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I Won't Apologize for My Kids' Screen Time Habits

Photograph by Twenty20

My pediatrician started doing the scariest thing when my kids could talk: Instead of asking me questions like how much screen time they had, how much juice they drank and how many veggies they ate a day, she started asking them.

I'm not sure why, we all know little kids only tell you the truth when you really don't want to hear it. They tell you your bum looks big in a pair of jeans and they out you for farting in the grocery store checkout line. And all the other times when they are asked questions, their accuracy is a bit off. This was the case the first time my daughter was asked about her screen time by the doctor.

"How many shows do you watch on television?" the doctor asked, typing away on her keyboard.

My daughter said 65.

Sixty-five. What is a mother supposed to say to that?

Now, I realize the doctor probably knows there's not enough time in one day to watch that many television programs, but she sure got the gist that it was more than the recommended two hours a day, something I've never followed—not even after my kids told on me.

Because I let my kids have more time in front of the television, I am a better mother.

I've never felt bad about it or thought I should change our daily schedule. My mother let us watch a shit-ton of television, and my sister and I turned out great. Also, who can finish everything they need to do in only two hours a day? I quickly realized that when you have a toddler, trying to look nice, clean your home, make dinner and keep a social life definitely required more than two hours of screen time.

Not every parent can find or hire a reliable sitter, or send their kids to daycare if they have decided to stay at home. I want my kids to be home with me and made peace with the fact the screen time is the best babysitter you can have. I am better when I'm not on every second. Instead, when the television is on, my kids are quiet, I can concentrate, and I know what day it is. I can take a shower without anyone moving and clean out the cupboards. It's the only reason I've ever felt somewhat organized as a mom.

Because I let my kids have more time in front of the television, I am a better mother.

And, while they've never watched 65 shows in one day, I'm sure they've spent their whole life watching too much. At the same time, it has allowed me to look halfway decent on some days and keep my house semi-clean on others, so you know what? I really don't give a shit.

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