Tag Archives: working moms are still moms

Monday Mom Confessions: The TV Edition

13 Apr

“It’s impossible to do everything right all the time.  Admitting that is freeing – and it’s also encouraging to other moms in the midst of intense seasons.”

~ Kristina Slaney; FamilyWorkLife.com

You’ve heard it a thousand times; “you’re a bad parent if your child watches TV before they’re 2 years old.”

I call bullshit.

If my son didn’t start watching TV before he was 2, I would still be un-showered, un-kept, and totally disheveled. Did I mention that I also have a full time job? I don’t think they would appreciate the “homeless” version of myself that I would have been, if I didn’t introduce the TV to my son at an earlier age.

Let me back up.

I started out completely against screens before 2. Then, my son recognized Elmo and I had no idea how. I had never shown him the crazy red muppet and somehow, Elmo was his buddy, his pal. My early talker (late walker), requested this “lovable monster” so many times a day… So I caved and turned on Sesame Street. He squealed with delight.

After a few minutes, I turned it off, because I felt the motion of the show was too fast for him still. He cried and cried. Sorry, buddy.

Showering pre-TV: 

Before the introduction of TV, my son sat in the bathroom with me every day while I showered. I would haul his high chair into the bathroom, load him up with books and a snack, get in the shower and leave the door open. I spent my showers freezing my butt off as the cold air hit my warming skin under the hot water. But, I did this every day from the time I went back to work, at 14 weeks post partum, until he was 15 months old, and learned to walk. No longer did he want to sit in his high chair and read books. My showers got shorter and colder and more stressful, resulting in days of “oops, I forgot to rinse the conditioner out!” and “I’ll never shave my legs again” and “did I actually use soap today?”  I would literally cram a shower into 1.5 minutes, trying to stop him from climbing out of his highchair the whole time.

I had to do something. I need about 10 minutes to shower in the morning. 20 if I want to get completely ready for the day (no more makeup or hair drying for me at this point). So, I introduced him to the TV and he loved it (duh).

We were very selective on the shows we let him watch and timed everything in a borderline obsessive manner.

We looked for “slow animation” shows that weren’t totally brain destroying and things that would occupy his senses without overly stimulating them.

Here’s our list of first shows:

  1. Turtle Tales: Sammy’s Adventures: This is a great movie about humans rotting the earth/water for sea animals, as told my an old man turtle (Sammy), as he relives his adventures with his best friend, Ray. The story is sweet, the music is good, but the animation is SLOW and mostly takes place under water, so it has that delayed movement feel to it. This is still a favorite movie for Remy, except now, he screams “SHARK!!!! SWIM AWAY SAMMY!!!!” as he watches it. This is available on Netflix or to download on iTunes, if you need it on an iPad for travel purposes.
  2. Jonathan Bird’s Blue World – Turtles: A common theme, Remy loves turtles. All of the Blue World TV shows are awesome, educational and beautifully shot. Remy calls Jonathan Bird, “Rocka Bird” and knows more about turtle life (including their mating and egg laying/hatching) than I knew at 37 when we first discovered the show. Another favorite episode is “Sully the Pilot Whale“. There are a ton of other videos here as well: Rocka Bird on the Youtubes. A nice thing about this, is that it’s YouTube based, so you can watch it on any device you own.
  3. Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood : The Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood legacy continues with this cute little animated tiger, named Daniel. Every episode has a “lesson” and a cute little 1 line song to go along with it (songs like, “Keep trying, you’ll get be-et-ter!” will be used in our house for as long as it takes Remy to continue to try to do something himself, instead of always asking one of us to do it for him). Super slow animation and really sweet nostalgia as you hear the theme song, “It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood” play. Available on Netflix, PBS Kids App (if you don’t have it yet, you need it), and the PBS Kids channel on Roku/AppeTV.

So, there you have it.

Now, at slightly over 2, my son knows how to use a remote control, knows how to sit and watch a show and yes, my showers are longer and better, and I can actually “park him” when I need a break, or need to do the dishes without him wanting to be picked up or played with. He watches several other things now too, like Dora the Explorer and The Cat in the Hat, among others. Sometimes I even let him watch TV on an app on my phone, while we snuggle away the early morning hours, when my pregnant booty needs just a few more minutes of sleep!

Mama needs a break sometimes and this is our way of ensuring his safety, while making sure I can still function/don’t smell bad.

Fighting the Working Mom Blues

23 Sep
Of course, this picture is fuzzy because I didn't take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son's first real life encounter with his beloved "Turler".

Of course this picture is fuzzy, because I didn’t take it. Daycare took it and sent me my son’s first real life encounter with his beloved and most favorite animal, the “Turler”.

Some days are just blue. You think about what your kid is doing, while sitting at your desk miles away from them, then when you do see them, they have learned a new skill, or set of words, or trick, that you weren’t there to experience with them. Or, you get a fuzzy picture from the daycare’s owner, of his first time touching a turtle, and you weren’t there. BLUE, I tell ya. Just blue… or grey.

All of the “I’m being a good example to him by working to support our family” condolences are sweet, but some days, I just wish I could sit on the couch with him all day, with no outside responsibilities. Or, go to the park, or throw him in the stroller and go for a late morning walk (like all the moms I see on my route between daycare and the office), go to the beach when it’s not packed, go to a toddler gym class, music class or swim class at 11:00AM on a Tuesday (you get the idea), but that is just not the case. Four to five days a week, he’s in “school” from 9-5 while I work, giving us a mere 2-3 days a week to spend time together. That is a hard pill to swallow. I’m not one of those moms who just “can’t give up their career”, or “wouldn’t be happy being at home all day”… I work to keep our family fed.

I’m not delusional either. I don’t think that staying at home is easier, and somehow that makes spending time with my kid/at home more enticing. That’s exactly opposite of what I think. There’s nothing about mothering that’s easier than being in my office all day. When I’m at work, I’m able to drink what I want, eat what I want, sit down to lunch like a human and actually eat my food while carrying on an uninterrupted conversation, pee by myself… there are a lot of perks to having the ability to go to work, but not one of those perks can replace the joy of witnessing my son smile so big at something new he’s discovered, or attempt to say new words (we’re currently working on making sentences I can understand. Today he said “more jelly” and I about burst). And yet, it’s a necessity. A necessity that comes with enormous sacrifices, and sometimes, those sacrifices leave me blue.

I’ve often said the words “I hate that someone else is raising my child, while I’m at work” and continued down the big blue hole.

While researching some mom blogs about how to make dinner prep time easier when you get home late and still want to salvage those precious 2 hours between getting off of work and bedtime, I found the encouragement I needed to continue on as a working mom, reset my understanding of my position in life, and leave some of the blue behind me.

You see, until now, I’ve been a huge part of the perspective problem. I’ve convinced myself that I’m doing something wrong by being gone all day, and letting someone else “raise my baby”, but that’s just not true!

NO ONE ELSE IS RAISING MY KID FOR ME. I AM. 

Our daycare teachers are not raising Remy for us. Not even when we had an in-home nanny, was someone else “raising” my kid for me. My husband and I raise our child. Together. Everyone else is paid to care for him in our absence while we’re at work, but like hell is anyone else actually raising our son for us. Last I checked, it was me he nursed from (still, at 19 months old), me who wakes up with him every morning and holds him as he goes to sleep at night. It’s my husband and I who feed him and wake up with him in the middle of the night. It was my husband and my bodies that made him, and my body that carried him for 38 weeks. We are the ones planning and scheduling and loving and caring for and holding and everything… except for a few hours a day, when our bodies are further away, but our minds… our minds and hearts are never absent. We rely on our amazing daycare for daily help, but that’s it.

We are the ones who determine how he will be raised and the ones whose hands, arms, minds, and hearts do all the work to accomplish that.

So, here I am… I initially started this post as a sad post about missing my son all day, and though I still am sad about missing him, and not getting to spend the time with him that I wish I could, I’m NOT sad because I feel like someone else is “raising him”, and I am not.

Thank you Kerry and Kristina for your words of wisdom and understanding, while also helping to remove some of my massive mom guilt. Thank you for helping me understand that I’m the mom, and that the absence of being at work, doesn’t replace me or trump me as a parent. Thank you for going the road before me and for helping me through… Thank you for helping me see a positive and honest perspective on our situation. Thank you.

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