I’ve recently started watching Gilmore Girls for the first time (I know, I’m behind) and I’ve become completely fascinated with how Rory has if not one but numerous books with her so that she can read whenever there is a lull in her day. Sitting at the bus stop, in the hall at school, outside waiting for her best friend, even before meeting her date she will read a few pages before she is interrupted. And she is always interrupted, and she greets it with a smile.
So I’ve started doing the same, only, with one book. I tuck it into my purse and pull it out while either at the playground with my children, going through drive through for an afternoon pick-me-up, waiting in the car while one of my children nap, and especially at the end of the day before bedtime. It’s really relaxing and enjoyable!
This new way of living has made me become more aware of how much guilt and judgement there is around screens. If I’m at the playground and starting at my screen I feel a sense of guilt that I should be paying more attention to my child instead of at my phone. And I’m also wondering if other parents are judging me for doing this.
I remember reading an article a few years ago about a mom who gave herself such a hard time because she was staring at her phone so intently that she wasn’t able to save her child from harm and they ended up hurting themselves on the playground. She wrote a whole entire article about how our phones aren’t worth the time that our children need. There was a part of me that agreed, and sympathized with her, but also at the same time I shook my head.
When I would go to the playground or the pool when I was younger, my mom had one eye on me and another eye on something that she was interested in – either a book or a friend. And it was good. I hurt myself and would come crying to her, she would hug and kiss me until I felt better and then off I went, and she back to her activity. It wasn’t a big deal.
So I wonder why there is such guilt around screens that it’s making everyone anxious and judgey. Can’t we all just get along, enjoy whatever activity we bring to entertain us to our child’s activity whether it be a book, a phone/ipad, notebook or a colouring book. If it leaves you feeling good, then by all means, go for it.
Let’s lay the screen guilt aside and pay attention to what activity feels good for us for once.