Dear Mom On The iPhone: I'm not sure when you heard this last, so let me just say it now: you're a good mom. Motherhood is hard, and you're doing the best you can, just like the rest of us.
That sunny day, after sweeping Cheerios off the floor, changing diapers, and scrubbing crayon marks off your daughter's favorite doll, you mustered up enough energy to take your kids to the park. It would have been easy to plop them in front of the television with snacks, but you knew that sunshine and a playground would do them good.
I'm not sure what you were doing on your iPhone over there. Maybe you were catching up on e-mails, or confirming a dentist appointment. Maybe you were RSVPing to a birthday party, or looking up recipes on Pinterest to accommodate your daughter's peanut allergy. Maybe you were googling your dad's recent health diagnosis, or glancing at your friend's baby registry on target.com.
Maybe you were texting your friend whose mom is battling breast cancer, or your friend who just suffered a miscarriage, or your other friend who just went back to work for the first time since having a baby. Maybe you were offering words of encouragement to someone who needed it that day.
Maybe you were checking movie times and securing your babysitter for Friday night so that you and your husband could go out on a real date, something you haven't done in two months.
Maybe you were working, responding to important e-mails to ensure you met your deadline. Maybe you were responding to inquiries about your photography, or your writing, or your Etsy shop.
Maybe you were checking Facebook or Twitter, and for the first time that day, enjoying a few moments of adult interaction, using your brain and engaging in conversations that didn't involve Star Wars or Dora the Explorer. Maybe you were taking a break---a short timeout to feel heard and validated from online friends.
I'm not sure what you were doing on your iPhone over there, because really, it's none of my business.
I'm sure that looking at your iPhone in the middle of the park was not your finest parenting moment, just like I'm sure you've had many fine parenting moments that I'm unaware of. Like the time you stayed up all night when your son was colicky, holding him tightly in the rocking chair, singing to him with tears streaming down your face because you were so tired it physically hurt. Or the time when you missed your best friend's 30th birthday party because your daughter was sick and you couldn't bear the thought of leaving her with a babysitter when she didn't feel well. Or the time when you consoled your son after he was bullied at the playground and reminded him that no matter what that other kid said, he is a child of God and he is loved. Or like the day when you tearfully handed in your resignation letter to the job that you loved, so that you could stay home with your kids full time and pick up their cheerios, change their diapers, and scrub crayon marks off their dolls.
I know you are more than a mom on your iPhone. You are more than a single moment at the park. You are working hard, fighting hard, to survive this calling of motherhood. I'm sorry that not everyone sees you this way, and that some are snickering from across the park, judging you up and down without so much as even knowing your first name.
Your children adore you. You are giving them as much as you can, as often as you can, as best you can.
You're a good mom.
From one momma to another, I can only offer you the thing that has been given in abundance to me, day after day when I least deserve it, and that is grace.
To the mom who wrote Dear Mom On The iPhone:
I know you had good intentions with that post, just as I have good intentions with this one. I hope that the next time you catch yourself on your phone at the park, or catch yourself yelling at your kids in the middle of the grocery store, or catch yourself in any scenario when you become unglued and your actions are less than perfect, I hope there is a mom standing nearby to offer you a knowing glance, an "I've been there" nod, and a half-smile as she generously extends grace towards you.
You're a good mom, too.