Hi, my name is Jacqui and I'm a 'Screen Mom'. I let my children watch television shows and play on their iPad more often than not. I may or may not have also let my three year old play a solid hour of 'Endless Reader' while I slept in a bit and enjoyed a hot cup of coffee. Though that happened once you guys.
You know what is annoying? Why does my husband not even know what 'screen time' is? He turns on the television with zero qualms and my daughter happily dances to the intro of Backstage: Dodgers. I do, I feel guilty for letting our kids live the T.V. life. But why? Why should I feel guilty?
To hell with it. In regards to 'screen time' you either; could care less, have a few rules in place or completely rule it out. (gasp! no T.V.?!) Which ever type of mama you are, I fully support you. I hate the guilt that I feel and want to squash it. I also know the importance of play and being outside. To be clear, we don't just sit around the television all day. Ahh, but doesn't that sound nice? For me its about balance and also keeping your sanity.
So, this is my story. And with that I've relinquished any guilt I may have about it.
Growing up my mom wasn't a screen mom. In fact she was a cold hearted cable hater. We had a small television with a VCR and we were only allowed to watch movies on Fridays. We didn't know any different. We played a bunch of games, colored, cooked in the kitchen a ton and were in bed by 7:30. (Even in high school, I'm not kidding) Though with those strict rules in place, when I went to my friends houses all I wanted to do was watch television! Anything! Give me commercials I don't care! I think maybe I was obsessed because it seemed so 'bad girl' of me, since my mom didn't allow us to watch it. Such a bad girl I was. In the end I developed a love for television. And these days, my mom and I now text each other during Grey's Anatomy and sometimes talk on the phone whilst watching The Food Network.
To quote Alanis Morrissette, "isn't it ironic?"
When I became a mom I knew, I wasn't going to keep the television away. Sorry mom. I couldn't wait for morning cartoons and movie nights. I feel as though watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse with your child unlocks a mom level. Like, you know your a parent when, you hear Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dwag and you feel sad because you have to actually start getting ready for the day! No? Is that just me?
Anyways, yes we watch T.V. Yes, it's worked into our daily routine. No, our brains aren't mush. Oh and yes, we go outside to play. Sometimes. ;) Every morning starts with me getting up before Mila. I make coffee and check emails. She usually wakes up around 8:30am which is right around the time my husband gets home from his first client. (He is a personal trainer) With us three home in the mornings we have breakfast together along with Mickey Mouse and his Clubhouse Gang. A lot of the time Dan and I will finish up loose ends with work, go over our schedules and Mila will happily nosh on a waffle or a piece of fruit while watching her show. Phew! I'm glad I got that off my chest.
A few times during the week things can get pretty crazed. Things have to get done, work needs to be finished, sometimes I'm being pulled in a million different directions. Plus my toilets are dirty and I haven't changed our sheets in a month. Enter Trolls the movie and I get some time to get my life back together. As well as intermittently dance with my toddler and Justin Timberlake. Win win! Now tell me, what is your child's favorite movie?
One thing I have adopted from my mother is Family Fridays. So, we watch a movie together every Friday. We make popcorn and cram on the couch. Mila usually has a bottle and falls asleep mid-movie and it is something we look forward to all week! (If you don't do some version of that, try it!) On the weekends we are typically never home so we don't watch television. Buuuut we do stream Finding Dory on the iPad cuz traveling with kids is hard man! Mila isn't playing with apps (yet) but Ryan loved Endless Reader. It truthfully was the only app we had, but I know there are so many great ones out there. If you have any favorites, let me know!
Now before I start getting down on myself about all the screen time I let my kids have, I'll tell you this. Mila (and Ryan) typically like to play with toys, puzzles and Ryan's fav, side walk chalk over T.V. any day. My close friend has a daughter who absolutely adores movies. She said "sometimes my daughter just wants to relax with a movie and we fully support it" she then told me "she doesn’t really see T.V. as a “special treat” so she gets tired of it pretty easily and then runs off to do something else." When my friend said that I was like, yes! That makes sense. It was also then that I realized I needed to stop being so hard on myself. Who cares what I do, it matters only to us. All our situations are different and realistically they all make sense to us and how we want to raise our tiny humans.
I just wanted to level with you guys and come clean about how we do T.V. in our household. I'm striving to strip away that mom guilt we tend to make ourselves feel. I want you all to know I understand you, I support you and if you put on a movie at 2pm for your kids ... invite me and Mila over!