Dear Mom On The iPhone,

Don’t miss yesterday’s post: Dear Dad On The Recliner,

Dear Mom On the iPhone,

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

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

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

You aren’t.

Dancing princess

Your little boy keeps shouting, “Mom, MOM watch this!”  I see you acknowledge him, barely glancing his way. 

He sees that too.  His shoulders slump, but only for a moment, as he finds the next cool thing to do.

Now you are pushing your baby in the swing.  She loves it!  Cooing and smiling with every push.  You don’t see her though, do you?  Your head is bent, your eyes on your phone as you absently push her swing. 

Talk to her.  Tell her about the clouds, Mommy.  The Creator who made them. Tickle her tummy when she comes near you and enjoy that baby belly laugh that leaves far too quickly.

Put your eyes back on your prize…Your kids.

Show them that they are the priority. Wherever you are, be ALL there.  I am not saying it’s not ok to check in on your phone, but it’s a time-sucker: User Beware!

Play time at the park will be over before you know it.

The childhood of your children will be gone before you know it.

They won’t always want to come to the park with you, Mommy.  They won’t always spin and twirl to make their new dress swish, they won’t always call out, “WATCH ME!”

There will come a point when they stop trying, stop calling your name, stop bothering to interrupt your phone time. 

Because they know…

  You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are.  They see you looking at it at while waiting to pick up brother from school, during playtime, at the dinner table, at bedtime…..

I know that’s not true, Mommy.

I know your heart says differently.

But your kids can’t hear your words, Mommy. Your actions are screaming way too loudly.  

  May our eyes rest upon those we love, first and foremost, and may everything else fall away in the wonderful, noisy, sticky-fingered glory of it all.


Note from Tonya:

This blog post is written for me, too!  It could just as easily say Dear Mommy on the Computer, because I also struggle to find balance between needing a break, and knowing when its time to walk away from the computer to be Mommy again.
I try to limit it to nap time and after the children are in bed. I am just asking for us to be aware of how this media time can overflow into our face to face time with our family and those around us.

I will never forget when this all became clear to for me….

The children were in bed, the house was dark, and I was getting ready for bed, when I noticed a stack of books on the edge of my desk.  Books my 2 little ones had been asking me to read ALL DAY.  A stack of books that was set aside until Mommy could get her work done.  Work turned into research, turned into facebook, turned into answering emails, turned into……NOT READING AT ALL.
I went to bed defeated that night, hot tears streaming down my cheeks and dripping onto my pillow, as I cried out to God to help me do better. To help me put my eyes back on the people that need me the most, my family.

Was my stuff on the computer more important than my children?  Heavens no!  But my actions are always screaming louder than my words ever could.

What did my actions say to my kids that day?

 “My computer is more important than you today.  Go play!  I simply don’t have time for you.”

  Also, may I add, that the point of this post was NOT attachment parenting, or putting your child first and falling all over yourself trying to meet their every whim or need.  That is about as opposite as you can get from what I believe and how I raise my kids.

This is about looking up and around, enjoying life in the moment, not staring at a phone!  With your spouse, with a friend over lunch, a smile to a grocery check out worker…..look UP and leave the phone behind once in a while. It’s liberating.

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452 thoughts on “Dear Mom On The iPhone,

    • Me too! Thank you so much for this post, it hit home. I’m new and can’t figure how to comment, lol. But I did see the reply link! 🙂

  1. Thank you T for this beautfully-written, heart-grabbing post! It just sickens me to see parents ignoring their children over their phones. I will share this at my FB page too. Hugs!

    • ME too, Tasha! The computer is my hang up, there are always emails to return, blogs to write, photos to edit. For that reason and many more, I refuse to get an iPhone. My cell lives in the car at all times, and its an old flip phone for PHONE CALLS. No texting even! lol 🙂 Call me old fashioned, but I like it that way.

      • The only time we ever owned a cell was when we lived out of town, I was pregnant and drove an unreliable car. The phone eventually ended up in the toy box and then the garbage!

  2. Guilty!! I am ready to put the phone away and really focus on my kids, now, in this moment. Because like you said, it is over before you know it. If being in the funeral business has taught me anything it is this, do not take one single moment for granted because we are not promised the next. Even though this is always on my mind it is nice to be reminded, yet again, of the little things. Thank you 🙂

  3. Hi Tonya, this is Angie from A’lil Country Sugar. I love this article! After reading it, I want to share, share with the world. I would like to ask your permission to place this article in my church newsletter. I am responsible for printing a newsletter for my small church, and I love to fill it with inspiration and insight. This article would be perfect. I usually write my own, but I couldn’t say this any better. Please let me know if I can use it. My email address is Thank you! And don’t be afraid to tell me no.

  4. So true and so sad for all that the preoccupied mommies are missing. This seems to go hand in hand with lack of consistency in discipline because mom is not watching and only half hearing what is going on right under her nose. Great post!

  5. Such a great thought! I am the mother of the most precious 22 year old daughter and had her after being married 17 years (six of which were trying to find out why I wasn’t getting pregnant). Then, cell phones weren’t that common and obviously weren’t
    equipped with all the apps. that they have today which will take you off into another world.

    Anyway, I was at an age then (I was 37 when I had my daughter) so I was able to be a full time stay at home mother and I thank God every day that I was given this blessing and spent every second of my day playing with her, video taping her every move and just staring at her. She has moved out now and starting her own life and even though I know I was there every waking moment, I reflect back to those times and it still wasn’t enough time. Savor every minute all you moms, because it will be over in the blink of an eye and you can’t get it back.

    • Love this! It is so beautiful and true. I’ve always felt like I am there for my boys 100% but lately after making a Mommy page on Facebook I can see that it is taking more and more precious time away from my boys. I don’t like that. After reading this I realize what I need to do. So thank very much for writing this beautiful piece. 😉 Dawn

  6. This is the biggest fight we have with our daughter living with us with her little boy…..she is missing so many moments. drives me crazy!

    • trust me. fighting with her about this is not helping. offer to play with him to give her some me time because most likely she feels like she has no me time and needs to carve it out all over the place. Also, kids do not need to be stared at every second. They need a little time to try things without our eyes on them. It is ok. They will be stronger and less self-centered if they know that their every fart is a not a precious moment. but really, don’t fight with your daughter about this, it will only make her double down even more, so in a way, you may be making it worse.

  7. I just posted a comment (Gidget) and shortly after, the precious 22 year old daughter that I wrote about, sent me a link to the most wonderful Christmas message that she saw on Pinterest and I wanted to share it with you all.

    It is a website called and when you go the website and to the right margin you will see a picture of Jesus. Click on His picture and you will want to share it with your little ones

    It also on Pinterest. I think it was under Christmas messages.

    I loved it!!

  8. I see parents do this all the time. Particularly these days when eating out is so commonplace. There they sit at a table, mom, dad, and kids – mom and dad are each texting on their own phones and the kids are either coloring, bothering all the people sitting around them, or texting themselves…………I learned about politics, our chosen religion, how government works, how my parents met, what supply and demand means and many other VERY important things at the dining room table – even when we went out to eat – because that’s when my parents spent earnest time teaching me to be socialized…we should not be surprised when our next generation is antisocial and have no communication skills – not to mention that crazy short-hand for, you know, REAL spelling! GREAT POST!!!

    • I see this every where I go, and it makes me sick……why do some people think they have to have their phone in their hands or on the table so they can look at it 24/7 ? It is disgusting……people , put those phones away for a few seconds….at least sit down and eat a meal in peace without any interruptions from those stupid phones……you see people grocery shopping with their phone to their ear, the entire grocery shopping time….some even while they are paying the cashier…..give me a break, you are not that important…..what did you do a few yrs. ago, when the only phone you had was at home ????? Think about it…….love your msg. kalamitykelli…..and I agree with you 100 %…….

  9. Yes, lovely words and beautifully written. But what about not judging the parents you see out there, who are taking a bit of time on their phones while they feel they can fit it in. If you are a parent, ANYTHING you do that is not focused on your kids, is time away from your kids, and that usually means missing the beauty of the moment. Our kids are most always beautiful and adorable, and ALWAYS wanting our attention, no matter how much we give. As a parent, we have to come to terms with the fact that we won’t see and won’t remember every little thing in our children’s lives. And we also have to come to terms with the facts that e-mails have to be answered, family matters need to be tended to, and we also need adult conversation once in a while, no matter how much we love our children or would love to give them every bit of our attention from now until the day we expire. The woman you see on the phone could be giving up that bit of time with her kids because she is going through something very stressful that you can’t see and needs to be having a conversation with a good friend or family member. The man who is on his computer at McDonald’s while his kids play, could be coming down on a work deadline, and arranging his time to be able to be with his kids, even if that means taking the computer along. Yes, parents should spend time with their kids, talk to them about everything, play with them and admire them and make an effort to do everything that good parents do. And society should give them a break if the small window of time we see in their lives doesn’t add up to what we think it should.

      • Thanks for your great thoughts, ladies! I agree, we do what we have to do. But while this thought is a good one, we can also be honest with ourselves, that there are a large majority on their phones out of habit and boredom, too. When you read a blog post like this, it should be taken as a broad sweeping statement. If bloggers had to stop and explain themselves every time they blogged, to make sure all circumstances and all parties are covered, then it’d be pointless to even blog. There are exceptions to every rule. Thank you for speaking kindly, I hope you will hear my heart on this as well.

      • Let’s give each other a break already? The tiny window into each families life we glimpse in our day to day doesn’t really give us enough information to kindly offer our “well-intentioned” advice or criticize. We’re all in glass houses. We’re all imperfect parents.

    • Amen, Carmen, let us mommies love each other not judge each other. We judge ourselves enough. I have n-o i-d-e-a what someone else is going through or what kind of parent they are by seeing them at the park with their kids. Nor does any stranger at the park know that about me.

      • Well said!! We are so quick to judge a parent who is on their phone or seemingly impatient with their child, but we are just getting a glimpse into their life. We weren’t there for the other times that this mom was sharing so many wonderful moments with their child. As a parent of a special needs child, sometimes I am surely judged for being on my phone, but no one knows that sometimes those couple of minutes either checking my phone or reading a blog, or Facebook give me the much needed time away to recharge my batteries to continue doing those precious things with my babies.

      • And maybe they’re not going through anything in particular. Maybe they’ve been talking about the clouds all day, and this is the chance to get some time to catch up with friends or check the headlines or give their kids the opportunity to learn how to play with others.

        There are all kinds of ways to be loving and dedicated.

    • I was thinking along these lines a bit as well. For one, I know there were many days in the last year when my kids were at the park and I was that Mom on the bench….but I was having a conversation with my husband who was in Afghanistan on IM. Perhaps to a bystander it would look like I was ignoring my kids and missing the moments, but I had all the moments for months on end all by myself to deal with, good and bad. I do think *in general* there is a problem with cell phone usage in our society, but I also agree that we need to not judge that mother because really….we have no idea what they are doing or why or what they may be going through. 🙂

      • In your case Lora, this is an exception and I know what you are talking about…, I would not be judging as one of those who are glued to their phone,,,,,,,sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do…..but I am talking about the people , most people on here are talking about…..sometimes you can’t help but hear others conversation and you know it could wait……

    • Thank you thank you thank you for posting this comment!! I was beginning to fume at all the judgement and self righteousness going on in the comments section. We all need time away. If I focus on my kids 100% of the time that is a huge disservice to them as well. I think the intention of the blog post is good, however I think as mommys we get to judgmental too quickly. People never know what’s going on in that other mamas world.

    • I agree with you on this, but I also understand the initial article. While I work from home and take my computer along to the park so the kids can play in a bigger environment with more friends, I think that any extracurricular phone usage would be minimal on my part. Frequently, even if I don’t have to bring the phone along, my job demands that I be accessible via email all day. I only recently got a smartphone, and it was only for that reason. If I ever find myself attempting to look up something other than work email, I stop myself. I have to bring electronics with me, unfortunately, but at least I’m with my kids and can glance at them and notice their achievements when I have the chance. Working isn’t a choice for me, but at least I can do it in their presence.

      • I am in the fortunate position of being able to work from home. I get to provide for my family without having to go into an office. I get to pick them up from school, attend their events, and be present in their lives despite the fact that I also need to earn an income. And sometimes, when I see they are having fun and I’m not needed, I work from my smartphone. This technology is what allows me this flexibility. I’m grateful for it. I am bummed by your judgement. How wonderful that you have the privilege of spending your days without having to work or do other tasks in the presence of your children. Not all of us are in that position.

    • So true! I am a stay at home mom. My husband works incredibly long hours. The only time my kids aren’t with me is if I have an appointment (and then they are with grandma). Yet, despite the fact that I spend much more quality time with them than most parents are able to, I still feel constantly guilty whenever I do the slightest thing for ME. And it is primarily due to judgemental attitudes like this one. The whole idea that “Omg! I’m going to miss something!” eats at most moms, I think. Do we really need to do that to ourselves? Because let’s be completely honest here: There is no perfect mom. Our kids will always grow up too quickly no matter what we do. Even if we are watching every single time they yell “Look at me!” There WILL come a day when they no longer need us. Not because we are bad parents but because we are good parents. The ultimate goal is not to control & witness every event. It’s to give them love & the tools to be a wonderful human being, right?

    • Wonderfully written. I was trying to think of how to put all of that into words and I just couldn’t do it without sounding harsh or rude. There is too much judging going on into days world and “we” have absolutely no idea what someone else, or “that mother” on her phone is going through. The blog did make me think, and of course I’m guilty of it. There are many times that I could or should have put the phone down but for whatever reason I didn’t. You can’t live life with regrets, you can only move forward and try to make each day the best day for you and your family!

    • Judging would be looking at one person and drawing a conclusion, NOT pointing out a potential problem for discerning moms and dads to be aware of. I know many people who completely abdicate their role as parent for the thrill of the next electronic gadget. If just one of them sees their error reflected and makes a change, how wonderful for them and their children!

    • Very agreed, well written. I would argue it’s better for kids NOT to be the focus of a parent’s attention at ALL times. Of course, everyone has to be careful to keep one’s use of electronic communication to a healthy level (whatever that means) but seeing a mother one morning really doesn’t allow us to make any judgement about her.

      Judge not, that ye be not judged.

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  11. Love this Tonya. Now do you have one for a husband who plays his video games or on the computer instead of spending time with his wife.
    I don’t have kids but when I do you will be my inspiration to be good mother.

    • Dale used to play video games. Thank God that phase has passed, interestingly we learned that often porn users do that to “check out” of the hell they live in in their own heads. I am NOT saying that is the case with your husband, but I do think it was the case with mine. He never played video games when the kids were awake, thank the Lord, and after the truth came out, he stopped playing all together. My tip to you? Get a good Christian novel, curl up next to him on the couch and cuddle up to him while he plays. I used to do that to Dale, so I could still be near him. I read in a Christian book once, that our husbands find our presence very comforting as well. You will show him you miss him and want to be with him. Maybe eventually, he’ll put the game down and invest in you, too. 🙂 Pray, pray, pray and watch God move….

      • Wait, did you really just suggest that men who enjoy video games are probably addicted to porn!??? Awful, just awful. As any hobby, a man can love playing video games but still devote time to his wife and family. And that does not mean he has a porn addiction. I mean, really….

      • Did you read the part where I said that “we found out”, as in from a trusted porn recovery resource? I can’t make this stuff up, N. Video game playing always seemed so childish, and I am so thankful its no longer a part of our home. I hated the way it made the house feel to have that shoot em up game going during the would be quiet evenings. Like I said before, it all stopped after his porn problem came out, so the escape thing made sense when we heard it. Thanks for the comment, I love how you took it way to the extreme, but I am glad we could chat about it.

      • Wow, lots of comments here! Just wanted to point out that I don’t think playing video games can be compared to porn, and not everyone who watches porn has a problem. A lot of couples use porn to actually add to their sexual relationship, not take away. Like anything else, moderation is key.

  12. Don’t be so quick to judge. You don’t know what that woman’s day has been like. Its easy to pass judgement when someone does measure up to your standards. Be happy that you can be fully present to your children 100% of the time.

    • +1
      Way to judge, people! Before my kids were born, I was the primary earner in our household. I don’t have the opportunity not to work, but I am incredibly lucky to be able to work virtually. This means that I have to check and respond to messages periodically throughout the day even though almost all of my time is spent with my children — Even, dare I say it, actively involved with my children. I’m not missing their lives, I’m experiencing much more than many parents can. But even if these anonymous moms being judged are checking their personal messages – we do actually need that sometimes.

  13. I just feel we should be supporting other mommies…not judging them. I agree with Carmen and Jennifer; we have no idea what kind of day this mommy has had…let’s give her some grace. I do agree with the message overall; but it reads judgey.

  14. I’m with Carmen, Jennifer & Fay. The worst thing moms do is judge one another because we don’t all parent the same. Perhaps you don’t have a smartphone or video games, or give your kids sugar…or whatever the case may be, but my life revolves around my kids (just as yours does) & if I answer a text or email while I’m at the park its so I CAN be at the park with my kids instead of in my office. I know this was not how this post was intended, but consider you may not know the whole story. We may not do everything the same, but that just makes us different, not wrong.

  15. Thank you all for your great responses and honesty! If you know my heart, you know my intent was not judgement, at all. Although there was no “mom in the park” in real life, I watched the scene of her at the park playing in my mind as I woke up, and I knew what the Lord was asking me to blog.
    This story was to point to a bigger picture of distracted moms. A gentle, yet heart tugging reminder, of putting our eyes back on our families. {Or, like Kelli said, even our spouses, or people we are conversing with over dinner etc.}
    We Mommies have to stick together, but sometimes we have to tell some hard truths to each other, too.
    Hugs, T

  16. I thought about this post today when I was teaching my preschool class. One of my students brought his mom with him to help out today. I am not kidding when I tell you she was using her i-phone the entire time. She didn’t even hear her little boy when he was talking to her. It made me so sad (and mad). Why bother coming in to be with your child if you’re on the phone the whole time?

  17. So beautifully stated. A good reminder to all of us moms. It is so hard to seek a balance, but our kids should always have the blessing of our presence. Thanks for the post…. It was the perfect way to start my weekend…. with the correct mindset!

    • maybe not ALWAYS. sometimes they might need a little space to do things without our constant feedback. they will be better for it, perhaps a little less self-centered. maybe even more respectful of us and others as the years go by if they learn, once out of infancy, that they are not the absolute center of our world every waking moment.

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  20. Er what? Did you say something? Sorry, I was messing with my phone while you were making some long winded point about how I was a terrible parent. I apologize for not paying attention. I will be all ears next time you lay down some judgment on me. Thanks for having such awesome super powers, Mom. Really inspirational. Really.

    • Dear “Dad”, I am sorry you reacted so strongly to this post entitled Dear Mom On the iPhone, I guess conviction comes in all forms. I am not sure what you were hoping to gain by leaving such a snarky comment. I stand by my writing, and my convictions towards a “plugged in” media driven society, which I am free to share on my little piece of the internet. Thank you for stopping by.

    • Dear “Dad”,

      I sense a tad of conviction has grabbed hold of your heart in this nice little blog post. As with all things, if it applies to you absorb it and ask the Lord what He would have you do with it. If it does not apply, move on. If it convicts you strongly, I suggest you do not go with your first initial reaction to leave a sarcastic comment. You aren’t setting a very good example to your children, “Dad”.

      Mom who was convicted about my phone use and said “Ouch”… but did not shoot the messenger. 🙂

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  22. I think I agree with everyone, including Tonya. I think parents DO spend far too much time on their phones/computer/technology in general. I think as a parent you DO have to make an effort to be present and in the moment with your children. I think kids DO notice when you are paying more attention to your phone than you are to them. On the other hand, I’ve definitely experienced days where all I do is focus on my kids– my husband and I both– and taking them to the park is such a huge relief. Just to sit on the bench and not have them demanding things from you– and, yeah, checking our e-mail. I think life is all about balance. As parents, we should probably be spending less time on our phones, but the world won’t end if you have to check your e-mail every once in a while too. And if it keeps you from going insane, even better!

      • but do you really think that kids out of toddlerhood need or should have our full attention at a playground? That just doesn’t seem very healthy for the child or the parent. I understand what you are saying about constant distractions. I think it is true that sometimes it is too much and not healthy for anyone, i know for me at home, I need to get off the computer after a set time and get to doing other things, but not necessarily watching my 4 and 6 year olds’ every move. At the playground, they are old enough to run around without constant supervision (this is the first year, really, that my youngest does not need that to stay safe, so it is a refreshing feeling to let her play freely at our big playground), and they get plenty of encouragement and always help when needed, but they also need to do things for their own love of doing it and not for my approval. And sometimes they need to find things they can do without my help–that is one way they can learn and grow. And yes, they need to know that mommy has needs and wants, too and so do others. Even though they are really the apple of my and my husband’s and their grandparents’ eyes, they need to know that we do not revolve around them every second. And sometimes mommy is gonna chat with another mom at the playground or check FB or whatever and that is ok. And other times I may be right beside them as they try to get all the way across the monkey bars for the 100th time or maybe we will both swing side by side and talk about the clouds. We just need a balance and sometimes that is going to look like a mom checking her phone off and on for an hour while the kids run around and find things do with without constant adult feedback. I think it is telling that most of the people agreeing with your post are saying things along the lines of “Yes! i love/need/should have my attention on my kids 100 percent of the time! Anything less is unacceptable.” So while I see that in the comments you are talking about balance, those who agree with your post got quite a different message from your post.

  23. Hi Tonya,

    This is the first time I have ever read your blog. I really enjoyed this post today. I think it’s a great reminder for us all to be present where we are. The phone will always be there. I just want to encourage you as well that you did not sound judgmental to me. I think that time and experience has proven that when people feel the need to be defensive and judgmental of your blog, it reflects upon a heart that needs a little extra attention of its own. It didn’t sound like you were saying all women (and men) everywhere, ever, should never use a cell phone again. You didn’t say that, and I don’t believe that is what you meant. Keep encouraging people to take a 2nd look at their actions and writing great blogs!

  24. About 2 months ago our oldest son (11) told my husband “you never listen to me…you are always looking at your phone.” That was all it took and we have been iphone/smartphone free for 2 months now. I miss it…but oh the things that I am not missing!! Grateful for the change. Thanks for sharing!!!

  25. The same could be said about moms who spend time on the computer writing a blog when they could be spending time with their children. We all need to just unplug more often.

  26. Instead of judging the mom (which I did not at all perceive was the theme of your post, but it certainly contributed) how about making her acquaintance and seeing if she needs a friend? Maybe she just moved from across the country and is homesick for familiar or friendly faces. Maybe she’s in a debt crisis and actually has good reason to be online with her bank right now… maybe she just found out the love of her life has betrayed her and it is all she can do to BE at the park right now with her children instead of OD’d on mind numbing anti-anxiety meds… Your message isn’t lost on me, bu perhaps if told from your perspective instead of that of the observer it would have been easier to receive.

    • This is my point EXACTLY! Thank you for wording it better than myself! I mean really, all of us parents who give SO MUCH of ourselves SO much of the time need a release. No judgement on any of us, whether we spend an hour on the computer writing a blog, or are at the park with our kids. I understand the premise of the article though and how it truly is an epidemic with kids AND parents. But, rounding off this blog entry with helpful tips to help other moms would make it a productive article, not just a judgmental sounding b*tchfest. Us moms are all in it together. 🙂

      • Great thoughts. A follow up article on helpful tips for putting a cell phone away is a great plan, if I had felt lead to do so immediately after this post, I sure would have! Sometimes an article needs to stand as is and make a statement, whatever that may be, on it’s own. This is a great idea for a future post!
        I’d ask that you be careful not to do the same thing you accuse me of so strongly, coming across judgmental towards another mom. Thanks!

  27. This is a GREAT reminder to all of us! Thank You for posting and sharing your heart! ***We Mommy’s have to stick together, but sometimes we have to tell some hard truths to each other, too.***

  28. I don’t think you were being judgemental. We all need a reminder sometimes of what’s important in life. The allure of technology is a hard habit to break and I personally appreciated the reminder that I need to have more tech free time. Thanks! I needed to hear that!

  29. Thank you so much for this much needed reminder. I am reading this every weekend when I am at home with my kids to remind me that work will be there Monday.

  30. It goes the same for older parents who get a phone call when you are visiting them and stay on it the entire time you are there. Then when you have to leave, they are upset that you didn’t get to visit. Hello, I came to visit, you chose to ignore me until I needed to leave. Love the one your with.

  31. Okay, this annoyed me a bit. How about a more supportive way to get parents involved instead of judgment? We never know when we are out and about what is really going on with people. Maybe she is getting minute to minute update on her mom’s cancer. Maybe she has to make sure her older kids are getting off the bus okay. Maybe she suffers from ADHD or depression herself and just getting out of the house is a big deal for her. I mean, we just never know. I am sorry if I offend. I just have a hard time with blog entries like this. Yes, it’s more of an epidemic, but this sounds like it was written by a mom trying to be perfect and pointing fingers to make herself feel better about her own parenting and short comings.

    Surely I’m not the only one.
    ~signed, the seasoned mom of 5

    • It alarms me that so many people are becoming so defensive of this blog post. Perhaps instead of assuming judgement, accept this in the spirit in which it was written. I work. I have a child. I value my time to “get away” and I have been guilty of phone time instead of play time. Surely you are not so blind as not to see an increasing problem in this country. Maybe you do have to work while the kids play. Maybe you are updating on mom’s cancer. Maybe, maybe, maybe. If that be the case, this isn’t geared towards you! But perhaps, instead, you are feeling a bit guilty because like the rest of us, you HAVE put your “me time” ahead of your kids. You have pulled your phone out when perhaps it wasn’t the appropriate time to do so. You speak of “judgement” by the author, yet you judge her motives. No one is condemning you or judging you. We don’t even know you. And really I don’t give a second thought to the lady on the phone at the park. But i NOW will give a second thought to ME pulling out my phone.

      • I would “like” this response if I could. If this isn’t you then move on. But surely we aren’t blind to the ever growing smartphone use! I am GUILTY of this and I’m NOT offended. There are times I need to be on my phone for work, and I set work time aside to do this, and there are even times when I HAVE to be on the phone even while it’s kid time, but there are so many other times when I don’t yet I still am on pinterest or facebook and I’m not paying enough attention to my children. I could do much better and I will make this effort to do so. I love my children and they are my world, an I could show it a little more. Thanks for the reminder. 🙂

  32. Thanks so much for admonishing the few minutes I take in a day to catch up with friends or just catch up on random events. I spend the vast majority of my time doting on my beautiful baby girl or working to provide for my family. It’s really pitiful that I pass a few minutes on my own. And, it’s more pitiful that you would make me feel guilty about enjoying those moments. Signed – a Mom from an iPhone.

      • Then let me explain. I too, am a weary mom. I too, need breaks so I can be a better mom when I come back. The WHOLE point of this, was to point to a bigger picture of distracted moms, families, people in general who are missing life while staring at their phones. If you can limit yourself to a break, then check back in, good for you! I try to do that too, on the computer! I think the “Distraction Factor” is something we all face and deal with. Some, more successfully than others. My heart broke when I read how many children get picked up after a long day at the Daycare or school, and Mommy won’t even look up from her phone to kneel down and give big “I missed you, how was your day?” hugs. I have a follow up post that explains further, but please, hear my heart on this.

  33. Hmmmm. I do hear your heart, and I don’t necessarily disagree, plus I see that there were a few people that were challenged by this post, but perhaps you should consider that the way you worded and phased this post could come across as judgmental. It starts out with “I see you over there”, and then goes on to talk about a mom who is not paying attention to her children. Yet, she herself is focused so much on what this other mom is doing and what this other moms children are doing. There is an air of self-righteousness and hypocrisy in this post. I don’t believe you meant any harm, but I certainly understand why some people are offended by your words here.

    I think the point of your post is to encourage moms to savor each and every moment with our little ones because time goes by too fast. Couldn’t you have just said that? I always tell my children that if what they are saying is not encouraging or loving, it shouldn’t be said at all. It’s not our place to TRY to convict complete strangers of their mistakes.

    I am challenged the most by women who share their own experiences, whether it’s their triumphs or mistakes, not by ones who point out those mistakes in other people.

    • Hi Sarah, Fair enough. When I get woken up from sleep with a urge to write, I sit and obey. I don’t always understand the whys and the hows of what the Lord prompts me to share, but I do my best to just let Him use my typing fingers for His glory. Sometimes, He asks me to share things that are hard. A lot lately actually. Sometimes I don’t mind, but other times, like this…..I feel misunderstood.
      However, I know this earth is not my home, and I answer to only the one who prompts me to write. Thanks for allowing me to visit with you back and forth like this. We have to choose in life to have a tough skin and miss out on feeling tender moments, like a grandfather’s work weary hands not able to feel the soft skin of his newborn great granddaughter, due to thick callouses, OR we can have soft, tender skin, and get hurt by the rough world we live in. I choose soft and tender, but I won’t lie, there are days it hurts.
      God bless, Tonya

      • wow…it’s very obvious that alot of people are convicted with all the defensive comments. I appreciate what you wrote and feel like it was something I really needed to “hear” as I have a smart phone and find myself on it sometimes more than playing with my baby or watching him play. So thank you for being willing to share what was on your heart.

      • Woah, woah, woah. I said that I don’t always understand the whys and the hows of what the Lord prompts me to share, but I do my best to just let Him use this blog for His glory. Now whom is judging whom?
        There was no mom in the park. None. This was simply to remind us all to watch what distracts us. Period.

      • Oh Kristen, seriously? 😦 It’s about time I stop responding to these over and over. I will tell you what I just said, again…..hear me. I said, when The Lord prompts me to write, I do. I never once said God said it, not me. I stand by what I wrote, I wrote a whole second post about this very thing. I AM very sorry there are so many offended, but I am not sorry about the heart of the message. The heart of the message is gentle and soft, a picture of disappointed children in a fake park setting. It could have been a restaurant, or family dinner! No one ever said the mom was doing something so important, no one ever said she was working from the park. The picture painted was a bored, distracted mom checked out while she checked in to facebook.
        I liked the Chinese Buffet comment, if you don’t like a dish you see on the buffet line, its best to just pass on by, rather than standing there spitting on it.

  34. What bothers me deeply about this piece is that the writer doesn’t have all the facts. She doesn’t, in fact, know that the mother was/wasn’t “messing around on her phone”. Yet, she feels free to judge her activities as “messing around” and inconsequential.

    If she had been reading a book–a physical book–would we even be having this conversation?

    Mothers are prone to enough societal guilt. Don’t pile more on, unless you know what you are talking about.

    My husband regularly picks up our sons and takes them to the park to play and while there he does some very tedious work paperwork on his phone. Would it be better for him to spend that extra hour at his office, leaving them at home? Ask them. They will say “no way”!

    • There was no “mommy in the park”!!! I wasn’t even thinking of responding until I got to the thousandth comment defending the “mommy in the park”. Take it for what it is. If this post isn’t speaking to you then for goodness sake MOVE ON, otherwise suck it up and take her words how they were meant, to encourage us to “plug in” to our kids. From the mom on her kindle, in the bath, after her kid is asleep;)

  35. What a wonderful blog! Great insight…this pricelessly lovely and exhausting small window of time with our kids disappears so quickly. I’ve been there and know what you’re thinking, so first dump the guilt if this entry is an “ouch” … we’re not perfect and Moms have ALWAYS had to fight distraction of some sort…it’s just that now the phone/mini-laptop in our hands has taken the battle to a new level. So this grandmother says: Yours is an amazing generation of mothers – dedicated, committed, creative and widely connected to each other by the very thing that so easily distracts. You’re doing a great job. I encourage you to decide to win the distraction battle – you’ll never regret it! God bless all of you.

    • As a stay at home mom my daughter is my job and basically my life. If all those adorable pictures of all those moment I don’t want to forget are bothersome to you then please just defriend me or hide my newsfeed.

  36. Awesome. I wish to share this with the moms and dads in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I realize that it gets quite intense in the unit as moms and dads wait for any signs of improvement and the cell phone and tablets are an easy distraction. but the bigger question is what are you missing when you are focusing on an electonic device rather than the tiny steps of progress. Thank you so much for this post. It speaks volumes.

      • Kristen for someone who is so bothered by judgement and judgmental people who are you so fast to judge others and be argumentative. Its sad but all I see is a spirit of hurtfulness from your postings. I am sure you were hurt by someone so bad that conviction feels like condemnation to you. If your a mom keep doing the best job you know how to and don’t keep worrying about others. and just so you know I am a mom that had a child in the NICU and I agree with the previous poster said. when I was in the NICU I was THERE for my child. when I needed to answer a phone call or message or email. I went to the waiting room. Perfectly all the time? No. but thats not what this is about its about being real but being aware.
        Believe me it is way harder than it looks I am a mommy to 5 homeschoolers 2-17 and I have MS and and and and …. I could make all kinds of excuses for not being the perfect mom but at the end of the day I pray and just give it all to God I know I am the mom to these 5 blessings not because I am perfect but because It was his plan for me and its my job not to pretend to be perfect but to just keep my ears and eyes open to try not to miss what He has for my life. As a mom, as a Wife or as a Child of God.

      • i had a kid in the nicu for 7 weeks. never used my phone there, but didn’t have smart phone then and if i did i might have been able to stay longer at each visit rather than having to rush home to see how my 2 year old was doing. i think it is best to let parents in a very stressful, scary situation handle it as best they can. for some, the smart phone is an anxiety reducer and if your little one is sleeping in an isolette for hours between feeds/snuggles, a smart phone could mean the difference between having to rush back to the office or home rather than being able to stay at the bedside for a few more hours straight.

  37. I wish to share this post with the families I meet in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. I understand the need for distraction in the intense setting of the NICU as you wait for your son or daughter to show any signs of improvement. I see parents so consumed with their phones that they do miss the tiny miracles unfolding. I don’t want moms and dads to miss those moments of progress because they are involved with their cell phones or tablets.

    • ARE YOU KIDDING ME, STEPHANIE? Please tell me you didn’t just bring NICU moms into this. As mom to a child who was in the NICU for 7 weeks and then later on, in the CVICU for 6 weeks, off and on, let me speak for some,if not most of us, to puh-leaze step off your high horse. Have you been there? Have you had a child in there? Do you know what it is like? Do you know what is like to try to coordinate care for the siblings left at home, update Daddy because he has to work to bring home an income for the said NICU stay, keep families abreast of the news of our little one, and yes, you know what, maybe be a little distracted at times. The NICU is a very lonely, solitary place. I have spent hours upon hours there and other similar circumstances in the ICU. Trust me, I did my best to not miss a thing – a feeding, a diaper change, anything. I am sure there are moms who miss some things, but please don’t lump us into one category and please do not assume you know what our life is like because you have an MD behind your name. I would like to think that most of us moms are just trying to survive that time as best as possible, worried sick about their child, worried sick about their sibling at home, juggling other responsibilities, and oh yeah, recovering from birth in that environment vs being at home in the comfort of your own recliner with your baby in your arms. Trust me, it’s not the way that any of us wanted it to go. Oh, I could write so, so much more. What a horrendous thing to say to NICU parents, when you probably have no idea of their true story. Shame.

      • Thank you so much for responding to this. As a NICU mom of 47 very very long days I was constantly judged everytime I picked up the phone to text how my girls were doing. It was the only release I had some days. Not to mention the baby blues and the circumstances of my babies being cut from my womb. After 4-5 hours of hearing the beeping seeing another human poke and prod at my babies……sometimes I needed to look away. And when I came back to my babies when they woke up it was wonderful and heart wrenching. Listen it any case that anyone needs a different moment or just a break, they shouldn’t be judged.

      • AMEN. my youngest was in the nicu for 7 weeks. everyone there was handling it the best they could. and staring at your baby sleeping in the isolette for hours between diaper changes and feedings in NOT very healthy for anyone. wow. glad we didn’t have this “MD” in our nicu. i didn’t have a smart phone at the time, but i was in the hospital an total bedrest for ten days before the birth and man, a smart phone would have kept from from focusing on how i or my baby might die or on how terribly i missed my 2 year old who i’d never been away from before. jeez, it is like this post gave a lot of sanctimonious people the green light to tell others what crappy parents they are but this nicu comment from the “md” is the worst. thank God we had such wonderful doctors and nurses in our nicu.

  38. wow! just wow!
    I see your heart and your intent but unless you are walking in that mommy’s shoes you just can’t make such assumptions about that blink of an eye in her life. I’ve learned that raising my 5 children and watching my first born raising the best grandbabies ever.
    and anonymous. I am a NICU nurse for nearly 25 years now and have spent 132 days on the other side of the isolette with one of my children who was born at 24 weeks weighing just one pound. It was nearly two months before I could even hold him. Both experiences (the years and the days) taught me to never judge how a parent behaves in that situation.

  39. Pingback: Being Engaged « Shelley’s Weblog

    • I totally agree Eric! All these people saying they are only on their phone for a minute or two because it’s an emergency and thank you for judging them are not the ones the author is talking about! And this idea that we HAVE to take emails and answer texts and post on FB at the park so it’s just plain mean to insinuate these women have a choice, flabbergasts me! Have we really become a society that believes it’s impossible to leave your phone in your purse or stroller (or in your car or at home) for an hour to supervise your children at play? Or are all these responses really saying they don’t touch their phones at any other point in the day as they are constantly engaged with their children and the only logical time to use it is while at the playground?!

      it’s amazing to me that people who think you should be present and engage with your children (when needed) are just judgmental and mean!

      • but do kids older than 3 need our constant attention to their every move at the playground, because this post and many of the comments supporting it seem to be saying that. I just disagree. If i put my phone away at the playground, now that my youngest is 4, it is to talk to another parent or look at the clouds or trees on my own, not to watch my children’s every move or tell them how wonderful they are for sliding down the slide the millionth time this year. I think gently reminding people to take a break from screens is fine. I think saying you should do it because you are cheating your kids by not watching their every waking moment is what rubs me the wrong way about this post–and not because it hits close to home. I have been a bit TOO focused on my kids and at one point with my oldest i realized it was hindering her independence. I disagree with the implication that moms need to spend every waking moment fawning over their child’s every burp because it is not healthy for the mom or the child. You risk raising dependent and or self-centered kids with that style of parenting. Give your kid a breather and take one yourself and if that means you are playing words with friends while they are climbing the jungle gym, then that is fine, great, no need to justify your actions. The playground, especially as kids leave toddlerhood, is where kids can explore somewhat on their own and take pride in their own accomplishments without always having to have feedback from grown ups. I have met too many kids who will not try anything without their mom holding their hand or will not do anything without someone watching closeby to offer praise and tons of encouragement– i am not taking the first time the kid does some big thing, i am talking about the kids who want a high five and a hug every single time the jump off the jungle gym. and they won’t jump unless mom is looking every time. how is that healthy. or the kid twilrling around. maybe mom has seen it and shared the joy amillion times already today and maybe that kid just needs to learn to appreciate twirling for its own sake and not only when mom is watching and sharing the moment with her again and again.

  40. And who in the hell are YOU to declare that this Mom doesn’t appreciate or love her kids. You saw a snapshot of her life, you have no idea what she does to show her love and appreciation for her kids when your judging eyes aren’t around. Aren’t you the best mom. Ugh.

  41. I wonder if they could truly see it through the author (or a like-minded persons) eyes, if they would think differently? I take my sons to the playground anywhere from 1-5 days per week. And without fail, I see certain “people”. They are not the same person each time, but they might as well be.

    The mom (or dad) who is sitting there nursing or bottle feeding their infant while they play with their phone in the other hand. The infant is staring into space, not getting any eye contact, not getting any smiles, not hearing their parents voice to soothe them. Just eating. And the older kids are yelling “hey mom look at me” “hey mom help me” “hey mom, I did it” and she doesn’t acknowledge they exist.

    The mom who walks into the park on her phone,while her child runs off to play. She sits down and continues to use her phone for the next 45 minutes while her child pushes other kids, is rude and doesn’t wait her turn, throws sand, steals someones ball. And the mom doesn’t notice anything. She eventually looks up, and yells at the child it’s time to go.

    The mom who seems genuinely torn. She goes into the sandbox but gets on her phone the second she sits down. She seems agitated every time the child wants her attention. She moves to pushing the child on the swing while using the phone. Also annoyed every time the child wants attention. She stands at the foot of the slide, but never takes her eyes off the phone. She’s going through the motions but is no present and will only remember what was going on with her phone.

    Are all these people making texts to a friend in crisis, sending career changing proposals out or skypeing with their spouse across seas? Possibly. Are the missing out on important moments with their child? Will there be more of these moments? Yes. Next time, will you also be busy on your phone or computer with work, a friend, a spouse, or your own “mental health time”? That’s something we should ALL think about.

    • And I wanted to add, the reason I notice these parents, and I’m not just focusing on my own children and minding my own business, is because I notice their children. Whether you’re out there playing with your child, or just sitting on a bench observing the whole park, you notice when kids are yelling hey mom, hey mom, over & over with no response. You notice when a child is behaving terribly and no one is doing anything about it. And you notice who is around you in general, what is going on. That is a good thing. You want to be present and aware of your surroundings in public, aware of the people around you and how your child is relating to them.

      • but you have no idea what those parents were doing before you saw them at the park–that mom at the swings–maybe she spent the whole morning doting on her child. maybe something is going on in her life that necessitates some checking out while her child is safe. Maybe she has a really high needs child and is hoping this little outing gives her a few minutes respite in her head before the focus of lunchtime and rest. BUT I am with you on the parents who are checked out while their kids are pushing other kids or throwing rocks at/near other kids–those parents need to deal with that so someone else doesn’t have to.

      • I have seen these moms as well, used to be these moms before I finally disconnected and sold my iphone to replace it with an old skool flip phone with no internet access. I also closed my facebook account. My kids thank me for those decisions often! Thanks for entering into this crazy dialogue!

  42. I don’t think your intention was to do anything other than remind us to be present in our children’s lives. My only problem is when we, as moms, in our effort to encourage fail to lift one another up and instead tear down. We don’t walk in each others shoes and must remember to love, pray and gently remind each other that God sees us and sees our children and He knows how hard our days are. I appreciate your reminder to see my beauties for who they are and cherish my time with them…and am disappointed in some of the comments that seem to be tearing mommas down. Keep writing! 🙂

  43. Wow. What a post… Not sure whether to like or not. Let us not pretend that we all watch our children and hang on every word they say 24 hours a day. That 20 minutes could be the only time that mom has to check her phone, and who knows what is on the side of the phone call or email. Thanks for the reminder to be present in the moment. We all probably need that, but maybe with just a little less judgement next time.

  44. Well, I would love to leave a “happy, sunshine comment”, but blogs are made to share, and not everyone will agree, so feel free to delete my comment. I am a Christian and I find it strange how some people think because someone gets defensive over this blog entry they must be “convicted”. Conviction comes from God and no one else, even though he uses us to bless and help others. If we go around “convicting” people it is mighty hard not to come off as also judging them, even if the Holy Spirit leads someone to do it. If so many people are getting defensive, it may be time to re-evaluate a certain perspective or the delivery of it. I can appreciate your intent with this story, however, it would be better received as maybe, say, a personal experience that comes from the heart, or maybe a broader view without sacrificing your opinion on things important to you. I am a writer, and one of the best ways to get material, fiction or non-fiction, is living. I stumbled upon this blog because one of my Facebook friends, and acquaintances in real life posted it and I was curious about what you had to say. I think it could be so much more if you would take time to work on the delivery and writing. Unless, of course, you were going for shock value. Then, please, by all means, enjoy explaining to everyone what you really meant and have fun with your booming blog. If you are this way, I will most likely never read your stuff again, ’cause I personally do not roll like that.

  45. Amazing post! Thank you! Just what this momma needed to hear! Is there anyway to print this out without it being 30 pages?!


  46. Goodness! Too many negative, defensive people! This was a GREAT post. Just excellent. People need to take it easy. From what I understood from the article (and was able to gather from the writer’s later comments), this was a conceptual mom. I don’t think the writer was literally sitting in a park, watching some mom on her phone, and taking judgmental notes to use as material for this article.

    To the writer, I say: great job! Thank you for sharing your convictions. Keep doing what you are doing. Keep writing what the Lord puts on your heart. Be obedient to His prompting, regardless of the naysayers (they will always be in abundance no matter what you write so don’t let them discourage you!).
    To the grumps and cynics, I say: LIFE IS LIKE A CHINESE BUFFET!! You take what you want, leave what you don’t like. No need to spit on a dish in the buffet line just because it’s not your favorite. Just move on to the next dish. If you don’t like this writing, just go pick up another one. There are MANY other people who have been (and will be) blessed by this article.

    C’mon guys, get with the program. Quit being so negative and uptight.

  47. I am guilty as charged. Look beyond your interpretation to the heart of the message. The problem doesn’t lie in the phone, television or Internet. The problem Tonya is sharing is time. I’ve seen it at sporting events and quizzing events where the child keeps checking to see of mom and dad are watching. I sat behind a family of parents and grandparents who reserved the front row for themselves and then ALL stared at their iPads during the entire event. Tonya is a sweet person who is more than willing to admit her own failures and never points out mine. I love that she is willing to speak on something that God laid on her heart. Whether it was meant for your heart, only He knows. But as a parent of nearly twenty two years, I know it is a message I can’t hear often enough.

  48. Thank you, Tonya! My four kids are grown. My oldest is 23 and my youngest is 16. Though they are not little, I still should look and listen to them as much as possible, and I don’t walk around looking at my phone. We should be aware of others around us. I know this, because I am from ‘old-school’ and remember the quality of this lost communication. I’m sure that, if when they were little, technology was what it is today, I would need a constant reminder to be aware. I thought your article was gently and constructively written. Ditto to Gracie above! Proverbs says, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” Readers, if it doesn’t apply to you, then great. Ignore or share. If you take offense ask yourself, “Why.” Because of the writing-style? Because she pointed you out with the word, ‘you’? She did say, “You are doing a great job…” It could be you are guilty, even if “at times,” then, just be aware of it. That is the whole point of the message for the “conceptual” mom. Let conviction work wherever they may be. Blessings!

    • ugh, too many typos, sorry, i am trying to type this while i attend my daughter’s ballet recital and it is so dark here in the the auditorium. oops, better go, she’s almost done and i haven’t updated my FB status yet!

  49. Totally disagree. I give 100% to my kids both physically and emotionally at home. I have 10 gigs of pictures from all the “Mommy look at me!” requests. I deserve 5 min to use my phone to simulate the adult conversation I desperately need to stay sane. I don’t need someone at the park judging me because they see me for only 1 minute.

  50. This is so true. I teach a kinder readiness program and parents walking in on a cell phone is such a problem, I am now changing it to a cell phone free zone. The children are always so excited to see their parents, it should be their moment.

  51. You know what you might not see? You might not see that that mom’s husband has been in another country for a week and she’s been doing the parenting job solo. She may need a break to keep her sanity. You don’t see every second of their life; what happens behind closed doors. You don’t see her reading him “just one more book,” or laughing as he attempts to do jumping jacks for the first time. YOU don’t get to judge ME on one moment in time.

    Stop trying to make moms and dads feel guilty. We’re doing the best we can. We KNOW that we’re supposed to savor every freaking minute of their childhood. We KNOW that it goes by too quickly. But that doesn’t mean we have to be glued to our children 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Sometimes you need a break. And you know what? That is okay.

  52. Honestly, I think if you had written this fictitious post as though it was YOU, it would have been better received. It isn’t your job to judge, and no one wants to be talked down to. Do you? The sentiment was there, but the righteous indignation you felt? THAT is judgment. You can say that God told you to write it, but the bottom line is, conviction comes from God, when he gently breaks our hearts, and we respond. Judgment is not the same thing. This is one of the problems with today’s Christians. They are so busy worrying about what others are doing, that they forget what they are doing and how it may be received. Did you forget how to rebuke someone? Privately? With love and after prayer? This doesn’t fit the biblical definition of a rebuke. And before you decide I have no idea, understand that I, too, am a Christ follower.

    If you see someone out there who needs this message, deliver it personally. Writing diatribes about others’ parenting serves only to make you feel better about your own parenting.

    • Dear Me On The iPhone? just doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it? I am not rebuking anyone, had I wanted to, I sure would’ve used the Matthew 18 principle. I will tell you what I have told everyone else, it was simply pointing to a media distracted society.
      So, are you rebuking me quietly with love and prayer? Because I am feeling attacked by you right now, the same thing you accuse me of.
      I don’t need to feel better about my own parenting, because I can only do my best, just like everyone else. I have victories and failures, I fall down and I get back up again. And I just have to wonder why a message like this can’t be delivered via the www? It was not aimed at one person after all.
      Thanks for your thoughts.

  53. Ouch…thank you for this reminder. So very true! I’m guilty and I’m so ashamed to say it! I know it is wrong, but I tell myself I’m “multi-tasking”…but I know in my heart that my children notice how much I’m looking at my phone. Making a change today…and will definitely be praying each day it becomes less and less important to me to be on it and more and more important to give all my attention to my beautiful babies! xoxo

  54. At first I liked this article and then I got to thinking about it later and it really bugged me. I don’t need any more panicky feelings about how fleeting my child’s younger years are. I also don’t need more pressure to be a robo-mom (the woman who has no contact with the outside world or connections with others, or just other interests). Why don’t we see “Dear Dad at the office” columns – shaming dads for the extra minutes they spend at the office or playing fantasy football or watching tv. Because no one expects a man to live every second (and have his eyes burrowing into his child at every second). For some moms who are working around the clock to keep up with demands of motherhood, wifedom, chores, family obligations, work, etc. – a quick text to friend or their mom might be their only connection for the day. I think it’s wrong to judge people. Maybe that mom is sending a condolence message to someone who is hurting (because she doesn’t have time for a long phone call or to get to the store for card). I am tired of the judging. Your point is well-taken We need to appreciate our children and all the moments we can, big and small. I would encourage you and other mommy writers to take a different angle – don’t write to us (preach), share your own experience and let us decide for ourselves if it works for us. You are just perputuating the mommy wars and sitting on your high horse. I am sure there are ways that you fall short. Let’s be kind and encourage each other and lead by example, not by shame and guilt.

    • Why don’t you check out “Dear Dad On the Recliner?” It’s the post right before this one.
      We can go on and on in all these comments about how the mom could be talking to her husband across seas, or her dying mother, or her friend in crisis. Let’s also remember she could be scrolling through facebook absent mindedly for the upteenth time today just because if she hits refresh something new might pop up.
      I am not saying to never pick up your phone, or make a quick call or text, or do a drive by on facebook. Just offering the advice: “User Beware”. I am simply asking for us all to look a both sides of the spectrum here, and see that there are times to be on the phone for necessity, of course, its part of how we communicate! Sometimes we need to check out and have a break. But let’s put it away, leave it behind in the car….and choose to be all there, whether at family dinner, the park or picking up kids from school.
      No high horse here, I will be the first to admit that I struggle to keep my media time to nap and after the kids are in bed, but it’s something I am passionate about, and something I am working hard on.
      Thanks for your thoughts.

    • i quite frankly think it is even okay if that mom is zoning out and chatting on fb or reading a pointless message. she deserves down time too and she deserves to be able to do it w/o feeling guilty or missing out on some monumental moment their child is experiencing. If she has taken the time to take them to the park to play, more than likely she is an involved mom and doesn’t deserve ur 2 cents of a moment captured by you from her entire day. totally agree w/ u alison…but i don’t think she should even have to justify her reason for being on her phone.

      • Yes yes yes. My thoughts exactly. To say,”I’m not being judgmental, just making an observation” and then to go on to say, “I’m not talking about those who need to be on their phone, but those zoning out on Facebook” is saying that you are judging.

      • It does not feel as though you get it when you set up this fake scenario and put yourself in the place of the righteous mother who is begging another mother to not miss out on her children’s childhood. I think you would have gotten a vastly different response had you written the article from a place of introspection. Of saying, “I’ve caught myself being on the phone to zone out and feel sad that I missed out on parts of my children’s lives.” That would resonate with other mothers rather setting yourself up as the one looking down on another moms choice. And mercy takes many forms. Mercy does not mean sitting by while another mom judges other moms. I am extending mercy to every mom who is just trying to be a good mother whether or not she is on her phone.

      • My note at the bottom says this could easily have said Dear Mom On The Computer…..I am talking to me too. I try to limit it to nap and night, but its a distraction, plain and simple. All I ask, is that people stop taking this soooo literally.

  55. Call me crazy, but if you spent time judging that mom at the playground, weren’t you equally guilty of not being fully in the moment with your own children at the park? If you’re watching her (and her kids), you’re certainly not fully engaged with your own. And if you are, as I suspect, writing this blog post in your head while still at the park (or later, while making dinner or going through the bedtime routine), you’re not fully there either.

    “User beware” would be a much more effective message if you talked from your own experience of missing the small moments for say, a pointless Twitter break than it is when you use your blog post to criticize other parents.

    Don’t criticize parents. Everyone’s doing that anyhow, never mind that guilt isn’t an effective motivator and never has been. Try inspiring parents, just the way we try to inspire our own children to soar.

  56. okay, seriously if you really read this, it doesn’t sound like judging at all. It seemed to me that it was a hypothetical situation that was never experienced by her and it was to put a check in your spirit. If you are truly in touch with the Lord through the Holy Spirit and prayer he will give you little checks and balances either through dreams, the word, your pastor, or other people. He does this to edify us and help us be more like Him. Thank you Tonya for this because I saw it as the Lord speaking to me about something I am guilty of especially at home and my boys see this and after I read this I began to cry and ask God to forgive me and help me set a better example to my children. So many people have such a pride spirit that hinders them from letting the Lord work on them to make them more content and full of joy. They take a word that was divinely placed in their lives for edification and turn it into an attack against them. If you can’t be real with yourself and see that changes need to be made than you also fail your children too because they need to see that parents make mistakes, accept the wrong, ask for forgiveness and then change it. Now is there anything wrong with i phones, computers and such most certainly not but if your spending every moment on it then yes it is a problem. I just finished a 21 day daniel fast where I spent time praying and seeking God and I gave up instagram, facebook, twitter for the same time and I didn’t miss them one bit. In fact, I had MORE peace and contentment because i wasn’t constantly judging myself or comparing my life to others just by glimpses of pictures and their comments on their pages. Thank you for writing this and thank the Lord for allowing me to stumble to this blog for this very reason.

  57. Take it easy, people. It’s supposed to make you think for a second about your own choices, not to judge anyone else. So don’t start ranting about how you see people doing this, and you on the other side, don’t start coming up with all the reasons why it’s justifiable. The point wasn’t for anyone to have to defend themselves, or for anyone to judge anyone else’s choices. Look at yourself, that’s all.

  58. I am really saddened by your blog on this topic. Mom’s deserve down time too and the park while ur kids are playing is a great way to do both. I bet that mom who is looking at her phone played w/ her kids before sitting down to “zone out” for a few or 1/2 hour. or she will before they leave…i bet that mom fed her children, read them books, climbed the jungle gym, and wiped tears away, she bandaged an imaginary boo boo after kissing away the very real hurt. she probably wiped little bottoms and counted little toes as she put socks on their little feat. moms can’t be on 24/7 anymore then a worker can work 24/7 yet that is exactly what is expected of moms. the only leave they get is for a funeral. they don’t get vacation, sick leave, potty breaks or any other time out…and to write something like this only serves to increase the amount of guilt that moms feel when they do something for themselves. we all know our babies aren’t gonna be small forever! we all know that they will be a time they don’t want to show us their new learned skill…but that doesn’t mean that we don’t need some down time! =(

    • Hey Niki, Don’t be sad! I wholeheartedly agree!!!! I need a break too, I am a better mom afterwards. I am not saying never be on your phone at the park, this was a word picture pointing to a media addicted society that tunes out more than we know. Look around at a restaurant sometime, there are really families there on there phones ignoring each other. They are missing out on tid bits from each others day.
      I get on here several times a day to answer emails, I try to limit it to set times when the children are happily playing on their own since we just played together, OR while they are napping/in bed for the night. This blog post was a call to do a self check on how much we are on said phone, or computer…not a post to forbid any mom from being on her phone at the park!

      • i like this reply–much less judging. i think if you had talked about a restaurant or school recital or family dinner,that would not have got the same response. the playground when your kids are safe and happy is a great place for a little down town for a lot of moms, especially those with non nappers or poor nappers. The setting of your post I think was not the best choice for the good point you made in this response.

  59. Hey Tonya, I wanted you to know that I think this is a very timely post. With the way our culture is right now, it needs this kind of reminder. I can’t believe all the negative comments. I’m really taken back by it. I wondered if there were negative comments when you were talking to the dad’s with the Dear Dad in the Recliner. So I went back to look… NOPE! Then I wondered why? Not sure the reason but did notice that the women were much more offended by being called out then men did. And yes, I am a man, and I was not offended by either article. In fact I’m guilty of the iPhone one more than the recliner one. It seems to me that there are three kinds of people in the world. One… They read something like your post and think “I’m not guilty of that” then move on. Two… They read something like your post and think “I’m guilty of that” and are moved to repent. Then there are those who are read something like your post and realize “I do that, but I’m not guilty because…”, the make excuses. It’s those kind of people who start bringing up judging one another and stuff like that. As Christians we are to encourage AND admonish one another. In this post you admonished in an encouraging way. Now about 1 out of 10 of the first two kinds of people will make comments, those are the positive ones. And about 9 out of 10 of the third kind of people will make comments, those are the negative ones. So don’t worry, and don’t feel like you need to explain yourself to them. YOU DONT! They will never get it. They only want to make excuses. I came across this post from another dad who shared it on Facebook. There were several likes and all positive comments. And it had several shares. I shared it on my Facebook and several like it and only positive comments. The point is, you struck a nerve! That’s a good thing! There are too many people who claim to be Christian that think life is all about them. They want it to be comfortable. They carry the “Lazy Boy” brand of cross, not the “Jesus” brand. They are described by Paul in 2 Timothy 4:3 “they gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.” Then they bash and try to hush anyone who challenges them. Some will say I’m judging. What I’m doing, and what you have done, is described in Matthew 7:20 “Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” We’re not judging, just recognizing fruit. KEEP IT UP. DON’T LET HATERS DISCOURAGE YOU. Remember Matthew 5:11-12 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

  60. I am having my first baby in May (end of April?) and I really appreciated this post. I felt like it was a healthy warning. We live very far away from most family and friends and I have a feeling that I would have been easily sucked into the camp of giving myself an excuse due to that. A newborn won’t be extremely interactive, afterall. But I’ve been being reminded consistently lately that I need to figure out ways to be in the moment with her and invest in her, even when she’s so young.

    I think there is absolutely a healthy balance and I actively believe that women do need time to invest in themselves as well so that they CAN be their best for their families, but I didn’t see this post as not acknowledging that balance… just addressing the lack of it 🙂

    Thank you for being willing to write the difficult things!

  61. While I overall agree with the message: media is distancing and distracting us from our families, I don’t really like the concept of one mom judging those who do this and preaching about it. Some moms (like myself) run our own businesses and can’t always put them on hold even when we would like to. Some of us have 1200 emails a day to sort through and prioritize and figure out which will get replied to. Some of us live in households where earning a stable, livable income means having two working parents who are doing their best to balance work with our kids’ need to be outdoors. And just because we might be tasking those things when you see us in public does NOT mean that we never take time to focus on our kids without distractions. You are taking a fraction of our time, the only glimpse you may ever see, and throwing us under the bus for it. The truth is, your reality, and your ability to pay direct attention for every second of your kids’ play time and childhoods is not everyone else’s reality. It doesn’t mean we love our kids less. For some of us, we work out of love for our family. We have distraction filled lives because if we didn’t, there might not be healthy meals on the table or a college fund. Is every parent 100% focused and attentive 100% of the time? You may be the ideal parent on the playground, but if the 4 walls of your home were open for public scrutiny 24 hours a day, what would we see? Can we all stop LOOKING for opportunities to judge and scrutinize any mom whose values we think we don’t like? Can we mind our own business, raise our own kids, and not constantly look down our noses at other moms based on a small sample of the life we have seen on display? Or should we keep using media and the blogosphere to pin point every short coming we find in other parents, and constantly fuel the mommy wars?

  62. I agree with you…except. Sometimes Mommies have a good reason. My husband was killed in a helicopter crash 2 years ago, leaving me alone with my three young children…and I’m in the middle of a 4-year nursing degree program. While I would LOVE nothing more than the time to whistfully watch my kids play, to stay home with them and hold them as if nothing else matters…God did not afford me this luxury. The truth is that on some days just getting them to the playground is all I can do. I have to manage our whole lives through my computer and my phone. Between studying and paying bills and taxes, and keeping up with family relationships, I can only do what I can do. So please, I beg you, do not judge me without getting to know me. My heart agrees with you, but I have learned the hard way that some moms legitimately have no choice but to multi-task while their children are around. I do make EVERY effort to have concerted family time with them, where all books and electronics are put away. But it may not be while we’re at the playground. I just had to speak up here for those moms in special situations who cannot speak up for themselves. I mean this with the upmost respect, and, again, in theory I could not agree with you more. God bless, Angie.

  63. I wrote a post in the fall about a similar observation and considered how God used that to teach me…and yet still felt compelled to share with others. I think that’s the point here, I vote we all give grace, consider what she is pointing out and search our own hearts on what God teaches others through their observations…I feel that Tonya was sharing her heart – in love!

    • I’d like to clarify … My ‘thank you’ is to the author of this blog post (not those who have commented). The message of this post speaks VOLUMES to the modern culture in which our children are being raised. The overwhelming sense of guilt some mothers feel (perhaps some fathers as well) over not being capable of being/doing everything we THINK we are supposed to for our kids; however, so often the children themselves – the very ones we work so hard for – are being neglected. Not in a physically abusive sense, but regarding the parent-child relationship and their emotional development. They NEED to feel important. They NEED to feel loved. We MUST make sure we are communicating these things to them DAILY, and not just when it seems convenient. Yes, many times the phone/computer/book/project/etc. can wait. (So much for my brief reply.). I, for one, needed this reminder. Yet again, I say, thank you.

  64. Oh Tonya! My heart is so sad for you being blasted, misunderstood and accused of being judgmental. I absolutely loved this article!! For me, you are right! I don’t work, my time is 100% devoted to my husband and children. But, sometimes, I am looking down at my phone when my sweet Amelia says “Mama, look, I show you!” or Micah is up from his nap and ready to get out of his bed. I am thankful I don’t have to work to supply for my family. And I know, this article was written in that sense! We all have things we HAVE to do, and that includes using an electronic device. We have to cook dinner too because they have to eat.
    To those blasting such ugly comments, chill! If you are happy with what you are doing, great!! If not, change! The end! Now go about what you were doing. 🙂

  65. I’m a grandma here and reading all the comments….I’m learning to look at my own heart, if criticism or counsel has been given, then I need to look at that and pray and see if it is applies. It if doesn’t,, I’ll turn it away for some other side and I’ll concentrate on what I need to be doing . I have to much that I really don’t have time to concentrate on what you do right or wrong, unless it is outright sin against your family or child. But I know you are doing the best you can for your precious baby….some days you do better than other days, and it will be that way until you are old as I am. The difference is that you will learn to forgive yourself more and your and your children will hopefully learn to laugh more at bubbles, and sing songs, and watch how silly momma looks when she dances and ask each other and Jesus for forgiveness and momma will learn a lot and so will her children.

  66. After reading all the comments over again,, I felt really sad because I realized that this is the reason (or excuse) that my daughter-in-law uses for not wanting to be a Christian…we attack each other all the time….how can we treat each other this way if we really love each other as we say we do? Yes, have discussion, sensible discourse, but don’t think you are the only one with a right opinion.. I pray some day she will come to the Lord, but I don’t know….if she does, it will be only because of the Lord and not because of very many other Christians in her life. Sad.

  67. This is REALLY good. I’m not a mom yet (still a living-at-home college student), but this so applies to my computer usage. I, too, struggle to cut down my time spent at my computer and devote more time to my family. I’ve been working on it, and I’m doing a bit better. I am encouraged and challenged every time I read something like this to continue to lessen computer usage and expand quality family time. If I can learn this now, I believe it will be easier when I am a wife and mom later on. Thank you for your encouragement.

  68. My friend shared this with her readers on her Facebook page. I have been very intentional lately about limiting my time on my cell phone. For me I justify the expense of the iPhone each month and don’t want the money spent on the iPhone to go to waste. I am really cutting back all my media during Lent. I will use time I wasted on the internet, watching TV, texting, etc. to reflect on the sacrifice Christ paid for me. I can be sure it will draw me closer in my close relationships.

  69. This is a great reminder for us mamas! I don’t have a smartphone, but I still look at mine to read texts and I spend time on my computer. My kiddos aren’t toddlers anymore, but they still need and want time and attention and a lot of my years with them are already behind us. Time…it slips away so quickly and quietly.

    Finding the right balance is hard, it’s just, well it’s quite simply a balancing act.

  70. Hi Tonya, I just read this through a link on Facebook and I wanted to thank you for the gentle reminder to choose carefully our ‘me times’. I think living in our technology-driven world, we’ve all been guilty at some point in time of tuning out when we should have been tuning in!
    I try to remind myself each day that my children are precious gifts from God and that I can never get a day back once it’s gone, so to enjoy them as much as I can. Being a mum is tiring and of course we sometimes need to take a breather to keep sane, but we know inside when the right time is to do that 🙂

    Thanks again!

  71. Rage against the machine. Rage against stupid TV shows like The Followers that dramatize killing victims. Yes, the poor kids of the Wi-Fi addicted parent. Easy to pick on. If you want a cause, pick a worthy opponent. The unworthy never take their kids to the beach to be judged by you. No one is perfect. This generation is easy to pick on. There’s nothing noble in it. If you want to fight for a cause, pick something that has risk. Pick those kids to protect that have more to worry about than inattention. In case you didn’t know, I grew up in the 70’s/80’s and I had to deal with my mom’s issues. Control freak/scared person/abused by a brother…

    I can understand the anger, seeing the inattention. HATING it. But for God’s sake, the child’s sake, don’t pick such a vanilla pudding cause. Being self-sufficient might be much better than the crap my step-son’s generation has brought to the table. Combating authority, expecting everything to be perfect, no comprehension of responsibility. Pick a better cause. Please.

  72. I don’t think anyone was saying that moms don’t have to be on their phones at times. Of course they do, but it’s the people that are on constantly, never looking up and missing so much. My daughter lives with us with her 2 year old….she left an abusive marriage….I know she has a lot on her plate, but she does have that phone up to her face too much. And many times now, her little guy runs to me or Poppy when he does something and then she is upset. I always turn him towards her….I am not his mom, but please just try to limit the time to what is really really necessary during the waking time of your children. And someone said how fortunate it was that Tonya could stay home with her children (and she would agree) and how great it was that she didn’t have to work. If you have followed Tonya for 1 week, you will know that there is no one who works harder than she. I get tired just following her on here. We are starting to really hit below the belt….if this isn’t you, great….keep on doing what you are doing. If you feel convicted, even a little….ask the Lord to help you one day at a time….one conversation at a time. No one loves you any more than your children…..look in their eyes and you will see how much. Jesus loves you to the moon and back too.

  73. Great article, really makes you think about how you prioritize your time. “Mommy was always on the phone” is NOT how I want my children to remember me. My kids are both in school, so that is my time to be on the computer, on the phone, it is MY time. When they are home, I focus on them. Time flies by much too quickly, kids grow up way too fast. When they are grown and gone, I want to be able to look back at the time they were growing up and have happy memories. Not regrets.
    I took this article as a gentle reminder to cherish the simple moments of my children being children. Perhaps the people who have responded to this article with angry words and defensiveness are feeling a little guilty, maybe?

  74. Pingback: Well, I Had A Lot to Show You This Week, But… | Decorchick! Changing her world, one project at a time

  75. Sooooooo true! I work FT, commute 3+ hours a day, blog, run, take care of the house, hubby & kiddos, “play” soccer mom to my pre-teen, then have to answer a billion emails. Not complaints, just facts. I’m very guilty of phone time to try to squeeze extra things into my day. 😦

    • I am so blessed you read, commented and shared! And thank you for calling it “gentle”, my heart was in a soft place when I wrote it, but as you can tell from the comments, it was not always received in that way. I loved your blog post, and I am proud of you for giving up media for lent, I think it will be the perfect “reset” button. Then when you come back to it, you can decide a healthy balance and choose the “no phone zones” in your home. Bless you, Kelsey! Thanks for taking the time to write, T

  76. Unfortunately I am one of those moms or at least partially, but that is because I’m working while on the playground. I will take offwork a little early so we can go before out gets dark, however I still have to respond to work emails. I try to engage in between, but I guess I look at it as a little time is better than none, and I do pay attention as much as I can, but I’m still torn.

  77. Thank you for telling it without judging. I am very very very guilty of this. The post was effective. The comments below, not so much.

  78. As a parent of 2 twenty-somethings, I am so glad that we did not have this distraction when they were little. I can see how I would have missed out on so much! I only got a smart phone less than 2 years ago and see how it can become a distraction. I lived over 40 years without being connected to everything and we made it just fine. Now my 25 year old reminds me to put away my phone! And I remind her as well. It is so tempting to look at it constantly, but most of the time, it can wait. (I know there are exceptions.) As a retired teacher, I can see how the younger generation is missing out on one on one relationships as well….but I’m sure that is a whole other blog post!
    Thank you for writing this. I see no judgement on your part. Just making a point for those who are missing out on the small things. I have tons of photo albums to document a small part of them.
    I agree with those that have said, if you don’t agree, just move on. I believe that Tonya is just speaking from her heart. She has a right to do that on her own blog.
    Well written Tonya.

    • I am a mom of adults kids too and we didn’t have the distraction of smart phones, but you know we always had our regular phone hooked up to our ears. Or I did….they had 50 foot cords so that we could work around the kitchen while we talked…..I had 3 little ones and they could get in lots of trouble while I talked on and on, and they certainly clamored for my attention….I wish I’d given more of it. I have so much more wisdom with my grandchildren….so much more and so much more patience….but I guess that is the way it is with life. I would go back and do so many things differently but I can’t, so I try to make up for what I did wrong and tell my kids I would have done things differently and I really try to give my grandchildren my attention and I love it….yesterday I was leaving for the morning and my two year old Derek said to me “oh my Grandma, I love you so much” Oh my Derek, me too, me too.

  79. Oh Tonya. You make a great point that as a society we are missing so much of life because of technology. It has created such a distance in normal social interaction.

    However, your post is judgemental. I do not know you to say you are judgmental, but this post was. Judgement is to form an opinion. Which you did quite clearly at the end where you say “You’ve shown them, all these moments, that the phone is more important than they are.” In that sentence you judge this “mom on the iphone” and form the opinion that she believes her phone is more important than her children. And that opinion is based on one afternoon of observation and speculating that this hypothetical woman looks at her phone throughout all other activities (which you do not know because you are not there).

    This is indeed a judgement. Also I think many are reacting to the tone. It is sometimes hard to convey your actual tone in writing, but the tone here reads to me as judgmental and condescending.

    To me, this post could have made a statement and opened eyes to how much we are over-connected and how we need to stop and smell the roses if you will. Instead, the feeling I get is that the author of this letter is saying they are a better mom than the one “on the phone” because they realize how great these children are and their own mother doesn’t.

    And I don’t believe that was your intention. Unless you do feel you are a better mother. In that case, sigh.

    • Nope, not the case at all, I appreciate your understanding. I tried to be sure to say what a good mom “she” was, how well she was doing with raising her kids. Or that sentence: “I am not saying to never be on your iPhone, but it is a time sucker. User Beware…” Just asking us all to watch how we spend the moments we are given. The gift of the present.
      This post came from my heart without one judgmental ounce in it. It has grieved me to have such backlash. However, I am choosing to focus on the good that has come from it. The 135,000 views, with only 10% choosing to respond at all. The inbox full of letters from pastors, moms, newspapers, and Christian organizations encouraging me to keep telling hard truths. The mommy that wrote a thank you because she learned something new about her child today after school, all because she stopped herself from hitting refresh on her newsfeed and instead asked about his day.
      That’s all this was meant to be, a check point, a possible hard truth, a cry for us all to step back and rest our eyes upon the things that really matter.
      Thanks for your comment ~T

  80. I only found your blog from a Deseret News reposting.

    I’m not a parent, rarely post to webpages and don’t do Facebook and the like but felt strongly that I should compliment you on your wonderful thoughts in Iphone Mom & Recliner Dad.

    We get more of what we pay attention to, with kids, jobs, spouses or otherwise.

    Theologians call this ‘seek and ye shall find’
    Psychologists call it ‘reinforcement’.
    It doesn’t have to be good.. as in ‘if you go looking for trouble you will probably find it’.

    So when poetically presented with the choice of seeing a safe, secure and loved child and whatever is on TV or when able to watch the unique growth and development instead of following a tweet or deciphering some bizarre (Q_Q) emoticon in a text message it just shouldn’t be a hard choice.

    I pity the children (and friends) of those people who are so offended by your gentle suggestion.

  81. So I am assuming you wrote this article in the middle of the night so that you wouldn’t loose any time with your children. I recommend getting off your high horse and coming back to the reality of motherhood. It is hard enough trying to keep things together and then you read an article like this that is chastising you for taking a moment to yourself. Maybe the mommy on the iphone is talking to a friend of hers for moral support because she is at the end of her rope with her kids that day. Or better yet, she is talking to a dear friend who just found out her husband is cheating on her (you know how that is)…

    • You were close, early morning. Thanks for repeating what everyone else already said….that mom sure has a lot of reasons to be on her phone. Good thing that is not at all what this post is about. Oh, and concerning that low blow at the end…….let’s keep the gloves up.

    • Reply to A.B.
      WOW just wow! I can’t believe how incredibly rude and mean you are. IT’S A FREAKING FAKE SCENARIO!! Many of us are on our phones more than we need to be and our kids notice. But not yours because evidently you are FLIPPING PERFECT!

    • Dear A.B.
      Hello, from the reality of motherhood. I am keeping things together. I take moments for myself. I talk to my friends for moral support. Some days I am at the end of my rope because of my children. My husband was in Afghanistan and Iraq for 3.5 out of the last 4 years. I was a single mother, business owner, and managed to go through a very difficult adoption which gave me 2 children under 3. That adoption required me to move across the county and run my business by phone. A business that was for sale but running us financially into the ground. But, 90 percent of the time I was just wasting time on my phone. It may be facebook, craigslist, news, or just surfing the web.
      My kids lost a lot from me and I lost a lot from them. They grow up too fast. Obviously this post really hit home for you, or you wouldn’t be lashing out like that. I am so thankful that she wrote this post. It made me realize that I am missing the small moments. I absolutely spend too much time on the phone. And your last line…does that make you feel good? Does that make you feel like a “real” woman for writing that? It sure speaks volumes about you to others. I have no desire to start an argument on this blog and will not be responding if you choose to reply. I was just shocked at how low some people go to make themselves feel better. This wonderful author has made a huge difference in my life from this little post. She has helped thousands of people realize how easy it is to get caught up in a smart phone. And if you don’t spend an excessive amount of time on the phone…then this post WASN’T meant for you….I applaud the author for not sinking down to your level in response. Now, where did that darned high horse go…

      I apologize if this comment is out of line. I don’t want to start an argument. I just felt that someone from the reality of motherhood should respond.

  82. Thanks for this! I’m a mom as well as an entrepreneur so I’ve also got the built-in EXCUSE that these are things I have to do. Fact is though that I don’t have to do it when my kid is around (he’s 10 so park swings are a little passé but same picture, different scenario).

    You are so right of course we love our kids more than everything and its our actions, not our words, that can only explain it properly.

    Good for you for writing this post…as a blogger myself I know it’s not easy to admit or write about things we feel need fixing in our own lives.

    Take care,

  83. Thank you for writing this post!! I think many people need to hear it and I know I most definitely did! I work as a full time nurse so I don’t get to spend as much time with my 2 children as I would like but I can make the time I do get with them more meaningful!! Thanks again and God bless!!

  84. As a writer, former blogger, and soon-to-be blogger again, I understand your dilemma. Perhaps the comments about being “judgey” would have been avoided if the title would have been different–maybe “Dear People on the iPhones” or something much less lame? Throw “mom” in there, and it becomes something totally different. Mothers are already very sensitive about their parenting, and if we are to be honest about everyone being on the phones all the time, we must also accept and be honest about the fact that mothers love judging other mothers because it makes them feel superior or because they’re just crazy. I honestly don’t believe that you meant to be judgmental, but when something comes off as “this is how you should raise your kid,” you should expect people to go a little crazy. The ones that go the craziest, however, are probably those who you hit a nerve with. Regardless of the fallout, it’s a good message for EVERYONE.

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  86. Throw a rock in to a pack of wolves and you know which ones you hit by the ones who yelp! Your post is a reminder, not judgment, that we all need to hear! In fact, even just after I read it and was still on my laptop, my son who wanted homework help was being neglected. In these moments when I realize how quickly my own desires take over and rule my heart, I see my need again for a Savior! Thank you for your post.

  87. I agree, but I disagree. Not all, but many of Today’s moms are 200 times more involved then moms of the past. I get enjoying the small things. But I also believe~ at times our kids need to be ignored. They don’t need to be dependent on our approval~ even at the playground. They need to run off, use there imagination, disconnect from mom and cultivate there own world. Most moms are good moms, connected mom~ we cant let judgement from other mom’s guilt us. Now if God is convicting you~ that’s another story. But Mom guilt is a powerful tool Satan uses against us. So make sure you evaluate where the guilt comes from.

  88. Obviously this blog can be taken two different ways. I agree with both sides(as there seems to be two). “We,” as an outsider looking in never really know whats going on in that persons(Moms) life. That moment that “we” saw her on her phone could’ve been her only moment of the day. She could be dealing with something so horrible in that moment. There is judging going on all over the place, it is human nature to judge. If a parent doesn’t share the same beliefs as you do, discipline the dame way, spoil the heck out of their child etc. etc. we will judge them. Who are we to judge? I personally feel there could’ve been a few things changed that wouldn’t have made it seem so “harsh.” Am I guilty of this, absolutely. Am I going to get defensive and “try” to convince the readers on hear why I’m on my phone or why I had to send that email at that time and couldn’t wait until the kids are in bed, absolutely not. Quite honestly it’s no ones business why anyone is on ther phone. It is their choice and that choice could have repercussions if something(email, text etc.) isn’t done at that moment. This will be a never ending circle of comments with everyone sharing their view on how they read the blog. As adults(most of us moms) lets try and be considerate of each other and understand that todays world is very different from what “we” grew up in. Technology is or has taken over. My daughter(12 yrs.) had a vocab assignment for school, she said, ” mom I am suppose to google these words for their definitions, I need on the computer.” My reply, “how about that good old Websters dictionary collecting dust on the book shelf?” She looked at me as if I had ten eyes but reluctantly used it. She came home the following day mad as hell at me. Her teacher made her redo the assignment b/c her definitions were “different,”(more in depth I’m sure) than the other students. She was specifically instructed to use “google!” Are you kidding me, I was so pissed, sent an email to the teacher which I never got a reply back from. This is what our children are learning, go to the coputer for EVERYTHING. Yes, technology is great, where would we be without it, but there are times when it needs to be put down or set aside until a later time. I believe that is or was the purpose of this blog. As i stated before, in my opinion there could have been a few things changed, I can very easily see where the frustration and anger is coming from and just b/c people are frustrated and angry doesn’t neccesarily mean they are guilty of something or feeling convicted.

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  90. Dear well-meaning mommy writing a blog to people she doesn’t know,
    My life, as I’m sure most moms’ lives are, is totally revolving around a 13-month-old as well as a small fetus in my abdomen. I change diapers, I powder butts, I feed snacks, I breastfeed, I watch videos, I read books in funny voices, I wrestle in the floor, I do laundry with a little “helper” in the floor, I make meals, I wipe noses, I play chase on my hands and knees, I throw a bouncy ball, I hunt for a pacifier, I teach a little person to walk, I build Lego toys, I destroy Lego toys, I sanitize little hands, I load a dishwasher, I fix a broken toy.
    When I take my kid out somewhere where he is entertained by something other than me, I check my emails. I check on my etsy shop. I listen to voicemails. I make appointments. While he’s looking at all the brightly colored cereal boxes at Kroger, I have 2 spare minutes to engage in my other job as the organizer and keeper of our household.
    So I didn’t see my kid spin in a circle for the 1000th time at the park? I promise, I saw it ALL DAY at home. I’m not missing out on all the adorable things my kid’s doing because I’m checking emails. I promise.
    This was well written and I do get the general idea. Just playing devil’s advocate and reminding other moms not to be judgmental of someone whose actions they see for 3 minutes in public.

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  92. This post was shared on a mom group I am a part of on Facebook. Your words are so true and I just had to reflect on it in my son’s 8 month update post. I am sorry to hear that people felt the need to criticize. I opening welcomed the reminder and realized I was so close to going down that path. I am sure I have missed a few glances and smiles from Parker even though he is only 8 months old. I am so grateful for your courage and as a fellow blogger respect you so much!

  93. Thank you for writing this. It really made me realize how much time I spend on the phone. I check it all day long. I am missing those small moments that I should be cherishing. It’s a real shame that so many people are criticizing you. It must have really hit home for them to have to defend themselves. I don’t feel that you were speaking any judgement. It was just simply a reminder to not get caught up in yourself and miss the very short time of your children being little. My husband asked my three year old what I had done all day while we were eating dinner. He said I played on my computer all day. I did. Doing nothing important. So don’t listen to all the people criticizing you. I truly thank you for sharing it and it will definitely make a difference in our lives. I will be making it the background on my computer!

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  96. So this is the first time I’ve come here, and I have to say I love this post. It spoke to me about something that I had been thinking about lately.
    I’m sorry people have taken it the wrong way; unfortunately that happens way too often when we blog. I just want to encourage you though, that if God is for us, who can be against us? Keep doing exactly what you’re doing, because people need it xxx

  97. You should know that your words are making their way around Facebook unattributed. If you’re on Facebook. Scroll down he posted it on Monday. I’m not friends with him (a friend of mine shared his post). I tried to message him to share you post with him, but since I’m not friends with him FB wants me to pay a $1 to get into his inbox. I thought it better to let you decide if you wanted to fight it.

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  100. Reblogged this on Balancing Life and commented:
    Mid-Week Post! I saw this on Facebook today and think it fits in perfectly with balancing life.

    I will warn you that this post may pull at you and may make you feel a litle guilty. Apparantly the author has gotten a lot of backlash from this post. I am certainly guilty of what she talks about.

    As I am getting ready to register my oldest son for kindergarten I realize how fast time goes by. I can’t believe he is about to turn 5, part of me wants him to stay young but I know that it’s time for him to start a new chapter in his life this fall. For me, this post has reminded me that I need to savor the moments I have with him and my younger son because before I know it they will both be grown and I will have all the time in the world for my phone and all that stuff but I will be longing for those moments with them that I may have taken for granted.

    So, please know that I’m not trying to make you feel bad. Everyone has a reason for being on their phone that others don’t know about. We shouldn’t judge others because we are not walking in their shoes. I want to find balance between my family and staying connected and I hope you do to.

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  102. very good post and believe me this really needs to be pointed out so much more. i am a mother whom has lost a child after 17 yrs of attachment, i never had a cell phone until after his death, i did spend a lot of time with him. i watched when he called me to watch and still i sit and wonder if i really spent enough time effort and attention on/with him. i Miss my son soo very very much and wouldnt trade one moment i did have with him even the bad ones so listen up moms and take heed to whats been said here, we create them so we need to enjoy them and let them enjoy us as well.!!
    Judy Hoop

  103. Thanks for the great message, Tonya. I do not have any kids myself, but as a babysitter, being around a lot of kids and families, and just as a normal human being, it’s so refreshing to have the reminder to re-focus our… focus. I did not take your article as judgmental in any way at all- why are people taking it so literally??? Calm down. No need to justify actions. Yes, take important calls and keep in touch with loved ones, and address important needs.. That wasn’t the point of the blog (in my perception). For myself personally, not just with kids, but with all interactions I make on a daily basis, i need to remember to put away the phone. Put it away when I’m spending quality time with friends. Why do i need to refresh Facebook or instagram or twitter every minute? It’s an addiction, and this article was so well put and helped me in realizing and admitting that I have a problem 😉 A little self-awareness and conscientiousness of intentions never hurt anyone.

    P.S. I don’t understand why there is so much negativity. This is Tonya’s blog- she has every right to write about whatever she is willed and wants to. Yes, it’s become a public forum so she has opened doors for publec criticism, but that does not take away from the simple fact that it is her blog to do as she pleases! If some people don’t like it, yes- you have a right to state your own opinion, and try and make others realize they are wrong and you are right, but you also have the ability to just unfollow, just hit “x” on the page. Maybe then you can go write your own blog and express your own thoughts and opinions, on your own blog, maybe.

  104. Those being so offended by this article need to step back and take it for what it is – a chance to reflect personally and ask yourself if this is you. If not, great! Everyone has personal reasons to do what they do at any given time, and I really do not think this article was written to judge others in any way. I also work from home and at times have to work and miss out on those precious moments with my babies….but I am also guilty of checking email, online shopping, and facebooking when I don’t really need to at times. This was a wonderfully written article that opened my eyes to how my kids see me as I sit at my desk and reminded me that I don’t want to miss one single moment if I can help it! I don’t want them to quit asking me for my attention! Thank you so much for this article – I loved it. Much needed!

    • I’m that mom, and my daughter is an independent, happy, spunky little girl. I will not raise a girl who needs to be coddled until she’s 21. I love her independence and that she pushes my hand away when I push her on the swing.

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  107. I think it’s funny that people are bringing up all these extreme situations of what might be the case when the vast majority of us (myself included) are on the phone for no such serious reason at all. Let’s be honest with ourselves. If you are in one of these extreme situations, then you can know that this doesn’t apply to you, and you don’t have to feel defensive about it.

  108. I really appreciated this post and I am sorry for all the negative feedback you’ve been getting. I think your post is timely, true, and needed.

  109. Wow. My reaction when I read this the first time was one of conviction. My reaction the second time was…extreme conviction.
    I can see how some may think that you came across as judgmental, but it’s hard to get things across in black and white the way we really mean for it to sound. We bloggers don’t have the benefit of facial expressions or tone of voice to “ease the blow”, so to speak. I can also understand some being a little upset because it seems like you’re making a blanket statement that includes all smartphone users who are with their children, not taking certain circumstances into consideration. That said, you were obviously speaking to those who do neglect fleeting moments with their children by being glued to their devices.
    You spoke from your heart, a heart of love for moms, and I for one deeply appreciate it.
    To those of you who have been so snarky and hateful, please learn to take some criticism. In the first place, you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to. If you do choose to read it, look deeply inside yourself and consider if, just maybe, there is some truth in it for you. Take away what you can, take it like an adult, and please don’t lower yourself to a verbal tirade. You’re doing what you accuse this writer of doing.

  110. Thank you so much for this great post! A gentle reminder to make sure our priorities are in the right place. And thank you for being willing to be a blogger and post what God puts on your heart, despite the discouraging, judgmental things that others might say. 🙂 I know this was a wonderful encouragement to many moms out there! Thank you 🙂

  111. I am a mom on an android lol. A stay at home mom of two young boys who is constantly poking away on my smart phone. Yes, too often. Yes, I need to leave my phone in my purse or car or inside more often. What has helped my feel not quite so terrible about it is, that overall, I spend a very large amount of time interacting with my kids and not just observing their beauty and milestones but down on the floor playing with them. Being with them. Creating memories. But yes, too much time of Facebook and words with friends. And ok, there are maybe some moms out there working, going through a crisis, needing support. But mostly we are just a tiny bit bored by the millionth time in the backyard watching our kids run with a stick. Such is life. I can love it and cherish it and still be a tiny bit bored by it!

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  113. While I appreciate the sentiment about moms being less distracted, I also think that there’s something to be said for children being off the “attention clock”. Because I’ve arranged my life around being available to my children, I’ve noticed that my undivided, rapt attention at all times leaves them needy, indecisive and emotional. Sometimes, it can even get to the point of disrespectful.

    I have four boys. When they are infants and toddlers (as two of them are) they need 100% of me. Or do they? Their brain, self-image, communication skills, and so many other things are forming the foundation of who they will become. They need face time, reading time, interactive play … but there’s also something to be said for their need for independant play, as well.

    While I don’t have an iphone or other device that I carry with me (people call me a dinosaur) – I often make a consorted effort to let my kids play while seeing me on a bench reading a book or otherwise ignoring them. As it turns out, that trick they wanted me to see (that I’ve seen every time they come to the park) – they still like to do it even when I won’t look up from my book. They stop playing to impress me and start sincerely enjoying life.

    In your original article you seemed upset at the idea that your child may not want approval, someday. Have you considered that it’s a healthy thing for both a mother and a child to gradually no longer live for each other? My goal as a mother is not to be the center of my baby’s world and he shouldn’t play at the park with the express desire to be the apple of my eye.

    While I agree that many parents are distracted by devices, that particular mom got her kids to the park. Children don’t wake up happy and adorable. They are born screaming and they only ever stop if their needs and wants are met. If they were playing happily and being adorable, it was because she was attentive enough to feed them, dress them and love them in their non-park time.

    There’s so much guilt parenting out there that I think a bigger problem than cel-phone addiction is needy, co-dependant parenting. It’s the reason that you only need an ‘s’ to make mothering into smothering.

  114. You know, the time it took for many to comment or even to think critically of other’s parenting is spending just has much time away from their children as that Mom on the iPhone. You are emotional investing your time one criticizing someone else when it could be invested in enjoying your time with YOUR child. Maybe you think I am facebooking or twittering but I am really sending a picture of my son on a slide to his father who is deployed. Yes, we can all spend a little time away from social media, but where do you draw the line of what is acceptable? I am dang good mother and commit so much to my son but I also commit time for myself and I am not ashamed of that!

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  116. This made me cry. It’s so true. From this moment on i’ll try my best to ignore the pull of Facebook or Trade Me until the kids are in bed. My kids are special and they are growing up way too fast. Thanks so much for opening my eyes to what is important.

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  118. Somehow I missed this, and then a friend on FB posted a ranty letter against this one… I read the ranty letter first and while I agree we should all be less judgmental and more supportive… less competitive and more compassionate… we are also a generation of self-deceived, justification junkies. I just wrote a post about doing a screen detox because I think I need one. Screen time has taken over every moment of my life. I am not sure very many of us are aware of how often we really are looking at our phones… and not at our kids. I know most moms spend a lot of time interacting with their kids… but I really believe that cell phones increase our impatience with, our distraction from and our disinterest in our children {and from making new friends with other moms}. This is true for all “screens”. It’s not “mommy guilt” or judgement… it’s a question: How much time do you need? How much is too much? How do you know? I want my kids to be able to play independently without demanding my attention every five seconds, or patiently wait when I talk to someone… but if I am telling them to wait for my attention 5 times out of 10… is that too much? When is it too much? What I do in public {when I am being observed} typically is 10 times better than what I do at home {when no one is holding me accountable}… just sayin’.

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  121. Thanks for sharing this. I’ve been praying about releasing the smart phone for a season… Now, to replace it’s camera. All the rest I can do without a while. Just returned from a week-long trip without it. Glorious in all His glory. Smarter without it.

  122. I could not agree more, a trip out to the park is kid time, leave your phone at home. I am not of the phone generation so it leaves me fairly cold but all the people replying so defensively sound addicted to their phones.

  123. Am I the only one who thought that the photo chosen to accompany this post looks an awful lot like a mom using her smartphone to TAKE A PICTURE? How very awful to use your phone in such a manner while out and about with the kids. Lol.

    I’ve seen this make the rounds, I’ve got nothing productive to add to the conversation. But I couldn’t resist commenting on the photo!

  124. I was linked to your blog from another. I find the comments more interesting than the actual post (which I get, I do, it is actually such a simple concept). I find it amusing that so many people are rushing to judge you… for being judgmental. Do they not realize how hypocritical they are being? They are practically running out of their glass houses to throw stones at you. Perhaps they should take their own advice.

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  126. Hi. I totally understand where you are coming from here. I do. But this morning I missed a HUGE milestone in my son’s life. He lost his first tooth. And I was not on my iphone, (or Android phone in my case) or on the computer. I was on the toilet, peeing. So we are all going to occasionally miss out on those moments for whatever reason, and being judged for it doesn’t make it any less disappointing that we missed them.

    • LOL! This comment cracked me up! Oh, I totally agree….this post was supposed to just be a check point, not a never take your eyes off your kids post. Thanks for the smile! 🙂 Congrats on the first tooth

  127. Hi! I am sure you mean very well, but I just cannot agree with this post. My children are all teens now, and while I was a stay-at-home mum, mostly because one was always sick, I did not feel it necessary to devote every waking minute to giving them attention. I did sometimes go to the park and sit reading while they entertained themselves. They are all well-rounded kids and are doing fine. Kids just don’t need your constant attention – in fact, too much gets in the way of them developing their own sense of self and confidence.

    All the best….:-)

    • Oh, I totally agree! My kids play alone very very well when I am busy working around the house. They also are required to read alone in their rooms for one hour and play quietly the second hour until little brother wakes up.
      This post is being taken quite literally, there is a bigger picture happening of a media distracted society. That is all.

  128. My mom certainly didn’t sit on a park bench and watch me play in the sandbox and high five me when I went down the slide…but I never EVER for one single moment doubted that she loved me. I never gave it a thought. We were expected to go outside and play whatever it was we wanted to play. Playtime would have been so much more boring if Mom had watched us all the time. With Mom watching us, we would never have dared doing some of the fun stuff we did or some of the stuff that failed miserably but was a blast anyway. Come on…did your mom watch your every move?

  129. I don’t even own a smartphone, but I always bring a book with me to the playground, because frequently that’s the only time of the day I can find for reading. I believe, it’s good for my kid to pay attention to something other than me for a while – and that’s exactly why she’s outside. Every moment is precious – but my kid is not my ONLY interest in the world, and will never be. Don’t see anything wrong with that.

    • Me neither! I think its great for Mom’s to take a break. I personally take one 2 hours every afternoon to work out, read a book, work on a blog, whatever I want! My kids know nap time is for quietly reading and playing alone.

  130. You know what? I’m a father, but I’m the “father on the iPhone,” and I don’t feel guilty about it one bit. I love my kids, but they’re my entire world, and I have a life outside of them thank you very much. Me. I want to raise a “free range kid,” a child that can take care of themselves at an age-appropriate level and entertain themselves. They don’t need me to entertain them, they can do so plenty well on their own, and frankly, I think it’s better for them–and for me, too.

    Don’t get me wrong, I DO play with them on occasion, tickle and wrestle with them, and I help them learn how to ride their bike, for instance. However, once I’ve shown them how to play, it’s on THEM to impliment what I’ve shown them, not for me to hover over them every nanosecond.

    Free-range, and proudly so, I apologize not a bit for being of that mentality.


  131. So here’s the thing: Yes, God moves us to speak, but that doesn’t let us off the hook for then editing to make sure we’re saying what we were moved to say, and that we’re communicating it clearly. God gives us things to say but, speaking as another writer, the work of saying them well is ours.

    If this many people did not get the message you intended them to get, the fault is not all of theirs for misreading you or not seeing what you “really” meant. It’s yours, as a a writer, for not communicating clearly.

  132. Hmm…no offense meant, but this seems like kind of a guilt-trip. If I were a parent taking a text-break, this post would make me feel selfish and neglectful, which I don’t think was your intention. I’ll say right out I think there’s an awful lot of pressure on parents to be all things at all times, and I think it’s unfair. Parents are people, and they get to have lives separate from their children. At least, in my view.

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  134. I’m sorry, but I don’t agree with your post. I wrote about it on my blog because It was really judgmental. I didn’t mention your name or anything. I feel we are all entitled to our opinions, and I can see where you’re coming from. I really can…but seeing a mom in a park one day only provides a small snippet into someone else’s life.

    • Thanks for the comment, Mariah! It’s ok to disagree. Also, just wanted to mention, there was no real mom at the park, this post was a word picture. It could be Mom in the car pick up line, Dad at the Restaurant, Parents at the Swim Meet…..just a cry to do a self check of when we should be looking at our phones and when we should give our kids our eyes. I agree they don’t need our attention EVERY second, but as always, there is a fine line we all walk.

  135. Unspeakably sanctimonious. And before you tell me my words aren’t “kind” or are too “judgy” note that you decided to judge this woman and comment on her parenting out loud here on the interwebs for the edification of your clearly very many readers. Who knows what this woman was up to and why? Maybe she was goofing off (why shouldn’t she?); maybe she was reading an email from a friend who has cancer; maybe she was dealing with something very dark and difficult in her private life, or something light and fun–like reading a mom blog she enjoys and which validates her. Motherhood is hard enough without this kind of better-than-thou blogging. And frankly, staring at your wee precious ones every second of their playtime isn’t any better for them than it is for you. Don’t knock it ’til you try it.

  136. Thank you! I don’t own a smart phone, but the computer is definitely something that I have to be aware of. I’m a stay at home mom, while also running a part time business and it is a bit of a juggling act. This was a reminder to be in the moment with my girls.

  137. i appreciate the message you are sending, and it has been good for me to evaluate my social media time and the time i spend with my kids (and the message I send them). I would like to say that, when I go to the park, i am bored out of my mind! My kids do not want to show me things. They want to run around like crazy hooligans and get their energy out. I do not feel the need to watch them every second of our time there. If I had a smart phone, I would totally pull it out and play a game or check my email. I absolutely cannot give my kids my full attention for all their waking moments. You will watch me go slowly, no quickly, insane. I have been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years now. I give my kids a great deal of love and attention, but do they get my full attention every moment of the day? no.

    • Thanks Melanie, I agree 100%! Its good for our children to learn to play alone and yes, we all deserve a break!!! I appreciate that you understood the intent of my letter and have been able to evaluate your media time. There is def. a time and a place to “check out” for our sanity and for our children’s sakes too! LOL 🙂

  138. This post (with a couple minor changes and a different picture) came over my facebook news feed. I commented that the story originated on the blog of a friend and added the link.

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  140. Hi Tonya. I just wanted to let you know that I saw this content being shared on facebook again without reference to 4 Little Fergusons. I notified my friend who shared it, and also the owner of the page from which it was shared and linked to this post. I sure hope it helps.

  141. I love this article so much more than the defensive rebuttal – you were absolutely right in writing this – distraction has become an epidemic!

  142. Tonya, thank you so VERY much for writing this powerful, beautiful reminder. I love it. I also read your follow-up post and totally agree. If some were offended or took exception perhaps they took it too literally or maybe it struck a nerve. Regardless, you truly have a gift with words. Thanks you for sharing your experiences, your family’s story and more. I came across your iPhone post for the first time yesterday morning. Someone who has a Facebook page liked your post & shared it. A friend in turn liked that post and brought my attention to it. I was in the car w/my husband and almost 4 year old daughter as we headed to her 1st soccer practice. Tears started rolling down my face as I took in the advice and thought of how time flies so fast and how important it is to be present. It was a wonderful and well-timed reminder. The smartphone stayed in the back pocket, making only 2 brief appearances to take a couple pics. I’m going to have my husband read it this evening as it’s an applicable reminder to moms & dads alike. Really it transcends having a child even. We could all do with a reminder to be more present in our lives and the lives of those around us. Unplug, reconnect and be more active in this miracle called life. Thanks again!

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  144. So hared to balance things to be done vs enjoying the little moments! So many times I wished I had paid better attention and many times it is because I am doing something I think is for them. Time passes quickly. What a struggle.

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  156. I’m not going to be incredibly popular after this comment, but I need to say it anyway. I completely understand the message behind this post- it’s to be present in the little moments with your child. I do get that. However, today’s society is also very quick to judge. So here’s the other side of that. Because as Dr Phil would say, no matter how flat you make a pancake, there’s always two sides. (PS. I’m glad this post helped some of you)

    Now to the rest of the story….

    Look, I understand the purpose behind this. I get it. I’d like people to think about times before cell phone days. Perhaps mom was talking with a girlfriend or flirting with a man at the park, watching a nearby situation play out in the streets, or basically just thinking of all the things she had to get done in the day after she left the park.

    In other words, lets not just talk about Mom’s with phones as there have been generations of parents “not present” before the iPhone mother generation. True having a mini computer in your hand makes it easier to be distracted, but the real message here is just to pay attention to your kids. Don’t zone out! If you need to use your phone, do it, and then get back to what you were doing.

    If you’re someone who just read this post, though. Don’t see someone with kids using their phone and then immediately think, “OH, that’s so sad! It’s just like that article!”

    Why do I say that? Well, my business is run entirely online. I make half the money my family needs to live, and do it all online. This gives me the freedom to be home when my child gets off the bus and take him to that park. Are there times when I still have to handle some business while he plays? You bet. But I’ll do it and not feel guilty as I never miss an event in his life BECAUSE of working online.

    So first, please don’t judge as you don’t know exactly what is going on. Mind your own and you’ll be more at peace. Second, why are we talking to mom only?? Where the heck is dad ? How about him for not even showing up? At least mom was at the park with the kids. In other words, dads can zone out and not be present either.

    Now, with that being said – I will say that this was an incredibly good reminder to those that needed it. But for those who read it, practice it, and then unconsciously pass judgement on mom’s using phones while having kids in tow, I say, watch yourselves.

    It’s no better then when I quit smoking years ago and then tried to force my new habits down the throats of all my old smoking buddies. Not cool of me at all!

    The bottom line is- parenting is a decision. The decision is not to “have” children, it’s to stop putting OUR needs ahead of our children. Our need to lay on the couch, to sleep in, to eat out because we’re too lazy to cook, to not play outside with them, to skip their bath, to not get into a daily routine, to not set boundaries and hold firm on those, etc. It’s the little decisions every day to put them first that make the difference. But you’re still allowed to have some me time now and then.

    Like with everything in life, you have to have balance- that was the point of this post (I think.)

  157. Pingback: Grandfather Posts Mom Policing FB Note, Tells Mom To Stay Off iPhone

  158. I hardly drop responses, but i did some searching and wound up here Dear Mom On
    The iPhone, | 4 little Fergusons. And I do have 2 questions for you if it’s allright.

    Could it be simply me or does it look like some of
    these remarks look as if they are left by brain dead visitors?
    😛 And, if you are writing on additional places, I’d like to follow everything fresh you have to post.
    Could you list of every one of your shared pages
    like your linkedin profile, Facebook page or twitter feed?

  159. Reblogged this on brummiemummy and commented:
    This really struck a chord with me. I see so many parents (Dads are just as guilty!) tapping away on their phones when we’re at the park, or playgroup. I’m guilty of it myself from time to time too. What are your thoughts?

  160. Pingback: Salt & Light | 4 little Fergusons

  161. Good job Tonya as always…..and for the ones who didn’t like what you said, if the shoe fits WEAR IT……if this doesn’t pertain to you, why are you getting so upset…..and putting Tonya down ? She has an opinion just like you do…….

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  163. Since my kids go to the park by themselves and have been since the oldest was 11 ( and taken friends 2 year old along when she was 12/13) if I did happen to be there with them I would defiantly be the mum on the phone, I would also be the mother telling my kids to leave me alone and go and play with the other kids, play equipment etc, do I feel guilty? NO, do I care what others think? NO, my kids are happy, smart, independent people, they don’t need me to hover “just in case”.
    I don’t feel guilty about the way I parent because I know it works for us, people who sit in judgement often are trying to shift the attention from their own faults or shortcomings, so unless I see a child being bashed ( and yes I have seen a mother go too far and yes I did step in and help her because she was going through a rough time and had just had enough, and the discipline of her daughter inched over the line) I let people parent the way that enables their family to work.

  164. Pingback: What YOU didn’t see when you were busy judging me… | Understanding Children

  165. Hello all, I have read the original post & have a few comments. The original post does sound quite judgmental. Has anyone considered that this may be a woman in a single income household who is attempting to spend time with her children as well as perform some daily tasks needed to support her family? I’m all together tired of the misogynistic view that women should only be wives and stay @ home mothers. Many mothers are single parents and need to work a full time job, plus a part time job to support their wonderful family. Have we ever taken THAT into consideration? Have you ever taken a moment, one moment, to view the world outside of a fundamentalist Christian viewpoint? Not everyone is “blessed” to be a stay at home mother, some women have to or find joy in working outside the home. It is part of their identity. Many women have spent countless hours attaining a degree and selecting a profession. Would you condemn a female physician and mother for answering a page during a child’s birthday or during dinner? How dare she!!! How dare a woman be a mother and have a career, how dare she for not selecting a man as a financial plan. Oh bother! What the haystacks?!? How dare a woman be a mother and have a career, what’s next??? Fast or frozen food for dinner??? Blast it be! Guess what lady, women are people, they have phones, they have jobs AND they have kids AND they are doing an awesome job at it. Get your nose out of other’ people’s business & perhaps you might have more success in your own home. Because Jesus & the Bible.

    • Whoa there m’aam, where’s the fire? Respectfully, I don’t believe it said that women are best at home, barefoot in the kitchen. Nor is/was this a conversation about women’s lib. It’s about a make-believe mom, who is having a hard time staying present. It’s about living our lives in a constant state of distraction and/or numbed by technology and other things that steal our time and divide our attention. Many people have come into this conversation, guns blazing… But it’s not about what you think its about. Maybe you are a full time working single mom, good job! It’s not about that, nor is it about fundamentalist Christian worldviews being forced on anyone. She’s asking us if we are present. Are we seeing our kids? Are we investing in their lives?? You can do that regardless if you’re married, single, Christian (or not), or a SAHM or a working mom.

  166. Pingback: The Mother of All Distractions | Not Just A Stay At Home Mom

  167. Pingback: I’m That Mom On Her iPhone | Mama in the City

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  170. So convicting! I am in the midst of so many changes. My “baby” is 13 now and during his park days there were no iphones…thank goodness! But he is 13 and it still applies!!!!! God bless!

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  184. Dear Sanctimommy,
    I see you’ve written a blog after observing one snapshot of my interaction with my children. While you were busily critiquing me who was watching all the cute things your child was doing? Certainly, you weren’t giving your fullest attention to them as you have documented more than 3 incidents where you were watching *me* not meeting your standards.

    Your eyes weren’t on those you love in continual bliss with everything else falling away around you but you see fit to chastise me because someone can see that I’m taking a much needed time out an allowing my kids to still have some fun with each other, themselves and their peers.

    Before you write your next critical blog post stop and think for a moment about how little you know of the fellow mother and her family dynamics. You haven’t got a clue why she’s on the phone at the park and, really, even if it’s because she’s D.O.N.E and needs a bit of a break it’s still not your place to publicly try and shame her into not taking any time out. If you work a full time job you’re entitled to rest room breaks and a lunch period – a SAHP very often has no chance for either of these so maybe the park time is what she cunts as her lunch break. And good for her for recognising she needs to carve out some space for herself.

    It’s impossible to serve others from an empty vessel.

  185. nothing like writing a blog post and a million moms commenting on it to show just how effective it is. really!? we’re obviously on the internet reading how to not be on the internet and taking time away from our kids to say how amazing a blog post is… which would have ironically taken the blogger’s time away from her own kids.

    this mom is doing nothing wrong. that may be the only minute she was on the phone the whole day, no one knows! and who cares?! maybe it was the 3rd time she took them to the park today. maybe she is all touched out and has heard the word mom 25925858653 trillion times and just needs to zone a bit. At least she took them to the park and is pushing her baby on the swing. FFS pay attention to your own kids instead of worrying what another mom is doing on her phone. she was probably taking pictures of her kids anyways.

    What EXACTLY were your children doing while you were watching this poor mom. Were they twirling and swinging? You may never know.

  186. Pingback: Enjoying the Little Moments More | Clothesline Confessions

  187. Dear Sanctimonious Mom,

    I’m on the iPhone texting my boss to apologize for missing work again cause my kids’ deadbeat dad didn’t show up for his night this week

    I’m calling the local food bank to see how late they’re open. Cause the kids really need exercise but they also need dinner. Bus fare to the food bank is expensive, too.

    I’m actually finishing up my community college application. I would do it tonight, but I work third shift. I don’t get much sleep cause I work while the kids sleep.

    I am texting your husband, your mother, and your pastor. Just thought they’d want to know you were passing judgement.

    With love from a mom who’s doing her best to keep it together.

  188. How is being on a smartphone in public any different from talking on a landline at home with a friend? I am sure that happened all the time back in the dark ages before cell phones. People enjoy phones, sometimes need them, and because they are using them does not mean they don’t appreciate their children. That’s like saying we should do away with cars because when you walk to your destination you can keep both eyes on your child every second. This article is nothing new, everyone has been in everyone else’s business since the dawn of time. That is more of a problem than technological devices and when they are being used. What did you miss while you were so interested in this other mother?

  189. Pingback: Dear Mom on the iPhone at the Park | Nelson Turf

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  192. How about all of us moms who have full time jobs while staying at home AND raising our kids. Maybe we are on the phone answering a quick “needs to be handled now” email from our bosses…or clients. I spend a lot of time watching my daughter twirl. I also have to spend time making the money I need to pay for the dress she’s twirling in. I agree, every parent should take the time to be ‘in the moment’ with their child, enjoy the laughter and smiles. But children also need to learn a little self reliance and independence. There is no crime in any mother (whether she’s working or texting or watching a SNL clip) looking at her phone once in a while while she’s at the playground, or in the living room, or giving her kid a bath. You don’t know what the life story behind every person at the park is. You don’t know if they are working, or texting with a sick relative, or checking on their child’s prescription at the drug store or playing Candy Crush. You don’t know every person’s life…and therefor you really don’t have the authority to condone their decisions or actions. I appreciate your sentiment, but you need to gain some clarity and perhaps put yourself in someone elses shoes instead of preaching to them.

    • I do believe she said this didn’t apply to every situation. I believe the people that are most outraged over this maybe are feeling a bit guilty of doing the things she speaks of. I feel guilty of it, but I accept my actions, no there is nothing wrong with checking our phones, but she meant this to be to those that are constantly on it, ignoring their children, as she said she did herself with the stack of books her son asked her to read.

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  195. Of course it is wonderful to experience your children’s childhood. However, it’s posts like yours that perpetuate motherhood guilt, and keep the myth of the perfect mother alive. She does not exist. I much prefer this post I linked below. It’s based on reality. We should stand together rather than judge. We are all doing our best and love our children with our whole hearts. Checking your iphone does not mean you are missing your kid’s childhood!

    • You know, I adore my family. I love being with my kids and watching their eyes light up when they catch that ball, or find that treasure in the dirt. Wherever I am, I want to be ALL there. This is why I have a dumb phone, and it lives in the car. I don’t want any distractions from my job. First, to love and honor God. Second, to serve my husband and be his cheerleader, to enjoy my life with my best friend. Third, I want to laugh and giggle and enjoy every moment I am blessed with, with my children while they are under my roof.
      Being a mom means dying to self 1000000 times over, and I choose that with joy.

  196. Pingback: Dear Mom Judging the Mom on Her iPhone | MotherWise

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  198. I think this is post is extremely judgemental. If you meant to write this about yourself, you should have used the first person, “I” instead of “you”. I’m not a mum but I’m sure if I was I wouldn’t want someone else telling me what I should or shouldn’t do. I think we should encourage instead of criticise each other all the time, especially mums who are doing the best they can.

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  200. Hi Tonya,

    Not sure whether one more person needs to say what has been said over and over and over, but I wanted to tell you that I initially read the “Remaking June Cleaver” retort to your article before I headed on over here to see what all the fuss was about, and I don’t find it as challenging as a lot of ppl have.

    I agree with both you and the other author. So – in taking in the general spirit of the piece, I am going to both pay more quality attention to my children when I am focused on them – and in keeping with the other article – I will also take time for myself while I let them play. I feel like that is what I do already. Not all of the time, because I’m not perfect – far from it, I am human. We do what we can with what resources we have to work with.

    I believe your purpose was not to discredit others, you seem to me like a person who wants to help others rather than gain a readership. That is honorable.

    I will extract from this article what will benefit myself and my family, and what I perceive to be an affront (which I don’t, but if I did…), I would let it roll off my shoulders.

    Thanks for taking the time to make us all think about this. On the hard days and nights of this behemoth haunting you, try to remember the people that appreciated the “heads up”.

    All the best to you and your family,

    • Aww, bless you Lori! Yes, you totally got it! And that is exactly how I choose to live as well. Mine are doing morning chores at this very moment, which they know to do without my constant attention, so I check email and blog comments. This afternoon, while they nap, I will edit photos. And tonight, when they go to bed, I will work on the blog. It’s all about balance I think.
      I sure appreciate your encouragement, and you taking the time to come read both sides. I don’t think Miss June Clever and I are as opposite on this view as is being portrayed.
      Hugs, T

  201. Pingback: To all the judgey moms at the play ground | Rocking The Homestead

  202. Thanks for putting moms in their place, the selfish jerks!! Someone needs to heap more guilt on them, and it looks like you’re the person to do it! May you stand in self-righteous judgement over others for years to come! 🙂

  203. I feel like your “Note from Tonya” was authentic and from your heart. An effective and sobering wake up call (literally?) to pay attention to the balance and the message we are sending to our children. We are always teaching – not just when we think we are teaching.
    The original post seemed judgmental and self-righteous.
    In fact, the Note from Tonya almost seemed like a Mea Culpa.
    I sometimes struggle, too, with judgement. Usually, it’s more poignant when I see some of me in someone else. And I don’t like it.
    Thank you for caring so much about your kids and kids everywhere!

  204. Pingback: To the mom with her iphone at the park and the one who leaves it in her pocket… | Everyday Mom

    • Oh yes, I believe he works in small increments of distraction, until we are far to busy for prayer, devotions, family supper etc. I was dead serious about that, and am working hard to keep my eyes where they belong, on Him, on my husband, oh my kids, on the things that matter…not on the thousand and one distractions daily life brings.

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  206. I really loved this. Your writing is very poetic. The point you make about our culture’s obsession with technology is spot on.

    Going further. Parent’s now rely on technology to entertain and “babysit” their kids. You don’t have to watch your kids as diligently when they are playing xbox or using the ipad. It’s sad and only loosens the bond parents could be having with their kids.

  207. I found this article from a rebuttal post someone has written to this one. Thank God however because this post is the one I agree with. I have seen many people comment elsewhere that this was insensitive, that the ‘world doesnt revolve around our kids’, ‘they had a business to run’ ext ext all the excuses in the world, but I know all too well the same feeling you shared of having looking at that stack of books. I too have been struggling with social media, the time I spend on it and how its affected my walk with the Lord. The way the internet, phone, and camera (Im a photographer that owns my own studio) have taken over first place in front of even God, my marriage and my kids. I have for about 2 weeks now made a dedicated promise to be more PRESENT, in the here and now. Ive set rules on my time and usage of facebook, times im on my computer (babies nap time and then when daughter gets off bus i turn it off for the day). I support you, and am going to add your blog to my reading list on blogger and my blog as well. I think ill add your button under ‘blogs i follow’ as well 🙂

  208. You and I have “talked”, Tonya and you know that I agree with you. I’m a grandma now and I certainly regret all the time I spent on the regular old phone when they were little. My daughter and our precious almost 4 year old grandson live with us. She is constantly on her phone….I try really hard not to criticize and have said as much as I can. He gets lots of attention from us. My husband and I just returned from 4 days away….when we got home, he did a few attention seeking stunts from us and from her….she said, “he didn’t act this way the whole time you were gone” I said, “I’m sure he didn’t” He wants to command all of our attention again, BUT she had to put that phone down for 4 days….they went to garage sales, he supervised her doing the garbage….His usual job with Papa, they went to a story time and to their church to play on the play structure. What fun they had together….he loves us dearly, but he wants his mom’s attention more than anything else. They did so well and we are thrilled about that….I’m praying that the Lord will prick her conscience about this….of course moms have to be on their phones at times, but not all the time and my daughter has been. She left an abusive marriage and has had a lot on her plate, but the years are flying by with him and I don’t want her to have as many regrets as I have had. You keep on sharing what the Lord has prompted you to share. Hugs

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  210. I had read this a while ago [I don’t remember if it was directly on this blog or not], but it didn’t have the ending personal snippet included. That being added makes a huge difference, and I agree 100% too many people focus on their technology rather than family and the world around them. Great post 🙂

    • Yeah, its going around facebook as a copy and paste, thankfully they are at least some are linking back to my site now. The first 3 times it went viral, it didn’t even have that much. Thank you for your kind comments! 🙂

  211. I feel like this post just makes moms feel more guilty about wanting time for themselves. Also, the post is only targeted at moms… why not dads too? I see dads at the park on their phone, yet you chose not to mention them. Why not? Why do this at all? If it was meant for yourself why not address it to yourself and not to all the moms out there? I think it’s more important to see the good in moms rather than criticize them. Motherhood is a tough job and it’s important that moms receive praise from other moms rather than criticism.

  212. Sorry but I really do have to disagree with this blog. Who are you to judge another mother? You don’t know anything about the mother on the phone. For all anyone knows it could be the only time during the day that she actually has some time to herself. You don’t know what she was doing on her phone. She could’ve been doing something for work, texting the children’s father, arranging a play date, staying in touch with a few friends, etc. Just because she’s on the phone doesn’t mean that she’s not paying attention to her children as well.

    I hope that mothers reading this blog aren’t guilted into feeling bad about their parenting. And I also hope mothers aren’t discouraged from using their phones when they need too. Tonya please remember this the next time you decide to judge another mother or her lack of parenting skills. Nobody is perfect. Instead of judging this mother and tearing her down, you could have had a chance to make a new friend and playmates for your own children. Mothers should be supporting each other, not tearing each other down over trivial things.

  213. Oh my you certainly have much attention directed to your blog. Love the article, at times we do need to use the phone but I feel most people are glued to it and the children are not heard. I don’t have a phone and only use the computer when the children are sleeping and that is not much time but it’s enough 🙂

  214. I’m wondering how it feels to judge all that you see so harshly without personally knowing a single individual. Well done, fellow mother, for once again placing the weight of the world upon those that carry so much. You must be the strong religious type.

    • My children are very good at playing by themselves, and I sure don’t condone parenting this way, it creates high maintenance kids that can’t function while mommy makes supper or does laundry. This was simply a reminder to not always be on the phone, which actually a LOT of people are a LOT of the time. Thanks for stopping by.

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  217. Thank you so much for writing this. I get so caught up in text messaged and Facebook that I found myself shooing my baby away to “go play” more often then I should have and over choosing my phone before her needs and wants. That is NOT me!! My daughter ALWAYS comes first. After reading this I have noticed what I’ve been doing and I haven’t been on my phone as much. I do get on to take pictures and videos of my baby girl often because you can never have enough of those but Facebook and all can wait until nap time or now (bedtime).. So glad you wrote this and I read it. It may have been too late if I had never found this article. God Bless you generously😊

  218. THAT IS SOOOO LIKE MY MOM!!!!! She is constantly on her phone, never paying attention to me and my older sister, Rachel. I asked her why shes contantly on her phone acting like its more important than Rachel abd I. She said, “Tell me when you find a reason to get off chating with my boyfriend.” I showed her this, and she started balling and said, “YOUR SO RIGHT!!! I should pay attentoin to you guys more!! Soon enough, my little girls are going to be all grown up! You and Rachel are getting so old! Youre 11, abd Rachels 13! I honestly cant remember the last time i had fun with you guys!! IM SO SORRY!!”

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  227. I can agree with this however there are too many times where we judge without knowing the whole story. Generally the only time I am focusing on my phone while my daughter is awake is when I am finally hearing from my husband, many times after days of no contact. I am working out a Skype date so she can tell Dada her new words or just sit and babble at him (she is 17 months old). I am getting the first time in days to tell him how much I love him and miss him.

    I have gotten the looks, even some bold enough to make snide remarks to me. I actually had a woman tell me when I replied to her unwanted advice, that I should tell my husband to message later. That speaking to him wasn’t as important.

    I think yes, we need to disconnect from technology. I also think as mothers we need to band together and support each other.

    • I think we can all admit that the cell phone issue is everywhere, and worse off than anyone is willing to admit. Have you watched school pick up? How many moms are on the phone instead of greeting their children? What about family dinner out to eat? Look around and see how many people are looking at their friends or spouse face to face, vs. down at the phone.
      Is anyone else tired of the don’t judge rant in the comments section? 😉

      • No. I’m not tired of the “don’t judge” comments. I think they are a necessary part of this “debate”. When you make comments about what you see, you’re assuming a lot about what you don’t see. No one – not one person – is perfect. Go ahead and judge all your want I guess, it is a free country. But that says more about you than the person you are judging.

      • Oh, its fine. But after several years of it, its just the same things again and again. There was no mom on the iphone, I wasn’t at the park, I didn’t see a real mommy. BUT, I think its a great check point for all of the media distractions…the amount of time spent looking down and missing a baby grin, a server that needed a kind word, a child desperate for his moms attention after a long day at day care, a family needing face to face time at the dinner table instead of screen time individually, chewing in silence.

      • I wait to write my articles for the paper, or posts for this blog, when they are in bed at night. They go down about 7:30 during the school year, so this gives me time to write, edit photos or just catch up on emails and facebook.

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  230. The surest way to a self-centered, narcissistic, me-first adult is to make every second of their childhood your obsession. I can hardly hear myself think over all the helicopter rotors I hear in this post.

    • The point of the original letter was not to promote helicopter parenting. I hope that this letter, and its follow up articles and cell phone etiquette posts, promote looking up from the cell phone once in a while, and investing in face to face time with our kids, our spouse, people at the grocery store.

  231. Pingback: Parents, Step Away From Your Smartphones | Money Talks News

  232. I read your post and the post that is now making its way online:

    It’s crazy to me how easily we can all brush off a little ‘me’ time as no big deal. I GET IT! I’m a mom too. But I go out of my way to make sure that ‘me’ time is set aside for when my son doesn’t need my attention. Naps (which he is doing now), bedtime, AT HOME and not in public. How easy would it be to be driving to the store, get a text or a Facebook comment alert, check it on your way into the store and not realize you forgot your baby in the car? IT HAPPENS.

    How long have people been scrolling through these 400+ comments to see which one angers them the most, or which one to agree with?? I’ve spen at least 15 minutes! It’s easy to get lost in it, one minute to check turns into 20. We are so wrapped up in social media that we have become careless and are forgetting about the job we all signed up for. *** We are moms and dads and we all have the right to do what we feel is best.

    My mom and dad raised me without a cell phone glued to their hand and I can’t remember a moment that my parents were not there when I yelled out “mommy, daddy look!!” They were always there, and they always looked.

    I hope we never miss a moment with our kids. I spent 110 days in the NICU praying to God I’d get the chance to watch every moment. I’d have given ANYTHING for the chance to spend day after day listening to mommy look! God agreed and let me keep him. Maybe we are complacent and don’t realize how quickly childhood is over. Or how quickly it can be taken from us.

  233. You say you’re not going to judge someone for being on their iphone but that’s exactly what you’ve done. How can you know just by looking at someone whether they’re on their phones for social reasons or not? You don’t. As other people have said, you’re only getting a glimpse into that person’s day. Yes, this person is a mother and yes their child should be their pride and joy (and a hell of a lot of the time, there is nothing more precious to said mother) but they are also a human being, with other commitments. Some women work from home. Some women are experiencing certain difficulties in their lives. Others spend every waking second with their child and feel isolated, checking their phone for a few minutes can be enough to make them feel connected again.

    In some ways your post is right, children do grow quickly and yes it is important to spend all the time you have with them but I’ll be honest, I don’t like how judgmental you are/seem. I don’t know if you have read the mother’s reply, but perhaps you should;
    Mother’s should try to stop judging one another and try to form a community where there isn’t competition, after all, aren’t all mother’s trying to do the same thing? Raise healthy, loved and well-rounded people? Just because someone’s way of raising their children differs from yours, it doesn’t automatically make them wrong.

    A childless woman.

  234. Stop it already, just–stop it. What business is it of yours if I want to be on my phone, or my tablet, or reading a book? And why is it always the people on their phones that are the targets? What’s the difference between someone supposedly “ignoring” their child while they’re on their phone vs someone “ignoring” their child reading a book?

    I love my children, but there are other components of my life that existed before them and that are still important. I don’t want to spend every last second of my life immersed totally in my children and totally neglecting everything that matters to ME. I’m still an adult with adult needs, adult desires, adult interests–and yes, I have to work too. If I had to spend every last minute doing everything with respect to my children and nothing else, I’d go crazy. In fact, we go on vacations that are decisively NOT about Disneyland, because–guess what–I don’t care to spend, what, $400 a person to run around with Goofy and Daffy Duck, even if my kids like it. What I like to do matters just as much, maybe more–I’m the grown-up working my fingers to the bone to PAY for this, I’ll be darned if my opinion doesn’t count and it’s all about them. Thus, we take vacations that I know I am going to like, and my wife, and as it turns out, all of us end up having fun.

    Sure, I love my children, and I shower them with lots of love and affection, attention, and even activities that I know are fun for THEM, but it’s not all about them. It can be all about them when THEY’RE grown and THEY’RE the ones working at a job 40 hours a week with sore legs and bones paying for it.

    So if I want to check things out on my phone, I will, because that’s my call, and it’s not anyone else’s freaking business.

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  236. I don’t think you are being fair here. You have no idea what that mother was doing or why she was on her phone. Maybe she works from home and the price of that is that she has to return an occasional email. Should she ignore the very reason she is able to be a stay at home mom in the first place? Maybe she is sending pics of her kids playing to her parents who live in another state. Maybe she is like me…a stay at home mom who literally spends every waking moment with my kids. I watch every jump, every leap, every twirl, every single neat trick they do. So what is so wrong with me or any mother for that matter taking a few moments to myself to catch up with a friend on facebook while my kids are occupied at the park?

    Tell me…what is wrong with that?

    My children need to learn that they are not the center of attention at all times. they need to learn to play independently, make new friends, use their imagination to create their own games. Allowing them to be independent every now and then is what teaches them to be functioning adults. When I was a child I wasn’t the center of my mom’s life at all times. There were times I was sent to play in the back yard so she could have some time to herself and I could allow my creativity to take over and think up some wonderfully fun games. That time is part of what made me who I am today and it certainly didn’t harm me. I don’t look back at my childhood and cry because my mother didn’t watch me twirl my dress. If a child grows up thinking they are the center of your world all the time they will likely be adults who expect the rest of the world to revolve around them as well. You’re doing them a disservice by not allowing them time to spread their wings and you’re doing yourself a disservice by not allowing yourself to take a small break every now and then.

    As mothers we should band together to help each other raise happy and healthy children. Not attack a woman who you know nothing about or what she was actually doing. I saw one comment earlier from a woman who’s husband was deployed. She stated she is on her phone constantly sending pics to their father. I saw another person say “I will allow that.” Well someone please explain to me how you will KNOW what someone is doing and whether or not it is acceptable in your small little world? And who made you the judge and jury of what proper parenting is?

    • I wish I could like this comment. That was my exact thought. For the love of all that is good and holy, can we please stop being obsessed with what other mothers are doing and raise our own kids and let others raise theirs. Trust me, there are plenty of dead beat parents out there to be obsessed with. Lets leave the moms who take their kids to the park while risking their children ending up in therapy over spending some time NOT watching them twirl by allowing them a judge free zone. Just curious what your kids were doing while you were watching the mom on her cell phone. I bet they were twirling.. I bet you missed a twirl or two. I just hope your kids will somehow recover from the lack of attention.

  237. Reblogged this on Travels with Mary and commented:
    Ah, a blog after my own heart! You are so right! To many parents are missing days and times that they can never get back! One cannot take back time & the time with your children goes very very fast. Signed, grandma. 🙂

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  242. I thought you’d like to hear how your blog post is being used by others. Last week, I had to take my family and return to my hometown to bury my mother, whose home we’d stayed in for Thanksgiving just a few weeks before. I couldn’t have asked for better behavior from my three children (ages 10, 7, and 5) during the trip, even though they had a lot of tests to their patience. A 9 hour drive from our home to my hometown, not getting a lot of attention from us while funeral arrangements were made, and not fully understanding what had happened to their Grammy – even with all of that happening, they were so sweet and well-behaved through everything, even the funeral. We had a little free time the day after the funeral, so I took them to a park near my mom’s house where they used to go with her. While I was there, I was texting with my brother, trying to make arrangements for some friends who were bringing dinner to us that night. That’s when a woman walked to the bench I was seated on and said, “As long as you’ve got your nose buried in your phone, you should Google an article called ‘Dear Mom On the iPhone!'” And then, content in her judgment, she turned and walked away to stand directly over her daughter, who was playing in the sand.

    I searched for your article today, and all it did was make me hurt even more. I know you think you wrote this from a kind place, but it sure didn’t feel like an act of kindness to be accosted by a stranger who had no idea what I was going through or why I needed to be on my phone. You have no idea what is happening in another person’s life. I was trying to do a kind thing for my children by giving them some time to have fun, while also trying to take care of things for the rest of my family. You may have meant this article as a gentle reminder, but it’s being used by others as something to club other parents over the head.

    • I am sorry for your loss, Peter. We just said goodbye to our precious Papa, who lived next door to us, then in our living room for his final days, and its still hard on my kids, 8 months later.
      You are right, I did write from a kind place, with a heart wanting moms and dads to put their eyes back on their children. At the dinner table, when out to eat, when picking up from the school day. You can rest easy knowing, I wasn’t speaking to you, nor nodding to your situation. There is always a time and a place to have to be on the phone, just not day in and day out, as our society seems to apt to do.
      God bless you as you heal, and grieve the loss of this special person in your life.

      • Thanks for the kind words, and I’m sorry for your family’s loss as well. The first Christmas without them… it was hard. I hope that your family still enjoyed a joyous holiday.

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  256. This made me cry 😦
    Lord please help us to not allow wordly distractions clutter our limited time. Help us to focus on You above all and the precious gifts you have entrusted us with for we know how precious you lil ones are to you.
    In Jesus name, Amen.

  257. I’m having a discussion on FB over this … The article she sent me regardiing iPhone time which referenced this article and is like you say thank you very much for writing. My daughters grown and has a child and does the very same thing and I get so mad. When she was a young child I was always there doing exactly what this article stated. Yes it was tiring and taxing on my me time but you need to think about that before having children because there is no more me time until they’re at least 5 or 6 when they are more vapable doing for themselves and not as needy as a toddler or an infant for that matter. Sorry if I come off harsh and no I’m not a perfect grandparent nor was a perfect mother but I was always there for my daughter and when I can be for my grandson. I dont have little ones anymore and don’t care what others do but I don’t like seeing parents on their phones rather watching their kids. Just my opinion I think it’s a lack of common sense to choose your phone over your kids attention

  258. I enjoyed Huffinton Post’s version of your article much more. It was kind, realistic & lacked all the condescending judgement that I found in your version. I strongly advise not taking your eyes off of your own children to glare at the mothers next to you at the park. Heaven forbid, you might miss something!

    Have a lovely day.

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