I was chatting with a friend the other day about my blog and what to write about next, now that I wrapped up my series on “you don’t need to do more, ” and she said, “Alethea, you have to tell them about the skirts with pockets!”

I thought this was hilarious, and I couldn’t believe she remembered this, as it’s been at least six months since this first came up.

You see, last summer, I became obsessed with finding skirts and dresses with pockets. Ever since I first became a mom, I have always tried to wear clothing with pockets when around my kids so that I can have my phone handy, but this has typically meant jeans, which frankly, are just not all that comfortable to wear all the time.  Plus, I was tired of feeling like the most frumpy mom at the playground because yes, I’m pretty much in “mom jeans” territory at this point.

So I went on a research rampage, polled my savvy mom friends in a few of the groups I’m in, and I haven’t looked back.

Let me back up a minute and explain why I’m telling you this.

I’ve been talking with a lot of women lately about their biggest challenges as a parent. One of the things that I’m hearing is that you really want to HAVE the photos of your kids that capture the moments that feel increasingly fleeting as they get older, but you don’t really want to TAKE them.

You might not even realize that you don’t want to take photos, but the fact is, for whatever reason, you’re just not taking as many photos as you’d like.

I mean, have you ever gone to your camera roll only to find that the only photos you’ve taken over the past few weeks are of the FedEx tracking number you needed to record, and the sign-up sheet for parent-teacher conferences that you texted to your spouse?!

I’ve been thinking about why this might be. And know that it's because when you try to capture the moment, more often than not you find yourself missing the moment, or even interrupting and ruining the moment, and so you get frustrated.

But I also know that there are small practical things that get in the way.

So this month, I’m switching gears a little and getting down to some simple tips that I give to parents all the time that make it easier for you to integrate photo taking into your daily life as a busy parent.

And skirts with pockets is one of them!

Because when you have your smartphone readily available, you’re more likely to take photos - it’s as simple as that.

But I also know that the last thing you want to do is be on your phone MORE when you’re around your kids.

So here are three suggestions on how you can use your smartphone to connect with your kids, rather than disconnect from them and get distracted:

1) Use your camera to be more present by capturing natural emotions and interactions rather than asking your kids to pose, and using your camera to focus on truly seeing your kids as they are.

2) Be intentional about using your smartphone exclusively as a camera and not for anything else during those times when you want to focus on your kids. If you need to, put your phone on airplane mode, or take your most distracting apps (for me that would be email and Facebook) off your home screen. On an iPhone, you can also access your camera app by swiping up from the lock screen, and you won’t even have access to all those other apps.

3) Interact with your kids as though you weren’t taking photos. When you’re fully present and giving them your attention, they won’t notice your phone so much, and you’ll get better photos too.

And ok, I know you also want to know where I found all these skirts with pockets.

My favorite skirts are from:

Options recommended by others include:

Bonus tip:

The amazing thing about skirts with pockets, when used in conjunction with the fantastic Radix One wallet, is that I have taken to leaving the house without carrying any bag or purse at all - it is so freeing! (and also great for my not-so-great back)

Happy pocket-ing!