Not so long ago it used to be the television I worried was taking centre stage in our lives. I would make Mr H turn it off regularly so we could have some time together without the idiot-box blaring into our minds and taking over any human contact we had with each other. But of recent years that has become the least of my worries. In fact if we just have the television on I consider it a nice break from everything else. Since we invested in an iPad and then iPhones the temptation to sit online surfing the web, chatting on Facebook or checking out eBay sales rather than actually interacting with the people around us is starting to concern me. Some nights if we say a few words to each other it’s an achievement and I often find myself and Mr H sat on our Apple products leaving the children to entertain themselves.
It’s a difficult time. Little H, although a good girl, can be a handful and Baby J is yet to sleep through and wakes at 6.30 every morning. With all that in mind it’s hard to muster the energy to drink air out of an empty teacup several hundred times or play peekaboo, hiding behind a fluffy teddy bear.
I know this may sound lazy and probably selfish on my part. Some days I just want to scream ‘just give me a minute’ at my two innocent and beautiful children. I can’t help it. So instead I hide behind my iPad for a few minutes just to try and google my sanity.
But now we are passing our addictions onto the children. Not just the fascination for Mickey Mouse but Little H now demands my iPad or iPhone so she can play ‘Toca Boca’ (note: I’m not suggesting she always gets her way though). And then there’s the inevitable tantrums when I ban her from them. If I dare to put one of my shows on the TV she demands we return to the Disney Channel. When once she loved her books she seems to have lost interest.
It really makes me doubt my parenting. Has exhaustion, stress and a need for a bit of ‘me’ time turned me into a lazy, unimaginative and a generally bad parent?
I think both Mr H and I need to take a long hard look at ourselves and decide if we really want our children to be led so much by modern technologies. Sure, they can teach them a lot but surely books, role playing and fresh air teaches them far important lessons? Sometimes being a parent is so damn hard, failure seems inevitable.