Dear Mom on her Cell Phone

I feel guilty, too.  

Some of my phone use borders on addiction.  I crave that small burst of joy when I see that little red number appear on Facebook.  My heart leaps when the word inbox is followed by (1).  When I’m stressed, or overwhelmed or bored, I check my phone continuously for hope that I will find that immediate gratification.  But I can be a good parent and use the phone, too. 

I shuffled my son into the mall playground.  It was 9am and the mall shops weren’t yet open so the toddler playground- usually a zoo – had only 8 or 10 kids in it.  My son immediately ran toward the little school bus slide and started climbing while I sauntered over to a wall and pulled out my phone.  I kept an eye on him while checking through my email.  I read an email, looked up, checked on my son and then back to email.  

Every once in a while, I heard my one-year-old scream at another kid.  I’ve read enough articles circulating Facebook about parents on their cell phones, not paying attention to their little ones.  Stories of moms with their backs turned and texting while their child pushes someone off the monkey bars.  Or possibly taking selfies when their daughter has her fist wrapped firmly around another child’s ponytail.  Or maybe checking email as their kid is yelling in other kid’s faces.  I was determined not to be that parent.

My son screamed again.  I walked over calmly and I removed him from the playground.  Make that strutted off the playground, proudly showing that I knew my kid was being unreasonable and I can still be on my cell phone and parent at the same time.

Why do I feel like I need to prove myself to other parents over the cell phone?  

When my kids are with me, a little voice tells me that all my energy should be focused on them. Watching my son’s every move.  Hanging on my daughter’s every word. They are only young for a short time.  I should revel in it.  And I do love it.  

But as a stay-at-home parent, my phone is my link to the world of adults.  Chasing my son around the house when he keeps making little mad dashes for the litter box is much more bearable when I can share my woes with my New Mama Group.  Art can be found on the playground when I have instagram in my back pocket.  My husband is only a text away when I need to share what “his son and daughter” did now.

But that doesn’t change my parental cell phone guilt.  If only they made an app for that.

JoAnn Crohn

CEO/Founder at No Guilt Mom
JoAnn Crohn, M. Ed is a parenting educator and life coach who helps moms feel confident in raising empowered, self-sufficient kid while pursuing their own goals & passions.

She’s an accomplished writer, author, podcast host of the No Guilt Mom podcast, and speaker who appears in national media. Work with her personally in Balance VIP

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  1. I feel so guilty too! When I’m checking my email “for work” or updating social media statuses “for work” … sure, it really is work and it’s paid time. But instead of being proud of myself for multitasking and being productive and efficient, I’m always looking over my shoulder to make sure no one’s watching, ha ha!

    1. Me too Megan! I do a lot of my blog work on my cell phone 🙂 It should be this great thing where I can work and spend time with my kid. But no, guilt invades!

  2. So glad to connect with you!
    Thanks for linking up to “Tuesday Talk”~ We’d love to have you back for “Pincrazy Thursday”!


  3. Lately my own 2 year old has made me feel guilty of this. I mean – let’s get real here…I am a SAHM too and there are only so many times that I can “make pizza in her kitchen” (get it?) So the other day I sat down on the floor, pulled out my phone and was checking out a couple things and she walks over to me and says, “Mommy no phone” and took it out of my hands and put it on the table. I wanted to scream like a baby but in her eyes, my attention wasn’t 100% on her like it is the rest of the day. Guess she is now seeing where my attention goes when I “don’t” want to play kitchen anymore.

    1. Ya, there are only so many times you can play that. Your patience is strong for that one though 🙂 It’s a difficult issue. Adults still need adult time and I feel kids also need to learn to play by themselves at times as well as find their own entertainment. For toddlers, finding their own entertainment is sometimes dangerous but I think that as long as I am aware of what my son is doing, I can take care of my things too.

  4. What a great perspective – very balanced! I agree completely. My phone is my link to the outside world, and certain things/times in life I need to be available for phone calls or emails. But my kids know that when they want to play or need my attention, I don’t make them wait. I am there to answer their questions, or sit in the floor and play.
    Thanks for linking up!
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

  5. I’m right there with you! Thank you for making this point. We need access to the adult world, too. Otherwise, I might go a little crazy. I love my son more than I can say, but I can only function in toddler mode for so long!

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