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September 14, 2013 / Living Life Our Way

What YOU didn’t see when you were busy judging me…

I am sure many of you have seen this by now but for those who haven’t here it goes…

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.

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.

(http://4littlefergusons.wordpress.com/2012/11/14/dear-mom-on-the-iphone/)

To the parent who noticed my daughter twirling round in her dress glancing my way to see if I am watching her.

I don’t take any moment for granted. I may be typing on my phone right now but you have no idea why that is. Relaxing you think? Ha, I wish! I am trying to organise care for my elderly relative, he took a fall just yesterday and I am worried he is on his own too long.

When you hear my little one shouting “mum, MUM watch this!”

I barely glance her way, that much is true. But did you see her dad? He was stood right there, enthusiastically telling her that HE can see her, HE is wanting to play. He loves spending time with her but she is so very mummy- focused she barely even notices that he is there. As guilty as I feel for only barely acknowledging her, we feel working on their relationship is a priority so agreed I need to take a step back occasionally. In fact I only came along on the trip so at least she would still have me around in the distance, out of consideration for her feelings. Oh and did you even know this is literally my only bit of ‘respite’ this whole month?

And some more examples…

That moment you saw me speak to my daughter abruptly in the playground, when you gave me a dirty look (did you practise your filthy looks in the mirror?!) and turned to speak to your own child in a gentle (but overly loud and cheerful) way to make your point?

I *am* that gentle parent most of the time but nobody can be patient ALL of the time. You didn’t hear me calmly explain the same thing OVER and OVER to my daughter in as many ways as I could think of to help her understand. I was struggling under the pressure to keep her safe (she doesn’t understand why she must not run into the road), so yes I snapped at her angrily for an instant. Are you perfect? Neither am I. Shame you didn’t stick around long enough to see my bend down to her level, look her in the eye and apologise for my behaviour, just a minute later.

To the lady giving me the angry glare wondering why I am not being stricter for my daughter’s ‘bad behaviour’.

I know you are watching me, wondering why I haven’t dealt with her in an obvious way, perhaps I need to develop a consistent behaviour management technique? The fact is there is an underlying reason for her behaviour, she is expressing her feelings, her difficulties and needs. No, that is not an excuse but punishing her for feeling stressed and confused won’t help her learn, I am supporting her in dealing with it in gentle ways. You don’t see me calmly walking off with her hand in hand, off to a quiet corner and away from prying eyes. We sit together to talk about what just happened and how to resolve the issue. You don’t see her playing happily with other children just a short while later. No, that is not a different child who you notice being so kind to that other child, she is the same child who was kicking and screaming. She is no longer overwhelmed, do you still think her behaviour wasn’t dealt with?

Oh and this is also so very true…

Checking in on Twitter or Facebook allows me to collect myself and maintain a sense of humor about things that might otherwise set me off. It’s kind of the social media immersed mother’s version of a long drag on a cigarette. It helps ground me and gain perspective. The permanent marker covered Evan a few years ago would have been far more upsetting than amusing were it not for the ensuing hilarity in Facebook comments. Having my friends and community a simple click away is a much needed break at the very least, and a near lifesaver at the most.

(Full post can be found at: http://www.scarymommy.com/dear-mom-judging-me/)

Just a little disclaimer at this point. I do realise the true meaning intended behind ‘Dear Mom on the iphone’. Please take the time to read her footnote if you haven’t already. I am simply using that to highlight the fact that judgements can be made so easily, yet you truly cannot begin to know or understand a parent just by witnessing them at any given moment. So next time you judge someone for their actions, just stop and think of the million reasons why they could be acting the way they are.

Less judgement, more understanding.

Do not judge me on what you see,

a snapshot of our life does not mean you know me.

You make assumptions from things we say or do,

but so little of what you think of us is true.

So hush your judgements, keep your wise words,

give us time and space, let your thoughts go unheard.

Support is helpful, if someone needs a hand,

but please don’t judge what you clearly don’t understand.

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One Comment

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  1. An Honest Mom / Jul 6 2014 2:57 pm

    Thanks for this. The original post drove me nuts. Nice to see a re-frame.

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