I’m Not Apologizing for Being On My Phone: Pour Your Heart Out

on my phone

If I’m not at home, I most likely have my iPhone or my iPad or both with me.

And I’ll use them to check email and respond if need be. Same goes for facebook and twitter.

Most of what I’m doing is for work.

But I’ll admit that sometimes, I’ll scroll through instagram just for fun or check my personal facebook to see what friends from home are up to. Or maybe even check a blog or two.

You could judge me as being one of those moms who always has her nose in her phone and is ignoring her kids.

But if that’s all you see, you aren’t looking close enough.

Being a wahm means that my work is portable and that sometimes means on the sidelines at a soccer or basketball practice.  It’s how I am able to be at every practice, game, and event my boys have. Something I wouldn’t always be able to manage if I had a different kind of job.

Isn’t it better that I’m there but sometimes have to be online?

And what about the moms who spend an entire practice gossiping and never once look out on the field to see what their kids are doing? But because they aren’t using technology, they are more connected to what is going on? I don’t think so.

Even if a mom uses a few minutes of practice to do something for herself online, something that has nothing to do with work, I don’t see anything wrong with that, either.

It’s not really all that different than the mom who is sitting by herself, seemingly watching practice, but letting her mind wander to her grocery list or to fantasizing about wishing she were on a tropical island somewhere.

I know that the sight of moms with their phones seemingly permanently attached to them at all times is a newer phenomenon. And one that I often see criticism of: those moms aren’t paying attention to their kids. It’s said that they need to learn to disconnect and just be in the moment.

But, you never know what that mom is actually doing on her phone. Maybe she is working. Maybe she’s checking for a facebook update about a sick family member. Or maybe it’s just been a really long day and this is the second hour in a row she’s been sitting on the soccer field and she just needs a minute or two to herself. Or maybe she’s ignoring the gossipers around her by reading with her Kindle app.

Whatever it is that she’s doing, let her be. Let me be.

I’m not going to apologize for the time I spend on my phone. Even if there is someone who thinks I shouldn’t be. They don’t know my circumstances and they are only catching a glimpse of my life: they don’t see the times when my family does spend quality(and technology-free) time together.

Just like everything else we do as moms, there has to be a balance. And while I’ve figured out that I’ll never be able to find a perfect balance in my life, I can still find a pretty damn good one.

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  1. says

    I use my phone all the time and it’s with me almost every where I go. I don’t apologize for it either… we shouldn’t have to because like you said everyone around has no idea what we’re doing or why. 

    I bet that half of the people who judge or are even brave enough to say something about always being on your phone have no right to do it. They’re the ones who have no idea what their kids are doing once they get home and are hidden behind closed doors. 
    Jackie recently posted..A week of angerMy Profile

  2. says

    I really struggle with feeling too connected to my email. I work from home, too, and sometimes I just want to chuck the iPad out the door and hear what my kids are saying. But I choose to work, and that carries certain demands. I can’t bring myself to get a smart phone yet, though. :)
    Becky Kopitzke recently posted..Why We Didn’t Quit BalletMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh, I hear you. There are times when I feel like I never get a break and I want to toss all the technology out the window! But it’s worth it in the end. 

  3. says

    I can’t say that I am online with mine cause I rarely do that. Mainly cause mine isn’t a smart phone. But I do text frequently. It is my connection to other adults during the day. You know the ones that don’t come over here just to complain to me about how their life sucks..
    Southern Angel recently posted..She reminds me.. Happiness ProjectMy Profile

  4. says

    I’d rather you be on your phone than standing there at field day, talking to the other moms about a big drinking party that you all are going to on the weekend.  Oh and don’t forget you talk about so-called party in front of people who weren’t invited so then they start a gossip war – all while your kids are at field day.  Harmph (and this is a true story from last year)
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    • Shell says

      Ugh- the moms on my youngest’s soccer team were like this last fall. They were constantly talking about getting trashed and they’d cuss- even though the kids were right there and could hear. 

    • Shell says

      I’ve seen so much lately about telling moms to get off their phones that I just couldn’t take it any more. 😉 

  5. says

    Thank you for this! I struggle with this all the time too as a WAHM and freelancer. It’s hard but I’m also tired of constantly apologizing for being on the phone or explaining why. People always just assume that I’m goofing off which just frustrates me. And while I know that there needs to be a balance and I know that I need to cut back on my technology use, it’s still a balance that I need to figure out for me and my family.
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    • Shell says

      It is annoying that they’d jump to the conclusion that we must be playing around, rather than actually working! 

  6. says

    So true. I wonder why it is that when a person is most likely to pass judgement are the ones who have a much bigger problem themselves???
    I know for one, I could unplug more than I do. But regardless, that’s my choice :)
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  7. says

    I would not judge you or anyone with their phone, ipad,whatever at the park or the field. But it would make me less inclined to strike up a conversation or approach you regarding something to do with the soccer kids. I completely agree about the moms chit chatting gossiping being the same. That to me is more rude especially at a school event, library, or field trip where the kids are supposed to be quiet and paying attention and the mom’s or dads are in the back yucking it up. Rude.
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  8. says

    I am on my phone a lot too. Truthfully, the only time I usually take notice of when another mom (or dad for that matter) is on her phone is if the children are acting up or misbehaving to the point that it draws my attention. Then, if the parent is so engrossed in his/her phone that he/she doesn’t intervene, I take notice, but otherwise, I’m usually too busy myself!
    Single Mom in the South recently posted..Worst NightmareMy Profile

    • Shell says

      For sure- I definitely keep my eye on my boys to make sure they are behaving. I set the phone aside to yell at them then… and then go back to the phone when they chill out. 

    • Shell says

      I prefer the keyboard of a laptop, for sure, but it’s nice to have the option of the phone for when I’m not at home. 

  9. says

    Why must a parent watch every second of a kid’s practice? And I’d much rather sneak in 20 minutes of reading a book than gossiping (but that’s just me). I just get judgy when someone is clearly talking to a friend on their phone about ten decibels too loud—I don’t want to hear about your nail appointment or who said what to whom. Step away, ladies.
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    • Shell says

      I figure that I’ve already sat through hundreds of practices- and my boys are still young! I really don’t need to see every second of it. If I don’t have work to do, I love using my Kindle app. 

  10. says

    I think we have to take opportunities to work and connect when we can get them. Sometimes that means spending a few minutes on my phone or checking email when we out and about. I don’t think you should apologize, either.
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  11. Mary says

    I also text and stay connected but not to your extent. I do think though there is nothing like a face-to- face meeting with a true friend where you can share. Cyber hugs do not measure up to the real thing!

  12. says

    I’ll admit I’m a judger of phone usage. But I only judge when moms aren’t paying attention and there kids are on the playground or at the play place in the mall and there kids are acting out or rough housing other kids. As long as you can manage to supervise your kids and work on your phone then I don’t see the big deal.
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    • Shell says

      For sure on the behavior. I make sure to keep an eye on my kids and I’ll correct them if they aren’t behaving. 

  13. says

    Nobody knows the full story behind our lives and it isn’t their place to judge what we are or are not doing. You’re right, it’s just a glimpse. And we shouldn’t be judged for that.
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  14. says

    Our moms weren’t nearly as attentive to us as some people expect us to be. The only time I judge is if a mom is not intervening with a behavior situation or if her child is talking to her and she is too distracted and often those circumstances have nothing to do with the phone and more to do with the gossiping!

    I love my phone and am grateful that it allows me to get to practices and games and still be attached to my work!
    Making It Work Mom recently posted..Yes! I am Totally Running Again! For Real!My Profile

    • Shell says

      Oh yes on the behavior- we need to be aware of what our kids are doing. 

      I was annoyed at the mom who decided she would sit out in her van during basketball instead of coming in b/c her son was being a punk- he pushed one kid to the floor and jumped on him and choked my son. WTH? 

  15. says

    I love this post! I’m guilty of making my own self feel guilty for being on my phone, or for that matter, on the computer whether it’s for work or not. Thanks for sharing your voice in such an honest way. It’s an important reminder of why we shouldn’t judge people in the first place.
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  16. says

    You are right– I know I actually probably am paying more attention to my kids at the park if I am on my phone then if I am there talking with a bunch of mom friends.  And we don’t know what other people are doing and going through.  That all being said though, I know I have set some times of the day where I am trying to not be on my phone at all as I know I do turn to it too much and too easily and don’t always focus enough on my kids. 
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  17. Cindi says

    I wish I had the luxury of sitting and gossiping or talking (or working) on my phone (LoL) but most the time I was on the field either coaching, helping with practice or score-keeping; always involved in some way. For those judging you, gee! They’re sitting there helping how? By judging you? Reminds me of Matthew 7:5
    You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

    • Shell says

      I don’t have it during actual games- unless it’s to take a pic. But for practices, I will work through a lot of them. 

  18. says

    I love the line on here about “Is it any different than the moms that are gossiping and not paying attention?” Sometimes I go on my phone just so I don’t have to engage in conversations with anyone. It’s no one’s business what we are doing and I agree with the comment above that it says more about those that judge than us.
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    • Shell says

      I’m guilty of sometimes reading on my phone b/c I don’t want to be a part of all the drama. 😉 

  19. says

    I think the best policy for me is to mind my own business and stay out of judging other people. You make great points – we have no idea what’s going on for other parents. And when I’m focusing on judging others or worrying if I’m being judged, I’m not present for anybody, technology or not. Great post!
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  20. says

    I am sorry – it is not for me Mom’s on the sidelines on their phones, etc. that bothers me.  It is when you are at a museum, zoo, etc. and talking on your phone instead of to your child.  I mean why go to the zoo if you do not plan to enjoy it together?  

    Does that make sense?  
    mommylisa recently posted..At least she made it…My Profile

    • Shell says

      It does. And I try to plan special outings like that where I can put the phone away. Though sometimes I do have to check in here and there. 

      • says

        Yup.  But there is a big difference between checking in and gossiping with your friends!  😉  That is usually what I see at our zoo especially.  A mom with her kids just running around and she is on the phone talking about things I don’t want to hear about.  Like I care your friends husband is a scum?  Really?  😉
        mommylisa recently posted..At least she made it…My Profile

  21. says

    I don’t think people should judge no matter what. You never know what situation someone else is in. Period. Things always look different from the other side of the fence. And I can attest that moms that are required to work in an office can’t be at everything, even though they would LOVE to attend. So you take your phone and you go be there.
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  22. says

    I try never to judge anyone on a their phone or tablet.  My family all work odd shifts so texting is preferred to phone calls.  The guys are on a fire truck, they don’t have time to talk on the phone but will respond to a text next time they have  spare moment. My son is a deputy and works the night shift, he responds over night when things are quiet on his beat, or when he wakes up the next afternoon as he sleeps during the day.

    Both jobs I have a portable and so I totally understand getting work done while being out and about.  While my kids are grown and my son  now a daddy, I know you can multi-task and be paying attention to the world around you will on a phone or tablet.

    Bravo to you for being ‘there’ where the boys are!
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    • Shell says

      I live in a military town and I know that some of the moms are waiting to hear from their deployed spouses- that helps with my perspective. And while what I’m doing isn’t that- I still have a reason to be on. :) 

  23. says

    Totally agree with this…I just recently got my phone and I can see how helpful it is for a mom on the go such as yourself and as busy as you are.  It helps me a lot, and I do try to sometimes set it away if I realize I am just playing on it.  But as you can see I’ve gotten a lot of reading done on mine b/c I can just pick up where I left off so easily.  I don’t judge others…except if they are on their phone while driving….(besides talking) now that is a no-no!
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  24. says

    Great post. I’m on my phone a lot. So long as others aren’t on their phone while they are driving or while their tiny kids are getting hurt or hurting other kids, I don’t judge. I admit I’m generally always on my phone when I take my kids to the park. But I always look up and make sure all is okay with them. I don’t just zone out.
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    • Shell says

      I agree. I make sure to watch how my boys are behaving and will quickly correct them if need be. 

  25. says

    I’m so tired of feeling guilty every time I pull out my phone and I’m even more tired of the sanctimommies who preach the need to constantly “be present” for our kids. Guess what? NOT constantly being present helps me be a better mom. Period. I love my daughter and I love spending time with her, but now that she’s no longer a baby, she does not need my constant doting attention and actually benefits from a little autonomy and independence. This is true now, at three years old, when “autonomy and independence” means some independent playtime at home, and it will be true years from now when I’m shuffling her back and forth to various extracurricular activities. There have been times she’s asked me to put my phone away and I do – shamefully, I might add. And there are (or will be) times – during soccer games or school plays, for instance – when I absolutely know that being on my phone would be shameful. But in the meantime? Step off and let me unwind with some Instagram or a game of Words With Friends! 
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    • Shell says

      Yes, yes- that’s it, exactly! There are times when it’s totally okay for us to be on the phone. We don’t have to soak in every moment of every little thing with our kids. I’m there at their practices, but I don’t have to see every single moment. Like when they are standing in line to wait their turn to shoot a ball? No, I don’t need to watch that. 

  26. says

    I know this has already been said, but I’d like to reiterate the importance of not judging that you have established so well here. The plain truth is we DO NOT KNOW what’s going on in anyone else’s life, family, parenting experience. And even if we think we do….well….

    we all know what assuming does for a person.

    My sister (whom I love but who tends to throw around an opinion) was criticizing a mom at a local Starbucks whose three kids (in her opinion) were being loud while she was lost in thought, not disciplining them. I suggested that perhaps she’d gotten some bad news, or was at the end of her rope or had simply had ENOUGH and maybe needed to be in a public place with a coffee and someone cutting her a break. Or maybe she’s just rude and has out of control kids. But why not give her the same benefit of the doubt we’d like to enjoy on days when we’ve simply lost it.


    This is all to say I agree with you.  And those gossiping moms?
    Ugh. (Sorry. I didn’t mean to judge.) :-)
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    • Shell says

      I love that you pointed this out to her. You are so right- there could be so much more going on there than we know. 

      And I’ll judge the gossipy moms right along with you. Oops. 

    • Shell says

      I think we all have certain things that are our triggers to judgement. That we see and instantly have that judgey moment- but it’s what we choose to do with the judgement that counts. 

  27. says

    I needed to read this today. Thank you :)

    Sigh. Why are people so concerned with what everyone else is doing, as though there’s a giant “Mom chart” like a chore chart somewhere? Some days I’m on my phone at the dance studio because it’s the first time I’ve gotten to sit for more than five minutes between games of Princess Pirate Fairy World and making food. Other days I’m on it because I’m close to a deadline, and yes I’ve been on it altogether too much the entire day. And such is life.
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    • Shell says

      We have to do our best to take care of our families- and sometimes that means getting in work on our phones!

  28. says

    Thanks Shell. I too am a WAHM although my kids are in school from 9-3 now, that doesn’t always mean work is over for me at 3. Working from home means I can pick them up at school, but having my phone too means I can work while I wait in the schoolyard if I need. It’s called flexibility. Someone is always going to judge something we do — whether it’s spending too much time on our phone or buying our kid a special treat for something he deserves. You just have to learn to ignore them and do what you need to do and what’s right for you.
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  29. says

    I’m a little late to the conversation (catching up on blogs!) but I just know that in 6 months, this will be me. I’m making the transition to WAHM this month and that will mean the iPhone and iPad will be with me, too. Now I’m off to read your WAHM post you linked to….

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