Sounds of electronics filled the air as I happily chopped up some things to get dinner ready.
The doorbell rang and I froze.
Not even a moment later, I jumped into action by grabbing and hiding the Ipads away from two now unhappy children before I got to the door.
What kind of mother would anyone think I am if the minute we get home, my son and daughter are given electronics to entertain themselves?
Shhhhhhh. Don’t even say the word out loud. The judging parenting police will look at you funny and they cannot help themselves. Something will be said out loud. It will make you feel like any hope of that parenting award will never happen. Ever.
“My child doesn’t need those things. He can play with his toys.”
“It takes away from the imagination.” (Insert sigh here.)
“When you kids were little, we didn’t have those things.”
“You know…they say too much of that can really ruin a child’s brain and attention.”
“Does your pediatrician think this is okay?”
“When I have a child, I am going to keep her away from mindless things.”
My husband and I enjoy having people over to our home. Many of our friends do not have kids. Our belief is the world doesn’t have to revolve around our children just because they are the only ones in the mix of company. They get to visit for awhile and then, off they go to do their own thing. Many times, they will watch a show or get out the Ipad. They are safe and happy while we get some very much needed socializing.
And yet, I still feel the guilt or the need to explain myself.
Up until recently, I only worked afternoons. I would play all morning with my kids until it was time to drop them off at daycare. There, they would eat lunch, play outside, and participate in many activities. By the time we would get home around 5 or so, they just needed a break. My husband travels often and keeping them occupied is the key to getting so much done. Every parent and philosophy on this subject matter is different and so many of us are learning what works as we go.
I also always feel the need to point out what is entertaining them through the use of electronics. They are learning new vocabulary, how to do something, watching different experiences in other cultures, and just watching some crazy woman opening eggs and explaining the toys that come out. Recently, we have even let our 5 year old play some mindless video game but I won’t be sharing that out loud anytime soon. I don’t even want to think of the comments on that one. We also enjoy snuggling on the couch and watching movies together. The kids are excited about sharing those experiences with us.
One time, I couldn’t help myself. Someone I knew had posted the so called latest research about kids and electronics on social media. She took the position of not giving it to her child as long as possible. This woman was NOT EVEN pregnant yet! I knew some of the moms that were commenting and others that I didn’t know. Everyone weighed in with their thoughts. I watched it unfold and started to feel my guilt about how often I let my kids have access to electronics. Then realized, as parents, we need to try and stop feeling so much of that. It is so important for us to trust that we are making good choices for our kids as we see fit without people chiming in what they CHOOSE to do.
I took a deep breath and started to type, finally commenting…
“Our family travels a lot. When we are on a 3 hour airplane ride or an 8 hour car ride, the Ipad is our saving grace and the DVD player is starting to be as well. Also sometimes, parents just need a break and so do the kids.”
And what do you know…
A lot of people clicked the “like” button on my comment which could be only one thing.
I was not alone.