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

UPDATED: Oak Bay father takes stand, denies killing young daughters

Andrew Berry has plead not guilty to the December 2017 deaths of his two daughters

Relative of man found dead in Saanich says he was missing for years

RCMP and a private detective had been searching for him since 2012

Man who killed Langford teen attended her memorial service, demonstrates little remorse

Parole Board of Canada documents reveal factors in parole decision

Saanich Police warn of counterfeit money being used

Several fake $100 bills have been reported in Greater Victoria

Victoria police seek help finding ‘high risk’ missing woman

Brown, 30, is described as an Indigenous woman standing five feet, six inches tall, weighing 170 pounds

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

POLL: Should there be a ban on gas-powered leaf blowers?

We’ve all heard them, and most likely cursed them under our breath.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of Aug. 23

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

New study suggests autism overdiagnosed: Canadian expert

Laurent Mottron: ‘Autistic people we test now are less and less different than typical people’

Trans Mountain gives contractors 30 days to get workers, supplies ready for pipeline

Crown corporation believes the expansion project could be in service by mid-2022

Rosemount cooked diced chicken linked to listeria case in B.C.

The symptoms of listeria include vomiting, nausea, fever, muscle aches

B.C. seniors allowed more choice to stay in assisted living

Province doesn’t need to wait for a complaint to investigate care, Adrian Dix says

Retired B.C. fisherman wins record $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

Island manslaughter suspect found not guilty in Supreme Court

Court accepts accused’s argument of self-defence for 2017 incident in Courtenay

Most Read