Oh, you let your kids watch 'Sesame Street' while you cook dinner? Okay...
Why did you even have them?
A journalist witch posted this recently online:
Just interviewed an Ivy League screen time expert who mom-shamed me for letting my kids watch Sesame Street for 30 minutes when I'm solo parenting and need to make dinner. "Can you get creative? Pull out a wooden spoon and a metal bowl and let them go to town? Play music and dance while you cook?" It took A LOT for me to not yell, I'M THEIR MOM, NOT A GODDAMN CABARET.
I did push back and said, "This sounds like a parent guilt trip; the hour before dinner is the hardest of every parent's day and we don't want to shame anyone for doing what they need to do to survive that."
His response: "Well, it's fun if you make it fun." His other suggestion was "Give your 2 year old a plastic bag of flour and let her make a mess!"
I said, "Are you coming over to clean up because I'm never going to do that."
He literally said, "Better to have flour all over your kitchen than to have a kid addicted to screens." So, I guess brain collapse, yes, is imminent. It's a totally shitty black-and-white way of looking at parents (read: moms); as if I can't rely on a TV babysitter during witching hour and also still be a present and engaged parent during dinner and bedtime. (And in fact, probably be better during those times because we didn't all end up beating each other with wooden spoons while dinner burns.)
Here were some of the most salient takes from other witches:
“I was reading this like, ‘Wow this woman is so out of touch...’ OH YES OF COURSE GOT IT MAKES SENSE. You know what, dude, leave your office at Harvard and spend 24 hours with your kids and let's see how fast you plunk them in front of a Bubble Guppies marathon.”
“Any parent who’s able to ‘make fun’ at the witching hour has likely one very easy kid and/or very minimal parenting duties. Fuck off, Fun Dad!”
“Oh, THAT’S why I’m not having fun?”
“Pots and spoons are only good for the period of time between sitting independently and starting the crawl. Anyone with kids has been through this. This is like something my ex-husband would have said when he was a 28 year old PhD student and expert on kids and media -- with no kids.”
“Don’t even start with fucking flour, dude! 1) the food-illness experts say people get ill from uncooked flour now, 2) reactive airway, ever heard of it? and 3) I can send him pictures of what a bag of flour looked like in my kitchen after my three toddlers got into it and how I wanted to slit my wrist just thinking of having to clean them, corral them safely long enough to clean every inch of my kitchen without slipping on the floor, and still make their damn dinner. Also, the wooden spoon is only ever for one easy kid who won’t turn it the wrong way in their mouth and trip or turn it into a weapon to use on a sibling.”
“Maybe I want to enjoy cooking dinner by myself for a few minutes as my thing.”
“Also the answer to ‘Can you get creative? is ‘No.’”
“Now I can laugh and hate on this guy, but when my kid was 19 months old and I freaked over the 30-40 minutes of screen time he got most days, I would have felt so guilty reading this. Wow, that makes me angry now.”
“I know it's a small sample size but my mom put us in front of a TV for hours every day our entire lives and my brother is a BRAIN SURGEON. I tell this to every friend as soon as they have a kid. Turn on the TV and leave it on. It doesn't matter.”
“Under the matriarchy, men like this will be punished by being locked in a room and forced to do the thing they mansplained us about. I hope he likes metal bowl and spoon music, punctuated by the whining of a bored child, while he attempts to make a meatloaf over and over again for ... let's say... five years?”
“WHO WILL CLEAN UP ALL THE DAMN FLOUR MOTHERFUCKER???”
“And what do I do with the baby while I'm cleaning up the flour?”
“Oh, I'll go to town. I'll ram that wooden spoon so far up his expertise he won't be able to walk down Sesame Street.”
From the original poster: “My husband and I are now yelling IT’S FUN IF YOU MAKE IT FUN to each other every time one of our children is garbage.”
“Whatever you do, do it dancing!”
From the HWIC inbox:
Many thanks to those of you who have written in over the last few weeks! Here’s what you’ve had to say on some past issues:
I didn't get a doula either. We didn't even go to a childbirthing class, because I had a scheduled c-section for my first baby and wasn't going to pay for childcare PLUS $80 when I was gearing up for a VBAC followed by double daycare payments. So, I checked this DVD out with my library card and made my husband watch it with me:
Have you ever seen a more ridiculous cover? However, it was fantastic - we fast-forwarded through all of the parts that were supposed to involve "laughing." When I was in labor, my husband kept saying "Tell me what's going on LIKE IN THE VIDEO." And I knew how labor should go and what all of the interventions were. So, anyway, just another rec if other people don't live where doulas are easy to come by!
Another fun thing that happened was that I checked out a book for my husband called "Be your own Doula" which he did not touch until I was in labor then he decided it was a good idea to begin reading me excerpts. It's a miracle he survived.
Dana emailed, “I listen to Sleep With Me: It's super bizarre, but it totally works!”
Elsa writes, “I want to contribute a very french? and very efficient method to relax and find sleep: 3 drops of lavender essential oil.” Also, I will look into melatonin and report back. I don’t know how that one got by me.
Another good perspective from a mom who was fine with sticking with one kid:
Finally, I was goofing on Twitter on how crouching down to a child’s height seems to be the hot trend in parenting (Kate Middleton does it!), saying it seems bogus. I’ll let Auntie Loca bring it on home:
I hope you enjoyed this issue of Evil Witches, a newsletter for people who happen to be mothers. You can also follow us and talk to us on Twitter here or follow us on Instagram. Please pass it along, if you know someone who'd like this sort of thing in their inbox a couple times a week. If you have been enjoying it but haven’t yet joined the paid subscribers, I hope you do so.
OMG THANK YOU for this. I needed to hear it. My wife (2 mom family) is always on my back about tv time and how we should cut down on it. However, I work from home, she doesn't, and if the kid has a random day off it falls to me and she watches a bunch of tv so I can work. Or think in peace. Or whatever I want to do. Sorrynotsorry.