It’s 5:15 pm. I’m sitting on the couch, the kids are playing, when one of them comes up to me, gets in my face, and quietly says, “what’s for dinner, mommy?” Although I am slightly annoyed at first, I realize that damn, I never took anything out for dinner and it’s too late to make anything from the freezer. What to do, what to do. I rack my brain, thinking I haven’t a clue what to do. I know we have leftover chicken because we made a surplus of chicken the night before. I open my Pinterest app, and do a search for “easy leftover chicken recipes”. Bam. Cut up chicken, add some cream of chicken soup, broccoli, and elbow macaroni, and ta-da! Dinner. My youngest didn’t eat it (they ate the chicken dipped in ranch instead), my eldest raved about it, and my husband and I didn’t think it was all that bad. This isn’t the first time Pinterest has saved me. Or any other app for that matter.
Many parents aren’t a fan of screen time for their kids. Luckily, my kids don’t really enjoy tv that much. I’m not kidding; they have a few shows they like, but they don’t complain when I tell them it’s time for mommy’s show or turn off the tv. They can’t sit still long enough to watch a movie, which is highly disappointing on long car trips. But every now and again, an app or something on computers/iPads/iPhones will save us. Case en point, my dinner debacle.
I always want to do fun things with my kids, but we can’t afford to do outings all the time. So this summer, when I wanted to entertain them and do outdoor or summer activities on the cheap, I just searched for it. The kids painted with old paintbrushes and sidewalk chalk in the driveway and created pathways for their matchbox cars out of pool noodles. It saved us from the “what do we do” factor that we all (myself included) hadn’t a clue how to figure out sans the Google or Pinterest search.
It’s not that I’m not creative. I love to scrapbook. I like to bake goodies that I figured out what I forgot at the store and then improvised to get a similar (and delicious) result. What prevents me from coming up with these ideas on my own is the ever present “mommy brain” and the lack of energy that comes along with being a full time mom and full time career woman. I’m not saying, either, that I wouldn’t be able to come up with ideas like this on my own, but by the time I did, our day would have wasted away from us and we wouldn’t be able to benefit from the fun.
The good thing is, my kids don’t always have to be entertained. They aren’t the type of kids that always need something to do, someone to play with them. They play really well alone, and really well together as siblings. My husband and I can sometimes completely ignore them, especially when they are up early on a holiday and we would rather be sleeping (or need to be due to the wine we drank the night before). But I do like to do different things with them and switch it up. I want them to look back and say, “wow, mommy, I loved it when…” and have various things to fill in the blank. I want them to like the different meals we try instead of saying, “chicken again?” I know I will never be the mother who comes up with theme days (I blogged about that earlier) and I will never be the mother who goes nonstop throughout the day because I want everyone to have something to do constantly (I am the mom who will be sitting on my tush on the couch as a reprieve between things to do because I am so damn tired).
But I can spend some quality time with my kids painting while we eat yummy homemade desserts with minimal effort. I love my kids but I value the time with them more than I do spending the time to actually figure out what we are going to do. Screen time for mommy? Yes. If it means I am going to spend more valuable time on the front end with my little ones, I am all for it.