“Will This Make My Life Easier RIGHT NOW?”

Wes is 6 years old and I often still carry him around. Mostly on my back, because he is 6, but still…I often provide him assistance in transportation and I’m pretty certain the rest of the world stops doing that for their kids around age 3 or 4.

I do this for several reasons.

1) He is whiny
2) He is slow

In my world, any parenting decision that makes the single moment before me easier, is a good decision. I sometimes look at the big picture or the long-term ramifications of my actions. But most of the time – when it comes to parenting – I’m thinking, “Will this make it easier? Then yes. Let’s do it.” So, if I’m in a hurry and he doesn’t want to walk? I carry him. Does this perpetuate his inability to walk on his own for short distances? Yes. But in THAT moment it makes my life easier and for parenting? That’s how I make decisions. Which is why I’m totally going to write a parenting book. Because I’m obviously THE BEST.

But…THIS technique is why my kids don’t really own any of the devices their friends own – like iPads or iPhone Touches.

Well, this reason and the fact that if I had 300-500 dollars to spend on something extra it would not be for THEM, it would be for ME – but still.

We don’t have screens like that in the house for them to play with. Why? Because I would stick it in front of their face ALL OF THE TIME. I don’t have a problem with screens, in moderation, but I would not moderate it. I would be annoyed with them and would basically MAKE them play it all the time. Just to make things easier. And yes, there are “good” games but those don’t usually make things easier. TEMPLE RUN MAKES THINGS EASIER.

photo (2)I remembered that this weekend when the kids were fighting over the Kindle because I put Temple Run on my phone and BAM! SILENCE. They could both play Temple Run on their own devices. And I finally got some peace and quiet.

But because we don’t typically have separate screens for them to play with (THANK GOD) we are “forced” to find “easier” solutions that are a little better for their brains. Lately – that has been card-playing. When we go to dinner the EASY decision would be to let them take devices so we could enjoy a quiet meal with adult conversation. But since they don’t have devices to take, they take cards.

Now..the PROPER parenting technique would probably be to try to teach them how to behave at meals in restaurants with just us. You know, conversations or whatever, but that is DIFFICULT and my parenting style relies on EASY.

So, we will put off that kind of purchase for as long as possible because it is a crutch I know I would use often and poorly. I recognize my own limits as a Mother and my need to constantly make things EASY no matter what long-term lessons it might teach? Means that I’d not be good at managing screen use WHATSOEVER.

6 thoughts on ““Will This Make My Life Easier RIGHT NOW?””

  1. When we go out somewhere, and all the kids at a neighboring table are immersed in their screens, my husband makes some disparaging comment about the state of the world in general, and I tell him that all those phones, games, ipads, etc are helping US enjoy our quesadillas and beergaritas in relative peace. He would swoon if he saw your kids immersed in cards, games, ie something palpable at the restaurant table, rather than a device. Because that’s how they did it in the 60s: you kept yourself entertained, and you were quiet, you know? Anyway, you’re doing a great job, and I bet a goodly number of curmudgeons like my husband admire you for this, even if they don’t say anything to you. For the record, my husband would go to your table and give you that very specific compliment, get to know both you and Donnie’s first and last names, and end it with shaking hands, slaps on the backs, and high-fives for the kids.

  2. I find it very admirable that your kids don’t have their faces in a screen all the time! Especially since we now have it in our school system for everyone!! Some friends and I were just discussing how you don’t see kids coloring at a resturant anymore. They always have a phone to play with. Cards are a great idea. Go Zoot!!!

  3. OMG–YES!!! I think I use the exact same parenting philosophy! I was especially that way with sleep–whatever it took to get my kids to go to bed NOW. To hell with long-term goals and ramifications. RIGHT NOW is how I get through my days. I love this. We don’t have devices for the kids, either, and wouldn’t let them play them in restaurants even if we did. We use playdough a lot. Cards are a great idea. I’m exactly like you! It’s hard enough limiting their TV time!

  4. When my first baby was born, my mom gave me one piece of advice : do what works until it doesn’t, then do something else. It is awesome you found something that works! We don’t even go out to eat because it is too overwhelming for me to think of enough things to keep my kids occupied and not disruptive for that amount of time.

  5. I applaud you immensely for not having them stare blankly at screens all the time. There are times I want to hide my husband’s phone in public so that HE can’t be staring at it constantly.

    As an only child, I had no choice when in public but to interact with my companions, or to read a book. I read a LOT of books. That being said, I see nothing wrong with them playing cards to entertain themselves in public. I’m sure those that sit near you agree.

  6. My husband is exactly like the previous commenter–grumpy at the state of the world and all these families out to eat and no one talking to each other, etc. I’m like you–whatever makes this exact moment easier is what I want. We also don’t have devices for the kids (ages 8 and 6). I mean, we have an old ipad that barely works and an old iphone with a cracked screen and both of our phones, so they have ACCESS to stuff and they play it as much as they possibly can get. But I am prone to letting them play way too much when husband isn’t around to point it out to me. It is depressing to think this whole next generation of people won’t be able to just sit. And look out a window. Or just sit and talk. Or just go for a walk without taking a selfie and posting it (hey, I’m as GUILTY AS ANYONE with all of this.) It scares me really. Cards are GREAT. I sure as hell hope cards don’t die out with this next generation!

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