My take on devices. I’m open to polite comments. No hostility please! I respect all mothers and think that everyone is doing motherhood way better than I am but do you know what’s better for my kid and do I agree with you when you think that you could be a better mother to my kid? No.
Screen time is what saves my life and my sanity everyday. The thirty minutes that my toddler is on Peppa Pig is when I prepare for my lectures to my residents, prepare my MOC exams for medical students, work on my book, work on my facial routine, work on the four Facebook groups (all special needs). Those thirty minutes are also usually when I get dinner ready. Also, those thirty minutes are usually when I talk to my daughter’s special ed teacher because we touch base everyday.
Those thirty minutes every fourth Thursday is also when I have my scheduling meeting for the physician group that I’m a part of. Those thirty minutes every third Wednesday is when I’m on the phone taking a meeting for incentives for physicians. I review medical charts for extra money and I spend those thirty minutes doing that about 4-5 days a month.
I am a full time internist and since the birth of my son last year, I switched to nights. I work twelve, twelve hour nights in 28 days with the potential to be called in a thirteenth and fourteenth night.
I have the option to work days but I chose nights. Why? Because the night schedule allows more time with my son and my nine year old autistic daughter.
I have the option to stay at home but I work. Why? Because life in the USA is not cheap and I want to save enough for my kids that when it’s time for college or in case one of my kids depends on me for life, I’m not scrambling.
Those thirty minutes on most days go by faster than I can imagine. Dinner is usually half-cooked when the thirty minutes are over, my meetings half done, my book again left at a particularly acute point.
But those thirty minutes of screen time save my life. Because while I would love to be one of those women who have pointed more fingers at me than have had chances to look at their own parenting at all, I can’t afford to be sucked into what others recommend I should do. I don’t think Raahim watching Peppa Pig will have life-altering effects. I know the study on ADHD and I know that the study was retrospective and questionnaire based. That makes me question the authenticity of the study daily.
Could my son have autism diagnosed tomorrow just like his sister? That’s possible. The prevalence of autism is higher in siblings of autistics. Could I blame TV and screen time for it? No.
We have already had a behavioral evaluation for my son by Child Watch. They didn’t have screen time on their evaluation. I volunteered the information. The psychologist shrugged her shoulders and said “ limit it like I recommend to everyone but do you think he won’t eat without it?” I said “ yes! He won’t eat without YouTube”. She said “ then make it his reward for eating. Don’t stop screen time. How will you survive? You probably have some other things to do besides feeding him for hours ”.
This post is not to endorse screen time. It is for grace. It is to stop the judgement and the harshness with parenting. We are quick to stand with women who are getting bashed by their in-laws but we don’t stand with fellow moms. Why? Is it cultural or we are just insensitive as to how we come across on social media? Is it because we don’t care because we don’t know each other personally and civility is not required? Is it because emoting is not easy while typing? I’ll give everyone the last benefit of the doubt that you’re coming off harsher than you mean to.