I am by no means a perfect mom. If anything, I probably embrace the hot mess mom mentality to an extreme. In my eyes, parenting (or just life generally) is a series a battles. To win the war, you gotta know which battles to pick. And I gave up the high ground on screen time long ago. Yes, I know - I'm terrible. Go on, clutch your pearls. Past Amanda is right there with you.
When I'm wrong, I'm wrong. And I think this is one of those moments to admit I misjudged and take the time to course correct. It's summertime, and generally beautiful be outside. Today in particular is stunning - a perfect 77 degrees with cloud cover and a light breeze. But this morning after breakfast, Shep started in on a tantrum. He was begging to watch trucks on the TV (YouTube videos of animated trucks), which I let him do during the week because I need free hands to write/cook/clean/function. Yes, because it's easier for me.
But every moment he spends watching trucks on TV is a moment he isn't reading (or being read to), where he isn't exploring nature or a playground or meeting new friends. It's a step toward a sedentary life - one that has become the norm since technology became the world's M.O. Even though I had a family computer in my home at age 8, I still spent most of my own off time outdoors or reading. Until college, I was really quite fit and active - hiking and dancing in show choir, running track. My hope is that Shep develops the same love of nature, the same drive to go until he can't stop. I'd like to encourage Shep to use his curiosity to discover the world around him, instead of passively observing it from the couch.
So I was wrong. This is a hill I want to die on - this is one of my battles. I'm not sure I know how to go about winning it But I know now I have to fight. It's not just this morning's temper tantrum that has me concerned. When Shep watches TV, he goes glassy-eyed. Normally he's fairly observant or attentive - when it's "Truck Time" he doesn't respond or even acknowledge that I called his name. Pretty sure if I listened closely, I could hear the synapses in his brain slowly dying off.
My beloved Mister Rogers saw animated television as far less substantive than what we'd ideally like to bless our kids with. Since there are no real people, or nothing we see in reality, are our kids connecting the moral of the story to the real world? Am I teaching them to expect the world to work like cartoons do? Or maybe more importantly: is there something more fulfilling I could be watching with our kids (if I still want them to have screen time)? Of course, the answer is yes. There are a million more enriching activities than watching a show on TV. If I can wean my kid off of screen time, I might as well wean myself while I'm at it. After all, I could be *learning* something....instead of watching Grey's for the third time.