What does Netflix have to do with Quiet Time?
I never thought I would be one of THOSE parents. The ones who hand their kids tech to keep them quiet. I mean, do some parenting, people! Raise your children! Teach them to behave appropriately. Put in the work to engage them, play with them, pay attention to them.
Oh, silly me. Silly, sweet, naive, arrogant, judgmental, pre-kids me.
I have come to the conclusion that technology is seriously the best. You can bet your bottom dollar I ABSOLUTELY use technology as a crutch with my kids, and I don’t even feel a little bit bad about it. How else am I supposed to go to the OB/GYN if not for streaming video? I mean, really.
When there is a sick day, I have zero qualms about handing out devices, turning on televisions, binge-watching Netflix kids. I care not for the American Academy of Pediatrics screen time recommendations because, honestly, I don’t think the AAP really cares that much about me. Their studies on screen time make no mention of the loss of sanity suffered by moms whose children have zero screen time, especially with three small children under one roof taking turns puking. During those long, dark months known as cold and flu season, when I’m basically housebound while my children play “swap the sickness” over and over and over, I thank the Lord for Walt Disney and his addictive family films.
But where technology really comes through for me is in my quiet time.
I hear these sweet women suggest waking up before your kids to get the day started with the Word. Or to tell your kids to play in their rooms while mommy spends some time with Jesus. Or to plan a family devotional time where you can all study together. These are all wonderful ideas, and I know actual real people who do these things, and they WORK for them. Not in my house.
Perhaps I have the wrong brand of children, but under my roof, waking up early is a fool’s errand. Someone will just wake up earlier than me anyway. “I see your 5:00 and I raise you 4:30!” Thumbs down to that idea. As for playing in their rooms while I study, it’s really laughable how horribly that goes down. If I attempt doing ANYTHING alone and encouraging them to do something else, I am immediately surrounded. Cooking dinner, going to the bathroom, reading a book, studying the bible, making a phone call, having a snack. I am never allowed privacy or independence. I am constantly surrounded by tiny people who want to be in my lap and on my face and all up in my business.
None of the ideas that involved actively parenting while attempting to have time with Jesus ever worked for me, so I turned to my old friend, Technology. He had served me so well in fancy restaurants and at the doctor’s office. So I turned on the TV and went in the other room to be with Jesus for 30 minutes. One episode of Sesame Street can buy you a good amount of time with God, believe me.
We are in the trenches here in early motherhood. We need to be armed and ready for daily battle. We need to stay connected to Christ in whatever way possible. If my kids watch a little extra TV or play on my phone for a few extra minutes so that I can get grounded with God, that’s an easy decision for me with no guilt whatsoever. They need a Spirit-filled mom and if that means more screen time, so be it.
Now, don’t get me wrong, technology isn’t the only weapon in my arsenal (check out my 45 LEGIT Quiet Time Strategies for more ideas), but it’s one I shout from the rooftops. It’s one I want to give other moms permission to use. Use TV time to your advantage. Use those video games, iPads and Apps to distract them long enough for you to connect with Christ, and don’t feel guilty about it for one minute. What a victory for the Enemy if women were so guilt-ridden over screen time that they persisted in frazzled parenting in their own power, rather than turn on Daniel Tiger and open their Bibles to be filled with the Spirit?
Girl, you do what you gotta do to get with Jesus. There are a lot of good, wholesome apps, games, shows and movies out there that will not harm your child for one minute. What they WILL do is give you the time and space to be present with Christ even in the busiest, most demanding seasons of raising littles.
So I raise my remote with you, my friend! Praise Jesus for PBS Kids.