It’s true. I missed my daughter’s curiosity about the leaves changing outside, the sweetness in her voice when she asked to climb into my lap, or how confidently she took on math problems that usually overwhelm her. I was thinking about characters. From Netflix shows. That I binge-watch after she goes to bed. I’m not proud of this fact. But I’m admitting it here, dear friends on the internet, because I just realized something big. TV is sooo good right now! Shonda Rhimes is putting REAL people on television. She portrays complex, interesting women of all shapes and shades. Her narratives are so dynamic, she can fill a decade with new storylines. This means, that not only do we have incredibly fun social media platforms to play on, we also have better television to space out during. What a whirlwind of opportunity for a reality break when adulting just feels too hard.
During this current rough patch of parenting my child with special needs, I’ve been watching, tweeting, tagging, posting, clicking and swiping more than ever. And guess what I’ve noticed? My snarky-complainy-irritated self has taken center stage. Seriously, another part of me needs to grab the mic. My negative thinking, lethargy and stress has gone up, up, up. Along with my increase in screen time. Coincidence? Maybe. Probably. Hopefully.
But just to be sure, I’m taking a break. Not from screen time altogether. I’m writing this and posting it everywhere… obviously. I’m even snuggling up to my gorgeous wife and watching How to Get Away With Murder (Thank you Shonda!) on Thursday nights. But the unchecked nightly commitment to consuming television is on hold this month. A week into my tv break, I’m already feeling the difference. I’m going to bed early for one thing. Like 9:30pm early, which means it’s easy to get up before my daughter and stretch or meditate or whatever. Oh yeah…mindfulness. How bout drinking a little water since I’m up? And the self-care train is suddenly back in motion. My daughter is making me laugh again. I’m more willing to compromise. Be in the moment. Play.
I know my little girl gets super triggered by too much screen time. We help her by allowing limited time with screens everyday and encouraging lots of other ways to relax, stay regulated, and feel safe. But her time with tv is very limited (hello, hypocrisy!) and we look to Common Sense Media for insight about screen addiction versus problematic behaviors. Luckily, according to this article, my binging ways fall under the very-normal-American-in-2016-problematic-media-use and not technology addiction.
Here’s to finding my more present, happy and playful self while still loving me some Thursday nights!
Common Sense Media is an independent nonprofit organization offering unbiased ratings and trusted advice to help families make smart media and technology choices. Check out our ratings and recommendations at www.commonsensemedia.org.