When my first was born I had a dream. My dream was to not need a screen as a soother for my baby boy. I too went TV-less in my younger years. My parents sold their TV when we moved when I was 3, and we didn’t get another one until I was 14. Oh, how I hated my mother for getting rid of the TV. I was already addicted, and I bawled my little toddler eyes out with crocodile tears, but the TV didn’t come back.
When it finally made it’s triumphant return, it was an unbelievable miracle, and it was probably the shittiest TV ever, the tuning was fuzzy, and we only had rabbit ears, and two channels, but we loved it. Yup, that’s right folks… 2 CHANNELS. Well, it was really 1 channel, because there was always hockey playing (I’m Canadian, eh?) and then the second channel was full of old UK programming from the 70s, Coronation Street and some other gawd awful stuff that you couldn’t even get the Coro guys to watch. Oh and the news.. there was always news, Canadian news, so really boring stuff. This return of the TV is probably what fueled my love to become a Producer/Director for over 6 years and travel the world. Not a bad outcome for watching TV.
Fast forward to me giving birth to my second, having postpartum depression for the second time, clogged milk ducts every other week, which left me so low energy, low moral, I literally had to drag myself out of bed ever day. It was bad, and I still didn’t let me kids have screen time. Now at this point, you think, what’s the harm? The harm people, is the belief that screens are evil. How is it evil? We pick what we want to watch, and really we can create our own reality of what we see.
So months go by, and I still haven’t allowed screen time. The bills start piling up, when my husband moved jobs and we had to pay for healthcare again. I had to find a way to contribute more financially. I was able to bill 10-30 hours as an interior design consultant, and I would take any hours they would throw at me. I am so thankful for my career!
I’m a work at home, stay at home mom. So literally that means that I’m my own boss, assistant, maid, nurse, cook, nanny, chauffeur, activity planner, yoga teacher, keto meal planner; basically I’m my own bitch. I have about 15 minute a day where a might have time to take a shit without being interrupted. Today I used that time to write this article, so now I’ll be all confused when I’m feeling all bloated at dinner time.
We continued the regime of work overload for months, barely a few days break and then came late spring and finally hours cooled down, I did a 40 day Kundalini practice and then the time for “me” started. And I am thankful for screens. It allows my 3 ½ year old time to unwind in the afternoon (he hasn’t napped in quite a while), where as my 18 month old will either take a nap or play on his own fairly well for a couple of hours, broken up of course. And I came to this conclusion: TV did not ruin me. Screens will not ruin my kids, so shut up about it already. Why am I so damn hard about screen time? Why do a torture myself over it? I’m able to put on “educational” programs and my toddler doesn’t try to projectile toys into his little brother, and he sits quietly on the couch signing the music to “Guess how much I love you” in a perfect Aussie accent to the music.. what the fuck is wrong with that? We are working on the “we need to turn if off now” phase, and this is a strong lesson about letting go and moving on to something else.. WE ARE WORKING THRU IT, and believe me some days are great! And other days are just horrendous. But, at the end of the day, I CAN GET SOME WORK DONE. And believe me, if I don’t pull 20-30 hours a week there goes the whole thought of a vacation this year. Why? Because folks, it is too darn expensive in the country to raise children. You can’t live on a single salary alone, plus the additional health care costs make it impossible to even save for retirement. And we all know we have to save for that because Social Security won’t be around when we get there.
The other day I spent 4 HOURS filing out paperwork to see if we qualified for childcare assistance. That was like my whole morning, filling our all our personal details down to our DNA (not really but almost) and then two days later I get the email…. You are eligible for a subsidy of $7.39 a week for child care. WTF. I couldn’t believe I wasted 4 hours on that. The government of Vermont has a lovely little program that will assist in childcare costs for 10 hours a week. Sounds awesome doesn’t it? Well, it doesn’t work that way, all the places that are registered childcare day care providers have a minimum of 3 days a week, that’s 15 hours, so we’re on the hook for that extra day. I spent $30 filling out applications for financial assistance at a local school just to find out that they only subsidies up to 50% of the tuition, that still put us on the hook for $500/month. So the question was, do I save for retirement, or do I put my kid in preschool. The answer was clear. I’m just going to have to work my mother loving ass off for the next 5 years until both boys are able to go to public school, if it’s even around by then. We have started getting a babysitter for two hours a week. Yes, two hours, $20. That’s about all we can afford for the week. The price really adds up. But I want to be able to call her in a pinch if we have some kind of emergency.
So we come to the bottom line. I’m going to be like every other mom out there, who does it, feels shamed by it, and hopes no-one finds out you weren’t mindfully present with your children from when they wake their beautiful sleepy heads up at 6 am til that 9:30 PM bedtime. I don’t know about you, but after a day of trying to help two little people through their perils of life I am so burt out a 3pm, even I need a nap. So, feed the baby, put the toddler in front of the screen, and BAM!, 15 minutes of watching those sweet little eyes droop to closed and I’m able to get a couple hours of work in without too much interruption.
So yes folks. Let you kids watch screens. Do it for your sanity, do it for your body, do it for your mother fn work load, because you know, you can’t do it all, and life will suck every last drop out of you, and you don’t need the guilt hanging around your neck that screens are some kind of vilified babysitter from Elm street. Turn that shit on and watch the eyes glaze over. (kidding)