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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dear Mom on the iPhone, I Get it.



Dear Mom on the iPhone -

This morning at 6 AM I checked Facebook and saw a letter re-posted by a friend and addressed to you. As I lay there in the grey dawn, listening out for the sounds of my own two kids waking, I pictured your tiny girl spinning in her pretty dress as you completely ignored her, staring transfixed at your phone. What an image, right? An image I think was meant to bring you guilt and shame, written into a "kind" letter under the guise of giving you a gentle reminder that your kids won't be small forever, and that if you don't stop using your phone instead of focusing all of your attention on them, all of the time, they're going to think your phone is more important than they are to you.


Listen, Mom on the iPhone, I've met you a million times. You're my best friend, my sister, the other mom at the bus stop every morning, waving until the bus carrying our kids to school drives out of site. I see you everywhere I go, we smile knowingly over the heads of our kids in the grocery store check-out lane, and you struck up conversation with me at the mini-gym while we watched our 4-year-olds play together last weekend. I read your blogs and empathize with your Facebook posts and talk to you via text and Voxer. We get together for coffee so our boys can play together. We help out at classroom parties together and sit in the lobby of the dance studio while our daughters take ballet. I know you, hundreds of you, and I know your kids aren't confused about their place in your life because you're planning next week's meals while they have some free time on the playground. Don't buy into the shame and guilt, friend.

From our many interactions, Mom on the iPhone, I've seen that you're smart, capable and resourceful as well as being loving and caring and giving where your family is concerned. So I trust you to know when you and your kids need to give one another your undivided attention, and when it's okay for you to take a few minutes while they're occupied to attend to one or two of the myriad of other things for which you're responsible. I trust that you talk to and laugh with and teach and cuddle your kids enough that they know the difference between being neglected and being allowed a bit of independence to figure out they're still important and valued even though your world, and the world at large, doesn't always revolve around them. I trust that when you have doubts or worries or need advice, you use your resources to find answers and solutions to care for and protect your family. You're an adult with adult responsibilities and you handle them well, Mom on the iPhone, so you've earned my respect.

You use your phone to do all the things our Moms did with paper and pens, stamps, recipe files, checkbooks, clocks, timers, typewriters, fax machines, calculators, calendars, phones with cords, newspapers, books, thermostats, televisions, radios, and cameras. Your phone helps you plan, manage and communicate with regard to your job, your household, your family's schedule, in short, your life from the park. Or the library. Or the pool. Or your child's hospital room. Or the commuter train. Or Disneyland. You have a phone because it makes you more portable and productive, and that's beneficial in a hundred ways for you and your family. It's funny - the author of that letter saw you with your phone and judged you to be "messing." I wonder if she'd have bothered to write you a cautionary letter if instead of an iPhone, she'd seen you at the park with a video camera or a cookbook or a handwritten note from your mother? I'm willing to bet not. I wonder why your having that phone in your hand makes some people so uncomfortable? Why does a simple piece of technology give a stranger license to accuse you of being a selfish, too-busy, disengaged woman who's threatening her children's self-esteem and self worth? We both know that's not who you are.

Who are you? I'll tell you who you are.

You're the mom whose husband, due to a job change he couldn't refuse, has a 90 minute commute to and from work, which means he doesn't get to spend time with the kids except on the weekends. Thirty minutes ago, you got out the toolbox and took the training wheels off the six-year-old's bike, and then you grabbed your phone and captured a 20-second video of her first two-block solo flight to this very park on her two-wheeler. You're sitting on that bench texting the precious video to her Daddy at work, and receiving his return text -- a video of him clapping and cheering for his baby girl. You'll have both of these videos (and hundreds of great pictures, too) forever. When that same daughter loses her first tooth two weeks from now, you'll capture that moment with your phone, too, and her Dad will be the second person in the whole world to see her newly-minted gap-toothed smile.

You're the mom with the critical project at work who is managing it from the park because the babysitter's child came down with chicken pox. You're on that bench emailing key talking points to your boss, who is covering for you in the meeting you're missing. I admire you. Your kids know you as a strong, capable, resourceful, flexible business person and the best Mom in the world. I love the positive messages this will eventually set them up to believe about themselves.

You're the mom who took your 3 year old little boy to see a specialist yesterday. He's been diagnosed with a spectrum disorder and you're scared out of your mind and absolutely reeling. You're on the bench today setting up appointments for initial consultations with recommended therapists. You'd do it on the telephone but whenever you try to speak his diagnosis out loud, you cry. But you're getting this done, and I think you're about the bravest person I know.

You're the mom whose grandma and best friend died of cancer. In addition to raising your three kids and being very involved in their school and extra-curricular activities, you work part-time as a nurse. In your spare time (ha!) you lead a team of 13 to 30 women who raise as much as $50,000 annually to help find a cure for cancer, all to honor your friend and your grandmother. You're on that bench organizing a 150-person fundraiser that will net over $12,000, which you will donate to a charity in the hopes of saving lives. I'm proud to be on your team, and proud of the work we've done together.  More importantly, your kids are proud of you.

You're the mom who finds solace and inspiration in the pages of books, but you haven't read anything beyond a short magazine article in five years because you've had small babies and toddlers to love and care for. You live a thousand miles away from your family and don't have money to pay a babysitter. Your kids have finally gotten independent enough to play for a bit on their own without your full, undivided attention, so on sunny days you're on this bench devouring page after page of your first book back on your phone's Kindle app. It makes me so happy to see you caring for yourself a bit while your kids enjoy the sunshine and use their imaginations to entertain themselves.

You're the mom, the dear friend of mine, who lives across the country from me but is as close to me as my own heartbeat thanks to our phones. You're sitting on that bench far away and you just read the post on our private board about my nephew being sick again. You'll drop everything the minute you finish reading, and you'll pray with me. I know you will, because you've done it before. I do it for you, too. As much as we'd love them to be, our lives aren't arranged so that we can take our kids to the park together and sit and chat while they play, but you make time for me and I make time for you when it matters most because we love and need each other. You give me great advice, a listening ear, and connection during a time when, for a mom, it's common to feel very isolated and alone.

You're the mom who is also my sister. Between the two of us we have seven kids, so we've both long given up the idea of truly meaningful phone conversations that aren't interrupted constantly by the needs of our offspring. We're okay with it, because we're both pretty good writers and we can text a blue-streak. You're on the bench watching my nieces and nephews play while I'm watching your niece and nephew play, and we're Facebook chatting about recipes and paint colors and laughing until we cry just like we would if you were here. Sometimes we have the hardest conversations imaginable that way, and time stands still on both of our benches, and I want to throw my phone far away from me, but I hold onto it and so do you, because sometimes, Mom on the iPhone, our phones are our lifelines to one another. And that's okay.

And so, Mom on the iPhone, I say carry on. (And you too, Dad on the iPhone, although you seem to have escaped criticism again. And I wonder why that is?) You're showing your kids how a person can love them fully, take good care of them, get them out and about on a beautiful day, while still being successful in other arenas and managing her other responsibilities, and even take a few minutes to do something that she simply enjoys, just for herself. You have my respect and support. Text me sometime and we'll play Words with Friends while we wait in the carpool line.

With love and appreciation,

Me



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356 comments:

  1. So freaking beautiful...it makes me want to cry!

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  2. Absolutely perfect. When my kids love something, they say they love it TIMES GOD because God is infinity. I love this TIMES GOD. Well done.

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    1. I just had to comment and say that I absolutely LOVE that your children say "love it TIMES GOD"...that is adorable and I may have to "steal" it for my family! ;)

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  3. Thank you.
    From,
    The Mom who works from home so she can feed, clothe and provide her children with a home who is often on her smart phone or Ipad at the park or ball practice WORKING so she gets a paycheck and has had strangers come up on 2 occasions and give the lecture about being in the moment with your kids because they are only small once.
    Thank you.

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    1. Milkshakes- I want to say God bless you! Working from home is sometimes more difficult than working outside the home. People see you at home and it's easy to overlook the WORKING part. In a world that pushes us to constantly do more, I bless you for making it all work...somehow. :)

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  4. love love love love LOVE!!!!!!!!!

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  5. PS - I've been that mom several times... the one whose son was diagnosed with autism in September... the one who just needs to check out of "reality" for a few moments... the one who needs a breather... the one who needs grace, not judgement. So thank you for posting this.
    <3

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  6. Kendra in DaytonMarch 6, 2013 at 4:51 PM

    Two words....BLOWN. AWAY.

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  7. I love this so much; we've got to turn the tide on this sense that our kids are and should be the center of our universes. I teach college English and I've had those kids as students, the ones who have been helicoptered within an inch of their lives, don't know how to think for themselves and are pretty sure everything that comes out of their mouths is adorably special. They're going to be crappy adults. I love your acknowledgment that most of us mothers are doing a great job, being present, working hard, making plans and staying connected. Beautifully done.

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    1. The do make crappy adults who don't understand responsibility and make the rest of us look bad.

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  8. I spent the morning trying not to freak out about my sudden asthma symptoms while I am 33 weeks pregnant. I called my sister, I called my ob, I put the kids off time and time again while I tried to ditch the panic and figure out if I'm overreacting or I need to do something. I'm feeling a little guilty for spending so little time with them today, but I had to get out to the grocery store and now I feel worse again. (They all have colds as well, so I didn't feel too bad letting them play on educational websites while my husband got ready for work.) Thank you for understanding--this post made me cry.

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    1. Rebekah, sometimes the BEST thing you can do for THEM is take care of YOU!!!! Said a prayer for you to feel better. xoxo ~Kim

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  9. incredible. beautiful. grace-filled truth. thank you!

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  10. Amen and amen. "You use your phone to do all the things our Moms did with paper and pens, stamps, recipe files, checkbooks, clocks, timers, typewriters, fax machines, calculators, calendars, phones with cords, newspapers, books, thermostats, televisions, radios, turntables, and cameras." We live in a different time, different tools to accomplish the same goals. Any one of the things in your list would not get ridicule on the park bench. Thank you and thank you.

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  11. This is great, another nail in the coffin of the "judgmental motherhood years" - or it should be, anyway! As I walk out of perfectionism in parenthood (and life in general), I am learning so much. Many times have I known moms who do things different than I do, but never have I known one who didn't love her kids and want to be involved in their lives, even if they do spend a fair amount of times on other pursuits. I hope you won't mind me linking to this from my blog. :D

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  12. i have a friend whose husband is in the army and deployed. she never knows when he will be able to get to call or facebook her. she would fit into this too.
    i admit i tend to judge people when i see them on their phones. thanks for the reminder to assume the best and react with grace.

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    1. "...assume the best and react with grace."

      This pretty much sums it all up. Well said!

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    2. "...assume the best and react with grace."

      I loved that line, too!

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  13. Came here via Beth Woosley and am so glad I did. Just shared this on Twitter, because EVERYONE should read this. Everyone. Brilliant.

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  14. Wonderful!
    From mom with the iPhone trying to chat with the husband she hasn't seen in over 100 days and struggles every day to explain to those little darlings how the Air Force (Army, Marines, Coast Guard, or Navy) knows that they miss their daddy but there is nothing that can be done.

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  16. Thank you. I saw the same letter this morning and had the same reaction. You can't judge a mom you've seen ONE TIME in a park. You have no idea what she's doing or how much time she's already spent loving her kids in a thousand different ways. And letting them play independently in the park is another kind of love. I appreciate this post.

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  17. Love this, and shared on FB. Thank you.

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  18. So much yes. Thank you! I saw a letter to a dad once that berated him for snapping at his kid in a grocery store lineup (Costco, I think); similar idea. Jeepers, people.

    I found you through your post gone viral on FB, from 5 Kids is a Lot of Kids. I'll be back =)

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  19. This is perfection. Thank you.

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  20. Been there, as a work from home photographer and mom, with school age a son with Dyspraxia and possible spectrum issues as well as a 2 year old powerhouse daughter...I've made I don't know how many appointments, talked to therapists, family (my In laws live 6000 miles away), and close friends (best friend lives across the country) and scheduled/planned shoots all while my little one plays. THANK YOU.... And I will be sharing this as well from both my personal and my professional page.

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  21. I flippin' love you. Everything you wrote is exactly how I felt when I read that other post. THANK YOU. THIS. YES.

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  22. thank you for explaining this to everyone ... thank you

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  23. Well. I'm crying. Again! And I'm sharing on FB via Five Kids. I love this so much!

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  24. You nailed it, friend. NAILED IT.

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  25. Oh Megan, this is pure perfection. So many words that I can't even get out. Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for finding the words.

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  26. Amazing.

    I do not know you, but I love you for this blog post. Open your arms and accept my love freely. Go on.

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  27. I just read it again- and AGAIN I am near tears.

    This is beautiful. Grace-filled, tender, but strong. I am so glad I have my iPhone. Does it mean I miss a few moments? Yes. But without it, I would miss many more.

    Eshet chayil, Megan.

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  28. I cried at so many points through here... Megan - so much grace... Omigoodness. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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  29. From the dad's with iphones who escape all criticism - fantastic post. Thanks so much for writing it. It's great to have a reality check every once in a while.

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  30. LIke many others have said- thank you for putting into words what was bouncing around in my heart when I read that other letter.

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  31. As one who doesn't have a smart phone, I don't quite get it, but do get that we as mothers need to stop putting each other down all the time. For instance, I don't have a smart phone because I chose to quit my job and stay home with my kids, and can't afford one. I'm forever being criticized by other working moms (who often have cell phones) for my decision. So sick and tired of the "mommy wars".

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  32. Yes. Thank you for your most beautiful post. You articulated your viewpoint so well. I am grateful for you sharing and agree that we need to be a generation of women that moves away from judging and is instead supporting each other.

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  33. brilliant. very well played.
    and also um...can we please be real life friends?

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  34. Patty Just PattyMarch 6, 2013 at 9:08 PM

    I laughed and I cried. I am Mom on the iPhone. And I am so much more. Thank you for relieving some of my mommy guilt. Beautifully written.

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  35. I love you. Thank you so friggin much.

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  36. I don't even know you, but I think you are simply amazing. Thank you, thank you, a million times, thank you.

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  37. I don't even have an iPhone, or any mobile device, just a pay-as-you go flip phone for emergencies. But I agree with you. I'm tired of people calling each other out this way, under the guise of merely caring about children. I may not be using a mobile device but you can believe I bring a book with me to the park, sit down with my laptop a few times a day, work on crafting projects, etc. And I see myself in so many of your examples. I've been there and I know how hard this parenting life can be without feeling as if I need to be staring into my children's eyes every minute of the day.

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  38. I had it come my way this am as well, My reaction was pretty much the same, but they deleted my comment. I think you will not, so:
    "OK.. this IS lovely BUT....
    It's often hard enough being a mother. You know what? Sometimes it is the 300th time in a row that you have had to respond to "watch me!" in half as many seconds. You look at this mother and judge her, but you don't know that perhaps the baby woke up screaming, the cute little boy just dumped maple syrup all over the dog and the wearing of that swirling skirt was the cause of a 37 minute whining tantrum. You can't see that she had crazy meeting at work that she had to cancel at the last minute because he baby sitter flaked. You don't know that she optimistically hoped that the trip to the park would entertain her children long enough so she could put out the fires.
    Yes, we all have done this; maybe sometimes to just being selfish and checking Facebook, maybe we didn't look all the time, but no matter how much we try, we'll never get it 100% of the time. We'll never be super mothers and we feel guilty enough already for when we are tired, or at our wits ends, or covered in syrup and vomit.
    Yes, time flies by and our kids are precious, but mothers just do not need more guilt. I reject this. guilt, I will ignore my children when I deem that they need to be ignored. I will keep my sanity and not take on more mother guilt. In fact, I think THAT is in my kids' best interest!"

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  39. Exactly! Beautifully written, and oh-so-true.

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  40. Yes! As someone who lives 7 hours and 30ish hours away from any family, my iphone helps me connect with the family who would not get to watch my boys grow up without the help of the internet. I post pictures and status updates of my kiddos often not to brag (okay sometimes to brag) but to keep all of our family members up to date. Our youngest has special needs. It helps people pray for him. My husband is working AND in nursing school and honestly - sometimes the only contact I have to the outside world with two little boys to take care of is because of the beauty of technology.

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  41. YES!!! I have so many tears, I can't even finish reading this right now! Just THANK YOU!! I work part-time, but it often overflows into life because it's agency work. Projects don't run on MY time. I'm so grateful to have a job that lets me be with my kids so much. It's been a must for survival for me to work since my husband lost his job five years ago & had to start over at the bottom of another profession. People can be so judgmental and sometimes our Christian sisters are the worst. Taking a minute to reflect on why that mom might be on the phone, or better yet, minding your own business is a far better use of your time.

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  42. DAYUM.

    Respect. This is SO EFFING GREAT.

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  43. I LOVE this!! Thank you SO much for being willing to share!

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  44. Thank you! That other post made me feel guilty even though I know I'm a good mom. I feel like you wrote everything I would have written if I could ever dream to think so clearly and write so beautifully.

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  45. I will never forget the sting of judgment from an older woman when I stopped to snap a photo of a restaurant on my way in one night. She made a scathing comment about my "addiction" to the phone and I was so beaten down I didn't take the photo and withdrew into myself the rest of the evening. I was on an effing date with my husband and was taking a photo to celebrate an evening out alone without the kids. But she dumped ice-cold water all over it, and it took days for me to recover. I do not know why people think they have permission to do that to others. I'm so glad you wrote this, MFC.

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  46. I was linked her by a friend of mine, and I must say, thank you.

    I, in May, got married and moved 3000 miles away from my family, and through that now have a six year old step son, and my daughter just turned 10 weeks. My life has kinda been thrown for a loop the last year, and I don't know what I'd do without my electronics to organize it all. Our entire lives are organized on my phone or computer, not to mention that's how I keep hold of my family. Having read that letter, I struggled for weeks to rebuild my resources and helping tools away from my computer, because somehow spending my time in front of a notebook or binder was better than my computer. Then I realized how silly this was, and got over it.

    This letter was a blessing to me. Because I realize that these are the things I wanted to say, and couldn't, in response to that letter. Thank you for being willing to say it.

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  47. LOVE this! So very well said!

    I admit to feeling a twinge of guilt and shame because I have been that mom on the phone (not iPhone, because I'm not that "cool" yet). But I'm with my kids all day long, teaching them and training them, giving them love and attention. It's okay to check my phone while they're playing at the park. Thank you for expressing exactly what so many are feeling so well!

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  48. Vey well said, Megan! Thank you for - once again - taking thoughts out of my head and putting them into words so eloquently and beautifully, and making them a joy to read. Your gift for writing truly blesses so many.

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  49. Love, love, love this letter! From a grandma of 9 who uses her iPhone - a LOT - even facilitating facetime with the cousins who live hundreds of klicks away!

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  50. I hope you just felt in your heart what I'm sending to you because I just stood, cheered and thanked God for you, Megan. Right on. RIGHT.ON.

    Heather

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  51. Well said. It's time for us to live our lives as we see fit instead of bending o society's judgement.

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  52. This is, without a doubt, one of the best blog posts I have ever read. Thanks for taking the time to write it out so eloquently.

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  53. Thank you for this eloquent post that took me from my bad mood, in part from a frazzled morning with my 6 year old, and made me cry and think that maybe I'm not so bad after all. My son doesn't always understand that the time I spend on the laptop or ON MY IPHONE at Disney World is so that I have the opportunity to spend more time with him and not go to an office and send him to daycare.

    This is just such a wonderful post from someone who gets it and even if people on the outside never do, it's nice to know we aren't alone. I salute you!

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  55. Read it. Loved it. Shared it.

    Oh, and Pinned it. :-)

    Blessings!
    Anna K.

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  56. Amen. Thanks for writing this. So needed.

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  57. And maybe she's relaxing by playing minecraft for a few minutes. That's okay, too.

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  58. Thank you thank you thank you! We're making it happen!

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  59. I love you, and I love your heart. You have a beautiful gift to see all sides of any given situation, and I LOVE that you have come to the defense of so many of us made to feel guilty and shamed by the comments (public and private) of others.

    I hope you know by the response that you have spoken a WORD here, sister. Eshet chayil, indeed!

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  60. I was just referred to your blog because of this post. And I'm so glad I was. This was truly awesome and I appreciate you!

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  61. Amazing writing, and YES, thank you, thank you, thank you.

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  62. I loved this post. I have a very non cookie cutter life. My husband is in the Army and has been working out of the country and away from us for over 2 years now. My family doesn't live close and my friends are spread out all over the country. My iphone is often my connection to the world. I use it to schedule our lives, take photos and video, and connect with my family and friends. I often feel judged over my use of my iphone. Thanks, I really connected with your post.

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  63. Love this! I left my job to be home with my six kids, and I work A LOT on my phone, laptop, tablet, etc. But the alternative is to be gone all the time, like I was before. My children know that I am working often, but it's so I can be here to cook dinner, and get them off to school in the mornings, or listen to them read and help them with homework, and of course kiss them goodnight. And they'll be the first one to tell a meddling stranger the same thing.

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  64. This is me, reading on my phone, and standing up in the middle of the chaos to applaud you. Thank you.

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  65. Bravo! Grace instead of judgement is what we can offer so freely to each other. Thank you for the reminder and may others see your message and pause to rethink their stance.

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  66. Oh my friend how I love when you write! This is a fabulous piece of wisdom for all to know. I too get accused of being on my phone all the time (sometimes from my husband) but as you said I live far away from family, I am a full time nursing student, I have four children who are older but everyone wants pictures etc, I have a house to run, and well you get the picture. Thank you again for putting it all into beautifully written words. I love your posts and wisdom and only wish I had had as much back when I was your age and had small ones. Much love from Oregon!

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  67. THANK YOU!!!! ^^Grace instead of judgement is all us moms can ask for.

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  68. I totally get what you're saying about not being too hard on ourselves. And I agree. However, I also think that sometimes we just need to put it down. Because truly childhood is short! Not that we need to stare at our children non-stop, but we do indeed need to look at them every now and again. And if we don't want our kids ignoring us while they text at the dinner table, then we have to model what we want to see. All things in moderation. And declare some areas of the house as sacred text free zones. So that when people are in that room they know that everyone in there will be present. Love the ones your with kind of thing.

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    1. This IS a great post but I also agree with Bernadette. I think everything is fine in moderation & I do find myself needing to unplug more often. My kids want me to interact with them, not sit on the floor & play on my phone. It's a struggle of mine, but I totally agree that we don't need to judge other moms. That just fuels the mommy wars fire!

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    2. I am 100% in agreement with you, Bernadette. We're all too focused on technology and have gotten away from interpersonal connections. Children NEED you to look every time they say "Watch me" because if you ignore them most of the time, they will ignore you when they're older. We need to put the phones and the laptops down and spend time face-to-face with our kids. They're people, not temporary inconveniences.

      And by the way, a public park/pool/mall playground is NOT the place to relax and play a game on your phone while your children play independently. That's just irresponsible.

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    3. Agreed. Totally. We all fritter away time irresponsibly. No doubt. BUT...I often wonder...would my scrolling through Instagram time be as hated as if I was reading a book while my kids played? (And I'm not talking Jane Austen...something "new" and not "literary"). What if I was knitting? Would that be as judged?

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    4. I agree!! I think it is about moderation...and, I am so tired of the mommy judging. :)

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  69. AMEN!! Love this. Thank you!

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  70. Gorgeous, gorgeous, uplifting words to read this morning. Standing ovation.

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  71. My girls are 16 and 20, so it's been a while since I've been at the playground (though there is still some occasional dress twirling around here. Mostly from me.) But I think it says SO much about the far-reaching spidery fingers of mommy guilt when I realized that even though I was a stay at home mom and iPhones hadn't even been invented yet when my girls were little, when I read that original post I STILL HAD A TWINGE of, "Oh yeah, she's right, I probably missed some important stuff when they were little because I wasn't 'present' enough..." Seriously? Am I THAT indoctrinated? Apparently so-- because your response brought a resounding YES to this mother's heart, and somewhere out here in internet-land I am holding up my hand for my virtual five to be highed. Well done!

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  72. Sitting here with tears in my eyes as I wonder if you've been peeping into my life this week. Thank you for reminding me to be more understanding of myself in the midst of the muck.

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  73. YES. Just yes. And thank you thank you thank you.

    We have many mutual friends, you and I, and I've been many forever now to get here to your blog and soak up some goodness. Well, I'm glad twitter blew up with this post today and got me here because it only took this one. You've got a fan in me, new friend. Preach on with your beautiful words of encouragement and grace. Preach on. xo

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  75. This is SUCH a true and beautiful response. I stumbled upon it from a friend on facebook but I'm now a follower. Thanks :)

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  76. I love when moms defend moms instead of heaping guilt upon guilt on moms. Way to go! Eshet chayil to you!!

    Hopefully, we can all grow in our own emotional maturity and see that sometimes putting down the phone is good just as sometimes being on the phone is good. Balance, engage, take care of ourselves so that we can fully take care of our littles. My littles are big now and I'm continuing to learn this balance. Thanks for your wise words here today, Megan!

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  77. I want to be your best friend.

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  78. I'm a SAHD-on-a-tablet. What I love about this post is that it attempts to love, like, and respect each other first. Ah peace. Now if I can think like this when I see kids using their phones.

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  79. You know, it is SOOOOO easy to judge, and I'm not going to lie, I am often one of those people thinking, "PUT DOWN THE PHONE!" or heck, even telling my husband to put it down! ;) (I'm okay with my non-smart phone that can only make phone calls and send text messages! ;)) but after reading this, you totally put it in a new perspective for me. I guess, as hard as it is to admit, it's just easier to judge, when in reality, I have NO idea what those moms (or dads) are doing on their phones! :) GREAT, GREAT, GREAT post! Thank you for sharing! :)

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  80. You are an exhorter who needs to speak even more freedom to those of us who are bound by shame. Much love and thank you.

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  82. Great Post and couldn't agree more!

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  83. Great essay.

    I was raised in the 70s/80s and hopped on my bike at 8am and was told to be home by 5pm. How is that any different? And I had a great childhood. People need to start giving the benefit of the doubt as the standard response.

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  84. Absolutely amazing post!!!! Thank you for summing it all up, that perception is not always the reality. That it's OK to not be overly concerned with how others attempt to box in "parenting". Just last night, the my dear iPhone was used to allow my 13 y/o to submit her feedback for our waitress after dinner. She was pleased with the service and it was important that she shared it with the powers that be while practicing her written communication skills. I loved your comment about the cookbook...as someone once said.."your perception of my does not equal my reality!"

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  85. Now I just need to figure out how to RESPECTFULLY send this to my mom and m-i-l... ;P

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  86. I was raised to never judge a book by it's cover. I think this is an extension to it. The judging just needs to stop.

    Great post. Well said.

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  87. Thank you. So many struggling moms who are drowning in unnecessary guilt of inadequacy need to read this. This was incredible.

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  88. It's just proof that you never know what battles another person is fighting. <3 Well said.

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  89. OHAI! Dad here.

    I "escaped the criticism this time," I suppose, because articles/blogs-posts/NBC-Today-Show-Features are almost always about mothering; about mothers. Seriously, it's pretty bad. And, I notice it.

    So, thanks for noticing me down there right before the article ran out. :)

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  90. Well said! Thank you, from a mom on her iphone :-)

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  91. What "other letter" are we reffering to?

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  92. Dear Mom on the Bench, I fine with you if you are still paying attention to where your child is and what he is doing. I'm a mom too and I multi task all the time. And you are in a park where hopefully its safe for your child to run around. But please get off the phone when you are in my store and actually interact with your child. Take the time to teach him what is OK to touch and that its not OK to run and crash into other customers. Put away the phone and watch your child. I might not be there tomorrow to stop him when he decides to push his little brother's stroller down the escalator because you were too busy talking with your girlfriend to notice. I might be in a different department when he wanders away and decides to play in the glassware department. Or tries to eat the scented candles. Or one of the millions of things I've prevented ignored children from doing while their parents (Dads and grandparents are just as bad) were busy talking on the phone about the great buy they just found. Instead of talking on the phone, how about having a conversation with your kid and teach them important life skills? Save the phone conversation for the park bench.

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    1. thank you! well stated!

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    2. I think you missed the point. The point is that you don't know what that mom is doing on the phone in the store. I have a grocery list on my phone. I might be checking off an item. Would you judge less if I had a piece of paper and a pen? I guarantee you have been less than present in moments - maybe it was a rough day, or maybe you just got off a call that threw your world upside down - but you seem to imply that you are "better" than these parents. I find that attitude to be disingenuous.

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  93. Thank you for sharing this. I read that letter and felt so awful and convicted that I was overcome with guilt. Yet, there was still something that didn't feel right about it. In my heart I knew I wasn't neglecting my children. You knit my feelings together beautifully with your words. This is such an encouragement! Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

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  94. I am sorry I do not have an Iphone! I honestly did not really get it! I am a working Mom, I am a full time nanny! I coordinate three children's schedules! My husband works full time and goes to school full time! I am actually not really concerned with WHAT you are doing on your phone! EXCEPT for when you are doing something other than watching your child and one of my children gets injured OR starts doing something your child is doing that is unsafe! I am already watching three or more children, can you please just pay attention to your children? I try not to judge parents when we are out but when I am doing your job, it gets frustrating!

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  95. Thank you. That other blog post made me feel like a horrible person and in turn, have been harping on my husband that maybe he is too because of the phone and the iPad. I don't know why we take these articles so seriously, but it will be a pleasure to take this one to heart because this is the truth. Thank you again.

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  96. I just have a normal phone- but sometimes at the park, I talk to my sister and let my kids PLAY without me!

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  97. Beautifully written and such a message I needed to hear today. Thanks for taking the time to write and share this!

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  98. Hell yes. Yes, yes, yes. What I thought when I read the original Mom on an iPhone essay was "You spent a lot of time critiquing this mom who you barely know and then writing the most passive aggressive letter I have ever read in my life...more time than any mom I know spends on herself. So maybe you should feel less sad for that mom and more sad for yourself, that this is how you choose to spend your time."

    sent from my iPhone

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  99. I agree with you on some points, but as a mom-on-iphone, I also think it's getting out of control. Half of the time, I am doing the important things mentioned above. The other half, I am just messing. Sometimes it's hard to "own up" to how we are really spending our time and the fact that we aren't prioritizing our children. Being on your iPhone doesn't make you a bad mom but it doesn't make you a good mom either. Being so sucked into my phone made me realize i didn't want to be that way. When I go to the park, I leave my phone in the car.

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  100. I can't say anything more than what these ladies have said again and again. (But of course I have to try) I am so incredibly thankful for these words that spoke directly to my heart. I'm a mom on a Droid but I am right there with all of you ;) This guilt, this constant burden that society feels we need to carry on our shoulders (as if we don't have enough!) needs to end now. I bet if the judging mom took just a few minutes to get to know the "selfishly detached mom," she'd be posting something so much more productive -- like THIS post from you.

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  101. I am the mom on the iPhone and I LOVE this. I have four kids between the ages of 4 and 11. I freely admit that I am sometimes "just messing around" on my phone because sometimes I need to turn off my brain so that I don't think about the 11 year old and his bully, the 9 year old and her preteen angst and drama, the 6 year old and her possible spectrum disorder that has yet to be clasified, or the 4 year old who is just 4 and full of mischief. If I want to use this time to "not think" because there is so much thinking, worryig, crying, and stressing to be done later, then I am okay with that. I will be a better mom because of it. My kids will benefit from it. And quite frankly, with 4 kids, I have enough to worry about without cnsidering what the world thinks I am or am not doing. BRAVO! I am working on my own blog about this very thing and I am linking to what I consider the BEST response to this nonsense that I have seen thus far.

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  102. Thank you for writing this. That first letter made me shudder. Could I stand to put my phone away at times? Yes. Did I need some judgmental blogger to hide behind what seemed like a false sense of concern to tell me that? No. My husband and I often goes days without seeing each other, and his schedule is limited. When he can talk, we talk. When we can't connect, I post to Instagram or Facebook; he reads when he can. I don't think that makes me a clueless or careless mother at all... I'm sure there are some who see me out with my kids and think that, but that's not the truth. I'm also pretty self conscious and sometimes at the other end of my texts from the park or block party is a friend saying, "I'm praying for you. You can make it through this. You're a wonderful friend."

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  103. I shared this with my mom's group and we all bawled! Thank you!

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  104. AMEN, with Sarah Bessey STANDING OVATION from Pennsylvania too

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  105. I'm a Mom on the iPhone that her two adult children bought for her so she wouldn't be stranded in the snow if the car breaks down again. I'm the Mom on the iPhone who just left her youngest daughter's dance class and met up with her oldest daughter and granddaughter at McDonald's for a school fundraiser. I'm the Mom on the iPhone who was carefully holding the phone in the wrong hand because of a giant bruise on her palm from roller skating at yet another fundraiser the night before. I'm the Mom who was on her iPhone checking in with a dear friend because the friend was leaving the next morning on an early flight to go visit with her mother who had just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I'm the Mom on the iPhone who used it to call the Girl Scout troop leader to make sure it wasn't too late to pick up the Girl Scout cookies. I'm the Mom who was on her iPhone checking the PayPal account to see if that client had finally sent the (very late) payment.

    I'm a single mom and I have a lot on my proverbial plate. Anyone who wants to judge me for using my phone to do some multi-tasking while I'm out with my kids is more than welcome to text me on my iPhone and let me know why exactly they have a problem with it.

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  106. THANK YOU!!! I will admit I was slightly angered about that article. It is exactly what I was thinking. It was beautiful. I am the mom on the phone texting/video and picture sharing to my own mom (only family) who lives 2 hours away. I love photography and have resorted to using my phone. I love reading so...I read a lot of blogs :) I was wondering if that author became "iPhone mom" when writing that article. Did she stop caring for her kids cause she had to make judgment on someone?? I love how some moms are writing about this. Again, thank you so much!

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  107. YES! Thank you!

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  108. I wrote a post on this, too, and love your take on it!

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  109. THANK YOU. You have no idea how much this hit home.

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

    Also? A-FREAKIN' MEN.

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  110. What a beautiful reply! Way to go!

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  111. This is fabulous! I've been guilty of judging people for public iPhone use . . . but when I finally got a smartphone myself, I realize that it can be used wisely or poorly. Just today I've been in a Facebook conversation with a friend who ranted about seeing so many people busy on their iPhones at the doctor's office. I reminded her (and myself) that they might be using that usually-wasted time intentionally to free up time for more important things when they get home. I use my phone not only for practical tasks and socializing but also for encouraging and counseling friends.

    There's no One Right Way to use (or refrain from using) technology, whether on phones, tablets, laptops, or desktop computers. Thank you for expressing that so eloquently!

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  112. THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR WRITING THIS!! After I read the initial letter to Mom, I guess I felt the need to defend myself in a rant to my husband. I am VERY mindful about using my phone (though not perfect) AND you are exactly right...after spending much of my day and week with my son and giving him my time and attention, it's when he's occupied & safe that I steal a few minutes for myself. We, as mom's and humans should not be making others feel guilty about taking some time for ourselves.

    Again, Thank you!

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  113. I love you. In a non freaky/stalky way. Thank you so very much.

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  114. YES. That "Letter to iPhone Moms" hurt me yesterday, and I am so grateful for your words in response because you were able to capture some of the thoughts in my mind. PRESS ON, mothers. PRESS ON!

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  115. I love this! I read the original "mom on the iPhone" post and it did strike a sour note with me. My husband is currently on his second 8 month deployment in 2 years and I spend a LOT of time on my phone emailing back and fourth with him. I have a pretty good idea of what people think when I'm standing in the checkout line typing away.. "Kids these days, always on those darn phones!" but what they don't know is the story behind my actions and why I'm willing to stop what I'm doing to read a quick email. Does that mean I'm missing my children grow? I don't think so.

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  116. I can't tell you how much I love this. & Instagram...it's lifeblood for families who are separated. No apologies from this iphone mama. So glad this is going viral. I did my part!

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  117. Thank you. I just started a business 8 months ago and feel guilty every moment I am not on the floor playing with my daughter because that's what I though a stay-at-home-mom was supposed to do. But you are just so right. If I don't teach her to be well rounded and independent, who will?!

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  118. This was the best thing I have read in AGES! I read the "mom on iphone" article and thought many of these things you are saying...I thought of myself and my mom. I have a baby boy and a little brother who is a 16 year old drug addict (recovering some days and relapsing the next) He also has extreme bipolar tendencies and my mom has to be very careful about what she says out loud when he is present because he could break out in a rage any second. So if you saw her or me on the phone you could guarantee I was being her listening ear as she is on the verge of a breakdown, or a breakthrough! Because she doesn't know what to do to help her son...my brother. And we are NOT neglecting our children! Instead we are figuring out how to love them more! I don't think I ever in my wildest dreams could have put it the way you did. YOU ARE WONDERFUL! :D

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  119. Perfectly said. Thank you for this.

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  120. I love this post. It amazes me when I think that it wasn't too long ago that parents freely told kids to go outside and play until they were called to come in for dinner. Kids were more independent and they spent a whole lot more time outside soaking in the sunshine and fresh air. Today moms are criticized when they take a few minutes for themselves on the playground while their children socialize and have fun. I spent all day with my 5-year-old son on most days and I can tell you that I look forward to playground time so he can have a blast with kids his own age while I enjoy a few minutes thinking my own thoughts and, yes, even playing with my iPhone.

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  121. What I found REALLY interesting about this entire (pretty awesome) post what what you mentioned about the Dads not getting any flack for being on their phones. How DID they escape ridicule once again? (I'm not bitter or anything...)

    MY mom used to watch soap operas for 3-4 hours a day, every summer of my life. Sure, sometimes she took me to the pool or the park or wherever else but only before or after they were on - ha! (this was before she could record them!) And she used to read a lot too while were at those places... but you know, I turned out okay.

    This is a great post. I don't judge any mother for having her phone out, I just ask her if she wants to "Bump" (kidding...sorta...) ;)

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    1. There was a Dear Dad letter too...

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  122. Wonderful post. This was something I truly struggled with since I'm a business owner (as is my husband). I have the joy of working on my own schedule and (at the time) from home. However, I'd have to juggle client calls during trips to the park, covering the phone microphone with my hand to mute the sounds of children laughing while I happily pushed my daughter on the swing. Yes, it's tough to juggle it all (whatever you're doing), but I'm SO thankful that I had technology to enjoy time with her and still feel connected to business (aka our income source) without having to be "in the office".

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  123. Thank you so much for this. It was very encouraging as I often feel guilty for being on my phone and computer all the time. I am helping support our household while staying home with my son. I am proud of being a work at home mom. And even more proud that I get to take breaks throughout the day to hang out with my sweet little boy. My little co-worker rocks :)

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  124. Hello Miss Megan! Do you remember diary land Jane? :) I read that mom on the iPhone post and it bothered me. It bothered me because it said a lot more about the author than the mom she was supposedly writing to. I can't imagine looking at a mom on her phone and deciding I knew her children's psychological state better than she did. Ha!

    Anyway, I am sharing this and hoping it goes viral.

    Still just love you to bits! It was nice to check in with you today.

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  125. I'm the mom on the iPhone who just needs a friggin break, and checking Instagram pics while my kids play is a nice glimpse into a world that doesn't include diapers, whining, or piggyback rides.
    You don't need a special circumstance to need an excuse to be on your phone. Judgy McJudgerson needs to get off his/her high horse.
    Thanks for this post!

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  126. THANK YOU so very much for writing this. I shared with my friends and wow the ones that shared the "mom on the iphone" are being very opinionated with me sharing THIS article. OMG. Moms are such a tough crowd. We're either helicopter parents or ignoring our kids. You simply cannot win. I just wish there'd come a day when we could just support each other.

    I'm with my younger kids 24/7 the oldest is in K. Am I suppose to be constantly engaged?? If I cheer and spell out their name with my body at each little jump at the park... they're going to be royally dissappointed later in life.

    Funny thing is... I feel so strongly in defending the mom on the iphone, but with my youngest at 21 mths I really can't even be on my iphone. If I could, I would, it'd be such a luxury! ;)

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  127. This was a fantastic post!!! While it doesn't apply to ALL women - some of us really are just "messing," and ALL we do is "mess," constantly LOL - this reminds us that we have no right or room to judge them, or anyone else for that matter. We can't possibly know what they're going through or who they really are.

    I've decided to start practicing Love instead of Judgment. When I come across someone and feel the urge to "call out" or "judge" them, I show LOVE instead, and send a prayer up for them. It's the best thing you can do when you "think" something isn't right but can't really know for sure...HE'LL KNOW and HE has the power to actually DO something about it! I'll also ask Him to clear my own eyesight each and every time so that I'll eventually start to see people as HE does, not as I might...

    Bless you for writing this!

    XOXOXO

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  128. Perfect. Just perfect. I wish more people "got it".

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  129. Omg, I laughed and cried at the same time. That was cathartic. Thanks!

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  130. Thank you, thank you, thank you.....a million times over.

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  132. Thanks for this blog. As a stay-at-home mom of four I was very upset by anyone taking the liberty to critically judge a mom at the park with her children. For on thing, she's at the park. Does anyone realize what kind of monumental effort it can be to get children ready to go to the park - on the off chance that you can find time between bus schedules, naptimes, snacktimes and lunch? And on top of having them at the park, fully dressed (which I'm sure they didn't accomplish on their own) they were still happy enough to be adorable for some random stranger. Children aren't naturally adorable. Their natural state is angry ... angry and poopy ... oh, excuse me my nursing baby just undid his diaper and peed all over me. I'm going to bask in the preciousness of this moment so he doesn't resent me for a lifetime.

    The article bugged on so many levels. The only uninterrupted sleep I've had in the last four years was when I was under general anesthesia for emergency surgery after the birth of my last baby. I woke up with him next to my hospital bed, crying. I wake with a migraine every morning but I'm up at 6:00 am to help my 12 and 9 year-old get off to school with a healthy breakfast, scriptures and a kiss. And then it's non-stop work with the other two until I can find a small moment to eat my own breakfast. I generally get a shower after dinner, when hubby has a second to console the children - who think they will die without me.

    Fortunately, I have friends that are more like you and less like the critical woman at the park. Friends that bring me small treats. That talk on the phone with me and patiently wait during every interruption. Friends that made me dinner when I came home from the hospital.

    There was an article in last month's Ensign about raising resilient kids. And, you know, maybe that child that wanted mommy to watch him felt momentarily disappointed that she looked at her phone, instead. But then he discovered that whether or not mom noticed, he found joy in his own accomplishments. He had a rare opportunity to realize that he didn't need his mom to be happy. While some mothers might gasp in horror at the thought of their children becoming independant adults that don't need or want their constant approval, it's healthy. Don't tell me that little girl had never twirled in that dress before. Eventually, it's good for children to not need to be the center of the universe and to come to grips with a world that can love, accept and treasure them without looking lovingly into their eyes 24/7 ... or they become actors.

    A little bit less of perfect, adoring parenting and a little bit more of "mom is a person" and "everything doesn't need to be about you" makes children strong, respectful adults. After all, it's not like they are going to let childhood go by without being noticed. They're born screaming.

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  133. Yes.

    And also - from whence the idea that mothers must spend all their time completely focussed on their children, or they will be ruined?

    I don't recall our mothers and grandmothers expected to behave in this way. They were people as well as mothers, with busy lives, and we understood that they couldn't always drop everything to be with us, and we learned that (although they loved us, very much) we weren't the be-all-and-end-all of the universe. This is an important thing to learn. I don't think some of today's children are learning this, and I don't think this is doing them any favours.

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  134. Love, Love, Love this!!! Bravo!

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Thoughts?