Saturday Morning TV – Good Parenting?

I now understand why there is Saturday morning television (okay – now it is Netflix versus Saturday morning cartoons when I was a kid).  Our kids come bounding into to our room this morning at 6:40am, letting us know that it was time to get up.  They crawl into bed next us and we hope for a snuggle.  They have other ideas in mind including playing games that involved burrowing down under our sheets and jumping on each other and us.  The solution so I could wake up slowly, have a lazy morning and enjoy my coffee-put them in front of Netflix for some Saturday morning television.  

Why do I sit here, in bed, drinking my coffee with parental guilt?  I should be relaxing, sippping my coffee and enjoying the few moments of peace and quiet before our crazy day filled with soccer games, bike riding, and house-packing commences.  Instead, guilt.  I should be out there, playing with my kids, reading them books, coming up with art projects.  Instead, I am allowing the television to act as my babysitter.  Good parenting, right?

I remember Saturday morning cartoons as a kid fondly though.  After a long week of school, playing with my friends and homework, waking up to watch some Saturday cartoons was something to look forward to.  Did it scar me?  No.  I recognize it is all about perspective.  Today, “screen time” is so prolific for our kids.  We try desprately to adhere to the no more than two hours a day, but in the land where we look at our iPhones and iPads for news, texting, reading a book, blogging and Facebook it is really hard to enforce.  Often times, what they do on our screens are play cool, educational games.  Is that bad?  or rationalization?

What is the balance?  The downside of it all is that television whether it be on Saturday or not, too much screen time makes our kids crazy.  At some point, they become whiny and demanding, wanting more.  We hold the line, and it becomes a battle that neither one of us want.  Jon and I look at each other and say, we have crossed the line. 

Anyone out there have the silver bullet?  If so, please share.  For now, I am laying in bed listening to the Octonauts in the background, blogging and drinking coffee. 

Creating a System

I am excited to report that after two weeks straight of Jon traveling, our new system seems to be working.  What a difference a year makes, and it is a good thing.

Last year (2013/2014 school year), both of our kids went into a great daycare/preschool for the first time.  For Katharine (our then 3 1/2 year old), it was her second year, and for Matthew (our then 16 month old) it was his first time in any kind of away from home child care.  We were super excited about getting both kids a spot in the school as there aren’t many to go around, but worried about balancing two busy work lives with daycare schedule.  Once we got through the drama of the first two weeks of Matthew’s adjustment to the school, we felt like we were settling in.  Oh, but we were wrong.  The next 8 months proceeded to be full of sick days, Jon traveling more than he ever had and me trying to hold on for dear life.  On the positive side, the kids absolutely loved the school and were growing so much every single day.

As the end of the school year approached last June, we were thrilled to be planning on a full-time nanny for the summer.  It felt like it was going to be a vacation.  Not rushing to get two kids out the door in the morning, not dealing with sick kid coverage and unplanned time off work.  We had a great summer but those brief 9 weeks between school years moved faster than I could have imaged.  As this school year began approaching and our fall travel schedules began to fill in, I started to freak out  I seriously didn’t think I could survive another year like last year.

Enter problem solving mode….we ended up deciding to build a system.  We hired a wonderful babysitter help with the kids.  She helps us both with the kids and doing odds and ends around our house including a weekly grocery store run.  We are two weeks in to our new system and I feel like I may survive.  That this small choice to get some help has built more sanity in my schedule than I ever could have believed.  The downside – guilt.  I feel like I am yet again outsourcing my life.  What is it about guilt?  It seems to haunt me despite the positive energy the system is helping me to build.  Another topic for another day….

For now, I am highly recommending a system.  It is helping to bring order to chaos and allowing my time with my kids to be as positive as possible.