There are things that an iPhone alters about your life from which you will never escape.

Traffic light entertainment, for one. I admit it – I struggle with not picking up my iPhone at a red light. Smart phones have effectively made me forget how to simply be still.

Also? Curiosity. Every “I wonder…” I ever mutter is followed by a Google search or thorough internet stalking. Which is further followed by the exultation of curiosity satiated.

And then there’s the measurement of my attentiveness to real life served up by my battery life at the end of the day.

iPhone Low Battery

If my battery life is in the mid-range by day’s end, I feel victorious. Clearly I paid attention to my kids, didn’t grab my phone at every traffic light, and engaged in real life today. Way to go, Rachel! Give yourself an extra ten minutes on Instagram.

But if it’s at 10% before the kid’s bedtime, then for shame. I should have read more books aloud and refilled more sippies. I clearly kept my Twitter feed too up-to-date and really should back off on my HauteLook shopping.

(I know. I have a problem with inner judgment. I also judge myself about my self-judginess, if that helps.)

This week, as Chris and I were preparing to dump the kids on the Grandparent’s for a few days and head off on an anniversary getaway, my self-analysis was even more ruthless than usual.

Remember…you’re not going to see your precious children for four days. You really should cuddle for five minutes longer before bed. Even if your eyeballs are about to fall out from exhaustion.

Yes he just elbowed you in the boob with all of his three-year-old might, but don’t yell in pain and startle the poor child…he’ll remember you that way while you’re gone.

And so it was the worst of weeks to also suffer from Drain Shame.

Yet every day, my phone was at 30% — by lunchtime!

Unheard of. Horrifying. I am a putrid mother.

I berated myself constantly.

What are you DOING?!? Who do you think you ARE?!? People don’t care that much about what you have to say! Pay attention to your dang kids for cryinoutloud!!

It did seem strange that my extra pre-vacation awareness was being so overshadowed by my apparent device addiction, but battery percentages don’t lie. They pierce your soul and gauge your goodness with accuracy previously only known by Mary Poppin’s tape measure.

The day we left for our trip, I carried along with me a bit more Mommy-Guilt than usual – the kids and I had suffered through a rough morning, and THAT BLASTED BATTERY PERCENTAGE was staring me down with the suspicious eyes of Maleficent and Snape’s lovechild.

I talked to the kids on the phone that night and they seemed to still love me, so I relaxed and began enjoying our trip.

The next day, Chris and I toured The Biltmore Estate, which took hours, and phone photography was highly unallowable. So except for two quickly stolen shots, I kept my phone in my purse to avoid looking suspicious (which I was.)


When we left Biltmore, my phone battery was below 40%.


There was no way.

It was impossible.

Unless I had a gremlin in the bottom of my purse that was streaming movies while I wasn’t using my phone, my battery COULD NOT be at 40%.

I sheepishly admitted my deplorable battery life to Chris, feeling especially horrible for my now admitted problem. Surely he would judge me. He would think I was sneaking off to the bathroom to get a fix. I mean I basically believed it myself – how else could I have gotten to 40%??

He, being the not-as-constantly-self-judging-and-unhealthily-self-loathing one of of us, said, “Oh – it’s probably something to do with the iOS 7.1 update – you just did that, remember? Why don’t you Google ‘7.1 battery life issues.’ I bet you’ll find it.”

WHAAAAT? There’s a possibility that I might not be the most reprehensible person on the planet?!


I obeyed and Googled immediately, and there it was.

All. Over. The stinking. Internet. Everyone knew but me.

7.1 Kills Batteries.

7.1 Leaves Location Services On

7.1 Bugs Will Drain Your Phone

9 Ways 7.1 Will Deplete your Phone Battery

Apple really screwed up this time

I wasn’t a terrible mother!

I wasn’t a terrible wife!

It wasn’t me – it was all a lie. All a big fat Apple-Driven lie to heap guilt upon me and make me think I was an addict.

(Okay I probably am but not as bad as I thought.)

So. If you, too, have been suffering from Drain Shame, I am here to relieve your pain and guilt.

It’s not you. It’s Apple.

So go find yourself something else to feel guilty about.

Neither self-judgment based on battery life or Mommy Guilt is recommended by this blogger or her family.

Update: If you’re suffering from this same drain, go to Settings –> General –> Background App Refresh, and turn it off. It’s a new setting with 7.1 that allows all your apps to track you in the background, therefore leaving location services on continuously. It seriously helped my battery to turn this off.

14 thoughts on “Drain Shame.

  1. I have the same internal battles. Darn technology and it’s addictive nature. I live in Asheville btw and am really hoping you will review some Asheville restaurants while you’re in town! (I’m new here so haven’t been able to explote a ton). One I willl recommend is biscuit head on Haywood. Do yourself a favor and get over there for breakfast! Enjoy your trip!

    1. We didn’t make it to Biscuit Head, but we ate some really good biscuits at Tupelo Honey and at Grove Park! We actually ate two “meals” at French Broad Chocolate Lounge, so you can tell that our health and wellness wasn’t first on our mind. Y’all have some REALLY good food in Asheville, though – enjoy it!

  2. Eek, my phone’s battery indicator stresses me out so much, but not for the same reason that yours does. I live in fear of getting caught in a situation where I desperately need my phone, but the battery is dead. A drop below 40% can send me into a near-panic.

  3. I’m like Stephanie and get panicked if my battery falls too low! It’s so funny that you took it as a secret judgment of your mothering abilities!

    Walt Disney World has some areas with spotty cell phone coverage and they constantly drain my battery.

    I’m totally with you on checking my phone at red lights. I’ve even been known to say to my 5 year old, “Tell Mommy when the light turns green!” I figure it’s kind of like a game for him!

      1. Heh. Checking your phone at a red light here in Ontario nets you a fine of $300 and 3 demerit points (!)

        I was so disappointed when I got my new phone and the battery life was worse than the three year old previous phone. Going to try your tip…

  4. I just got my first iphone, which is also my first smartphone, yesterday, and have been playing with it off and on all day at work. I held out as long as I possibly could. When I first started my job a little over a year and a half ago, there were 4 of us who still had plain old cell phones where I work, and I was the last to convert, so I am a little proud of that. Anyway, I knew it would change my life and I didn’t want to deal with it. My battery is already at 60%. That’s crazy! With my old phone it would stay at full power for at least 3 days, even texting on it all day. Blah. Technology. I’m convinced I was supposed to have been born in an earlier era…

  5. Once again you prove (multiple times in the same post and then the general overall-ness of your post) that you are my number one favorite blogger. I loved it! And I feel the same way and didn’t realize other people do too, lol. And thanks to you, I just made myself look better by executing that fix you mentioned so thanks for that! ;) Really funny post though, your kids will love this when they get old enough to appreciate reading it.

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