The Mom-Shaming Phrase That Makes Steam Come Out of My Ears

This particular brand of mom-shaming strikes me as extra hypocritical. Do you agree?

I think people would tell you that it takes quite a bit to get me riled up.

I tend to slow burn and then swallow up any potentially witty, cutting responses, and then go home and eat some chocolate/feelings.

{I do not recommend any of above.}

But there is one thing that has started to fill me with quick rage, I think because it keeps popping up in my life.

It’s a phrase, usually written in a nice font on a photo of two kids playing peacefully in a stream.

It says:

“Kids don’t remember their best day of watching television.”

tv shock

At its best, this is a gentle reminder to us parents (but probably especially us mothers who are already carrying around invisible purses full of guilt and worry) to put on some boots and go muck about in a forest with our kids.

(And for Heaven’s sake, stop letting them watch television so you can have a few extra minutes in the shower to actually shave your armpits!)

At its worst, it’s just downright toxic and mean and snarky.

I get it. I really do. We are kind of becoming a nation of phone-gazing buffoons who have forgotten how to interact with one another. Our country if full of disease from too much sitting, divorce from too much “checking out,” and idiocy from replacing reading Tolstoy with watching sexy vampires doing it.

We should be teaching our kids the dangers of these things, and we should spend our free minutes taking them on outdoor adventures, dressing them in matching L.L. Bean and Instagramming about it.

And there, I think, you have the first uh-oh.

That quote? That beautiful quote that seems to be everywhere online? Someone had to GET ON THE COMPUTER to share it.

That’s hypocrisy.

Unless we think this media rule is just for people under 18.

Because my next worry comes with the implication that kids are so unmotivated, so simple, that they can only like to do one thing.

Kids like all kinds of things. My two like cooking and Minecraft and drawing and reading and racing cars in Mario Cart and writing stories and jumping in puddles and climbing trees and watching Rhett and Link and eating doughnuts and swinging and bubbles and painting and emojis and buttered noodles and creeks and cartoons.

I have not yet met a kid who didn’t love going out for hibachi and playing mini-golf and stickers and Curious George, in both book and television form.

Kids are not naturally morons, and we need to give them a little more credit.

Third, I really don’t think ONE DAY spent watching TV has ever really hurt anyone, except maybe that little girl from Poltergeist.

And I’ll tell you that I do know a kid who had A Very Happy Day once watching TV, because it was the day his family first got a TV.

The kid was my dad, and he recalls the day fondly.

Let’s remember, we are only two generations away from TV being such an amazing novelty, that companies actually made trays and dinners to facilitate more of it.

So let’s calm down. We have not yet seen the world fall apart because of TV. This might still work out OK.

Fourth, I don’t think any of us need more guilt when it comes to parenting.

For many of us, a little TV or some online time has helped to save our sanity. I’d even argue that used in moderation it helps many of us become better parents.

I don’t know about you, but I spent 10 years without 1 person regularly available to watch my kids. I was away from them a handful of times in a decade, and almost every one of those times, the kids were with my husband.

We don’t live in a world anymore where we have grandpas and aunts and best friends next door.

You know what we have? We have Calliou, and no matter what Calliou camp you fall into, if he allows you to tinkle with the door closed, then God bless him.

Lastly, if we are going to vilify TV, we are taking away a lot. I love watching movies and TV with my kids. Not too much, but enough that we make jokes about shows we love, and we share some really happy memories.

So no, maybe kids won’t remember their best day of TV. I don’t, but I do remember the time my parents took us golfing in Florida and my sister got overheated and my mom tried to revive her with Wintergreen Lifesavers.

Kids remember little snippets of their childhoods, and we can’t control what sticks.

But we can love them, even when they watch too much television, and we can forgive ourselves when we let them. We can let go of trying to get everything right every minute, and give them the same freedom.

And that’s enough.

That they’ll remember – I just know it.

Kara Anderson
Kara Anderson is a writer and homeschooling mom who blogs at Quill and Camera. You can find her on Facebook or grab her new book History Mysteries, a fun way to study history as a family, on Amazon.

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