Just Say Yes to Video Calls
I am here to tell you the tale of a mom who, for lack of a better phrase, gave up. It is the story of a mom who stopped fretting over what she should be doing and leaned into what she needed to do. And what she needed to do was just say yes to video calls ….
You see, before this dreadful, wretched, unwelcome pandemic infiltrated our lives, I really tried to watch how much my kids used their devices. Like most parents, I felt guilty when I let my kids stay glued to their screens just so I could grab a few minutes to drink a cup of coffee, or even to, GASP, work.
"Like most parents, I felt guilty when I let my kids stay glued to their screens just so I could grab a few minutes to drink a cup of coffee, or even to, GASP, work."
Being a work-from-home parent lends anxious types like me many, many layers of guilt. Those of you who work from home, and especially those who own their own businesses, know you don’t work normal hours and you work a lot of them. There are many times when your kids and your work vie for your attention at the same time.
And while I’m grateful for the hustle because it has allowed me to stay home with my family, it has also meant that there are moments I am in the same room with them, but I can’t really be present with them because I’m working. And I, of course, feel guilty about that.
Frankly, I don’t really need another worry to drive a stake into my heart, you know? And screen-time stress has really felt like an unnecessary addition to the guilt party that rages in my head. People are so judgmental about how much screen time kids should have. I have really felt the weight of that criticism over the years.
About a month into the pandemic, I decided that enough was enough. I gave in and let my kids have more access to the screens that allowed them to interact with their friends, whether that was video calls with friends for my daughter or gaming like my son prefers.
Letting Go of Screen-Time Expectations
Allowing them to engage with their friends to their hearts’ content was one of the best gifts I gave to myself and my kids during this difficult time. I mean, I let my daughter have multiple hourslong video calls with her bestie. And you know what? It was fine. The sky didn’t fall. The only result was a calmer, happier child when that conversation was over.
Letting go of screen-time expectations has been so freeing. Sure, I know it’s not good for kids to sit in front of a screen all day long. But if a little extra screen time can give some semblance of normalcy and emotional enrichment to my children, I refuse to apologize for leaning into that.
I also urge you to just say yes to video calls, my friends! Even if your kids are back to school in person, odds are it looks very different this year. They're probably not getting the same type of socialization they would in a normal school year.
So, while your first instinct might be to say no when they ask you for that extra time to have a video call with their friend or play one more video game with them, I urge you to consider saying yes. Human beings crave connection, and those little humans we love have already had so many opportunities for connection taken from them this year.