I’ve been full of self-doubt recently, plagued by recurring thoughts along the lines of “you’re not engaging in enough stimulating activities with Molly”, and “she’s spending way too much time on the iPad”. A lot of this is down to my Pure OCD, but also the dreaded mum-guilt has been awoken and stuck her claws well and truly in.
I became a bit of a lazy parent during the summer holidays. In the absence of nursery, any family nearby to help with childcare, shitty weather and not being a millionaire, I struggled to entertain my three year old daughter every day for six weeks. I was just so knackered to be honest.
Don’t get me wrong, we have had quite a good summer and been on loads of day-trips etc, but any home based activities have gone out of the window. Her ‘doodle drawers’ havent been opened in ages, and I literally can’t remember the last time we got the paints out. Her play-doh has all gone hard, and the jigsaws are gathering dust. Molly has become obsessed with the dreaded iPad, and I’ll admit here and now that I’ve given in to her.
She’s not on it all day by any means, as I make sure we go out every day, even if it’s just round the supermarket. However, when I’m working out in the morning (at home, I can’t afford a gym), working, need to get housework done, or when I am absolutely exhausted by mid afternoon and just need to sit down, the iPad has become a life saver. I’ve justified it by thinking she’s playing educational games on there, but the majority of the time she’s just watching bloody ‘Ryan’s Toy Review’ on YouTube Kids.
The problem now is, she wants it all the time and screams when I take it off her. She is well and truly addicted. It hit home the other day when we found an old jigsaw puzzle she used to do in seconds when she was younger, and she struggled to complete it. That’s when I knew that I had to put a stop to it.
So today I let her have the iPad for an hour in the morning while I worked out, before asking her what activities she would like to do at home with mummy (her little face actually lit up – mum guilt accelerated to 100mph). We completed a Peppa Pig sticker activity book, got all her instruments out and danced to music and then built things with Stickle Bricks. I was surprised at how much I enjoyed it, and then I felt even guiltier for getting into such a rut.
Being a stay at home mum and running my own business with a partner who works crazy shifts means everything domestic-related is down to me. So while I’m busy with cleaning, cooking, shopping, appointments, admin etc, there is a little girl who is growing and learning so quickly and needs my guidance and input. It’s so easy to let things slip.
I’ve never had a three year old before, and have no idea what kind of things I should be doing with her at home to aid her development (I’m aware I can find a million ideas on Pinterest, but I still have no clue how it works). I take my cues from her, and lately she’s been really interested in her family and where people live in the world. I’ve bought her a children’s atlas and will be sitting down and going through it together.
I also found this on Facebook which I thought was great:
So here’s the plan:
- Limit iPad time to one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening
- Research preschool activities
- Plan daily activities with Molly and let her choose which ones she wants to do
- Buy a planner and hang it up where she can see it
- Turn TV off and listen to more music
- Get out old puzzles/jigsaws/games
She’s started nursery again for 15 hours (Monday afternoon and all day on Friday), and I’m also going to book her in for some swimming lessons.
There’s absolutely no point at all in banning the iPad altogether. We live in a digital world now after all, and I believe that there are benefits to it. However, I think it’s agreed that too much screen time is bad. As with all things, it needs to be used in moderation. The great balancing act that is parenthood is ever present, and when you’ve got OCD and anxiety, it can be overwhelming. I seem to be forever doubting and second-guessing myself.
Luckily though, my rational mind eventually takes over, and I know deep down that I do my absolute best for Molly day in and day out (that’s why I’m so knackered)! I am completely new to all this, and I learn something different each day, but I am enough for my daughter. Whether you’re a stay at home parent or work full time, I’m sure we’ve all felt that guilt at some point. I’ve come to the conclusion though that there is nothing more our children need than our love, which we’ve got in abundance.