For the Mom Who Threatened to Take Away Screen Time and Now Has to Actually Do It

Damn it.

Your threats of taking away screen time did nothing to deter your preschooler from leaving their room “one more time” during quiet time. Now you actually have to follow through and take that screen time away after all.

Just why did, “If you come out of your room one more time you don’t get to watch anything on TV this afternoon” come out of your mouth anyway? It really was not your best idea, brain. You now have zero reprieve from the quiet time that was anything but and the long stretch of afternoon hours that often seem never-ending even with the promise of screen time.

This is also for the mom who threatened her toddler with, “if you throw one more rock we have to leave” at the park and then they did throw one more rock. I know you were at the park for less than a fraction of the time it took to get ready to go there (the pre-planning of packing up snacks and diapers the night before, negotiating over shoes, fights to both brush teeth and wear proper jackets) and now you have to leave because you said you would and good moms follow through on their word.

And let’s not forget you, mom who warned “if you can’t stop hitting we’re not getting ice cream tonight” and now not only are your kids not getting ice cream but now you aren’t getting any either. Unless you somehow manage to make an ice cream run after everyone is in bed but you’ll already be in sweatpants and the couch will be calling your name and ugh. It’s just not the same. A family visit to the local ice cream shop ruined over one last punch to the arm. You hope it was worth it.

This is also for you, siblings. I know you’re crying over the loss of screen time/leaving the park/lack of ice cream because one of you ruined it for all of you. I feel like crying, too, over those exact same things. It’s hard for me to tell you our day isn’t ruined when I also feel like it kind of actually is.

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But you’ll get through this day, all of you, I promise. I won’t promise that you won’t yell, cry, or otherwise feel angry and frustrated. But you’ll make it through, all the way to bedtime. You’ll get new chances tomorrow, every last one of you.

Lost screen time mom? I know all chance of self-care is basically out the window as your afternoon now involves entertaining kids with more energy than you really have to give. You’ll be cleaning up Play-doh, paint, crayons, and more dinosaur figures than you thought you owned in an attempt to get them interested in something, anything, just long enough to heat up your cup of coffee and sneak a Girl Scout cookie somewhere they won’t see.

Park mom? I know you wanted to stay. You put in the work to meet your friends, so not only have your kids lost out on the chance for playtime, but you lost out on your own social interaction for the day. It is so totally not fair. Your friends’ kids didn’t throw rocks. They didn’t have to leave. They still get to sit there with their coffees and their sunglasses and their bags full of Goldfish crackers and have an adult conversation. Sigh. Today it was you. Tomorrow it could be them. It’s small comfort in the moment, but I do promise they’re not judging you or your kid as much as you think they are. Not at all, actually. Kids throw rocks. It happens sometimes. Today it was yours and you stuck to your guns and your words and you left, and that is, in fact, truly admirable.

No ice cream mom? Ouch. I’m sorry. Ice cream is truly delicious and you’d been talking up this ice cream run to the kids all day. You’d think that would be enough to stop the hitting. Seriously, what gives? On the bright side, you’ve easily saved yourself $20 and don’t have to clean up multiple sets of sticky fingers, faces, and even hair. No ice cream still sucks but, hey, you do have beer in the fridge. You can toast in the dark, quiet, post-bedtime hours to surviving and being an adult and getting to drink a beer and stay up late watching a show or reading a book to recover from the day.

Tomorrow there may be screen time, or another playdate, or even an ice cream run to look forward to. Still. I know you have to live through the rest of the day right here and right now. So I’ll say it one more time:

Damn it.