So we need to get serious here on the blog for a minute – I want to discuss something that has been an “issue” lately and quite frankly, I want to clear the air in regards to how I personally feel about it.
Before I was a parent, there were SO many things that I swore I wouldn’t do when I had a child. I wouldn’t let her drink juice, no pacifiers after 2, never let her sleep in our bed and finally, I would significantly limit tablet use and screen time. After becoming a parent, I realize that I need to go back in time and knock some sense into my naive self!
Charlee just turned 2 and has been using an iPad since she was around 18 months. We used to save it for complete emergency meltdown situations such as a tantrum in Target or to enjoy playing games while on a long car ride to New Jersey. Now, it’s a bit of our morning ritual. As I type, she is planted on the couch next to me, wrapped up in her blanket and playing a Minnie Mouse puzzle game. Every morning, Charlee runs into the living room, asks for her morning smoothie and then requests the iPad. I personally love our quiet mornings as they are a nice way to ease into the day.
Recently, while grocery shopping at our local Kroger, I had a bit of a rude encounter with one of the cashiers in regards to Charlee watching YouTube Kids at checkout. It went a bit like this:
Cashier: “Oh no, look at her on her iPad (referring to Charlee watching Minnie Mouse quietly).”
Me: “Oh yeah, it’s kept her happy while I shop. ”
Cashier: (She laughs) – “We didn’t have those when I was a kid, we just played outside. ”
Me: “How does that apply to grocery shopping? Should I let her go play in the parking lot?”
Cashier: “I just meant we weren’t as lazy and technology obsessed.”
Me: “Do you have children?”
Annoying, right? Unsolicited parenting advice from someone who isn’t even a parent themselves is probably on my list of “Most Annoying Things Ever”. Why was it any of her business to comment on my parenting and more specifically, what I choose to allow my child to use/do?
Another incident was with a family member while we were out to lunch. Charlee had finished her food and was bordering on having a meltdown so my husband and I offered her the iPad to keep her busy. This would also allow for us to finish our meals without listening to a crying child, all while attempting to keep her seated in her highchair. We didn’t think anything of it until later, a text message from said family member explaining why they were in a bit of a cranky mood was caused by us allowing Charlee to use the iPad. Apparently, they didn’t agree with our parenting choice.
Did I mention that this family member doesn’t have kids EITHER?!
So this is me, on my soapbox, telling anyone who reads this to, quite frankly – HUSH. Hush with your unsolicited arguments as to why I’m creating a lazy and disengaged child. Hush with your parenting advice when you do not have children of your own. Hush with your judgements and rude comments.
Do I allow my child to sit on the iPad or in front of the television all day long? Absolutely not. For anyone who knows me personally knows that we are always on the go -whether it’s at the park, hiking the river, talking walks on the greenway, coloring with chalk in the driveway or painting a Minnie Mouse coffee cup at the local pottery studio. I shouldn’t have to justify my actions.
I’ll end with this: Mom guilt is a real thing, parenting is really hard and raising children is a constant work in progress.
(Oh and by the way, check out this video in regards to what to do with unsolicited advice!)