It's tough being a parent, but some smart thinking - and some smart tech - helps me navigate the mum-of-three terrain...
Contrary to what the main man thinks, I do live in the real world (most of the time anyway – just not while watching Netflix or double-tapping posts) and so, I am becoming increasingly aware of these super-organised, hyper-parents that get it right every time. You’ll usually catch them at the school gates, bright and early, bonding away, comparing camps, signing up for secondary schools. I can only imagine being that on top of things...it must be nice. Tiring, but nice.
The ones who make buns for the school cake sale, instead of legging it into the nearest shop that morning on the way in – meaning we’re late – but let’s not open that bulging can of worms.
The ones who religiously commit to the park or some variance of sport every Saturday with the kids to get some fresh air into them, instead of half-falling down the stairs, sticking on the TV and handing them a box of cereal before returning quickly to bed to nurse the inevitable hangover.
The ones, if the rumours are true, that actually read bedtime stories every night and do voices for the characters(!), instead of pretending it’s mad late and that they should be asleep already and, sadly, there is just no time for a book. (For those in my camp, you’re welcome for that one, it works a treat.)
But, seriously, you can’t tell me that there are parents out there who don’t take full advantage of the glorious invention of our digital era.
Screen time...or, as I fondly call it, my best friend.
My use is two-fold, you see. Firstly, as a bargaining (albeit, blackmailing) tool to get the three little drops of heaven to do stuff around the house; finish their homework, eat dinner, etc. Really, there is no end to the ways it can be used in this manner. It never fails, either. The lure of an hour on the iPad or mobile phone is just too great for them to resist.
It’s also extremely useful at the weekends for just a bit of time to myself. Look, we’ve all been there; the non-stop requests, the fights, the breaking up of fights, the 'I’m hungry’s' followed rapidly by the 'I’m thirsty’s' before heading directly into the ‘I’m bored’ territory. Then, the youngest gives me the teary eye and I cave and hand him a lollipop (he’s quite the scoundrel. Chip off the old block, eh?).
IT. NEVER. ENDS.
And, for some reason, my trio has worked out the timings precisely, so the questions come one after another in perfect sequence. You have to admire them for it really, it’s impressive work. I was thinking of installing one of those ticket things that they have in the butcher’s. You know, when you have to take a number and wait in line? But I don’t have to, you see. Enter screen time.
Problem solved, kiddos. C’mon in, the water is fine. They get the device. I get a cup of coffee, time to do the laundry, have a shower, maybe even do a face mask – really have quite the rocking weekend.
I might even take some screen time for myself. Fall into the unending curtain-twitching joy that is Instagram. Or, even better, do some online shopping. Go completely nuts and get myself a treat. Like this, quite frankly, an amazing piece of kit to your left. Not a jumpsuit, no, but a two-piece wonder.
Jacquard Top, €29.95, Zara
Found last Saturday afternoon while relaxing in an almost silent-disco vibe I had created in the dining room, proving once and for all that the system truly works. As for time limits: look, it’s not a free for all. I do take it off them eventually, like when there’s a good movie on the telly... No, no, I’m kidding.
Or am I?
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Main image by @ashleygraham on Instagram