I did it. I made a NO TV rule today. One week into summer and I was actively watching my children’s brains melt as they stared at what my grandmother referred to as “the idiot box.” I’m not proud of it. But maybe like you, I have work to do. I can’t be on full mom mode, or chauffeur mode, or camp councelor mode. I can’t be at the beck and call of the whim’s of teenaged texted plans: Can you take me to the beach, no to the bowling alley, no to the tennis courts, no to the mall? And I feel guilty and even a little scared of the next two months because my work place during the day, is suddenly a house full of kids with needs. Who can get pretty ornery when they’re not met. Even though I know that they’re great kids. Everyone says so. I’ve actually caught myself saying, “Would you speak to your teacher that way,” like a broken record. But it’s not their fault that they live here and that they need to eat and that it’s rained all week and that they don’t yet drive. So yes…I’ve been letting them watch a LOT of TV. Hours of Disney dizziness and tacky reality shows that make me shudder with shame. I’m what’s wrong with the world. So today, when in between conference calls I heard screaming and a loud thwack and crying and I ran into the living room watching remote controls flying through the air, I laid down the law. With fear and trepidation, I said it: “NO MORE TV!” And “NO, I can’t drive you anywhere. I have to work. This is what I do all day while you’re at school. And you’re going to have to figure out something to do…” (and then I chose my fate)… “TOGETHER!” And I confiscated the remote controls and stomped back to my office, shaking a little. These kids are old enough to really know how to push my buttons– that’s what their generation knows how to do best, after all. Rapid fire communication through little spring-loaded launch pads, and with the total system overload of what just a week ago was a well-oiled schedule from work to motherhood…I am a faulty launch pad and they know it. So I took in a deep breath and waited.
And lo…what I heard was silence. And then discussion. And then more silence. And then laughing. For an entire hour. And finally, I crept into the living room to see what could possibly be going on– had they deliberately disobeyed me and turned on the TV? Has my sovereign reign as their mother weakened in the knees? Did I need to adjust my crown and raise my sceptor and banish them to their bedrooms with books for eternity? I readied myself:
Here is what befell my eyes…
There is hope in Park Place.