Let the kids be kids
Sometimes, the irony of a moment amazes me.
Yesterday, I was busy cleaning around the house – you know, doing all the chores that seem to never end (dishes, laundry, and endless toy pickup). I walked past my son’s room and saw him lying in bed holding the iPad inches from his face. He looked happy and content as he swiped and pushed and tapped the glowing screen… Perfect. He was distracted and I was getting things done. Great. I’m being productive. Awesome. Another thing off the list. Wonderful.
But here’s my confession… it didn’t feel wonderful. Why!? Why was I immediately consumed with guilt? This was ridiculous. Irrational. Stupid. An over-reaction. A little screen time wasn’t going to hurt anyone. In fact, we, as adults, spend way more time on our phones, checking emails and scrolling social media throughout the day and we haven’t turned into zombie robots so why was I letting an hour of kidstube stress me out? If my sweet toddler tornado of a son hadn’t been consumed with the ipad, he would likely have been following my every move and every cleaned space with a new mess of toys and crumbs and chaos anyway. ‘This is a good thing!’, I reasoned with myself… Pull it together!
Still… instant mom guilt. Shame. Remorse. Worry. Stress. Guilt with a capital G.
“Sigh… I should really go play with him. I should get out a puzzle. Maybe we should do a craft or maybe I should just sneak up beside him and read him a story. Afterall, he looks comfortable where he is so maybe I’ll just snuggle in for some quality ‘mommy/son’ time with his favorite book. I should really wait to do the dishes until naptime anyway…”
…All the thoughts about all the things I SHOULD be doing instead of what I was already accomplishing and doing. I must’ve been lingering at his doorway a little too long contemplating and arguing with my inner self because all of the sudden, my son glanced up and met my gaze. He’s three years old. He looked across the room with his sweet brown eyes and without any prompt, this is what he said:
“Hi mommy. Thanks for letting me play on the ipad. I love my ipad. It’s my favorite.”.
I’m not kidding. Seriously, I can’t make this stuff up. It was as if he knew exactly what I was thinking and recognized my need for the reassurance that he was just fine.
Guys. Did you hear that? He was fine! In fact, he was having fun. And he was even grateful. He was appreciative. He was a smart, polite, happy, content little boy who was comfortable and having fun watching Captain America and Spiderman videos on youtube kids. And you know what else? He hadn’t even turned into a zombie robot!
My point? My ironic realization? Mommas, we are too hard on ourselves! We need to find ourselves some grace. We need to relax. We need to welcome the distraction and give ourselves permission to appreciate a little peace and quiet. We need to allow our kids be kids which means that sometimes they’ll go outside and get dirty or play and create with play-doh…. and other times, they’ll cuddle up with their kindles or ipads and have a little space to relax in front of a screen.
Stop being so hard on yourself.