One Hundred Thirty Four: Tuned In

“These days young kids don’t have any place to form an epic adventure. It’s more often in front of the TV screen or a laptop. That’s very hard on them. They’re being taught daily unsocial skills. Facebook is an unsocial skill. It’s so sad.”  – John Lydon

Wednesday, May 14th

My son is at his apex of energy and I want him to come indoors so I can see where he is while I cook lunch. He wants to spend time outside with his friends where he will surely cook up some adventure but risk crossing my boundaries if left unsupervised. This is the moment where I am already queuing up the PBS Kids app to get 15 minutes of unfettered kitchen time. It’s a no brainer…and that’s the sad thing – it really is a no brainer.

Yes, I have read all those articles you want me to read about kids and tires and mayhem and how it really is good for them to have unsupervised danger in their lives. I get it. I grew up next to a vacant lot with an abandoned house foundation and an acre of trees. I developed a great sense of balance trying to avoid from falling ten feet into a concrete abyss, and I was an expert tree climber.

But this is not the 1970s. We’re not living in a small town, and there are no abandoned lots next door. I have 2.5 acres that my family and I share with 50 other people, and most of them don’t want to see my son pee on their front porch or step on their roses. I find living here tolerable if I supervise my children and loosen the reigns when things are mellow. I’ve been working on establishing the freedom-boundary balance with my husband over the last three years – as our children age and as the dynamics shift in our community. It’s not easy but I feel like our kids have a sense of agency while also learning to respect our boundaries in the process.

Arthur the Aardvark cuts through all the red tape. If I ask my three-year-old son if he wants to watch a cartoon, he’ll say yes. But all those little five-minute cartoons add up in a day, and that is not how I want to parent my child. Ideally, I’d be the über-motivated Mom with Pinterest projects lined up for the day and I wouldn’t feel the tug of texts, Facebook, and emails. I like to think that being an involved mother who discusses and plays and reads to my kids earns me a few passes to make some less-than-ideal choices now and then.

Do you cut corners in your parenting?



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