To the mom on her phone at the playground

I see you. Swiping through Facebook, responding to emails, texting friends and family you don’t have enough time to (or maybe don’t want to) actually speak with on the phone. I see you every so often glancing up at your child to make sure he is safe. I also see you every once in a while stand up with a semi-frantic, but “keep it cool” look on your face when your child has moved to a different part of the playground without notice. Then I see you sit back down and go back to your phone.

I see your child. I see him running around screaming, climbing and jumping from what some would say is a little too high. I see his uncertainty and fear; I also see his pride when he lands without a scratch. I see him climbing up the slide, and helping a little girl do the same. I see him taking turns and also cutting in line. I see him run up to you asking for water and a snack. You give him his water bottle but tell him lunch is soon. I see him stomp away upset and you look back down at your phone. Then I see him quickly get over it and continue having fun.

I also see other parents start to point and whisper while they remain active on the playground with their children. I hear them say “She hasn’t looked up from her phone. She isn’t even bothering to play with her son. She isn’t even paying attention.” I see their looks.

I see you. Because I am you. This time is as much for the kids as it is for us. To relax, explore, and socialize. Some others don’t understand that. They assume we’re checked out. And to be honest, sometimes we are. Before we were moms, we were women with lives that we are now constantly apologizing for no longer being 100% engaged in. So we use this time to engage in just that. They don’t see the hours of play put in at home. They don’t see the adventures to new places or endless bedtime stories until you both fall asleep. And we don’t see them ask us why we are on our phones.

So we sit here. It may be work, answering emails and texts, setting appointments, so that once we set foot back home, all attention is on them. It may be leisure, just skimming through Instagram to catch up on all the celebrity mamas you wish could be your best friend. (Mine is Jaime King.) Whatever it is, it’s okay.

I want to thank you for bringing your child out into fresh air today, to climb and run and jump. Thank you for not hovering over your child so that mine felt comfortable enough to approach him. Thank you for not paying attention to him when he jumped from that too high spot; my child followed and successfully felt the same pride. Thank you for not judging me while I sat, on my phone, writing this letter to you, while our children explored, tested themselves, and worked independently to make the most of this trip to the playground.

You are me, and I am so happy for that.

Also, thank you for the friend request.

Accepted.

And also, it might be a good time to invest in a headset 😁

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