One of the biggest conflicts plaguing me as a mom today revolves around the media available to my kids. We have a DVD player in the car, three computers in the house, and a Wii. Experts will tell you these "luxuries" can eat away at the family dynamic and lead to attention problems in children. I say the lack of these items can eat away at my sanity and lead to a rather lethal form of PMS called Pissy Mom Syndrome.
The truth is I don't often abuse the engaging lure of disney.com or pbskids.org. I try to limit each child to half hour morning and afternoon sessions of computer time because some of the games they play are actually educational. The DVD player in the car is normally reserved for car trips above and beyond 30 minutes. The television is turned on for downtime or as a special treat before bed. There are certain circumstances, however, that warrant exception. These are including but not limited to:
1.) I waited till the last minute to clean the house for a play date and now need to frantically vacuum and hide the unfolded laundry to preserve at least a shred of dignity that will later be ripped from me when one of my kids screams at their friends or throws a punch over a toy disagreement.
2.) Hudson is so irritated with the world that he's declared he hates the planet and hisses like a cat at anyone who comes close. (This may also be an indication of hunger induced devil possession.)
3.) Hudson and Lawson are kicking and punching each other across the space between their car seats and no amount of my threatening their lives from the driver's seat reduces their animosity.
4.) Camden has torn through the house clapping his hands like a circus monkey screaming "Politoed" for the hundredth time and looked at me with a challenging gleam in his eye and whispered "Pikachu!" when I reprimanded him. (All of you Pokemon virgins who don't know what the heck I'm talking about may breathe a sigh of relief and count yourselves blessed.)
5.) Scout has climbed on top of the table and spilled whatever liquid she finds up there. Again.
6.) Daddy has been left in charge.
I completely agree there are times when I should shove my kids out the door to be "real boys" (like they're Pinocchio or something). But there are also times when it's hot as balls outside and I'm on the brink of heatstroke trying to play with them in the cul de sac in order to feel like a good mom. Yes, we all benefit from my neglecting my appearance and risking a backne breakout from sweating when I'm pitching the ball to my little sluggers. I love it, and it makes me feel happy and connected to them. They love it because Mommy is trying to hang with them on their level. But if the house is an abomination, and I've made them turn their underwear inside out in order to avoid washing their clothes, they need other outlets for entertainment while I get my act together. Legos and Trio blocks are saving graces for us, but don't think I'm afraid to mix a little Mario Cart into the repertoire.
You, my dear readers, may loathe the computer and Wii. You may be shaking your head in indignation and condemning me for using them to my advantage. These are just possibilities I'm going to have to learn to live with if I want to restore order to a crazy day or to give myself a break from all of the noise (and wrestling) in my life. Don't worry--the mom guilt will plague me as my penance, and I'll spend some time today studying up on Pokemon abilities and moves with Camden, building marshmallow toothpick animals with Hudson, letting Lawson explain the proper rubbing tag qualities to me, and reading Dora Goes to the Beach to Scout over and over. When they lay their sleepy little heads down on their pillows, I'll remind myself it's not a bad gig.