20 Minutes of Freedom, or Why I’m OK with Screen Time

Most of the shows my son likes to watch last about 20 minutes. He gets bored pretty quickly and will usually watch just one episode before yelling “The end!” And turning it off.

For a mom with a toddler that doesn’t nap, those 20 minutes are incredibly valuable. I can use this time to take a shower, fold laundry without it being unfolded and strewn about or get on the computer and work on a blog post without interruption. So to me, screen time is a magical gift, the proverbial electronic babysitter, where I know exactly where he will be and what he’s doing for at least 20 minutes.

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PAW Patrol and snuggles

The other benefit, if I’m not running around trying to get things done, is often screen time  = snuggle time! I’ll watch PAW Patrol for the millionth time if it means a few moments of cuddle time, snuggled up quietly on the couch. My son rarely sits still so it’s a treat for me and totally counts as quality time.

It also helps me to get to know the characters so I know what he’s talking about. (and he’s ALWAYS talking) Then we have conversations about the shows he watches.

I think because I don’t restrict his screen time, he doesn’t feel the need to watch it to excess. It always seems like kids who aren’t allowed to watch TV are the ones that will watch it any chance they get. Of course, if he started watching it hours at a time I’d have to regulate.

OK at first I’d be like, “Woohoo! Let’s get some laundry done and check my e-mail!

And then at some point the mom chip kicks in and I would think, “Hmmmmm I should probably go check on my little TV zombie.”

And to be honest right now I’m kind of fantasizing about him actually being quiet and sitting still for an hour.

But that’s not my life. It’s loud, messy, noisy and hectic. And I have TV to thank for being able to get things done, 20 minutes at a time.

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P.S.- **ATTN Jacksonville Area Readers!!! FREE ticket giveaway on my Facebook page right now! Just click the post below for details on entering to win 4 Free Tickets to see PAW Patrol Live!

My Top 5 Daily #MomFail Moments

momfail1Every day starts off with grand intentions. He’s going to eat all his breakfast! Then we brush teeth! Serious potty training starts now! Then it takes about two minutes into the morning for it to all go to hell and I’m giving the kid M&Ms for breakfast just so I can sit for a minute and have a cup of coffee without being harassed. So here’s my list of my top five “Mom Fails” that happen on an almost daily basis:

1) Tooth Brushing He hates it so much that I usually have to straddle him, pin his arms down and then brush all the teeth I can get to as quickly as possible. We just had his first dentist visit recently and coincidentally, they actually recommended the pinning them down method! I guess that’s a Mom win after all.

2) His Hair – The kid needs a haircut. I sent him to pre-school this morning looking like a toddler Einstein, and not in good way. I even tried applying a hair smoothing product and it refused to do anything but stick straight up.

3) The Bribery – I know I’m setting myself up for failure here, but I usually get him a toy at the grocery store or candy at the checkout line. I can almost enjoy our grocery store outings this way. But he expects it now. In fact, he asks to go to the grocery store all the time because he thinks it’s a magical place of new cars and chocolate.

4) The Food – He would exclusively eat M&M’s and fruit gummies if given the opportunity, so I’ll do anything to get him to eat solid food. Hotdogs for breakfast? Sure. A fried egg and peanut butter from the jar for dinner? Yep that’s happened. These are obviously not the best choices, but all my efforts at good wholesome meals end up on the floor so I figure I’ll just at least feed him some something he will eat.

5) My Restaurant TacticsTaking a toddler out to dinner is a unique form of torture. In an effort to not just stuff my face while trying to keep him from escaping, I will let him do whatever keeps him quiet within reason. Last night he entertained himself by sticking his straw in my margarita, then licking it. Don’t get judgy, it was mostly just lime flavored ice. He also likes to lick all the tortilla chips and then put them back. That’s why he gets his own bowl of chips now.

So are of these really fails? No, I’m pretty sure they’re necessary survival tactics for parenting. (Though we could use some improvement on the dental hygiene angle.) I think a lot of parents will look at this list and be like, been there, done that. So what’s your #MomFail #MakingItWork moments?

Raising Darth Vader

darth vader babyEver get worried that you’re raising a future Darth Vader? Or even worse, a Kylo Ren? Sure, we all go through our villain moments, but I’m still on the good side and have hopes of raising a sweet little super hero. So tonight in the bath, that sweet little future hero turns to me, lowers his voice dramatically and says, “I’m a bad guy and I’m going to shoot you.” Then pics up his toy boat, points it as me and goes “Pew, pew, pew, I shot you with my boat.”

W. T. F.

Where is he getting this from? I suspect his dad, who thinks he can watch anything on TV and not have a toddler absorb it all. In fact, I just texted him to ask if he had The Punisher on before he put him to bed last night. Because I find it odd that I get to go on one Mom’s Night Out and come home to a boat gun wielding baby. Moments later he started demanding an actual gun and was very disappointed to hear guns were not allowed in the tub. (Husband texted back, blames it all on YouTube)

This new fascination with the dark side doesn’t stop at tub theatrics. Yesterday at the park another kid was growling at him (it happens) and he thought it was the most fun thing ever because there was a “bad guy” to play with. He talked about him all the way home.

I know they all go through phases and it’s just a new thing he’s learning, but sometimes I feel ill-equipped to get through some of these parenting challenges and I get a little anxious. I start thinking about the monumental responsibility I have to help this little child grow into a good adult. I mean, nobody wants a future Kylo Ren. (at least, probably not the dads 😆)

So here’s to good parenting and the best intentions to raise children on the side of the light.  May the Force be with us, always.

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Being a parent made me a big liar

JulMol_memeI feel like I’m an honest person. Or, at least, I was until I had a child. Now we can’t play with the skateboard “because it’s resting,” the playground was closed today for some strange reason and we are Seriously all out of cookies.

This is just the tip of my iceberg of my lies from today.

I’m starting to wonder, what will I do when he begins to question me? Will I break? Will I become an evil mastermind of toddler manipulation? I’m optimistically leaning toward evil mastermind.

I’m only looking out for his best interests. He was getting crazy with the skateboard, it was freezing cold out today and the kid does NOT need any more sweets. It’s a bit of a crutch to get creative with the truth instead of face a full-on meltdown toddler tantrum of massive proportions, but sometimes it’s all you can do to get through the day.

I know I’ll have to face the truth some day. But today, I got away with it… bwahahahahaha (that’s my diabolical evil laugh)

So, fellow Moms (and dads) what little lies have you told your children today? Come on, fess up.

 

And now I know why they do that…

If you like to skip to the end for the answers, it’s because they’re kids. And no matter what my mother says, they are all little monsters at times. It’s possible my mom got off easy and I was actually the quiet little well-behaved angel she describes. But she set the bar pretty high with the way I judged children. And of course now every one of those judgements is flying back in my face as complete crap while I watch my son run from room to room squealing and whacking things with a stick.

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That time our friends came to visit and their two sons managed to disable our TV remote, break a wine glass and grab our toothbrushes of the counter? I get it.

That kid I saw dragged off the playground today screaming at the top of his lungs? Been there.

Also that time I just couldn’t understand why our 4 year old cousin grabbed a hurling stick and just started bashing it on the ground until it busted? Well I have seen that reenacted right here at home.

So all these “awful” things that had me horrified about these unmanageable crazy children…well now I realize they were just being children. And every time I realize that, I feel a little sheepish for my previously uninformed judgements. I don’t even question the crazy anymore. I understand now it’s just some childhood instinct that kicks in and they act insane. I also understand that it is just going to keep happening no matter how “good” anyone’s parenting skills might be.

Because they’re kids. And That’s why they do that.

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