One of my biggest battles as a mother is an inner one - that of television utilization. For some reason, lately I have felt as though I am drowning in housework - laundry piling up, dirty dishes in the sink, the floor needs vacuuming/sweeping/mopping 2 minutes after I do it, etc, etc, etc. While my home is never 100% immaculate, I usually feel as though I can stay on top of it, for the most part anyway. But lately, whether it's been my heavier work schedule, my tending another toddler in addition to my own 2, or simply the added activities/responsibilities/excitement of the holidays, it seems my house hasn't been clean (for longer than an hour) for over a week! And everyone knows that, in our house, dirty house = unhappy mommy.
As I've struggled to get on top of things this past week, I have been SO tempted, on more than one occasion, to plop my kids in front of the television. After all, there are so many educational shows which teach children the alphabet, social skills, creativity, and even Spanish, I rationalize in my head. Then my mind recalls the statement by the American Academy of Pediatrics that children under the age of 2 should NEVER watch television, and guilt, shame and doubt about my ability to raise my children fill my mind. Still, what is a woman to do when faced with 8 loads of laundry waiting to be folded, a sink full of dishes needing to be washed, a floor desperately in need of cleaning, and only an hour before dinner is to be served...all while trying to divert the attention of three toddlers from herself into their own self-directed play (and keep them from killing one another)???
I am reminded of the poem "Handprints on the Wall":
One day as I was picking
the toys up off the floor
I noticed a small hand print
on the wall beside the floor.
I knew that it was something
that I'd seen most every day
but this time when I saw it there
I wanted it to stay.
Then tears welled up inside my eyes,
I knew it wouldn't last
for every grandma knows,
her grandchildren grow up way too fast.
Just then I put my chores aside
and held my grandchildren tight.
I sang to them sweet lullabies
and rocked into the night.
Sometimes we take for granted
all those things that seem so small.
Like one of God's great treasures.....
a small handprint on the wall."
When this thought crosses my mind, I want nothing more than to sit with my children and read them story after story, build castles and towers, play dress-up and make-believe, and spend every waking moment with them. But then I return to reality and remember that dinner will not magically appear on the table and that, if I let my house get too bad, the state of Utah will come remove my children from me.
So, to my previous question...TV or No TV? This past week, I must admit, I have caved. I let Kai and Kea watch 30 minutes of Barney Monday, 30 minutes of Superwhy Wednesday, and 30 minutes of Little Einsteins today. Will this ruin them? I can't say. But I do know that the laundry is folded, the dishes are done, and the floors are clean (at least for know). And, as my kids will tell you, CLEAN HOUSE = HAPPY MOMMY.
I'd love to hear your opinions/ideas/what has worked for you...