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The Morning of No iPad and Television

Alright, friends.  Story time.

Last week I had a couple of separate conversations with a couple of different people (a friend and my husband) on the topic of screen time.  Now if I’m being perfectly honest, my kids are staring at screens way more than I’d like.  Like… a lot.  And yes, I’ve read the studies and I’ve skimmed read the books.  I know they should be playing with a scrap of felt and having the best time of their life using their imagination and that basically if they watch too much television or play iPad too much then I’ve ruined them for life and I’m the worst.  Really, the studies said that.

And I can really tell you that no, I don’t want to be that mom, but the truth is… I am!  I just am.  My kid wakes me up every blessed day at 6 am and wants the iPad.  And I do not have the strength to argue him then.  And what am I supposed to say to the next child arises… no, you can’t have a turn?  Why don’t you read a book, or write a story or play with the million toys you have?  Here’s a piece of felt, let’s see what you can come up with?  Okay, I could probably say that but come on have some empathy here, it’s 6 am!

And then later, I’m trying to do some formal lessons with Eva and the boys are just fighting fighting fighting and all I want is some peace!  So sue me if they go watch a TV show or play iPad or computer some more… everything is suuuuuper educational these days because everyone knows that early learning experiences are suuuuuper important.

So anyway.  I admit it.  I let my kids watch too much TV and play too much iPad.  I don’t like it.  But at this point in my life, I am literally not strong enough to change it.  I would rather let them stare at a screen than have me scream at them because I’m literally about to pull the very hairs out of my very head.  Judge me if you want, but someday I hope you learn some empathy.20140504-001118.jpg

So the other day, after these conversations and after some googling about how to rid your kids of their screen addiction (for which I admit, I am responsible) I decided that’s it!  They are going to PLAY.  They are not getting screen time.  And it really was going pretty well.  I was feeling a bit sweaty as I tried to educate my daughter and the boys kept fighting and screaming and interrupting and I just kept trying my best and praying a lot and trying to stay calm and loving and help redirect the boys and I was just trying so hard to do everything “right” but everything just kept on escalating and before I knew it, I found myself ugly crying out on my covered deck in the pouring rain and wondering why I ever thought it was a good idea to become a mother because I literally cannot do it!

I stayed on my little time-out for a while and then I came back in, flipped on the television for the kids and guess what happened… they sat.  And they were quiet.  And I thought about how much I loved them.  And how I could do this.  I could do it.  I can do it, if they just sit still and keep quiet for a little while longer.

I started thinking about how I’m a Christian and I should be transformed, I should be a new person, I should be displaying some fruit of the spirit here — HELLO, like, where is my patience in times like this?  (Seriously, I’m wondering… could you tell me?)  I feel like the worst.  I’m probably the least patient mom I know, at least publicly, and let me tell you, I know I’m impatient and I’m not proud of it.

But then I remember this little gem, that one little verse about how God’s power is made perfect in our weakness.  Usually I think about all the perfect moms out there and how I think wow, they are so much more spiritual than me because they are so kind and gentle and obviously filled with the Spirit of God.  And naturally, their children are going to be perfect too and have a perfect relationship with God until BAM — I remember that little verse I just mentioned.  Oh yeah, I don’t have to be perfect and actually God’s power is made perfect in my weakness and yes I’m going to fail my kids but guess what, I’m actually doing them a service because now they aren’t ever gonna be perfect either and now God’s power can be made perfect in them too!  And so guess what because I screw up a lot, I’m doing some pretty spiritual work, even more spiritual-er than if I was doing everything perfect because if they end up too perfect God won’t even be able to work with them, they won’t even need him!  My crappy parenting is causing them to need Him even more — how great is that!?

So in the end, I feel pretty darn good about how much screen time my kids have.

 

(Disclaimer — most of this is sarcasm, and no I’m not proud of how much screen time my kids have but sometimes transformation is slow and I think God is really teaching me a lot of hands-on lessons in patience and I’m gonna get there someday, friends, I reallllllly am and I’m gonna be the most patient-est and be able to handle the world someday.  But for now, I’m in survival mode and just trying to make my kids feel loved and not yelled at allthetime… so please just give me some grace and help me along here.)

Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms out there — whether you’re thriving or surviving!

 

May 9, 2014 - 9:40 am Ruth - So to make you feel better about screen time, I have just now turned off the cable for the Sumer. Rachel is five and it is hardest on her ( and me) because she is up early waking me up and I am no morning person. I also admired you homeschooling with two little ones. I know that isn't easy. Don't worry so much about studies and what the books say. I was a TV kid growing up and yet I still played, read, coloured and had a productive life so far. Sometimes it is about surviving those toddler years. Oh and I just heard this about patience and loved it " God doesn't give us patience when life is calm, it comes in the storms so we can make it through in order to see His blessings during that time." Glad you were able to see and learn what God is teaching too.

May 9, 2014 - 3:13 pm chelsey - Thanks, Ruth. I agree, I watched a lot of TV as a kid and had one in my room but still spent a ton of time playing and being creative as well. And we are totally still in survival mode. Someday we will be more in the thriving mode, but for now I am giving myself permission to not do it perfectly. I love my kids and they are going to be ok :)

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