CAN GO END TO END. As my grandmother used to say: believe none of what you hear and half of what you see.

The Next Step 2 years ago

GAH! This is the whole reason I try to avoid parks, play-places at the mall, and any other place that allows parents to NOT parent. I am all for the kid-friendly, enclosed, I don’t have to watch them every minute of the time, kind of places – but when other parents ruin it for my kid by letting their kid hit mine, then we have a problem.
I went to a really nice place that says “no food or drink in the play area” very clearly – and this one mom was letting her kid run around with a juice box. I saw her pull it out of her purse and I said, “Oh, they don’t want food & drinks in here.” She shrugged, smiled conspiratorially at me and said, “I know.”

MelissaJane 2 years ago

I strongly agree, and I think you ought to send her an email about it. That was rude, shaming, and misguided, and it’s none of her business. That story really made my blood boil.

Also, as someone else said, it has something to do with our weird ambivalence about technology. I have never, ever seen anyone react to a mom reading a book the way they react to a mom on her smart phone. But I know for me, the absorption in a book is actually much greater, shutting out reality much more completely, than it is when I’m interacting with technology. But somehow, books are Good and technology is Bad, so a book-reading mommy is just a bookwork while a smart-phone-reading mommy is a neglectful bitch.

Angela 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this! I use my phone as a way not to hover and to allow my children some freedom. My kids need to be able to run around without me watching their every move. How else are they going to learn some independence and decision-making skills?

Arnebya 2 years ago

WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY do we keep explaining ourselves? I’m starting to want to walk around saying FUCK YOU on repeat to every eye roll, every tsk, every fake ass grasp of the pearls when I’m not doing something “right”. Fuck the lady who is judging you for using your phone. She does not know you and deserves neither your explanation nor your embarrassment. Fuck her. Fuck em all and fuck all the people disliking my inconsiderate, repetitive use of the word fuck.

Stop it. Everyone. Stop juding a mother, a non-mother, a father, a child, a nanny, a homeless person, the cashier, a grandmother, the blind man on the subway, the deaf person trying to hail a cab, the person in a wheelchair trying to cross the street, STOP IT. My life is mine, my kids are mine, and what I do or do not do or do too much of or do differently, IS MY FUCKING BUSINESS.

Lauren 2 years ago

I think there are extremes on either end and a happy group in the middle who should be left alone. What annoys the f*** out of me is when a mom completely ignores her kid while on the phone, etc. and her kid then turns to me for attention. Selfish? You betcha. I have a climbing, fearless 2 year old to monitor (aka, catch) and a 5 year old who I enjoy playing with at the park. Because I am one of those desk job moms who pays someone else to watch her kids all day, playground time is much coveted in our family. The other kids who aren’t otherwise entertained, as you mentioned, are the ones looking longingly at my husband playing with my sons, or begging me for attention while doing the monkey bars. I have no problem with moms doing anything that helps them retain their sanity, as long as they recognize when their little boogers are begging for attention.

KrabbyKay 2 years ago

Hey, yeah!! I have a “dumb phone”, but I read my Kindle in the park!!! Hel-LO, it’s THE PARK!!! Don’t you go there for the kids to entertain *themselves* for a bit?? You know what else I do? I let my kids play out back, or even IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD, and I’m not right there!!!!! Ohhhhhh, I can hear the collective gasp from here!!

Mag 2 years ago

In many, many ways I agree with this post. What is the difference between reading a book or playing online at the park? Nothing at all as long as you are looking up and acknowledging your child now and then. If your child is going to fall off the equipment they will whether your are looking or not. The only exception is AT THE POOL I don’t care how many adults are ‘watching’ never take your eyes off the pool. There has been an increase in small children drowning in the last few years. You only have to look around at the pool to see why, parent after parent with their heads down looking at their phones.

Amnesty 2 years ago

My playground rule is “if you’re not big enough to do it yourself, you’re not big enough to do it.” That lets me sit and read in peace while they get some much needed energy out. Win/win, in my opinion! We’re all getting what we need!

Keli 2 years ago

Aren’t our children up our asses enough? Do we REALLY need to be watching them and playing with them every single second? Thank you for writing this!

Nina 2 years ago

Jill— this was fantastic. The post you’re referring to irked me, too. Actually, I’m starting a series soon (hopefully as a monthly column for an online Jewish paper, but maybe just on my own blog–we’ll see) about trying to be less of a “slave” to my phone. It’s a year-long Passover to Passover experiment. But I intend to be very clear from the start that it’s not about catching the “sparkle” or every cartwheel or whatever for the kids. I agree with what others said above about reading or talking on the old-fashioned phone with a cord and how it’s similar to being on the iPhone. I do not thing we need to be or should be engaged in every freaking bounce at that bouncy house. The kids are at the park to play with other kids, not to get a round of applause for every venture down the slide. I can’t stand that kind of over-praise and over focus. It’s not good for anyone.

What worries me more about the phone (for me) is the actual anxiety I feel when the phone is not near me. It isn’t good. Bryan and I recently went away with a few other couples without our kids and all of us (except Bryan–he’s good about this) were on our phones constantly. Here we had gone to great lengths to get away from our kids and be together, etc. We’d go out to dinner and there would be 8 phones plunked on the table. That’s what inspired my new series. I want to be the kind of person who can spend a few hours with the phone nowhere near me without having a panic attack. I don’t want it to be the first thing I see in the morning and the last thing I see at night. It will be an adventure!

The Next Step 2 years ago

“hairy eyeballs”? bahahahahah, now THAT is a fantastic way to put it!!

heidi 2 years ago

I was just going to write the same thing. I’m in complete agreement with this post, but if you’re the mom on the phone sitting there doing nothing while your kid is terrorizing mine, you bet I’m going to shoot you nasty looks. Otherwise, tweet and facebook to your heart’s content.

Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog 2 years ago

I loved your post as well, Brenna. Sometimes it’s what moms do for their children when they’re not with them that counts too!

Christine Ferguson 2 years ago

You doubt that Facebook & Twitter aren’t really helpful to others because…it’s not helpful to you? Because it drives YOU crazy? I guess you set the bar for everyone, huh?

Patti 2 years ago

Yay!!! Great post! Yes I have an iPhone and yes I use it when my kid is other wise engaged. Those preachy moms are just jealous, hope they have fun on their crappy old flip phones.

The Next Step 2 years ago

Yeah, when I first saw that letter going around on Facebook I read it, and while I *kinda* agreed with the tone – the author really tried to not call iPhone-Mom out for being a bad mom – I didn’t click “like” and I couldn’t figure out why. You just hit the nail on the head. Along with something I read just yesterday about “holding the cloaks of the people throwing stones” – this “Dear iPhone Mom” letter allows the rest of us to claim we are not judgmental while silently nodding our heads and agreeing with the judgey comments of others.

Thanks for putting this (possibly well-meaning letter) in a brighter light.

Christine Ferguson 2 years ago

Preach it, sister!

Beth 2 years ago

Yay! A new Mommy Wars issue!

Emma 2 years ago

I doubt that facebook and twitter actually keep anybody sane. Seriously, they drive me crazy sometimes. If you are the one who is on your phone for a short time after playing dutifully and deeply for a couple hours then good for you. No problem there. Seriously though, way too many of you are totally engrosed for 80% of your waking lives. Your home, your families, your job, your friends and who knows what else is suffering too. This goes for Dads too. And phone obsessed non parents. PUT THE PHONE DOWN AND LOOK AROUND.

Amy 2 years ago

If I miss a twirl or a “Mom look at me!” because I’m tending to another child, is it as abusive as looking at my phone? What about if I take my kid to the park so she can play even though I need to finish some work emails? Should I put her in front of the TV while I work, or could she twirl outside instead while I look at that phone? What if I’m with a friend at the park? Should I interrupt all other conversations while my girl shows me something I’ve seen a hundred times? What exactly is bad? The inattention, or the iPhone? Because I have an android.

Laurie 2 years ago

Yes! My mom was that type of mom too – and now I read books when I’m with my kiddos at the park, but I read my books on my iPhone :)

Alleyne 2 years ago

When my kids were babies (6 – 9 years ago) I was part of a group of moms who used LiveJournal to blog and network. There were regularly posts or comments from my cohort that were short and to the point, and had titles appended with “NAK” – nursing at keyboard. We find ways to do what we need to do.

Beth 2 years ago

I am a single mom with a fairly new baby. I spend a lot more time on social media then I did before, namely because I don’t spend as much time out with friends. Also, having had a baby, I have connected with a lot more people that live out of state and such via facebook.

Jessica Cobb (@DomesticPirate) 2 years ago

The water cooler, YES! Or a smoke break, or a lunch break… Who thought an office job would sound so appealing?

Rebecca @unexplained x2 2 years ago

I love you…that is all.

Nicole 2 years ago

That made me laugh :) I agree, the iphone is WAY cooler than any kid…. 😉

Stephanie 2 years ago

My 13-year-old son announced to me at the beginning of the school year that he would only wear long pants (jeans) when it snowed. Otherwise, he’s wearing shorts. I’m fine with it, not a battle I want to fight with my kid–there are so many others I have to fight. Plus, he’s only outside briefly when he gets dropped off and gets off the bus. His school is enclosed. Whatever, you know your kid best. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. Also, my son wears nothing but hoodies–no coat! Gasp! Let the judgers judge.

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

OMG. We’d all be institutionalized.

Kat 2 years ago

My daughter, like her father, is often very HOT. So even in 50-degree temperatures, we don’t always put her jacket on because she’ll be a puddle in her car seat. I take exception when its cold and rainy or cold and windy, but otherwise, she doesn’t need any heavy clothing. I get a lot of judgment for not dressing her “appropriately” from other mommies and grandmothers. I am very quick to let them know that I know my daughter best. I dress her for her comfort, not theirs.

Gracenikki 2 years ago

I may get ripped to shreds for this, but I respectfully disagree. I think the aim of the message you refer to is the repeat offenders who use their phone as an escape from their families all day every day. My sil is one of these people. Her son will grow up and only have memories of her with her face in her phone. There are A LOT of people like this, and I find it infuriating (and I can assure you they are not checking up on a sick loved one, or returning an important work email). Social media has its positives and its negatives. One negative has to be this obsessive checking/updating/photo sharing that some people engage in. There is a difference between checking in once in a while, and being glued to it all day. As someone else pointed out, it’s not just kids who are the victim, but adults too. I have a number of people who I no longer socialize with because they do not possess the social graces to look up from their phones and interact with the people around them. What you did is no big deal, and that teacher is in the wrong to chastise you for it (the caveat being of you were in charge of watching them for safety reasons of course), but for me personally, I don’t want my kids to remember me as someone who couldn’t go anywhere without their phone, or who would rather watch facebook than watch them at the park. I think that’s more the point.

Alleyne 2 years ago

That’s what I was thinking! I’m also a WAHM and managing care for my aged father who lives with us and has medical aides at different points during the day. At any point I could be using my phone to do my job (which includes monitoring and using social media), talk to my boss, or even explain to a new aide where we keep dad’s insulin. Any “educator” who touched me that way, let alone touching my phone and tried to shame me on top of it like I were an errant child rather than a busy, obligatorily multitasking professional adult? Would feel the full extent of my wrath. I don’t have time (literally) for educators who try to treat their students’ parents that way, not just because it’s rude to the parents, but because kids deserve better than judgmental passive aggressive shaming too.

Angela 2 years ago

I am so glad that you wrote this…..I saw that also, somewhere…too…and thought that it was ridiculous. You said everything perfectly! Thank you for standing up to this!

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

I didn’t. Oy… I can’t really imagine how much worse it could be. Preparing myself to venture over.

Karen 2 years ago

Yes. Yes yes yes yes yes. To presume I’m “missing the important things” is exactly that: presumptuous. And that teacher – whoa. Butt out, lady

Jill Smokler, AKA Scary Mommy 2 years ago

LOVE your post, Brenna!

“Moms, the kids are all right. It’s the people trying to convince us otherwise who are in desperate need of attention.”

Perfect. :)

Liz 2 years ago

Right on!!

ESPECIALLY given all the recent talk about working from home and parents needing more flexibility. One can’t say we need to be able to work remotely and then turn around and shame a mom at the park for responding to what could very well be a work-related email. We can’t work from home while being 100% present; it’s all about finding balance and we should all just be less judgy assholes about it. :)

Amanda Martin 2 years ago

Hurrah. Thank you for fighting back! I always feel bad when I check my phone when I’m out (and I have a lowly candybar phone that’s quite discreet) but, worse still, my son is the one who comes and takes it from my hand and tells me off (he’s 2). What I can’t tell him is that, like you, if I didn’t have that little release I’d go stark staring mad.
I also agree with the lady who said it’s fine as long as your child isn’t ‘that’ child. I do see parents ignoring their kids’ bad behaviour and that really makes me cross. That said, I suspect some parents would do that, phone in hand or not!
It does make me crazy that parents or anyone think they have a right to verbally judge. Judge me in your mind or to your friends, particularly if it makes you feel better about your own parenting (and who doesn’t need that from time to time?) but don’t come right up and judge me. You have NO idea what day I’ve had. Ever.

MommaJayde 2 years ago

I needed this today. You are just plain amazing. Thank you!

Lisa @ Oh Boy Oh Boy Oh Boy 2 years ago

I too am a mom on my phone a bit while out. I too am a blogger, I use social media/email for work and enjoyment. But I do see many moms who aren’t just missing a snippet of time, they walk into a baseball game on the phone and don’t ever look up from it for an entire game. In these cases, you might as well not be there because your kid feels even less valued than if you had to be somewhere else. And my second pet peeve is when moms are glued to their phones, books or even convos with another mom and can’t so much as look up often enough to know if their kid is alive or is being a complete a-hole to other kids. I have watched moms ‘check out’ for extended periods of time only to realize their child has wondered away (some have been very young). So there has to be middle ground.

Angela Simpson 2 years ago

Great post not only do I use my phone for my own entertainment but I also use it to let my 11month old watch Youtube and Netflix when we are at restaurants…tsk tsk, right?

MKS 2 years ago

YES, YES, YES!! Mamas (or fathers) judging other mamas helps no one. Happy mama, happy kiddos! Rock on, sister!

Jenny Isenman AKA Jenny From the Blog 2 years ago

Just because you didn’t see your child twirl once … or enjoy the wind whipping through her hair on the swing doesn’t mean you’ve missed it every time. Could you imagine if all we did was relish every sparkle of the eye? Every glow of joy? We would go insane. I’m in your position. I get asked to get off the computer by my 8 yr old, but for me working from home affords me other opportunities so I choose that life — and sometimes I even choose Words With Friends.

Meredith 2 years ago

Oh thank you for posting this! I feel sane again.

Kat 2 years ago

I felt that post was a bit smug, too. I grew up with a mother who often buried her head in a book. Not all the time, mind you, but enough to give herself some “me time” she needed, even though she had four children to attend to all the time. I never felt like I was being ignored because she was at every school play, every sporting event, and bathed and tucked us in every night until she started working outside the home. Even then, she made plenty of time for us. I think giving your kids ALL of your undivided attention is just as bad as completely ignoring them. We could all use some “separate but there” time with all our loved ones. You know, like Thanksgiving where you’re in the same house, but everyone’s doing different things? You’re there, but you’re also on your own. There’s a fine line to everything!

Suburban Snapshots 2 years ago

Thanks for the kudos, Alison. And good for you too, Jill. That post steamed me up good, not least of all for its use of “mommy”.

Jenni 2 years ago

If it weren’t for being able to use my phone while nursing my son, I may have gone crazy! Yes, I cuddle him and hold him, kiss him and stroke his hair. I tell him that I love him. However, sometimes I need an adult moment with my phone, and nursing gives me that opportunity.

Tara 2 years ago

Oh yes I AM that mom. I can also be found at the dining room table with phone in hand pretending to ignore 3 boys (ages 6,5&3) while they fight over one of 500+ dinky cars. Yup, I am also one of THOSE moms who will let kids sort it out themselves (I think I just heard some of you shudder). Don’t judge until you have walked a mile in any moms shoes 😉

susie 2 years ago

Hi. I am a grandma who doesn’t even own a cellphone, much to my kids’ chagrin ~ mostly because I just don’t find them necessary (which they do not understand at all, LOL). That said, I do not see anything wrong with what you did. Parents NEED to regroup!
There are 2 times I’m bugged by cell phone users ~ one is when people use them while driving, and the other is when a person excludes others who they could have at least acknowledged in a social setting ~ (not just a public one; for instance, on a bus).
I love Scary Mommy!

Amy @mommetime 2 years ago

I home-school my kids; I am with them ALL THE TIME, which translates… if I’m at the park or playplace, I don’t give a crap what other Moms or anyone else thinks when I’m playing on my phone. I agree, I don’t think a short encounter like seeing someone out and about who happens to be playing on their phone gives sufficient amount of info to pass judgement BUT…but…but I do think at times people are a wee bit excessive… yeah, I’ll admit, I people watch –it is a horrible damn habit –almost as bad as the phone bit. gah! Ah, the perfect comeback; next time you can tell the teacher she should watch you less and the kids more.

Kristin 2 years ago

I missed that class too!! My daughter is 5 and when I take her to the park, I don’t just refuse to push the swing because I’m lazy or anything… I refuse because I am standing there TEACHING her to do it on her own. Kids of these moms who think they are superior because they have the time and the money to spend on these terribly pointless and indulgent things are actually the ones losing out sometimes. While their mother is striving to be perfect and everything, my kid is learning independence and real life. Not everything is going to be handed to them. And I refuse to do it. When I take my 5 year old to dance class, my 3 year old and 7 month old happen to be the ones who behave better than those 7 year olds with their fancy video games and all organic crap their moms shove in their faces as they sit in their little “club” talking about things they sell on Etsy and how much they spent on their daughters tutus. My kid has a stuffed animal and a rattle. Content to play on their own, so why should I have to sit and stare at them, bored out of my mind? A minute or two on the phone (or in my case iPad) isn’t going to hurt them. I don’t block out everything, I’m still completely aware of what’s going on. And yes, I have stopped an older boy harrassing my son while she was on her phone. standing not 4 feet away from me. saying NOTHING. That is when it becomes unacceptable. Rant done. Sorry :) I only meant to say I missed the “how to be a fake mom” class… I took the common sense and real parenting class instead.

Christina Bell 2 years ago

I want to punch that teacher in the throat. And I’m a teacher. I hope people don’t think all teachers are preachy and condescending. Usually the preachy ones are the ones with no kids of their own.

It took about 20 minutes of being a mom to learn that there will always be people who treat parenting like a competitive sport.

Corrabelle 2 years ago

Good freakin’ Grief. How patronizing!

I’ve been scolded a few times by various people for being on my phone while with my kids.
People. I’m with my kids ALL. THE. TIME.
I work from home. I home school. Trust me, these people already get more mommy time than they can handle.

What these Nosy Nancies need to realize is, a phone isn’t just a social networking tool (although that’s one of my favorite aspects.)
Sometimes i’m updating my grocery list. I’m calculating my points for my next meal. I’m looking at my schedule for the next 3 weeks so that I can fit in a play date or doctor’s appointment.
Maybe i’m photographing my precious child that you feel is being so emotionally neglected.

At risk of sounding like an 8 year old, mind your own beeswax.

Corinne Dobson 2 years ago

great post. Thank you.

anne 2 years ago

i’ll admit, i’ll OCCASIONALLY judge other moms that are on their phones instead of watching their kids. my problem is that i have a two year old that is the size of some five and six year olds. so i have to hover around her, b/c though she’s the same size, she’s not nearly as coordinated. and some of the other older-than-her kids will yell at her and push her because they don’t understand she’s so much younger. so sometimes i have to step in and explain to these kids things like she doesn’t understand how to play tag yet, please don’t call her stupid. and stepping in is something i hate doing with other people’s kids, which i wouldn’t have to do if other parents were paying attention. but then, other parents don’t know my kid is so much younger than their own, and i can’t really explain b/c they’re on their phones so it’s really hard to strike up a conversation. so yeah, i judge. but what else am i suppose to do?

Alison 2 years ago

You hit the nail right on the head yet again, Jill (Suburban Snapshots’ post was superb too).

I just wish Moms would lay off other Moms. Seriously, don’t we have enough to feel bad about? (like everything we choose to do?)

Kristen Mae at Abandoning Pretense 2 years ago

SAY IT SISTA!!!! I just got a new iphone (my first), so… let’s be honest, I’ll proooobably never look at my children again.

tasha 2 years ago

My cell phone is what keeps me fuckin sane raising 3 boys under the age of 5. I am with my kids 24/7 and if decide to go on my phone wherever I am that is my choice. I dare, NO, I double dare someone to say something or give me a look cause clearly a. They have not seen my stink eye and b. I would unleash a wrath on them that they would not be able to comprehend. Unless my kids are saying “Mommy, get off the phone, look at me picking my nose and swinging at the same time!” will I put my phone down. Otherwise, mind your own fuckin buisness and watch your own kids and not me. Rant OVER.

Sahm23 2 years ago

I’m so glad you posted this! I saw that “mommy on the iphone” BS and was irritated. I was scolded at a restaurant once because I was looking at my phone and not my child. I informed the busy body that my son has a very restricted diet and I was the checking ingredients in the meal so as not to make him sicker. I then informed her that my life isn’t any of her concern and she should mind her own business! Thanks for posting!!

Lynette 2 years ago

It’s all about balance. A snapshot in time doesn’t define anyone, let alone a whole family dynamic. I’ve met people who pay so little attention to their kids, because they think sticking them in from of the TV all day/ night and feeding them candy because its what they want, is a good idea. You can’t be focused on the kids 24/7, they need to learn to fend for themselves and play with others at some point.

aftin 2 years ago

thank you. I read that other post a couple of days ago and hadn’t stopped stressing about it until now. I love my kids and feel like there can (and should!) absolutely be a healthy balance that will keep us all sane.

Julia 2 years ago

I don’t work from home but sometimes I’m checking in on friends or calling the hubs about what to make for dinner or taking a moment for myself. And there is nothing wrong with that.

Sarah 2 years ago

I am that mother being judged at practice and other places as well. Guess what? I am okay with it, and if I’m okay with it, I don’t need another mother telling me I shouldn’t be.

My children have not died or been injured by my checking email, they rarely notice that I’m entertaining myself because they’re immersed in what they’re doing, and I deserve an occasional break. Do you hear that? Motherhood doesn’t mean that you no longer exist as a human being with your own interests. How dare this woman judge someone she doesn’t even know for supposedly not living up to HER standards of motherhood?

I love my children; I do not LIVE for them. I want them to be able to entertain themselves and carry themselves well in polite society without my ever-present gaze. I do not want to be a helicopter parent, a martyr, or judged!

On a related note: Did anyone see the post where she tsk-tsked fathers? It’s even worse than the mother on the iPhone.

Jeannie Rayborn 2 years ago

Preach it!

Karen 2 years ago

I also think it’s healthy for children to know that Mommy has a job and friends and sometimes just wants to play Ruzzle. Full-time undivided attention gives the message that everything they do is important, and nobody else matters.

Jennifer M. 2 years ago

I agree with you on this one, and certainly enjoy my ‘link to the outside world’ while my children are occupied.

I do however, have an issue with PAID NANNIES that I observe flicking or chatting away on their phones for 30 mins at a time while ‘watching’ their charges.

Am “I” THAT mom now, for shooting sideways glances at the nannies?

Paige 2 years ago

I love my kid but I actually think staring at her EVERY SINGLE SECOND can detrimental at some point. We went to ballet class this week and the other mothers were pushed up against the window, staring at the girls like zoo animals. I gave my girl a kiss, watched for a minute to make sure she wasn’t freaking out or having a meltdown, then sat on the bench with my phone. Sure, I peeked in a few times, but mostly I got half an hour to myself – and my daughter got to be in a class like a “big girl”.

Tiffany 2 years ago

A to-the MEN sister! It’s these stolen moments that keep me mentally refreshed. Momentary escapes if you will. Phones up ladies, phones up!!!

Jenni Chiu @ MommyNaniBooboo 2 years ago

Yes. Exactly. The response posts to this “dear mom on the iPhone…” have been awesome.

Melissa 2 years ago

I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for taking a break and looking on my phone. I see father’s at fast food places reading the paper while the kids are hanging upside down from the play park area and no judgements are made. Get over yourself and quit being jealous I’m on the internet and you’re not. Judge away, my child is healthy, polite and very intelligent and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Petrina 2 years ago

Thank you for giving voice to the same sentiment I had floating in my head after reading this article on Facebook!!! Couldn’t have written it better myself.

CC 2 years ago

I read the other article, too. I agree, as a mom who works at home, that sometimes you have to bring your work with you. Sometimes the reason you are at the playground in the first place is so your kid will be happy while you handle a work crisis.

I think the target of the article was people who are constantly wrapped up in their phones. I have a group of friends who can’t even have dinner together without meddling with their iPhones. People just need to learn when to shut down the technology and live in the moment. Don’t get lost on Facebook or Twitter when you should be interacting with people…period. Children or adults.

Kathy F. 2 years ago

I’m not a mom, but I feel a lot of sympathy for the moms being harassed over cellphone use.

Would it help if you pointed out that being a helicopter mom is not a good thing?

Or that if other moms are busy supervising and correcting your behavior, they can hardly be supervising and correcting the behavior of their children?

Rae 2 years ago

How did she know that you weren’t checking on a sick relative or taking care of something else very important? OMG! I would have gave her a piece of my mind!

Nicole 2 years ago

Tanya Ferguson is a great mom and what she does works for her. What she does, doesn’t work for me! I can’t stand other peoples kids and have no interest in trying. I love spending time with my daughter, but lord have mercy, she drives me crazy! If what you do works for you and your family, who cares? Keep doing what you are doing and write her off as bat shit crazy, in your mind of course.

Christine @ Love, Life, Surf 2 years ago

Thank you. Thank you. As a WAHM, the line gets blurred and yes my work comes with me everywhere. And absolutely 24/7 undivided attention on my children wouldn’t benefit either of us. I need that time to regroup. Agree with Alison – can the judging stop now? Can’t we all give each other the benefit of the doubt that we are each doing our best in our own way and in a way that makes sense for our family?

WriterChickNJ 2 years ago

All moms need a mental break. Mommyhood can feel very isolating and be stressful. Connecting with other adults – even for a minute – is a stress REDUCER.

I grew up in the 1970s. My Mom loved to read. She was there. We knew she had her MomEars tuned to us but she wasn’t staring at us 24/7. She also liked to chat w/her girlfriends while we played. How was that any different from checking your iPhone for a minute? It’s not. And it’s all good.

Stephanie 2 years ago

What people also don’t think about is that I have a lot of family who lives far away. A lot of the times I’m on my phone, I’ve just taken video or a pic and I’m sharing it so that family can be in on the moment in real time. Pardon the crap out of me.

lISA 2 years ago

Thank you for this post. I can not believe the self righteous zeal of some parents! As if anyone has any right to tell another parent, or another person for that matter, how to spend their time. Parenting isn’t black and white and it doesn’t always look or feel the same. There are as many different moving parts as there are personalities and dynamics of parents and children. Would this judgy mom have had the same reaction to someone flipping through a magazine or having a conversation with other parents at the playground? I really hope that the paranoia over technology is a passing phase. Are the children physically safe? Emotionally okay? Yes? Then move on its none of your business.

Sara D. 2 years ago

THANK YOU! Oh my goodness, so refreshing! I am a Stay at Home Mom, have been for 10 years, and I love it, BUT I do not have great patience, and especially with other people’s kids. At the pool in my neighborhood is where i get the looks. It’s like, really? I am a hawk at the pool, i know where they are and what they are doing, but I also am relaxing, i did the baby stage, the chasing toddler stage, I have earned the relax time stage. I love your blog 😀

Carrie 2 years ago

Thank you for writing this! My SIL posted that blog on FB yesterday, and I was so offended. I am a working mom, and while I love my babies to death, while they are having fun, not paying one iota of attention to me, I do not feel bad for catching up with friends, tweeting about annoying moms or kids at the park. Or just playing a game. We all need our mindless two minutes to keep our sanity. So stop judging me, and watch your own kids if that’s what you must do. But I don’t judge you for still breastfeeding your 4 year old.

MamaBennie 2 years ago

Our schools have a rule where kids can only wear shorts between the months of April and October. Even if it is warmer earlier. :-/ If they are in unacceptable attire they get sent home. They get sent home 3 times they get suspended. Doesn’t matter what grade they are in either. Then again, public schools also have uniforms here. *sigh* I hate so many rules. If the school doesn’t have a policy on it though, they could at least treat you like a damn adult and have a private conversation. That was just rude and unprofessional.

Deneen 2 years ago

i concur with the “moms should lay off other moms”!!! BRAVO! i too am LUCKY enought to get to be a mostly stay at home mom … i work on contract doing a few different things – mostly to regain some sanity but obviously also to bring in a few $$. when i am “working” sometimes its at hockey pratice and sometimes its at the park …but i admit sometimes its for pure relaxation … chill, mommies! dont judge me, i don’t judge you!!!

Bailey 2 years ago

I see both sides of this – I’ve been in your shoes, working from home with small children. I have certainly been guilty of typing away on my Blackberry (it was a few years ago!) at the park. And I have no problem if you are doing so UNLESS your kid is THAT kid. I have my own children, I really don’t want to manage yours as he throws sand and uses bad words and is a general terror. That is the only time I have an issue with it – basically, when it impacts me.

Sheri 2 years ago

LOVE THIS. Thank you!

Stephanie 2 years ago

How do you NOT use your phone out in public, anyway? I use it for directions, to find phone numbers, to check email, to bring up coupons and coupon codes, everything. When I hear things like this, I am always reminded that the things we can’t stand about about other people are the things we hate about ourselves. Get over yourselves, people. We KNOW you do it, too.

Jennifer Wilck 2 years ago

Yes, yes, yes! While I would argue that spending all my time on my iPhone or computer or whatever is detrimental, it does provide a much-needed break and helps keep my sanity. I work from home and am logged into Facebook and other social media most, if not all, day. Does that mean I’m on it all day? Of course not! I liken it to the water cooler. People who work in an office get a break by going to someone else’s office, stopping to get coffee, chatting at someone’s desk. I’m home alone, or with my kids. My adult conversation occurs online. And if I pop on and off occasionally–in between the myriad other things I have to do–that doesn’t make me a bad parent or a bad person. Great post!

Scatteredmom 2 years ago

Um, I think that teacher was out of line to take the phone out of your hand and scold you. Wow.

Jen 2 years ago

YES. Nobody but my kids know what kind of mother I am, and nobody else’s opinion on the matter means a damn thing!

Tricia 2 years ago

That awful post has taken over my Facebook feed and it makes me want to scream. I was e-mailing my son’s freaking therapist and got reamed out by a mother for not watching my daughter do a cartwheel. Lady, I’ve seen hundreds of them and I’ll see hundreds more. Shut your pie hole.

Amy 2 years ago

Thank you. Thank you.
As someone that also works from home, I have to check in to make sure it hasn’t hit the fan every once in a while and I resent the hairy eyeballs I get. When my kids are engaged and having fun, it’s nice to take the opportunity to check in with the adult world (in a non-porn way :)
What a perfectly stated post.

Moozje 2 years ago

Hear hear!!
And reading a book in the park IS ok?

Traci Guthrie 2 years ago

I stumbled upon your blog on Pinterest and love it! I am always the mom refusing to push swings and handing my kids goldfish while the moms fresh from their stroller workout class in designer tennis skirts feed their kids freeze dried mango and Smart Water. My sister and I text each other constantly about what we overhear other moms talk about. Somewhere along the way I missed the “how to be a fake mom” class!

SAHM 2 years ago

I am also that mom. It also gives me time to collect. So I don’t start screaming at the snotty self entitled brats the ppl who criticize and glare have raised.

Suzanne @ Fit Minded Mom 2 years ago

I so needed to see this today!! I am that mom, too but I think it is just fine. Sure, if I were always on my phone and ignoring my kids that might be an issue. But damn, if you cannot take a few minutes to yourself at the park while your kids are running around having fun, when can you?! Catering to kids 24/7 is setting them up to be self centered grown ups.

I am far from the perfect mom(find me one who is!!) but I am sick of the articles put out there contributing to mommy guilt. As if we don’t have enough already!!!

Jen 2 years ago

Amen, mama. I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Meg @ Soup Is Not A Finger Food 2 years ago

I was on the receiving end of a “sanctimommy” moment myself this week… as the school principal opened my car door to let my son out at the drop-off in the morning, she said to him, loud enough so I could hear, SHORTS TODAY? THAT’S UNACCEPTABLE ATTIRE! I rolled down my window and said, I think he’ll be OK. But what I thought was, how about you be in charge of educating and I’ll be in charge of what my kid wears and if it’s truly causing some kind of problem for him or other kids, then let’s have a private, adult conversation about it. Ugh.

Laurel @Let’s Go on a Picnic! 2 years ago

Yes! You GET IT. The internet keeps me sane sometimes. Thank you!

Amy Lemaniak 2 years ago

THANK YOU for this!! I read the original article on Facebook last might and have felt like a shitty mom scarring my kids for life ever since! This perspective reminds me that its ok to so things for myself and my own sanity sometimes!