Mommy’s Inside Voice: TV is my dirty little secret

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a bi-weekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three

Amie Jay/Columnist

I have a secret. A dirty, filthy secret.

A secret more shameful than candy bribing my kids into taking cute photos together.

More shameful than the time that I publicly peed my pants while jumping on a trampoline. More shameful, even, than the fact that I now resort to wearing two pairs of Spanx anytime I get to “dress up.”

My dreadful secret? My kids watch a lot of TV.

I’ve read all of the studies. The ones shared in Facebook mom groups, listing all the reasons why screens are bad. The findings really are terrifying, guilt-inducing, and fear-feeding.

But these studies barely impact our rituals, doing nothing but increasing my mom guilt. I’ve even gone so far as to comment silly things at the bottom of posts, such as “limited screen time in our house too,” all the while speed flipping through the channels to find Dora so I can run off to scrub the counters before our playdate.

Mommy needs a shower? Paw Patrol. Mommy needs to cook dinner without hearing endless complaining about how gross it smells? Peppa Pig. Mommy and Daddy need some “alone time” in the laundry room? Daniel Tiger. Mommy is about to lose it if she hears one more minute of fighting? Story Bots.

Before I had kids I had this expectation of myself as a mother. Someone who spent the majority of her time on the floor, playing and interacting. Teaching and laughing. Going on outdoor expeditions to examine different bugs and rocks and moss.

READ MORE: Mommy’s Inside Voice

Yet here I am. Five years later, three little boys, a greasy ponytail and a mountain of laundry that doesn’t seem to diminish no matter how many loads I do.

Sure, we get outside. We examine bugs, climb trees and do all of that lovely stuff, but it’s more of a struggle than I had imagined.

Sure, we snuggle and laugh and read books and build castles … but not as often as I’d like.

I worry and I obsess over the amount of screen time they get. I berate myself for it, hating that I just can’t manage the workload without TV. I hide it from my friends and I get grumpy with my husband when he brings it up.

But I’m ready to let go of this shameful secret for one reason. It shouldn’t be shameful.

This is what my life looks like. This is how I get by. I’m doing my best. I’m in the thick of it. Still in the thick of postpartum – yes, even two years later. The thick of terrible twos, tiresome threes and the fearsome fours.

I’m struggling to get through the day to day, to cook healthy meals, have a clean living space and presentable clothes, a happy husband, flourishing businesses, answered emails, maintained friendships, and entertained children.

It’s basically an impossible task for anyone who wants to hold on to their sanity.

So for right now, I’m enlisting the help of Netflix and iPad. And pretty much any piece of plastic, glass, metal, wood, rubber or even stardust that will hold my kids’ attention for longer than three minutes so I can tackle some of the other tasks on my ‘mommy plate.’

One day, when the destructive hands turn a little more helpful, or my energy levels rise, the screens will stay black.

The running shoes will be worn for more than errands and the learning journals will be used for more than scribbling and stickers.

One day the chaos will slow, just a bit, and day to day survival will look different.

Until then, I’m going to give myself a little bit of grace.

Now excuse me, I’ve got to go press play again because apparently Netflix can’t believe they’re still watching The Magic School Bus.

Mommy’s Inside Voice is a bi-weekly column by Amie Jay, a local mother of three.

Just Posted

Royal Roads University to host a Black History Month panel

Four speakers will discuss being of African heritage in B.C.

VIDEO: Friday night fire outside Saanich Staples

Witness says two employees helped put out blaze

Victoria non-profit empowers women escaping abusive homes with a fresh start

Organization’s gift certificate program helped around 400 women last year

VIDEO: Royal Bay Secondary students take flight in ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’

Play tells the story of the orphan who becomes Peter Pan

Volunteers begin work on memorial garden for former Metchosin counsellor

Garden a fitting tribute to Moralea Milne, a champion of Garry oak ecosystems

VIDEO: Iconic ‘snow cone’ takes shape at B.C. park near Clearwater

Snow cone forming at Wells Gray Provincial Park one that would make Disney’s Queen Elsa proud

POLL: Will you be wearing pink to take a stand against bullying?

Schools and workplaces across Greater Victoria and around the province will be… Continue reading

Pink Shirt Day a reminder to ‘T.H.I.N.K.’ before posting on social media

‘Be Kind’ message on shirts sold for anti-bullying activities of Wednesday, Feb. 27

A ‘warm embrace’ for grieving parents at funeral of seven young fire victims

Mourners offered love and support to Kawthar Barho, mother of seven children

Indigenous leaders, politicians say Trans Mountain report flawed

The National Energy Board has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline a second time

UPDATE: Reports of rashes prompt closure of all Harrison Hot Springs pools

Public pool available after Fraser Health shut down all five mineral pools until further notice

Legislation to protect B.C. farmland comes into effect

Regulations enhance food security, encourage long-term farming

Have you heard the legend of Shuswaggi, the Shuswap Lake monster?

Witness accounts as old as 1904, and as recent as 2018, place a creature in the lake’s depths

UPDATE: B.C. ticket holder winner of $25.9-million Lotto Max jackpot

Next draw set for Mar. 1 with an estimated jackpot of $10 million

Most Read