Olivia ran over, plucked my phone out of my hands, sauntered away and placed the\u00a0phone on the coffee table across the room. She started muttering, something about\u00a0the \u201cphome\u201d and shoved her pink, plastic play phone up to my ear. I was caught. I try really hard to leave my phone on the shelf or in my purse when\u00a0I should be paying full attention to Olivia, but every once in a while it finds its way\u00a0into my hands. Yes, I\u2019ve written before about being mentally present with your children. And yes, I\u00a0left my full-time job in thePioneer office to spend more undistracted time with my\u00a0kid, yet I\u2019m writing this column one week later. But sometimes it\u2019s a struggle not to\u00a0check out or check in. Since I\u2019ve committed to staying home with her full time, I\u2019m having a hard time not\u00a0checking in with the outside world by flicking through my feeds a couple times a day\u00a0or sending a couple texts. I guess \u201cthey\u201d call such a new-world phenomenon FOMO \u2013\u00a0fear of missing out. Kind of the antithesis of YOLO. It doesn\u2019t help that I\u2019m running on a few hours of sleep and the fumes of pure\u00a0frustration after more than a week of hellacious teething and unidentifiable\u00a0sickness. God, please send us those two-year molars as fast as possible. \u201cThey\u201d also recommend against exactly what my daughter caught me doing \u2013 getting\u00a0absent-mindedly distracted from whatever my kid was doing, but kind of acting\u00a0like I was still paying attention. You know how this looks. The kid is jumping on the\u00a0couch, nearing the edge and a broken arm with each bounce, and you\u2019re across the\u00a0room mumbling, \u201cMaybe... don\u2019t do that?... Hold on. .. Mom\u2019s... coming. Just... don\u2019t\u00a0fall yet.\u201d Catherine Newman wrote in June for The New York Times about the idea of giving\u00a0your children all of your attention or none of it. Be fully present when you can, and\u00a0make it clear when you can\u2019t so your kids can entertain themselves. Her idea works. Granted her children are actually teenagers, I\u2019ve tried it myself,\u00a0letting Olivia play on her own with her babies or blocks while I crank out a 20-minute dinner. When dinner is done and our bellies are full, we head outside to\u00a0swing or explore and the dishes sit in the sink until after bedtime. But since Newman\u2019s piece ran, many other parents have chimed in, including\u00a0Kristen Howerton for the Huffington Post. She makes the important distinction,\u00a0albeit one that\u2019s convenient for me, that parents have always had preoccupations\u00a0that take them away from doting on their children. She writes: \u201cChecking email is the new churning butter. I don't need to sew a dress\u00a0today, but I may need to pay bills online. Mothers still have things that need to get\u00a0done, and there shouldn't be shame just because some of those things require us to\u00a0sit with a laptop or a cell phone.\u201d I wasn\u2019t paying bills when I got caught on my phone, but I think the point stands.\u00a0We should cut ourselves a little slack and ease off the shameful naysaying. Before we\u00a0became parents, we had interests and great, big adult lives. I\u2019m feeling this now too\u00a0as I step away for the hustle and bustle of daily newspaper life. Still, I think I\u2019m doing OK so far. More often than before, I\u2019m leaving my phone at\u00a0home during our nightly walks around the block or afternoons in the park. And that\u00a0feels really good. Whitney is the Pioneer\u2019s parenting columnist. After four years reporting and editing\u00a0at the paper, she\u2019s stepped back to spend more time with her family. Read more here\u00a0each week and reach her at email@example.com.