I have a frenemy. Her name is television. I also have tenuous relationships with her close relatives video games, computer, and iPhone. And like any good frenemy some days are great: she offers just enough distraction for me to achieve whatever household chore is next on my list.
And then there are the other days: when her looming presence alone brings out the whines in the smalls. Choruses of “can I watch tv” echo through the house. And let’s not even bring up the programming hassles, the questionable commercials, the reactions to lots of visual input with no corresponding physical activity.
I don’t know how it is in your social circles, but in mine television (and all her relatives) are used to judge parenting abilities. It started when the first child was a baby.
Oh, we (parent and child) don’t watch ANY television.
Oh, we only watch 30 minutes a day. Of educational programming.
Oh, we only have the tv on during quiet time since he gave up naps.
Oh, we don’t play video games.
Oh, we only play video games on the weekends.
AAHHH….the blasted TV, computer, or video games are on ALL THE TIME AND I FEEL SUCH SHAME ABOUT IT.
Or something like that.
So my frenemy and I have this dance we dance. She lures me in and I think “she’s all right”. And then I look around and my kids have been sitting on the couch for four hours. Even the baby has a slack jaw as she stares. So I boot out my frenemy and as she leaves I know what she’s thinking:
Good-bye. I’ll see you tomorrow.