Part Two: Technology and Tots
As a part of my technology series, I asked two others to share their views and discuss how they personally handle it in their homes.
My first guest is Ashley from The Stork & the Beanstalk. You may recall I did a guest post awhile back for her while she was recovering from back surgery. I really can’t say enough good things about Ashely. Her photography is nothing short of amazing and her wit and candor is truly refreshing. Now onto her thoughts regarding the “beast” that is technology.
My mom had a friend when I was growing up that didn’t allow her daughter to watch any TV. I don’t even think they owned a TV in their house. I thought it was weird. I was around 8 or 9 years old and considered Zack, from Saved By the Bell, very much a part of my life.
TV never ruled my life. I was an active kid and my attention span for sitting in front of the tube was limited. In fact, from about the time I was 8 until I was 16, I spent 4 hours a day at the gym. I was a competitive gymnast.
When I thought about becoming a parent, I thought a lot about how I would raise my children. I pictured myself as a carefree parent who was relaxed about things like nap times and schedules. Admittedly, I frowned upon parents who plopped their kids in front of an iPad at restaurants. I thought about my mom’s friend who didn’t allow her child to watch any TV and suddenly she didn’t seem so “weird”; I understood where she was coming from.
And then I became a parent and, well, I learned quickly not to judge and that – in real life – there are consequences for each parenting decision you make. Like if you chose to be relaxed about nap times, you must also be patient and accepting when your beautiful little child turns into a tantrum throwing monster because they’re tired. And now, when I see a child watching a show on an iPad at a restaurant, I don’t judge because I’ve been there and I understand the importance of having a last resort.
You see, I approach parenting now with the notion that we all do the best we can and the best we know how to do. All of us. Even if we do it differently.
My grandma reminds me often that most things in life are okay, in moderation. And this is how I approach technology. Sometimes I have to chose between locking myself in the bathroom and slowly plucking each strand of hair out of my head – one by one – or putting on an episode – or two – of Curious George and calling it a day. Because I lost a lot of hair postpartum, I chose the latter. It’s what I need to do, some days, to keep my sanity.
And I don’t feel bad about it. Like I said, I do my best; we all do our best. I don’t strive to be perfect because that would mean setting myself up for inevitable defeat. What I do do is make an effort, often, to spend time outdoors; we throw rocks, we collect sticks, we run away from crashing waves, we climb hills, we jump off park benches.
Unplugging isn’t only important for children; it’s important for all of us. The internet has (arguably, I suppose) made our lives much easier but regardless of all the things we can do online, sometimes I think it’s healthier to do things the old fashion way; like putting that good ol’ pen to paper and writing a letter and walking to the mail box to send it as opposed to writing an email. Or going to the mall or a thrift shop or whatever suits you as opposed to the isolated and tactile-less world of online shopping. Young or old, we all need moderation in our lives.