I have a funny relationship with screen time. When I had my son, I would tot up the minutes he sat and watched TV so that he didn’t fall into whatever bracket The Scientists were currently saying was Too Much.
I read the articles about the damage Too Much did to children these days and I nodded, smugly, probably while removing one of my pre-pureed, organic butternut squash cubes from the freezer.
Then I had my daughter.
All of a sudden, there were two of them, and one of me. I was that mum in the articles. The one the commenters accused of using the TV to babysit her kids.
The one who was clearly a lazy parent, who was scrambling her children’s brains, and probably their eyes, too.
Tick, tick, tick.
I felt pretty bad at first, before I got real and came to the conclusion that – unlike people would have you believe – letting your kids watch a *little* bit too much TV is not going to kill them. There are worse things you can do than say yes to one more episode. Really and truly, there are.
So I gave up feeling guilty and now, you know what? I’ve embraced it.
That’s right – I’ve embraced screen time.
My kids watch too much TV, and I’m OK with that.
You see, I’m choosing to see the TV for what it is, when you cut out the guilt-trip. It’s a bit of time when I know they’re safe, and can sit still and veg out for a bit while I put the dinner on. Or have a 60-second shower. Or send a work email.
I’m not letting them watch three episodes of Paw Patrol in a row so I can run my drug trafficking business, skin the neighborhood cats or Google pictures of Donald Trump. You know?
I just need to get stuff done. Normal, day-to-day stuff that – yes – I could probably do, to a degree, while they were making stuff from PlayDough or messing around in the garden. But that would be about 50 times more difficult with the never-ending chorus of muummmm, she bit me! and mamaaaa – ME HANGRY!
Truth be told, if there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past four years of being a parent, it’s this: we do what we need to do to get by.
If that means a bit more TV than I’d like to admit, then so be it. I’ve got bigger fish to fry.
Please note: I’m by no means advocating leaving your kids in front of the tellie all day, which would obviously not be the best plan. All I’m saying is: give yourself some slack.