(There will be a quiz at the end of this post! I’m looking for solutions for this frazzled mom. I know you can help!)
Here’s my story:
One Saturday morning, I make my twice yearly pilgrimage to the salon to get my haircut. I pretty much hate most girly stuff: like purses, shopping, and haircuts. So, off I went — looking at it more as a chore than pampering. There are two long couches in the waiting area and I plop myself down at the end of one. My husband has our kids so I have a rare morning “off.” It’s nice to have a mental break. I think about other Mom’s who don’t get much chance for a mental break.
When you’re a mom, it’s hard to think. It’s also easy to get into a rut.
Almost on cue, in walks a busy mom. She’s caring a caffeinated soda, a briefcase, a purse and a Barbie doll. The cutest little 4 or 5 year old girl ever is staying close by her side. At first I think Mom’s talking to the girl, but it becomes clear she’s talking to a friend on her cellphone ear piece. She doesn’t hang up, just pauses the conversation enough to check in with reception. She’s especially upset that her gym doesn’t have afternoon childcare, because “the hairdresser only had a morning appointment – so now I’m going to miss my workout!” Then Mom dumps all her stuff and her daughter at the couch and walks outside to finish her conversation. The little girl shyly sits down and glances out the window to keep Mommy in view.
A few moments later, Mom walks back in. She leaves a message on another friend’s phone. She still hasn’t spoken to her little girl and the little girl hasn’t made a peep. Now Mom is unraveling what’s in the briefcase. Her friend must have called right back because now she’s in another full-blown conversation inside. I glance over at the commotion. The little girl has a laptop on her lap and Mom is looking for a place to plug her in. She’s still talking on the phone, but in sign language asks if I can move because I’m sitting next to the only plug. So I move over to the other couch. Now a cord stretches across the couch all the way to the middle of the couch where the little girl is now plugged in, so that when an elderly woman tries to sit down there’s a cord in the way. The Mom says: “It’s okay. Just sit on the cord.”
Well the woman chooses NOT to sit on a cord. I don’t blame her. It takes one more woman to squeeze onto my couch before Mom gets the picture that they should scoot down closer to the plug. Now the phone conversation is finally over. The elderly woman asks: “Is that a computer?” Mom says: “No, no. It’s a DVD player. Only movies.” The girl is entranced. Her Barbie rests by her side along with a lunch box for snacks. The Mom speaks to her daughter for the first time: “How you doing, Honey?” The girl doesn’t answer. She’s plugged in.
Mom gets called for her appointment. She explains that she’s leaving the little girl in the waiting room. Unfortunately, Mom’s salon chair is out of view of the waiting room. I’m there for 45 minutes longer. The Mom is getting a hair color while the little girl watches her movie. The DVD Player is truly a babysitter. That ends my little peek into the window of their life.
In my head, I imagine the girl and her mom will make a play connection together later that day:
I like to think this was just a busy little blip in their day, month, year . . . I hope they spend more time talking and playing than plugged in.
The Grass Stain Guru (Bethe Almeras) alerted me to a Fact Sheet put out by the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. It says that “on average, preschool children spend 32 hours a week on screen media.”
Makes me wonder, on average, how much time do they spend playing?
(Quiz time. What solutions are available to this mom that DON’T involved screen time? Let’s brainstorm a ton of ideas in the comments section!)