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MIND

Dear Mom Telling Me To Get Off My Phone

Dear Mom who is telling me I should put my phone away,

I’m so sorry I disrupted your day and you felt the weight of a technologically doomed world on your shoulders because I had my iPhone in my hand. I’m sorry you felt sad for me and my children. I’m sorry the small window of my life that you were privy to depressed you and made you weep for my son’s lost childhood.

Just kidding.

Dear Mom Telling Me To Get Off My Phone

You probably saw me at the park. Maybe I was scanning through a few emails or saying hi on Facebook while my adventurous four year old scaled the monkey bars beside me. I might have been answering an important text, but most likely I was doing something completely frivolous like laughing at a funny cat on Instagram.  Either is perfectly acceptable. Why? Because I can determine what should and shouldn’t be done in that moment since I already know what I did for the hours leading up to it, and I know what I’ll do the hours after we leave.

You, on the other hand, have absolutely no idea.

Many parents have the ability to spend the entire day with their children – like me. Hi. That means the hour I spend at the park is only one of 23 that I have with my child. You see him jumping up and down trying to get my attention. Yep. I see it too. In fact, I’ve seen it all day and I’ll see it until the moment he falls asleep. The fact that I shout “Wow cool!” instead of clapping, dancing and embracing him while keeping eye contact shouldn’t be your biggest point. Really. Because I’ve already done that 200 times before you had a glimpse into my bubble.

I’ve already been up since 5 am with him, having tickle fights and laughing over his favorite jokes even though they aren’t actually funny. I’ve already danced in the living room with him until I couldn’t breathe and painted sixteen pictures of flowers at the kitchen table. I’ve already dedicated myself to watching “this cool thing I can do!” instead of working that morning. And, when I get home, I’ll wash the same dishes ten times because he likes to help, read four books in funny voices, build a couch fort, hunt worms in the back yard, pretend I can’t find him during hide & seek, take him out for a smoothie and then come home to do at least five of those things all over again.

But don’t let that stop you from focusing on the comparatively minuscule amount of time I was daring to look at something other than my child.

Dear Mom watching out for the experience preservation of all children everywhere  – you’re right. The fifteen minutes I spent connecting with my friends online while he had an awesome time at the park was so selfish and careless. He didn’t need to play with other children instead of his mother for a change. What was I thinking? I am all he needs.

I bet those giggles and belly laughs were actually a cry for help.


photo credit: na.harii via photopin cc

  • BRAVO! I am glad someone said it. Everything I do is for these kids- so freaking what if I check my phone in my down time. They get A LOT of attention. Believe me.

  • YES! Thank you.

  • Love this, Kenda! Who’s paying attention to this mom’s kid while she’s busy scrutinizing other moms? I mean, I’m sure we all have times when we’re feeling a little “judgy”, but taking to the internet with it is getting old (and I’m not talking about your post, because you’re responding to the stuff that’s already out there). When I jump to conclusions about people, I see it as a problem with ME that I need to overcome, not something to disseminate on the web. I’ve eaten humble pie on more than one occasion when it turned out I was dead wrong about someone. You never know what a person is dealing with. Or maybe they’re not. Either way, it’s not anyone’s business but theirs.

    As Abraham Lincoln (is alleged to have) said: “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.” I wish more people would try that before taking to their blogs or social media with their foregone conclusions.

  • THANK YOU! My kids are NOT the center of my universe, and they likely won’t ever be the center of anyone’s universe ALL the time. God forbid I try to have a life outside of my children for an hour. *eyeroll*

    • Julie B.

      Wow, this is spot on. I, too, have had the good fortune of being a SAH mom for the majority of the last 14 years. The articles and blogs trashing us moms who use technology while with our children were actually making me feel slightly guilty, I admit. And I don’t even have a smart phone or internet on the phone I do o

      • Julie B.

        …own! Call me selfish, that’s fine, but I’ve never felt it was a good idea to give all my attention to my children all the time whenever and wherever they ask for it. That just teaches our kids to be selfish and self-centered, not patience and respect for other people, which is SO important to learn early. Not to mention, having any semblance of life outside of child-rearing is what keeps us moms sane. Mothers who do not do anything for themselves are only hurting themselves – and their children. Kudos to the writer of this article! :)

        • Mand01

          Not selfish at all – my goal for my kids is to teach them they are not the centre of the universe. I don’t understand this incessant focus that mothers are supposed to make our children the alpha and omega of our existence. Don’t get me wrong – I adore my children. But raising them to believe that they are the reason for my existence and all my focus is not good for them or for anyone else that has to deal with them in the future.

  • Thank you from one work-at-home mom to another! This technology shaming trend tends to make me feel guilty. It shouldn’t for the very reasons you stated.

  • Even coming from a mom that isn’t at home all day, this is so true. Just because I am not at home all day doesn’t mean I can’t check my phone while my child is playing on their own. I spent years teaching them to play on their own. This is part of my victory lap … a very small part but a part none the less!

    • Kenda

      Good point, Beth. This is certainly not limited to stay at home parents. We all have the right to foster healthy independence in our children.

  • Yup. I’ve had people tell me this, and I am thinking, dude we are here so I don’t run off screaming never mind put down the phone! Oh oh and I love when they say it, and I am like I am taking a picture of MY child is that cool????

    Seriously can we stop judging others for 5 bloody minutes? :P

  • Rob B

    The problem for most care givers, so ya, it’s not just moms, that it’s usually a lot more than 15 minutes. And the real concern is when I see that at a beach or around a pool. Personally, I do feel this technology has created a relationship gap between our kids and us a parents. Just my opinion of course.

    • Kenda

      I agree there are some people who tune out more than they tune in. Absolutely. Unfortunately it’s becoming a sweeping generalization any time a parent dares to glance at their phone in the presence of their child.

    • I was a kid in the 70’s so we didn’t even have answering machines, much less smartphones. My parents still didn’t engage with me that much. Parents kind of just left us to our own devices and we preferred to stay out of their way. Today’s parents, even if frequently checking their phone, are spending a lot more time with their kids. Sometimes I think we dote on them too much rather then allowing them more independence.

      • Stefanie

        Well said! I completely agree.

  • Beja

    Thank you! My daytime job is social media manager. My volunteer position at church- social media manager. I notice those eyes judging me, but, ironically, it’s how I feed and clothe my children. SO THERE!!!

    • Tanell

      I hold a similar title in my work at home business. Funny how if I was dropping my kids off at a day care, where they will be less likely to get one on one attention, no one minds if I am on my phone, but if I decide to keep my kids near me, I need to flush my tech down the toilet. :P Ironic that that is how I put bread on the table, and they all want me to stop. Well, in today’s economy, I am just happy to have a job, guys.

  • Corri

    Really Rob? Do you not think we know our kids or the kids we take care of. All this helicopter parenting is causing kids to have no sense of self what so ever. Let kids have a little independence and they may just surprise you. I love my kids but I refuse to raise them into a state where I am asking the college recrutes all the questions and my children are not asking anything. Unfortunately this is what is happening these days.

  • Jodie

    So for the sake of the story, I’m going to presume the initial writer of the “Get off your phone” article was a woman. I could be wrong, be we do tend to be the more judgmental of our species.

    She was presumably at the park, which kind of gets my curiosity going somewhat.
    Why was she there?
    Did she have a child there?
    If not…then why was she actually there watching someone else’s child?
    Presuming she DID in fact have a child playing at the park, then where did she find the time to be on HER phone/tablet/laptop to actually write the article in the first place?

    My suggestion to the initial writer would be to stop making other women feel insecure about how they parent their children.

    Was she at work when she wrote it? Where was her child while she was at work? At daycare? Maybe she should have stayed at home and not had a career writing insulting articles so that she could watch her child draw/climb/read/burp/cry/eat/breathe….

    It’s articles like those that make parents all over feel like failures. We already put too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect.
    How about a “Hang in there sunshine, kids can be asses, but you’re doing a great job” article. I’m sure that’s more relatable.

    Kudos to the author of this fine article. It’s a brilliant response to the original :)

    The person writing the initial “Get off your phone” article…I’m guessing she (I’m going with “she”…but could be a “he”) was at the park?! Which then leads me to believe she also had a kid at the park…which also means she was more than likely on HER phone/ipad/laptop, right?
    So who is she to judge?
    If she didn’t have a child at the park with her, then what the hell was she doing there watching another person’s kid? Creepy much? ;)

  • Kimberly

    I have read the original article/letter, and several of the response letters including this, I agree with all. I often sit back and people watch, and I love my phone/tablet. I am often saddened by parents who ignore there child consistently while out, and catch myself self absorbed in my device. As a mom, there is only so much time in the day, I adore my child and I am also the bread winner for the most part. I think the original article was partly trying to enlighten the parent that is truly ignoring their child, and also maybe trying to wake us up and say, this child needs you now, the device can wait! I can see from responses that individual circumstances warrant “ignoring” your child, like I am now as I feel this is important. Make no mistake, I see every step, hear every sound, and interact with her all while typing this. She is THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TO ME, but sometimes I need 10 minutes for me, I would never take her to the park and ignore her the entire time, but I may steal 10 minutes.

  • All technology are nothing more than tools that we can use effectively or ineffectively. Some parents do ignore their children, but they do not need a phone to do it. I may be on my phone a lot while I’m out with my kids, but I am out with my kids. I could have them shoved into a daycare somewhere and not be present. Which would be worse? Kids want all of your attention all of the time and have little concept of other demands outside of themselves. So we teach them. “Go play with your friends for a few minutes while Daddy works.” “Go entertain yourself while Mommy takes this call.” It teaches them independence and helps them to appreciate your time just that much more when it is undivided.

    • Kenda

      Totally agree on both points, Brian.

    • Tanell

      Well written, Brian.

    • Katy

      Hi Brian, Sorry I disagree Brian, I think that if you are out with your kids you should put your phone away. When you are on your death bed, are you going to wish you had spent more time on your phone? Or more time with your children? Thirty years ago people were able to go out without a phone, and they survived! I think you can do it too. Also comparing using a cell phone to putting your child in day care is a strange comparison. Besides how do you your daycare worker isn’t on her phone too? She doesn’t love your kids the way you do, they’re not her kids – she has even less reason to put her phone down.

  • This is perfect!! So well said.

  • Amy

    OH MY GOD! Thank you! I’m so sick of this “put your phone down” shit. Get over it! It’s 2014, our phones are part of our lives.

  • It’s called sanity. We all love our kids, but we can’t give up our lives for them. It makes them better people to have a Mom with a life, with interests, passions and awareness of the outside world beyond fingerpainting and swings.

    • Kenda

      I agree, Andrea – personal time is an awesome sanity saver. Some parents encircle their children at all times and others believe in opening the gate early. The great part is: both families are going to be a-okay.

  • Soapie0

    Wow! Bother you much? This article was a whole, big, bitchy defense. If you really feel another mom doesn’t know what’s going on in your life you either know her well enough to tell her or you don’t know her well enough for her opinion to matter. The fact that an entire blog post was written about it says you let it get to you far more than it should have.

    • Kenda

      Yes, it did bother me. Yes, the entire article was a defense of mothers who look at their phone sometimes. Yes, I made to sure toss in some bitchy sarcasm. Whew! I’m glad someone pointed it out. For a minute there I thought no one would pick up on it.

    • Jeremiah

      WOW!!! Thank you SoapieO for pointing it out too!! I’m scrolling the comments going wow did anyone else get how she lists all the things she does for her kid like it’s a chore? OMG get over yourself Kendra! If another mom gives you shit about your parenting who cares? If they aren’t burning/breaking/hurting something or someone then it’s your business. What I don’t get is the length of detail you put into listing those specific things you have to do for your kid. Guess what sweetheart I got four and work full time, so yeah there’s a lot of stuff I could write about my kids too that’s annoying to do, but you know what? Something my wife has taught me is that every moment you get with your kids whether it’s the “jokes that aren’t really funny” or dishes you have to do over again is a moment with them you may never get back. So instead of bitching about all the shit you have to do for your kid, why don’t you just appreciate that now as a parent you DON’T get time for you, you DON’T get to always have it your way. If you structure your home the right way however you’ll find time for you, and you’ll find your children are receptive to when you need mommy time. Maybe a little less “I deserve more!!!” and a little more “I can appreciate what I get”. Husbands are usually pretty good for giving that kind of thing too btw….#getoffyourhighhorse

      • Christie

        Jeremiah, she obviously didn’t list the things she does with her child for praise or as “bitching about them”. Her whole point was that being accused of ignoring her child when she spends 10 minutes on her phone while at a park doesn’t take into account all the time that she spends with him altogether. In other words, in the grand scheme of things, 10 minutes on her phone instead of watching him play means nothing comparatively. It’s clear that was her intention in those statements, not that she was bragging or complaining. She obviously values time with her child, but as a human being, she also values the ability to be more than just mom, and that balance is incredibly important for her mental health, and by extension, her relationship with her child as well. Mothers who never give their child space or take time to do things they enjoy, like looking at cats on the internet, are not happy families. Independence is important as much as bonding.

      • Tanell

        Look, we found the perfect parent! There are lots of people with different parenting styles. Of course when someone sees a tiny, imperfect part of our lives, they are going to judge it. I am going to defend myself.

      • Jen Z

        You completely missed the whole point of this article! This is not about bitching about all the minutia that a mother has to do during the day when she’s home with her kids, this is about letting the rest of us who parent this way that we are not alone. I found this article to be vindicating and supportive. That was the point of the article. Jerk.

  • This is an amazing post and so true! People are so quick to assume and they have no idea! We deserve a little ‘me’ time. It really doesn’t happen that often and why not take it when you can!!

  • kayleen

    Regardless of how I personally feel about cellphones and TV and how it relates to a parent/child relationship – I hope your child never reads this article. Yes, you need adult time. Yes, being with a child all day, every day is tough. But I hope you realize that you are the most important thing in his/her life and he/she wants to share in all those “watch what I can do” moments. You sound a little bitter about the daunting task of being a mom. But one day, that sweet child won’t want you to watch them play or paint pictures or read stories. Or God forbid you lose a child. Then you may rethink that 10 minutes you “needed” to be on FB when you could have been playing.

    • Kenda

      You’re assuming that this is my only child. That’s okay, a lot of people do. Actually, my oldest is picking out colleges right now. I made mistakes raising him. Absolutely. Nurturing his strong sense of independence and his ability to do things on his own isn’t one of them.

    • Jo

      And there’s that guilt again … ‘if your child dies you may rethink that 10 minutes you could have been playing with them’. Really??? If anyone dies in your family you always regret things you could have done, should have done blah blah blah. The fact is you could have been playing with your child every moment of every day that they are awake but that is just not practical is it? So I am sure there will be many moment you will regret but I highly doubt taking them to the park to let them play would be one of them. Just another statement to make mums feel like crap.

  • Heather

    They are children who need to learn to be independent human beings, NOT divine beings requiring worship. Quite frankly, constant adult attention like that is not even good for children. Our own mothers did not spend all day playing with us, not even if they were home. Nor should they have.

  • Great Post!! I’m so glad someone said what most of us would LOVE to say to someone!

  • Stacy

    Thank You!! I had so many things to say to that post, it irritated me for days! I didn’t have a platform for anyone to hear me from so I didn’t bother, but THANK YOU. I thought I was being a good mom to let my children play at the park while I checked my emails. Apparently I should have just left them in front of the TV so no one would judge me. I agree with everything you wrote. Thanks again!

    • Kenda

      Don’t worry Stacy – you aren’t alone. Keep doing what works best for you and your children – that’s what being a ‘good mom’ is all about.

  • Dawn

    Know what my mom did 30 years ago while I played at the park? She read a book or talked to other moms. How is checking Facebook any different? Some people need to just get over themselves!

    • Just a gramma

      OMG!! All you “That’s right” and “Thank you” moms know well and good it’s NOT just the five or ten minutes at the park you’re “glancing” at your phone. You have the phone in your hand while you’re driving, you’re texting at the grocery store, and even walking TO said park. Kids are begging for attention cause they need it. Grow up, put your big girl panties on, put the damn phones down and raise the kids YOU had. Motherhood is hard, but it’s a decision you made. When they are napping, or sleeping is plenty of time to catch up on FB. or answer an email. So tired of seeing this crap. Stop defending yourselves. It’s NOT ok.

      • Kristi

        Wow. What a bitch. Glad I don’t know you.

        • Alex

          Could definitely say the same about you.

          • Nanny Nanny Boo Boo

            Brilliant retort! “No, you’re dumb!” “No, you! Neener neener!”

      • Kristi

        Actually I have more to say. Yes it is okay. You are not the “okay” police. It isn’t up to you. Got it? You are a judgemental, obnoxious, crusty old woman with a heavy dose of bitterness and self-importance. Get over yourself.

        • peggy

          grow up!

          • Kristi

            I am 50. Could be a grandma myself. Thankyouverymuch. People like this need to back up their truck.

      • Jo

        Wow … how the heck do you know that this woman (or any of us) use our phones while driving, at the grocery store and walking to the park etc? That is a big assumption to make. You sound just as judgemental as the writer of the original article. But I applaud you, because you must be f&*$%ing PERFECT!!

      • Thank you, “Just a Gramma”! While I think both articles raise fine points (I was completely flabbergasted by how I was judged by other moms regarding things like breast-feeding and staying at home), the defensive tone of these comments makes it clear these parents aren’t entirely comfortable with the choices they’ve made. I can’t speak for anyone but myself, but I know that I have to turn off the TV as much for my kids’ sake as my own — if I’m watching something, I’m completely engrossed in it & get impatient with my kids if they “bother” me (so I’ve made it a point to watch one show/week after they’re in bed). As for the phone, luckily I’m not addicted to mine, but I am disgusted by those who are (not just parents). I sit in meetings with professionals and our board president is constantly looking at his phone. Extremely disrespectful and unnecessary! This technology that is “now part of our lives” is ridiculous!

      • Jeremiah

        Grandma got it right! You don’t bitch about “needing” your time, you learn to balance your time and your kids. But your kids come first. From the minute my feet leave my work until they go to bed is 100% daddy time, it’s also chore and daily routine time (dinner, cleaning up, baths, etc.) So I don’t get on my tablet until they go to bed…and even then that becomes mommy daddy time. If you want to look at a text while your kids are playing, like I said above FINE but my gosh the length of detail about all the shit you gotta do…good grief! Granny got it right, you chose to be a mom so guess what, it’s tough.

        • I love my dogss

          Thank God I only have dogs so no one can judge me on how I raise them.

          I’m a teacher and guess what you’re all wrong and you’re all right. Jeremiah, get the eft over yourself. It’s awesome that you’re father of the year. Erect a statue to yourself and salute it every day when you walk through the door, just don’t break your arm patting yourself on your back. Parents like you are amazing, but you’re also overbearing and you raise kids who have a very hard time making decisions on their own. Sorry, but it is very often true. As a high school teacher I struggle with your children because they have such a hard time with critical thinking skills because their decisions are all made for them. Of course I am presupposing that by your self-definition, you are a helicopter parent.

          I’m not saying fly away and let them juggle knives, but don’t beat yourself up over a game of Angry Birds or a night out with the wife while the kids get to learn how to be their own people and develop decision making skills on their own.

          So she looks at her phone on a playground? So the ef what? No one died or lost a limb? Personally, I’d suggest that all SAHMs take some time to let someone else take the kids for a few hours a week so that the kids get to know how to spend time in someone else’s world (one of the reason’s I’m not a huge fan of home schooling, there is huge value in learning how to be a part of different social networks, not talking Twitter here). Kids need to learn how to say “Oh, mom’s doing her thing right now. That’s okay. It doesn’t have to crush my psyche.”

          And for every person who is trying to shame someone else into feeling bad because they aren’t lock step raising kids just like you, that shame needs to fall right back on you. You raise your kids your way but open up to maybe you’re not doing everything 100% right. Maybe someone else might have an idea that would work in your home.

          And I know…I know. What do I know. I don’t have kids…only dogs. Yeah yeah yeah. Well, it wasn’t for lack of desire or effort, and I’ve helped raise lots of kids, and loved other people’s kids for 19 years now as a very devoted teacher.

          • Jen Z

            I. Love. You. And totally not in a creepy way.

      • To the Judgmental Gramma & Jerimiah

        “Just a Gramma” — Growing up, my father worked full-time and my mother would be busy taking care of chores, occasionally talking on the phone with her sisters, or preparing meals for our family while we played outside — ALONE. Somehow, we all grew up healthy, happy and successful. Are they selfish parents? Was I raised incorrectly? Because I sure as hell do not plan to raise my own children in any other way. You seem to just have some vendetta against cell phones, which is fine. Don’t use it if you don’t want to, but don’t you DARE judge and degrade other parents for taking a few minutes to themselves while their children SAFELY play. You have NO IDEA what goes on in others’ lives and you have no right to take up a high-and-mighty attitude and assume you know everything pertaining to child-rearing. What works for you or your family is not true of all other families and your ignorance to others’ day to day lives is appalling. Not to mention your generalization of parents that you see using their phones. I NEVER text and drive, the only time I use my phone at the grocery store is to check my shopping list, and I certainly don’t walk and text — I’m clumsy enough as is. Children “beg for attention” because they like attention. It certainly doesn’t mean they are neglected and in desperate need of intervention from some judgmental woman with a holy-than-thou attitude. “Jerimiah” — the author isn’t “bitching” about her role as a mother. She is pointing out that she engages with her child all day and the 15 minutes that this other overbearing parent saw is not indicative of her day, or LIFE with her child. The judgmental nature of people these days is overwhelming and obnoxious. It’s bullying at another level and age. Kenda did nothing wrong, nor any other parent indulging in a few minutes of phone time.

        • Katy

          I don’t think that this is just a few people abusing cell phones. I think it’s a lot of people. I’m 41 and a mom to very young kids (I waited a long time). So I remember how things used to be a long time ago, way before people even had personal computers in their homes. Like Commodore 64s, okay? And I remember that when my mom took me to the library, my mom would read to me at the library. Now, if you go to any library, at least half of the moms are on their laptops or cell phones, not reading to their kids. And their kids are either on the library computer (jeesh!) or playing with the library toys. Not looking at books. That’s what I see. Same thing at the community play center. Even five years ago, moms were interacting with their kids or talking about parenting with other moms at our community play center. Now, everyone is on their cell phones. And what’s scary is that a lot of the new young moms think this is normal. People are trivializing these changes but I think this is a major cultural shift. It’s more than just checking your phone from time to time. It’s changing the way people are raising their kids and that’s something we all have to reflect on. I know everyone loves their phone, ’cause it’s “way cool”, right? But to a one year old, who is tired of being ignored by mom (and who is raised to believe that is normal to be ignored) in preference of a little black box, that phone just sucks.

    • Shawnna

      Exactly! I would never have gone to the park without a magazine when my kids were little. Who are these people kidding!! Children playing in a park gets a bit boring!

  • amanda

    I think what Kayleen said it ridiculous. Have you ever met a child that has constant, undivided attention, and worship from their parents? I have, its not a pretty sight – hard to maintain friendships because the overconfident child demands to be worshipped, she is boss afterall, when she says jump, you jump. Is the child okay playing alone? Defintly not – afterall her parents dont give her alone time for her independence to grow, how will that effect her when shes older, do you think? Someone who does not know how to be alone, but struggles with friendships because she expects to be worshipped. And lets not even begin to talk about her demand to be heard at ALL times, it doesnt matter who is talking about what, what she has to say is important so she will talk over the top of anyone demanding to be heard.
    There is nothing wrong with taking that ten minutes to check facebook and have some time to be yourself – it makes you a better mother! It doesnt mean you love your child any less, and it does no harm whatsoever. I dont think she sounds bitter at all in the post, she is just stating all the things this judgemental person didn’t see.
    The problem isnt technology here, the problem is judgemental people trying to tell us that everything we do harms our children, we ppretty much have to wrap kids in bubble wrap these days. We are raising the next generation over ego maniac, over sensitive, people. These children will grow up expecting to be worshipped, then plunge into sadness when it doesnt happen, when they get critized even constructively, these children wont know how to function alone or independently.

    • Just a gramma

      There’s a difference in worshiping and watching or paying attention. Children, especially very young ones need to be watched all the time. I agree they need to learn to play by themselves, have their own friends, and learn to lose graciously. Still alone time is when they’re in school or napping/sleeping. That is PLENTY of time. You all KNOW it is, you’re just to attached to the phones to admit it.

      • Kenda

        If the only time you aren’t doting on them is when they’re in school (and surrounded by people still doting on them & playing with them) or asleep (and don’t even realize no one is doting on them) – when exactly do they learn to play by themselves? And I see you’re angry, but are you just angry about phones or is it about doing anything else? I also crochet or talk to the other moms. Is that okay or am I still ruining his life? Let me know. I’m taking notes.

        • Have you been in a school lately? Except for perhaps special needs children that receive more attention, children are not doted on in any way shape 0r form.

      • Jo

        I’m sorry but what are children going to learn about being independent while they’re napping or sleeping? I’d be a bit sad if that was the only alone time I ever got as a child other than going to school. Sounds like they would get no time to have independent play at all. But all of your statements are typical of an older generation that never had phones and have that ‘back in my day’ mentality where everything was better then and you were all such better parents than the generations after you.
        How is looking at your phone any different to reading a book while your child plays at the park, or the newspaper?

      • peggy

        thank you for this, I am a gramma and I see this constant need to be in touch with your friends
        as so rude to the people who are in front of you. I think they have lost the skill of interacting with
        real people.

      • Aussie Mum of 3

        Just a Gramma,
        my 3 and-a-half year old doesn’t nap and when he goes to bed I have a nearly 14 year old and 16 year old who need attention, help with homework etc – not to mention my husband who is away from home for 11 hours a day…so when exactly do you suggest I get a few minutes to myself? I already stay up very late to sneak a little time when the house is silent and no one is needing me to help them, just so I can read a book – yes, I read books (most of the mummies I know are avid readers and not glued to screens all the time). My day starts again anywhere from 5-6am so I sacrifice sleep to attend to my family’s needs.
        I agree with Amanda – kids who are used to being given parental attention all day unfortunately grow into adults who cannot make independent decisions, cannot be alone, need to be constantly reassured and break down completely when there’s a crisis. I’m definitely not advocating ignoring kids to lose yourself in technology (or even books!) all the time, but 10 minutes here and there in the midst of a day largely devoted their learning, care, fun and well-being is hardly a crime! Please give mums a break and turn your energies towards supporting them in their child-raising, instead of tearing them apart.

      • Jessica Vega

        I often bring a paper back book to the park while my kids play. I will sit on the bench and put it down to watch them. If they are engaging with other children, I still glance up every page to see how they are interacting and making sure they are safe. Is this considered neglet the way looking at your phone is? I agree that technology is taking over these days but we are all guilty of it. Otherwise, we would not have the time to comment on this article. Being a parent is the most difficult and rewarding thing one can do in life. How about we praise these mothers for taking the time to take their child to the park instead of parking them in front of a tv. I applaud every mother out there. It is a hard enough job as is without the constant judgement.

    • Katy

      What wrong is that it is never ten minutes. Try timing yourself. You think you are spending “just ten minutes” on your phone. You are not. Add up all the time you look at your phone, tablet, computer, whatever other gizmo you have, all day. It is not ten minutes.

  • amanda

    Alone time when theyre asleep? How is that teaching them to play independently – theyre asleep! Funny, I read alot of mum books when my son was born, 8 years ago, every single one of them said to set up a safe area from when they were a BABY and give them an hour alone play time per day. My son now has a heap of friends, enjoys being social but enjoys chilling on his own, doesnt demand to be the centre of attention instead waits until people are finished talking, and is so independent he gives 15 year old boys a run for their money – wow, I really messed up there giving him alone time.
    I am attached to my phone. My phone holds over 1000 pictures of my son and all the FUN things we do together. My facebook allows me to go back through the years and see status updates about my son of things I have forgotten. My facebook also allows me to find new fun things to make and do with him.

    • Mom

      I don’t know where we get the idea that we should be focused on our kids every moment of every day. If I brought my kid to the park, it may have occasionally been so we could play together, but usually it was so *she* could play. Yes, she might have liked me to be watching her every move and gushing over perfectly normal play, but as long as her needs were met I never felt bad NOT doing so. Kids don’t need someone hovering over them every second. Go park, say “have fun”, and sit on a bench – with the phone or laptop, with a good book, or with a friend… keep the water bottle and snacks (if you’re going to be there for a while), and your kids will come get you if they need anything. The operative word being “need”… I never felt bad not granting all of my kid’s “wants”, especially when she just wanted attention. I tell her how wonderful and amazing she is often… I don’t need to say it every second of every day, and I try to reserve praise for when it is earned.
      Oh, and I don’t have any regrets about acting this way: my daughter is 12 now, incredibly independent, and we’re very close. At 8, when she was in a show and I got invited to an out of town wedding, she said “mom, you do your thing, I’ll do mine – what’s the problem?” She stayed with friends, I went out of town. The desire not to “miss anything” is about meeting PARENTS’ needs, not kids’. My child is not my whole world, and I am happy to say that I am not hers – we are two individuals with our own interests, needs, and wants. As it should be.

      • Wendy

        I completely agree with this. I have a few memories of my mom playing with me, but mostly it was when she wanted to — and then it was card or board games. My parents and in laws think it’s helicopter parenting when I play Barbies with my girls. When we go to the park, I can watch them and check out what’s on my phone at the same time — really I can. Though most of the time, it’s posting a picture to Facebook or Instagram of them playing. Neither of my girls has gotten more than a skinned knee while playing while I was on my phone, so THEY ARE OKAY!

  • Or maybe, like some people, you have to check in with WORK while still being a mom! Work, you know, that thing that allows me to feed my children, and put a roof over their heads. Sometimes I am even taking a photo (gasp) of my child and sharing it on Facebook (oh noes!) so that her family who lives far away can see her growing and having fun… Punish me now, please!

  • on the tablet

    Totally agree with letting kids have independent play. If I happen to be on my device during it, so be it. My son gets plenty of love and attention despite my demon tablet. I’m a mom who’s on her tablet for more than 10 minutes at a time, but I think that’s just fine. Maybe I am saying hi on Facebook, or maybe I’m looking up recipes to meal plan for the week…or maybe I’m sending the cute picture I just took of my son playing with bubbles to grandma, who lives far away and can’t be with us to play with bubbles, or maybe I’m looking up ticket costs for the zoo for the next day, or if I’m at the grocery store, maybe I’m checking my shopping list on an app. Not all moms are spending all of their device time on themselves, really. Traditional resources would have me scouring a newspaper for coupons, reading recipe cards, calling the zoo on the phone, mailing a picture, writing a letter to a friend…wouldn’t doing all of that still take your attention away from your child and probably for longer given the slower pace of each task? Instead I jump on my tablet to get these things done. You can’t tell me that all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, outdoor upkeep, recipe sorting, coupon clipping, picture sending, ticket ordering and grocery list making (and more!) that needs to get done in a week can all be accomplished successfully in a one hour nap a day. And that’s assuming you’re not working from home like a lot of parents do. It’s not feasible or desirable to have your child(ren) engaged with your attention all of their waking hours.

  • I LOVE THIS POST!!!!

  • Matthew Davis

    Thank you for this post.

    The most important thing everyone should learn when they become parents (though some don’t seem to, or maybe forget as their kids grow up) is not to judge other parents. We’ve all been there when our normally angelic child has their total meltdown in a very public place. We’ve all been so tired that the time we spend walking around the car after strapping our child into their car seat is a sweet, if short lived, vacation to be savoured.

    So we need to remember that other parents go through the same. It’s true for other people too, other than parents, of course. We see people for a brief window of their day, at the park or at the supermarket, and make sweeping judgements based on what we see them do in that one moment out of their whole day.

    You don’t know how a good parent would react to their kid melting down in the aisle at Walmart until it’s you with your child at Walmart. And after it has been you, you should have more sympathy for the next one you see.

  • Man I’m so glad I’ve never once thought about what any other mom thought about me while I was out with my kids or I would be side eyeing the heck out of them because during all that judging time they are taking time away from their kids! Good grief! I’m a SAHM and I feel like I know what I do with my time with my kids and I sure dare someone to act like they know how to raise my kids better. I have an 8, 3, & 2 yr old and they are all very smart, independent, social kids. But I’m not going to take my time explaining myself on why I should be allowed to do this or that when my kids are entertained by something else, the bottom line is people shouldn’t be so judgemental. You don’t ever know what goes on in anyone else’s life and what not. I think it’s a great blog post but also get why the original was done too, because let’s face it there are some SUPER selfish parents out there, know some personally, but you can’t just go around assuming everyone is. Great post!

  • Courtney

    This is a great article however not all parents are like that. The person who first wrote the article look up is right. Many parents don’t look up from their phones. Okay so maybe your the awesome parent who does what parents should do & play with their kids then in your down time look at your phone. Think about the parents who don’t, the young parents who are on Facebook or playing games or YouTube more than they are paying attention to their kids. We all need to face the fact that yes our society thrives on technology. The generations of the past said it was a bad thing when we all started driving cars all the time and watching tv or video games. This article is great like I said but it’s RUDE. I will bet anything that the person trying to say “look up” wasn’t talking about every mom. I’m sure even they use their phone in their down time, you just happened to be what sparked the creativity to write the article to all the parens who don’t play with their kids at home, at the park or anywhere. People are too quick to judge, that’s what’s wrong with us.

    • Kenda

      This post has nothing to do with Look Up. I haven’t read/seen that and have no idea what is said in it. This is a rebuttal to a different post (linked in my article). But, if defending parents like myself is rude, I’m okay with that.

  • I must admit, I get judgmental when I see parents on the bus chatting on their phone for the whole ride while ignoring their child’s pleas for attention, making brief abbreviated gestures of annoyance when their child’s pleas get too loud. Fifteen minute long ride without looking even once at their child or responding to them and I’m silently judging. Asleep? Chatter away. At the park, observing your child? Sure go for it.

    I remember taking my kids to the park years ago. One small child, around 3 or 4 years old, was climbing the monkey bars and slipped. His face smacked hard against the side of the playground and he fell, crumpling to the ground. Almost every single parent ran. It was a bad fall. His parents? They were too busy chatting with their friends to even notice. We’re all clustered around this kid, making sure he was okay and it finally dawned on us that no one was this child’s parent. The mother sauntered over when the boy finally started crying, yelled at us all because that fall (which she hadn’t even seen) was nothing, and dragged him away.

    The thing is, good parents will still be good with technology and the bad ones were already bad to begin with. And there’s always going to be some super-perfect parent to find flaw in whatever you’ve done. You and your little one played with playdough this morning? If you didn’t make it from scratch with all natural dyes then it’s not good enough. Funnily enough, they’re usually so busy judging they’re not paying attention to their own kids. Interesting how life works sometimes.

    • Kristi

      “good parents will still be good with technology and bad ones were already bad to begin with”

      Agreed. Absolutely. And there is no way I, or Grandma, or Jeremiah or anyone else can possibly know from the snapshot in time they see which is which in any given situation. But they (the grandmas and the jeremiahs of the world) feel completely justified in making that judgement call based on that small snapshot in time. Sometimes they may be right. Most of the time they are not. And I just don’t care to let those kinds of people on my cloud. I will parent as I see fit and their approval is not required. Or even wanted for that matter. I hope other parents will do the same without letting it get to them. It is really nobodies business anyway. I get my undies in a was when people go off so holier than thou. Sickens me. Makes me mad. They have to live with themselves. Thank God I don’t.

  • Ellen Cotton

    hmmm…I find it interesting that this topic touched a nerve with moms, probably mostly young moms. What you don’t realize is that you spend much more than 15 minutes on your I-phone everyday. Probably more like 3-4 hours on it, in front of your kids. I know, you’re doing important things like sharing funny jokes and inspiring quotes. So your children see you using tech devices and they start using the tech devices for hours at a time. It’s ok, my Mom does it all day long. Well, soon enough they will be using their tech devices all day long and will be ignoring you!

    • Kenda

      Young mom? I hope you mean me too. That would be an awesome compliment (and mean that my moisturizer is worth every penny)

  • Beth

    LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!! I’m so sick of all this over analytical DRAMATIC crap!!!

  • Nick Stepp

    I believe that when we wish we had more time, whether that’s more time on this planet, more time with family, more time with friends, or more time with our kids when they were children, we may regret wasting time doing other non-important things.

    I do not want to argue with the author because they indicate that they spend time with their children, making them laugh, empowering them, and being a wonderful role model parent. Unfortunately, I think this is becoming more and more rare as people become more distracted by phones, tablets, and social media. Every day I see a parent ignoring their child who is blatantly asking for “Mommy” or “Daddy” only to have that parent tell them to “go play” or “go do something else” without ever having made eye contact with their child.

    It is truly sad and heartbreaking when you see the emotion on that child’s face melt from eagerness and excitement to sadness and despair.

    I’m not trying to say to anyone that what they are doing is wrong or that they are a better or worse parent than myself or someone else. I just would hate to see the trend continue that so many parents seem to be choosing a status update over the possibility of seeing their child play, laugh, and grow.

    In conclusion, I think what this article could have, or should have, emphasized is that we all need to truly ask ourselves if this is what we want to be doing with our precious time and our precious children.

    -Nick

  • Elizabeth

    While I don’t disagree with this, and I check my phone at everything, it is an important reminder to live in the now. Some people really don’t spend the other 23 3/4 hours with their kids. A lot of kids don’t get any quality time from their parents. My daughter is older, and I’ve started trying to put it down when we are together. She tries to stay on Netflix during dinner. Um, where did she learn that? Probably us. When I’m on the phone I miss that tiny window where she tried to tell me about her day.

    When they are little a lot of it sucks, and your phone and Facebook are a lifeline to sympathy, empathy and support. Your girlfriends keep you sane. I get it. I also suddenly get the consequences. They shut you out even more as they get older and live on their own devices.

    Who knows, your future best friend might be sitting there on her phone beside you at the park, but neither of you will ever see it.

    Not judging, but it shouldn’t be a big deal either way.

  • Seriously, wtf cares if you’re checking your phone or talking to other moms while your kid’s at the playground? It’s no different from reading a book, gossipping with other moms or even talking on a phone. The only issue I have with moms (or anyone) lost in their phones is if their kids are off wreaking havoc, bullying other kids, making a mess, etc., and they remain completely oblivious.

    • Katy

      Andrew, yes, it is different. Example – parents waiting for their kids at the Y. Their kids are all the same age. In a program together. Even five years ago, parents waiting would be having conversations about parenting. Now, parents are staring at their phones. Not talking about parenting. Parents are isolating themselves. That is a problem!

  • Candace Shorter

    So funny, I was at the park last week with my two as they were playing with other children they met, I pulled out my phone and proceeded to text and surf facebook. I, too, am a stay at home mom and some days the a visit to the park is all the “quiet” time I get! I actually remembered that post as I was doing it and thought that woman has no idea what happens the rest of the day. So awesome you put my thoughts into words exactly!

  • Connie

    For “Just a grandma”, lump everyone together much? I personally never text while driving. If I happen to text while I’m the grocery store, it’s probably to check in with my husband to see if he needs anything. Or more than likely because since I was having a conversation with my daughters & forgot to check the milk. Glancing up at my kids takes a second. The fact that you don’t notice it doesn’t mean that I’m not constantly doing it. Most of the time if my child sees me watching them, they will “put on a show” instead of engaging with other children. They need to learn how to interact with others besides me. My favorite part of being at the park is hearing my child laugh and knowing they can have fun with others, that they can have healthy & fun social interactions. If my child is not being nice, having the other children walk away from them does much more than my scolding or lecturing. They will learn what is okay & not okay to do. I see the helicopter parents. I watch their kids not know how to engage another child. I see their children in the teenagers who expect the world too revolve solely around them, at the expense of any other person in their vicinity. I’m watching my child. In fact I can tell you exactly where they are on the playground by the distance of their voice & where their little feet are pitter-pattering on the ground. While you’re judging the rest of us & thinking of all we’re doing wrong you missed the giggle your child makes when they think you’re not looking!

  • just me

    One time a mom was so hell bent on proving my sister and I were being bad indecent parents for letting our babies play at a playplace in their diapers she lost track of her own kid and she disappeared out into a parking lot. I hope she learned her lesson that day.

  • Kelsey

    Kendra, I love all your snarky responses to the critics! I am a young mom (24) of a 2 year old…who doesn’t have a smartphone (Gasp!) I am a full time student and sometimes am on my laptop wayyy too much…but 90% of that time is spent studying! I know my daughters doesn’t get the full on attention she deserves every night but I’m doing this now to better her future and mine! I know she gets plenty of social interaction and reinforcement from me, her father, grandparents, and the people at her wonderful daycare. If we all would take a step back and maybe focus on our lives/children these ”mom-wars” wouldn’t get so heated and judgey! My sister in law made a comment just the other day that my daughter got a cold because “well she goes to dayyyyycareee, that’ll do it! Too bad you can’t stay home with her!” Excuse me?? Not all of us are as privileged as you, and maybe just maybe daycare isn’t the worst thing! Mom’s should be helping each other…not breaking others down (because we all know no one has this whole being a mom thing completely under control!) It’s a wonderful ride…Let people parent how they think is right!

  • Karen

    My baby is almost 9 so we don’t do te parks much anymore. When they were much younger especially with my older two I did not really have technology that I could bring to the park with me. Know what I did? I brought a picnic blanket, snacks and a good book. I let them play while I read. We all enjoyed ourselves. I don’t see the difference between a book and a phone or tablet. Dad plays. The kids know I don’t play. I am awesome is so many others ways like taking them on adventures.

  • amanda

    I got sassed by some young chick for commenting on that original fb post stating that “maybe the mom was replying to an email from the school”. I wanted to write a response like this, too, but i was afraid i would be judged for writing a paragraph instead of playing with my children.

  • Tiffany

    I am a stay at home mom as well.I agree with some of what your saying but 15 solid mins of ignoring your kid, really? I sit and check it off and on but I do get sick of parents on their phone most or all of the time while the rest of us are watching, correcting and entertaining their children…Half of these parents at parks their children could leave and they would never even notice due to them so involved in their phones.It is like everything in life, there is a happy medium.It is part of being a good parent to watch your children.I do random checks but would never be only involved with my phone for long periods of time.I have seen it too many times where the child is down right ignored and it is not right to the child or the other parents!
    P.s I am by myself writing this….

  • Kendal

    Not gonna lie- I was bugged by the previous article nationally blasting this poor mom! My initial thought was- why are you judging her when you have no real idea about her life and relationship with her kids. I for one am grateful that I get to spend all day every day with my kids but need some adult connections here and there as well. I am a work at home mom and have to divide my attention between kids and work thru out each day but appreciate the opportunity to spend the majority of my time focused on them. Let’s not judge others and be so harsh when looking at others actions! Let’s empower and support each other…heaven only knows how much we need it!

  • Sarah

    Before I had kids, I had all the answers. I knew everything. Now I have 3 extremely beautiful children and know nothing. And I am learning, that’ adjust fine for me. I’m doin the best I can an loving every minute if it. Yep, I spend WAY to much time on my phone. I’m on it now! The horror! It’s something I need to work on. Or not. Either way, it’s my call. Stop judging me for not being you. (Or, more likely, being just like you and you finding a fault in me that you want to change in yourself.)
    I wish I could say I didn’t give a crap what other people that see me for maybe an hour a day thought of me but that would be a complete lie. The fact that I read this article and know exactly of the article she is speaking of proves that I do. But I’m going to work on that over how much time I spend doing what you think I should or shouldn’t be doing with my time. Because I just asked my 3 year old if she knows how much I love her and she said, “yes! Lots!” Which means she knows she’s loved even though I’m currently looking at my phone and not at her. She’s playing with her kitten right now. Having lots of time by herself.
    The fact that I am bothered by judgy people that would rather beat people down rather than help people out bother me more than how much time I’m on my phone.
    To just a gramma, REALLY! The only time you think I should have time to myself is when they are sleeping/napping? Do you know 3 year olds and 6 year olds don’t nap? Not mine, anyway? So you’re saying that hour after I put them down and climb into bed myself should be plenty of time to myself? Half time is spent catching up with the husband while the other half is getting ready for bed. Good grief, women! No wonder so many mothers go crazy! We can’t seem to find the time to encourage each other! Just judge them for things! Personally, that’s what I think is wrong with our society lately.
    Love this article! Glad it was shares and that I took the time to read it! Thanks!

    • Mama of 3

      Exactly! And not to mention after they go to bed we are usually cleaning up toys, preparing lunches for tomorrow, folding laundry etc. Such exciting downtime we have!

      • Aussie Mum of 3

        Hear, hear! :-)

  • LHR

    It isn’t just that you and your age cohort are on the phone when you’re walking your children, sitting in storytime, waiting for a movie to start, eating lunch at McDonald’s or Paneros. It’s that EVERY time I see you, you have those danged plugs in your ears and are walking straight into traffic without watching, or are being incredibly rude to someone talking to you while you play with your phone. I’m sorry, but you can only multi-task so much before you are handling no task correctly, and that includes taking care of your child. I have no doubt that you spend lots of time with your kids. After all, I see all the pictures you take of them on FB. But did it ever occur to you that if you engaged your child, rather than taking pictures of them, or walked along the street looking at something other than the device in your hand, you might find out that there is an entirely different world out there that isn’t specifically aimed at you.

    • Kenda

      It seems you have a crazy gang of 20-something mothers in your neighborhood addicted to iTunes, popping their gum, and jaywalking. Actually….that does sound pretty scary. And now I’m craving Panera Bread.

      • Shawnna

        HA! Perfect reply!

  • Jamie S.

    Thank you so much for saying this! I’m glad I am not the only one to feel this way! And shame on that woman for saying anything negative to you. She has no idea.

  • Hahaha! Ok, this is awesome :)

  • Charlie

    Some of you need to take a chill pill and recognize that just because a mother is not devoting her ENTIRE attention to their child, doesn’t mean she loves them any less. Do you realize that in generations before cell phones children were sent to the park or told to play outside WITHOUT adult supervision – like my parents? They were never attention starved or needed therapy for neglect, or whatever. In fact, they turned out to be less entitled and more independent than most children today who are doted on, hand and foot, by their parents. There is a stark difference between giving your child attention and feeding their demand for attention every second of their lives. Believe it or not, children love to go off and make pretend. While boundaries need to be set, IT IS OK to let your child do his or her own thing while you take a few minutes to yourself. If you actually read this article in its entirety, you would clearly see that Kenda loves her children and taking a couple of minutes to check their phone is no different than when moms or dads would go off and sit on a bench and talk to each other while their children played. She is also clearly tired of other parents sitting on their high horse and judging her based off of what little they know about her life. As they say, “to each their own.” If you can sit here in judgment and honestly admit other parents would totally approve of all of your decisions, you need to do some self-reflection. Even if it’s not a cell phone, no parent spends 24/7 doting on their child – or no parent SHOULD.

    • Jo

      You are so right! I am 45 and my girls are now teenagers, but when I was a child from primary school age we were allowed to go out to the park or down to the creek and just had to be home when the street lights came on. There was no parent around whatsoever to keep an eye on us and make sure we were okay! My mum was at home having her alone time while we were out with our friends. Now god forbid if we don’t watch them every minute that they are playing, we are the worst parents ever.
      I agree with what someone said above, a bad parent will be a bad parent with or without a phone/laptop etc. And there are a lot of generalisations going on. Just because you use your phone at the park you must use it all the time while you ignore your children. Have I seen this happen? Definitely! Do I see it every day, by lots of mums? No!

      • Allie

        If Kendra is with her child 24 hours a day and he needs constant entertaining, I would guess he is a toddler or at least not school age. Certainly not old enough to be running the neighborhood. Probably not old enough not to have direct supervision in a public setting, either.

        The difficulty is that there aren’t groups of children who are allowed to go out and, say, ride bikes. The few parents who would love to give their children some freedom are faced with the dilemma of sending them off without that group. We stayed out all day long, but there were several of us. The yards and sidewalks of our neighborhoods are empty, their are no forts in the woods. No one is catching crawdads in the creek, there are no pick up games of baseball. All the children are at dance, karate, riding, camp, after-care, lego club (yes, apparently they need a club to play with legos), and what ever other structured thing people send their children to. Some moms and I, who live far apart, have actually worked to get our sons together so we can let them go explore on their own. We had to create “normal”. In our society, children don’t have the opportunity to form their own community like we did. They are missing this fundamental part of childhood. It stinks. It’s crazy, but most parents just won’t allow the kind of freedom we had.

        • Meli

          I sure miss the “independence” I enjoyed in childhood- but as a parent of toddlers, I feel I have to deprive them of that for their safety. I’m not disagreeing with the above comment at all (Allie) but simply adding to the idea. I could not imagine letting them play in the front yard (in a few years of course) like I did at 5-8– or running around the neighborhood knocking on their little friend’s doors like I did at that age. I HATE that its just no longer safe to let them, but its not. There are registered sex-offenders on many streets close by- and moving away will only mean living near other RSOs… Our world, sadly, is a different place now. As you said, we have to put alot of effort into finding activities that are both safe and stimulates their imaginations. As mine grow, I’m finding it more and more challenging…

  • Seriously?

    Kinda laughing at the thought that my son’s teacher ‘dotes’ on him. Yes, she must do that while she manages the other 25 kids in her class. He gets ALL the attention therefore I should use my iPhone at the park and let him play independently. The American obsession with independence is highly overrated. But hey, whatevs. You got to be independent and check Facebook! Yay!

    • Kenda

      “The American obsession with independence is highly overrated” There is so much wrong with that statement considering over 35% of adults 21 – 31 still live at home – 40% of which don’t have jobs and rely on their parents to support them.

  • living instead of being

    KILL YOUR PHONE! your life and yes your kids will thank you!

    • El

      Yes!! Not sure why parents commenting on this article are stating that because they are on their phones, their children are learning to be independent. Too funny! Agree with you 100%, kill the phone. Your family will be thankful. My 4 kids are almost grown up, and all my friends and neighbors admire our close family relationships BECAUSE we didn’t ignore each other and play on our phones all day long. Parents need to manage these devices or they WILL take over their home and family life.

      • Mama of 3

        If your kids are almost all grown up, that probably means you didn’t have the technology during their young childhood years so not so hard to abstain from using it, eh? Way to go for you that your kids and family are so perfect. I’m sure you never had any other distractions from your kids before phones were a part of our daily wardrobe. Even with my intermittent phone checks, I spend 500% more time with my kids than was ever spent with me as a child, but i’m sure you will say that still isn’t good enough. When we become parents we are supposed to give up our entire bits of freedom and individuality, right?

        • Fred Colvin

          If technology wasn’t needed at the park then, it isn’t needed now. Pay attention to your kids.

  • Jelena Psenicnik

    When I got to go to the park in my olden childhood days there was NO mothers at the park. It was awesome! I sure hope my mom got as much out of her free -from – me time as I did . I have spent my motherhood years trying to recreate that free experience for my kids. When visiting parks, I deliberately pretended to ignore my kids . Even when I could see the scrapped knee happening from the corner of my eye I would hold back from responding so I could give my kids the opportunity to process the event and deal with it how ever they’d see fit. If they felt my intervention was necessary I would happily pull out the First Aiid kit but interestingly enough I could see that they checked with a sideways glance to see if I had caught the tumble and they seemed relieved when they presumed i missed it. I was giving them the chance to be “grown ups” and they ran with it. i call this: Parenting.
    Thank goodness for phones that make the interminable park days more bearable.
    4 kids almost all adults and still kicking around.

    • Meli

      I LOVE that!

    • Aussie Mum of 3

      Totally agree! Research is telling us that we are damaging our kids when we jump at their every request – we are setting them up for a future life of being dependant, unable to commit to any task they don’t feel like doing or marriage they find hard work, waiting to be bailed out by someone else when they find themselves in trouble, and using things like alcohol, drugs, food, sex to feel good, because they can’t be alone and enjoy their own company. True neglect and a ‘healthy ignoring’ of our kids should never be confused… :-)

  • Jessica

    Some of the smartest kids in the world come from Finland, a country that places high value on independence and self-sufficiency even in very young children. The term “helicopter” parent came into use about American parents, and it’s NOT a positive! We need to let our kids explore their world, take risks and play! Is there a chance a child will fall off the monkey bars and hurt themselves because the mother wasn’t standing next to them? Sure, but shouldn’t we let them try on their own? Yes! For those that say you know mothers who “never” look up from their phones, how do you know? Were you watching them every second? And if so, doesn’t that mean you were ignoring your own children?

    Like the author said (well done, btw), you have no context for the snippet of some other persons life that you are seeing, so drop the judgement.

  • I, too, am with my kids 24/7. I homeschool, too. So, yes. I look at my phone from time to time while we are at swim practice, at the park, wherever. #standstoclap. Bravo. Again, I say Bravo for this post!

  • Jamie

    Wow, some sarcasm. Listen, it takes less than 5 min. for a child to be abducted, less than 5 sec. for a child to fall off of the monkey bars and seriously injure himself. So, if you’re ok with that, then fine. Go ahead and check your cell phone. You deserve it! You go girl!!

    • Kenda

      OMG you’re right! In the time I’m in the bathroom he could also jump off the couch and break his arm. During the night he could wake up and climb his bookshelf. Oh I know! I’ll strap him to my back every day. Then I don’t have to worry about anything at all.

      • Julie

        So don’t do what you can to control bad things from happening.
        Jamie is right.

        • Kristi

          No she’s not. Life is about balance. You have to balance your time and attention. Even with the kids. There are times when it is entirely acceptable to be on a device–even *gasp* if the kids are awake. There are of course, other times (times that might be deemed higher risk) that it is not. To say “always” is just nuts. She never said you don’t do what you can to prevent bad things from happening. But you can’t always be on full alert. YOu just can’t.

      • Fred Colvin

        Comparing something necessary like a bathroom break to a cellphone junkie and his/her face glued to the phone is laughable at best.

      • Overbearing Parents

        I never comment on things like this, but some of the responses to this article are ridiculous. Jamie is saying that if parents aren’t on their phones they will have incredible powers of foresight and superhuman speed to stop their child from falling off the monkey bars in the “less than 5 seconds” it takes for them to “seriously injure himself”. Sorry, but putting down my phone doesn’t give me those abilities, trust me I’ve tested that theory. Surprisingly, there is no correlation between being on or off my phone and my ability to stop my child from having an accident, like falling from the monkey bars or tripping in the park. A child can get abducted if you bend down to tie the shoes of their sibling — or your own shoe (how selfish!). I highly doubt that Kenda is saying she is on her phone and completely ignoring the presence of her child all together. Scrolling through her phone does not mean she tunes out and completely forgets about her child. Kenda said she has a child applying to colleges, obviously her occasional cell phone use isn’t impairing her ability to parent or killing off her children. The things listed by Jamie have nothing to do with cell phone use. The lecturing of these overbearing, know-it-all parents to one another is terrible. Sorry Julie, but both you and Jamie are incorrect. Whether you are on your phone or in the bathroom bad things can happen and you will NOT always be able to prevent them.

  • Richard

    Just let natural selection do its job and allow these breeders and their offspring to meet the fate their decisions create. Due to inattentive parenting, If the kid is going to topple off something and break it’s neck or skull, so be it. If one kid is going to hit another with a sharp/deadly object, and permanently maim, disfigure or possibly kill the other, let it happen. People need to stop trying to protect stupidity, because it will be passed on to the next generation. You’re doing the world a disservice by shielding others from their choices and actions. Jut let karma do it’s thing, it knows what it’s doing. Sit back and watch life unfold for these inept parents and say what everyone will as well, that they should have been watching their kid.

    • Julie

      Ha ha!

    • Fred Colvin

      OMG, this is GREAT!! Finally, someone who gets it in the middle of all of these unfit mothers! Thank you!!

      • Meli

        UNFIT??? Seriously? You know, until you said that, I was actually taking you …somewhat…. seriously. But at this point, my mental picture of you just turned into am man bent over and twisted, with his head straight up his rear end. Good job killing your own credibility, sir. Good job.

  • Julie

    WAH! WAH! WAH! I’m not quite understanding this editorial. The original blogger wasn’t being mean. Parents have been distracted by things for generations — now it’s phones. I see parents (alas, usually moms) in grocery stores ignoring their out-of-control kids while the parent is absorbed in reading the ingredients on a box, or in retail stores while picking out just the right shirt. It’s in those moments kids get snatched. For the millionth time, when you make the choice to squeeze out a crotchloaf, you accept the responsibility for said crotchloaf!

  • JLB

    Wow. I don’t think the original post was meant the way you all are taking it. We live in a day and age where of course our phones are going to be part of our lives, and yes, it’s okay to check it. I think she was painting a bigger picture. To show how our phones/computers/etc. can easily take priority in our lives if we let them. How if we’re not careful that 15 minutes on your phone can turn into hours. I’m a mom of 3 and I check my phone at the park… I would bet that we all do, and that’s okay. But that wasn’t her point. Her point was simply to make us aware of what we might be missing *if* we let it consume us. And that there’s a time to put it down and focus on our kids. I didn’t see any finger pointing at those of us who have managed to balance it all. If you know it’s not a problem for you then why get defensive? Not every blog post has to apply to everyone.

    • Kristi

      Yeah, you are probably right.

    • Alex

      I agree. If you read that article and assumed it was about you so much so that you felt the need to write a post about it, than it was probably about you.

  • Natasha (@natashakardos)

    And, for those parents that DO teach independent play, teachers everywhere are thanking you.

  • Mama of 3

    It’s very interesting seeing these comments from the older generations. I can count on one hand the number of times my mother OR father sat down to play with me at the park or home, sat down and worked on homework with me, etc. I know that my husband would concur. And before you comment that YOU always played with your kids, held their hands through homework etc. think long and hard. The generations before us were big into socialization with parties, bridge tournaments, etc. You may not have had Facebook, but you had plenty of other distractions. Children were “to be seen and not heard”. So get off your freaking high horse! Thanks to social media mothers and fathers of this generation can’t ever get it right. We are on the phones too much, we should be stay at home parents, we don’t supervise them enough, we don’t praise them enough, blah blah blah. I am a working mother who works from home. I am blessed to have a job where I have flexibility to be with my kids so they don’t have to go outside of our home to a daycare or sitter, but that doesn’t mean they get my undivided attention 24 hours a day. And yes, I have seen you amazing mothers who dote over your children, wait on them hand and foot, give them undivided attention… you are the one bitching on Facebook 5 times a day about how awful your kid is, then the next day they are the most amazing thing in the world. And you know what else, your self absorbed child is a giant pain in the ass! They are awful to deal with on field trips, social groups, amusement parks etc because the world revolves around them. My kids are loved more than they will ever know or appreciate. I do take time for myself to check out something funny on facebook, or text a friend, or read an email to keep up with my job but that makes me a well rounded person and my kids know how to play together and with friends and they have much more fun playing with people their own age than their mom who has lost her sense of imagination. I appreciate this author’s viewpoint because she is right. We judge parents in that one moment we see them in time like when their kid is losing their shit in the grocery store and they have the nerve to scold their child in public, they must be abusing their child. Great job to all the moms that are doing the best they know how to and have the common decency to know they don’t have it all figured out, make mistakes every day, are learning as they go along but love their kids more than anything in the world. You guys rock and keep up the great work!

    • Kristi

      This!

  • Erin

    HELL YES! Bravo and Amen a million times over :)

  • That’s fine – You are in the minority and you should be proud of that. Most of the phonephobes are the ones who claim they have no time to eat healthy, or clean the house, or work out – but they have a couple hours a day to spend attached to the phone. I’m happy that is not you and I commend you.

  • Peg Samuels

    I work retail. All I have to say is it would be fine if along with the independence you taught them responsibility. I have lost so much money because of parents who don’t pay for things their precious babies
    Break

    Your kids are special to you, not to me

  • Maggie K.

    Why do you feel the need to defend your actions? Why are you publicly telling everyone all of the other wonderful things that you have done with your child?

    • Maggie K.

      This person may have been telling you to get off your phone because she thinks that technology is inappropriate outdoors.

      • Tanell

        Great for her, but I don’t have to hold her belief systems. I see nothing wrong with taking my phone with me if I go to the park or go camping, or even for a hike. Why did the first article feel the need to tell me when I should or shouldn’t be on the phone? Because she had an opinion and wanted everyone to know it. Again, we’re all allowed opinions, and we’re all allowed to raise our own kids how we believe is best. Nothing wrong with either way. Being the “low or no tech” type or being the kind who likes to be on her phone when she gets three seconds to do so.

  • Maggie

    Yes. This is so true. I think there is way too much emphasis put on engaging with and playing with children all the time. Sure kids need our undivided attention at times. It’s great to involve and engage them in helping cook or clean and having fun together is awesome. But in previous generations parents were not their childrens’ playmates and they turned out just fine. Kids need time and space to explore without parents, they need to use their imagination and create. They need to challenge themselves, take risks and accomplish new feats without parents right there to spot them and do a full on cheer routine for them. And parents need and deserve some downtime to breath and escape for a few moments and preserve their sanity. I agree that some people are addicted to their smartphones at the expense of their relationships and that’s not good. But let us moms check facebook once in a while without judging. And let kids have some time to get lost in their own kid-centered, unstructured time.

  • nece

    That’s good that you pay attention to yous kid (s) but you are probably a rare breed.
    It is the parent that has their nose in their phone/ipad/tablet and barley GRUNTS at a child that those “Mommy watchers” are refer I g to. You cannot tell me you don’t know at least one. I know 3 or 4. So maybe it is not directed to you. :) but good for you for pointing out that it is not all parents. And by the way it is daddies and grandparents. Worst of all what if it were someone who watches your child? Would you say something to them? Just wondering.

    • Fred Colvin

      Thank you.

  • becca

    i admit i used to take my phone with me to the park and browse facebook, check emails and look on etsy while my kids played, but i recently saw a video someone made about how much you miss because of social media, perhaps you have seen it? this video really touched me, and you know what i realized what a jerk i am. so i took my little girl to the park today and i left my phone in the car, i pushed her on the swings, we rolled in the grass and laughed and she gave me a million kisses and you know what i had such a good time! and the 2 hours i didnt have my phone didnt kill me. so, this is my experience and i think im gonna put down my phone more often!

    • Fred Colvin

      Bravo! Your kids will thank you for it.

  • Tanell

    Amen, sister. I had seen that “Dear mom on her iPhone” article floating around for a while. Man, does that annoy me. I often spend a half hour at the park, with my kids, and while my three year old goes down the slide fifteen million times, while I bounce the baby on my knee or push him in the baby swing a few feet away, I will also be on my phone. Know why? Cause I am mom to two, full time student, nad business owner. I have the choice to either periodically check my phone while my kids play at the park, or be on my computer while they are sitting in the living room watching Hulu Plus on the laptop, or tablet or smart phone… Sometimes, they will play for a while inside, but really, that half hour outside a day, keeps us sane. Keep my 3 year old from ruining the house and hurting his baby brother. Anyone who judges me for picking up my phone to answer a customer, or even just to check into facebook, best be a perfect mom first. Guess what, though…. You aren’t.

  • Cassandra

    I disagree. It only takes a second for your child to wander off a bit and someone snatch them. Play phone at home. Keep your eyes on your kid in public.

    • Fred Colvin

      Thank you. These people need parenting classes.

  • Carlyn

    My well being always came first for my mother, as does my children. But my mother did not engage with me 24/7 as I do not with mine. My mother took me to the park, she didn’t run around with me the whole time, if at all. I ran around with other humans my size. I remember saying “mom!! Look what I can do!!” And I remember her glancing if she even did that and saying “wow good job Hun!” I didn’t die, I didn’t burst in to tears. Because I know I did it to her a million times that day already! I was taught to validate myself, I didn’t realize it then but I do now. I check my phone when out, I am not embarrassed by that fact, it’s no different then me talking to another mom at the park or where ever. I don’t find this article to be bitching about doing things with her kids. I find it to be pretty much normal. We judge and judge. Just stop it. Who has the sanity to hover over every little thing their kids do? I don’t. I cherish every day of my children’s lives. I spend loads of time with them, because I want to. Not because I have to. Because I don’t. No where in the parenting handbook did it say I have to engage with them of every second of every wakeful moment. It doesn’t. It shouldn’t, that’s no normal! My girls are happy, intelligent well adjusted little girls. Sure ones moody, has been since birth, but they are clean, fed and usually full of smiles. Some kids aren’t, let’s focus on those, instead of the kids with involved parents.

  • Well said. I despise when others judge me for something. They truly have no idea what goes on in the other moments of my live/day and yet they judge that MINOR moment that they see you and your child. Maybe they should take THAT moment to focus on THEIR child rather then judging me ;)

  • Honestly if I didn’t check my phone when they are occupied nothing would get done, not shopping nor bills not swim club, dance class, reading groups nothing at all

  • Fred Colvin

    If you can’t give undivided attention to your kids, why did you have them? Take some parenting classes for God’s sake.

  • Carolyn Bentham

    What a judgmental society we live in today ! What do all these so called dogooders slandering the actions of other parents think they are teaching their own children? Negative behaviour that’s what – What ever happened to “love thy neighbour” …. Grrrr so frustrating

    • Katy

      Carolyn actually I think that is part of the problem, when you refer to the love thy neighbour caveat – many people choose to have no relationship whatsoever with their neighbours nowadays, at great price to their kids. Back in the day, neighbours would absolutely visit, come for tea, babysit for free, interact with each other’s children, their kids would be playing in the backyards which either had no fences or the kind you can easily see through and jump over. All of that is gone and we instead choose to reach out to others via our little black boxes. Unfortunately these little black boxes offer nothing to developing children and many are developing in a void. At least when we were talking to our neighbour over the fence, we were demonstrating how to communicate to others to our children. This is all gone for the most part now.

      • Kenda

        I agree with that, Katy. Children definitely need to see parents interacting face-to-face with others to learn how to be social. Absolutely. It’s the reason we don’t get a sitter when we’re invited to dinner at someone’s house or a (family friendly) party. He enjoys those occasions as much as we do and he learns how to interact. It’s also true that parents don’t gather together as much as they used to. I’m not sure why that is since organized Mommy/Daddy groups *seem* to be a popular thing. Luckily, we know our neighbors well and socialize with them quite a bit, including group playtime for the kids. But we’re lucky to live in a very friendly neighborhood.

        • Katy

          Hi Kenda, I’m not talking about you and your neighbours, I’m talking about neighbourhoods in general. Back in the 70s it was common to know all your neighbours and if the neighbour had kids, the kids would regularly play together. Many people didn’t even have fences. Or they would have the kind of fences kids could see through and hop over. Older neighbours whose children had left the nest would babysit neighbourhood kids. For free. Neighbours would even keep an eye out for other neighbours’ kids. This doesn’t happen now. I’m talking about society in general, not you personally.

  • Carlyn

    Why did I have them? Because I wanted to. Did your parents hover? Or did they ignore your meet existence all day? I’ll go with the latter. So should I go to every play date? Ride the bus to school? Sit in the back of the class? Spare me. So I check my phone for a few minutes. The auk must be falling. Our parents didn’t hover. I left in the morning and had to be home when the street lights came on. Yet my mother was very much attentive, working 2 jobs. But she wasn’t on top of me constantly, validating or staring at my every move. Calling me or anyone else. Bad mother, implying we need parenting is shameful on your part. Not ours. Being called a helicopter is not an endearing term. So spare me. Save your mommy and daddy issues for your own. We don’t need to hear it. You want to hover? Fine. But don’t come at us, with your idea of perfection, you are screwing up or have just as much as the rest of us.

  • Andrea

    When I take my kids to the park, they play with each other and the other kids at the park. After spending all day with me, they need a breather too. Maybe I should spend my time at the park sitting at the edge looking forlorn rather than be productive and catch up on emails. Maybe a wistful tear for being excluded would wash away the judgments? Hahaha. My god.

  • I just laugh at this! It’s a very simple point you make but yet so many “don’t get it”. We all want the same outcome – for our kids to live to tomorrow and for us to survive for tomorrow ;) Well said girl!

    • Allie

      Really? That is the outcome you are hoping for? Well, I guess if you have low expectations you won’t be disappointed…

  • Jerrica

    I can definitely understand both sides to this story. However, I applaud Kenda for what she wrote and think the lady who wrote the first article needs to shut up simply because it us none of her business how someone chooses to spend their time and raise their child. Especially considering you have no idea how they spend their time other than for those couple minutes you have decided to watch them and judge them rather than watching your own child.
    Also, for all those stating that you’re a terrible parent because your child could fall from the monkey bars and get hurt in the moment you look at your phone, that is a terrible argument. Unless you happen to be superman and can literally spring into action in the blink of an eye your child is still going to fall whether you were staring at them for every second or not. Coming from someone who actually fell from the monkey bars as a child I’m sure they will be ok. Sure I cried, but somehow I survived it and lived to write this as an adult. Kids fall and even though of course we don’t want them to that’s ok, they learn to pick themselves up and continue on with life.

  • Michelle

    Ironically, you are not that different from the self-righteous people telling you to get of your phone. Your post inadvertently judges them as much as they are judging you. You don’t need to justify taking time to yourself, just do it. I’m so tired of people needing to brag on the internet about what a great parent they are and how much they sacrifice for their children. Sacrifice is what being a mother is and women have been doing it for many years, yet our narcissistic culture leads many to brag about it, yet feel sorry for themselves at the same time. Get over it. Just congratulate yourself that you do your best as a mother, but keep it to yourself.

    • Alex

      Agreed!

    • Toni Huggins

      Couldn’t agree more

  • Monique

    I have read this post and all the comments associated with it. To the mom who story this, I applaude you. I do this for one reason. You are you. You are a parent raising your child and living your life. People seem to forget that although we have children, and yes this was a choice we made, we are still our own person as well. As parents we still need to work and be responsible adults while trying to make all the best choices we can in regards to this life we brought into this world. Children need to learn independence and realize that although they may be our number 1, life does still go on and not necessarily revolve around them. Life happens even while they are at the park and we as mothers/parents, have to balance our children and all other responsibilities that life hands us. As my children have grown and I have done the best I can, which has included checking my phone or emails while I was with them, I have realized the ability to check my phone while being out with them has actually enabled me to be away from work and spend this time with them them as much as I am. I truly believe this world would be a better place if others would start focusing on themselves and their own families instead of being so concerned either others. I have always lived by the motto that I will do the best I can…this includes family, marriage and yes, my work.

  • leanne

    Crime is actually down but our ‘perception’ of crime is up. Those crying abduction by strangers are over-exaggerating its inevitability. Humanity is so fallible in the things it chooses to believe in. Propaganda by associations and organizations skews facts and creates fear hype. None of us ever wish to see our children come into harms way…but c’mon. back to reality please.
    YOU ARE ACTUALLY BEING A BAAAAAD PARENT FOR PUTTING YOUR CHILD IN A CAR- dont you know??!!

    A great comparison chart about Crimes on TV News vs. Crimes in Real Life. NOTE: 99.5% of Americans will never experience ANY violent crime.
    Abductions in perspective:
    Number of children age 2 – 14 killed in car accidents, as passengers: 1300
    Number of children killed each year by family members and acquaintances: About 1000
    Number of children abducted in “stereotypical kidnappings” (kidnapped by a stranger for ransom or for sexual purposes and/or transported away) on average each year 1977-2012: 115. (in 2001 it was 93 and remember-crime is going DOWN)

    Murders of children by abductors constitute less than one half of 1% of all murders in America.
    Stranger Danger?
    Of all children under age 5 murdered from 1976-2005 –
    31% were killed by fathers
    29% were killed by mothers
    23% were killed by male acquaintances
    7% were killed by other relatives
    3% were killed by strangers
    Moral: Your safest bet is to leave your child with a stranger.

  • Alex

    This is a great article if you really only spend the 15 minutes, that some blogger mom happened to see you, on your phone.

  • Jason

    It sounds like your kid has a bit of trouble entertaining himself. Maybe you give him a little too much attention?
    But I think the whole put down your cell phone thing should apply to everyone. Not just moms. People are glued to it and it gets annoying. I can’t tell you how frustrated I get when I try to have a face-to-face conversation with someone and they decide to pick up their phone and start texting, pretending that they comprehend everything I say. I see it happen to people all the time. I think the smartphone was one of the best/worst inventions ever made.

  • Smiley

    Reading a book is a much more socially acceptable way to ignore your children at the park (or in the waiting room of a dentist or doctor appointment). Mothers have always brought their children to the park to get a few minutes to think their own thoughts. And to give the kids to burn off some energy.

  • Alison

    Excellent! Well said. Nuts to them. The smart phone is this generation’s Womens Weekly, or Soaps, or kitchen phone or whatever else has given mums 5 minutes peace in a day. So what is it? We spend too much time on our kids or not enough? Don’t hover over them while they play because you worry they’ll hurt themselves, but don’t take your eyes off them in case they fall. Don’t give them all of your attention all of the time so they don’t think they’re the centre of the universe, but make sure you’re not doing anything that isn’t entirely for them so they know they’re the centre of the universe. As if there isn’t enough pressure on mums, without the selective memories of previous generations pushing in on us, too.

    I’ve had a few ladies in my time come up and put their 2 cents in. My favourite was when a lady asked my if my son could breathe under the COTTON cloth that was draped over his pram (to let him sleep, rather then be overwhelmed by old biddies peering in). My response: “Yeah, I’ve been doing this for a while now. He’s fine”, with my best “you, my dear, are an idiot” look thrown in for good measure.

  • Toni Huggins

    If only the average Mum was on her phone for 15minutes at a time……nope! Not buying it. We need to get off our phones end of story.

  • Brooke

    Last year when my son played baseball I had to collect money for a 50/50 raffle the team has every home game. I asked my 4 year old daughter to come with. She wanted to play on the playground which was right by the ball field. I figured ok I’ll just keep checking the playground. While performing my required baseball mom duties my husband who was the coach ran over to me asking where our daughter was. I had just looked right at her not 45 seconds earlier and she was gone. Luckily we found her a few minutes later. She followed some kids down to a creek. Now if we are outside I don’t turn my head away for a second. That was one of the scariest moments in my life and there are too many crazy people out there. For heavens sake watch your kids and put away the darn phone!

  • Catherine

    Yay! For me its usually reading a book, but the intent is the same. The kids are playing, I’m chilling out. No need for stink eye or judgements, people!

  • Allie

    So you used your mobile at the park, why such a reaction to Tonya’s blog? What is bothering me about your rebuttal to Tonya is your litany of poor me, look at all the selfless mom stuff I do over and over, all day long. I laugh at my kids unfunny jokes, I need me time. I have to do all of this mind numbing, terrible stuff all day long with my demanding child. Get over yourself. This is what moms do. They also pay attention to their children at the park. You have gone through a whole lot of effort for someone who does not care what this woman thinks. In fact, she wasn’t writing specifically about you. If you feel she was, maybe there is a reason you feel that way.

    I know the mom she is writing about. She is the same women who can’t get together for a cup of coffee without texting other people the whole time. She talks loudly about personal subjects on her phone while on public transit and has a different obnoxious sound for every type of message from every person she knows, and answers her phone during dinner and at the movies. She constantly blathers on about “me” time. The reason why her friends don’t meet her and her children for play dates is that she and her phone are such an exclusive couple. No one visits her at home, because they are tired at looking at the back of her head while she just looks up this one thing.

    If the blog struck such a nerve with you, maybe you ARE that woman.

  • Allie

    Wait a minute… I just perused your other articles. You claim you spend 24 hours a day with your child, but you wrote about him being in preschool. So…you are in school with him?

    • Kenda

      You are correct, Madame! (that he’s in school now, not that I go to school with him. I’m too big for the chairs.) He’s been attending for the past 8 months. It’s a new phase that he is loving and was actually suggested by his doctor for the same reason that I wrote this article: he benefits from independent play/learning time without mom and dad hovering. But, the details don’t really matter because – according to your earlier comments – you didn’t agree with me even before you read that.

      • Allie

        No, I didn’t. I do agree that our children need independent play time. I don’t think you need to be on top of them at the park. I do feel that the playground is one of those places that your eyes need to be on your children. Aside from the obvious safety factors of being disengaged from your four year old in a public place, it is huge to him to have you “watch this” for the hundredth time. It might be less exciting for you than that funny cat on instagram. How sad.

        It is obvious that the original article struck a nerve for you, but as a writer, I am sure you can see that the woman she is writing about is not an individual. She is writing about something she sees all the time – all of us do. She isn’t telling YOU to do anything. If you aren’t that woman, who spends her waking hours gazing into a screen, then why are you so fired up about her article? If you aren’t that woman, than the article doesn’t apply to you. If you might be that woman, maybe her article deserves a little consideration.

        You also seem a tad defensive about sending your son to pre-school. Fantastic, his doctor told you to send him and he is loving it. I really don’t thing anyone needed the justification for that very ordinary decision that most parents make without the order of a physician. I was very surprised to find you son was in school – not because there is anything wrong with pre-school, but because of your martyrous lament about your day. While you don’t explicitly say you are home with him through the week, you give the impression that this is your day everyday. Maybe that is just a wee bit disingenuous? To be perfectly honest, it sounds like an awesome day. Spending the evenings and weekend with your child is not the same as being with them all day every day, as you know. Even if your child is in a half day program – that’s twenty hours a week of time just for you. What are you whining about?

        • Kenda

          The whole whining thing baffles me. You have issue with what I’ve said and how I parent. You’ve made that clear. But it’s a bit ironic that you’re calling me out for being too ‘fired up’ about something that has nothing to do with me… yet here you are, back again on an article that has nothing to do with you. I mean, you’re more than welcome to comment as much as you like. That’s why I write, after all. This is my job. But, bringing up overreaction when you have even less stake in this than I do? Come on now.

  • goody-2-shoes

    Hahahaha, I just spent half an hour reading this article then a quarter of the “Yeah, you go girl, high five” and “No, technology is taking over our lives” while my son watches a dvd. I’m at home and it was interspersed with attention from me to him. Not perfect parenting, not proud of it. Nothing wrong with “me” time, but I would day that if I’d done this at a park I probably wouldn’t have seen him fall in the duck pond, start a fight with another child or fall over because I do get engrossed and I’ve fallen into the trap of taking photos everything my kids “to put on Fb” whilst being slightly removed from the reality of the experience of just being there, just so I can feel temporarily less lonely and slightly popular. That’s my insecurity and weakness, I own it.
    Having a quick glimpse at a text or email isn’t a sin if you can keep an eye on your child at the same time, I find that quite difficult personally.
    It’s easy to judge others but also sometimes we can all use a little advice. It’s a shame that there are so many bitchy, quite personal comments on both sides of the argument. What a shame.
    Going to put my phone down now, probably for the rest of the day, but that’s my choice.

  • Jen

    So enjoyed this perspective!!!

  • Trixie

    Sigh. This subject irks me in general. The rebuttal is spot on, when I’m at the park with my kid I do not spend every second fawning over her. Yes, I keep an eye on her and YES I saw her fall when I was playing with my phone. I didn’t acknowledge it because she is a drama queen not because I was too engrossed in my phone. As a child who grew up in the 70’s with a SAHM (as I am now) I can tell you mothers then were no less distracted. My mom was forever on the phone, talking to a neighbor, watching TV, cooking, cleaning, ironing and generally telling her attention seeking children to leave her alone and go outside and play. I’m sure there were some moms who played with their kids the way we are expected to now, but I never knew one. The idea that cellphones and tablets are the root of all evil is ridiculous. There is poor parenting regardless, which is not the same as teaching children they don’t need to be the center of the world EVERY SECOND. The generation before this one were raised (generally speaking) like the world revolved around them, with their “helicopter parents” and it’s not pretty people. Clueless, selfish,entitled and need to have their hand held every second. It was time for the pendulum to swing back the other way…

  • Amber

    Thank you so much for posting this!!! I was beginning to feel like I was the only one that felt this way! I cannot stand that put down your phone one because you are so right, these “perfect” mothers have no clue what my day insists of. I don’t know about y’all but I take my kid to the play ground to ….. play with other kids and for her to use her imagination, w/out me being up her butt 24/7!! Gasp I know!

  • Shanna

    When I read the article about moms on their phone, I felt offended but couldn’t find the words to explain why..I am personally not a big fan of technology for young kids, but I have an Iphone that my son sees me on, taking his pictures, calling his dada or checking my email, so I felt a bit hypercritical for feeling ‘set off’ by the “get off your phone” article, yet angry that some person who knows nothing about anyone they were referring to decided they had the right to make such judgements in ‘fact form’ statements. You nailed it, whether a mom goes out to dinner with her friends once a month, or plays catch up on her smart phone at the playground, we are mom but we are also the same woman before having our wonderful children. That is such a big problem today, a mom is expected to be her children’s friend, all through life… But we are moms. We love, snuggle, play, act like big adult kids but we also teach, guide, discipline and encourage our children to be independent. When our bundles of joy leave the nest, our life isn’t over, nor does it continue to fold around them (our children). It is the “sweet’ to the ‘bitter’ in watching our children grow up to be strong, independent adults. So thank you, for helping me understand why I disliked the article about ‘getting off your phone’ or now to be called ‘your only, always a mom, nothing else.’ I feel bad for that woman…

  • Katy

    I’m afraid this is a bigger issue than you realize. At least from my point of view. Maybe it’s not a big problem for you, but for others, it is. This is a topic that I feel very strongly about because when my second child was around nine months old I became extremely depressed. We had moved away from all friends and family, had little money, my older child was having multiple tantrums every day, I had zero support from anyone, and my marriage was in big trouble. I can’t remember all the details of every day but I know I spent too much time on my computer, it was like escapism. Whenever I paid any attention to my nine month old, my three year old would have a tantrum. This was depressing. I spent too much time online. It was so easy and so available. I know there are other Moms out there who have a similar problem. I read the statistics about kids who have similar problems as mine. Now my three year old has some traits of autism. It might be “real” autism, or it might be an attachment disorder, the results of her Mom spending too much time online. I will never know. Her speech is unintelligible and what little I do understand is just the same ideas about the same things over and over again. She missed out on something important during her early childhood, I think. If anyone else if reading this who is also depressed and is using their computer as a crutch, don’t. If you can’t stay away from it, try getting rid of it. Get some helpers in your home, even cheap teenage helpers are better than being alone sometimes, make sure your youngster hears lots of language, gets lots of eye contact, hears lots of laughing. So yes you feel defensive but also be aware that there is a big, real problem out there and I’m not the holier-than-thou perfect mother telling you this. I’m the mother who made the mistakes and now realizes what she did wrong and want others to know that this issue should not be trivialized.

  • Sarah

    Good for you for taking the time to even give reasons. My response is similar to when my junior high students tell me I can’t have my phone out because they can’t. Umm, how old am I? I’m a grown up and can decide on my own if using my phone right now is appropriate or not. Thanks. Same goes for anyone else in the world questioning what I do. :)

    • Katy

      Sarah, that’s kind of like smoking in front of your students, then telling them you can smoke because you’re a grown up. But they can’t. Hypocrisy. If we don’t want kids to grow up tech obsessed and to have healthy personal relationships, then we all have to set an example. That includes teachers.

  • Jillian

    What happened to if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all?!

    I guess your moms forgot to teach you that!