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Open response to 'Dear Mom on the iPhone'

If your kids are safe, checking your email on your iPhone shouldn't be a big deal. Why should it bother any other parents?
If your kids are safe, checking your email on your iPhone shouldn't be a big deal. Why should it bother any other parents?
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

Dear mom who wrote "Dear Mom on the iPhone,"

I know it's Mother's Day, so I'm sorry. But give it a rest. Please.

I don't like to use this space for commentary, but I couldn't let this go. After seeing your blog post about a mom at the park using her iPhone while her children played, and also seeing the (unrelated?) photo showing just that, I felt sad. Annoyed, too, but mostly sad.

Firstly, it wasn't clear if this post was based of one incident, or several. The reader has no idea how long said mom was on her phone at the park. Minutes? Hours? Was this observation made based on a photo? If so, it could have been seconds.

Even you admit you can be a slave to technology, but then you chastise this mom, and moms in general, about the things they are missing when they use technology instead of playing with their kids. But, really, how many of us take a few minutes to check our email in an otherwise action-packed day? How do you know how much time I spend on my phone or my computer?

The truth is you don't. But that doesn't seem to stop your parenting lesson. That's the bigger problem. Perceiving information falsely is one thing, but basing judgments on a skewed perception is quite another.

For all you know, said mom was checking in with an older child, or an elderly parent. Is that not important, too?

And, really, did anyone solicit your thoughts? I'm sure you have wonderful ideas and if people want to hear them, they'll ask. Believe me. Sometimes it seems like everything I say and do is being dissected by other moms, who are just waiting to pounce with their comments and opinions. Why are moms waiting to pounce?

I'm often amazed at how, when you think things are going along fine, someone will find something wrong with what you're doing. But when you are struggling, everyone is quiet.

I was at Jewel the other day with my 2-year-old toddler, who by the end of the excursion, was near her end. Crying became screaming, then my normally sweet angel threw herself on the floor. Lots of people awkwardly walked by, without meeting my eyes. Not one person offered to help, or even smiled in sympathy.

Dear mom who wrote "Dear Mom on the iPhone," when was the last time you offered to help a struggling parent, without so much as clucking your tongue? Please be honest. We all need to be honest with ourselves if we want to stop judging.

In honor of Mother's Day, let's start giving each other a break. Instead of making snap judgments, let's hold off. Realize that you don't -- and probably never will -- have all of the information. Instead of unsolicited advice, consider handing out kindness and compassion.

We are, after all, in this together.

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