Most classic fairy tales -- the oldest form of children's stories -- have a simple moral: Do what you're told, or the goblins will get you. Think Hansel and Gretel. Little Red Riding Hood. The Boy Who Cried Wolf. If a fairy tale character is told not to do something, they're guaranteed to go straight out and do it -- and then look what happens to them.
It doesn't matter where you're going or how long you'll be gone. You could be stepping out of the room to go to the bathroom for a 35.7-second pee. You could be leaving for an 10-hour work day. Or you could be running out for a quick errand while your neighbor watches your child. No matter where you're going or how long you'll be gone, your toddler's reaction is the same. His lower lip juts out, his forehead creases, and his mouth quivers. A tear forms in the corner of his eye as his arms reach for you.
Then the wailing starts.
Any mom who hasn't had her head under a rock for the past ten years knows the ugly truth about screen time. Screens are bad for kids. TV is bad and iPads are bad and smart phone apps are equally bad. They fry baby's brains and they make toddlers even more impatient than they already are and they ruin older kid's creativity, destroying any possibility that your child will ever become the next Steve Jobs, which is ironic since screen time was invented by Steve Jobs. The light from screens is the reason why your kid won't sleep at night, and the radioactive waves from screened devices will give them cancer, and the evil little-kid characters on the shows will make them whiny and rude and violent.
That's the truth about screen time.
But it's not the whole truth.
So you took some time off from work after your baby came. Maybe you thought at first you'd stick with six weeks maternity leave, but by the end of that you wanted to stretch it a little more, and soon you discovered you could totally manage on one income for a while, especially when you considered that putting your baby in daycare would cost more than your mortgage. So you tightened up your budget, strapped on your baby carrier, and settled in for a few months or years of playdates, pacifiers, and long, lovely afternoon naps.
Some days, being Supermom is too much to hope for.
You know which days I mean. I mean the days when your kid kept you up for half the night because she thought there was a squirrel in her closet. And your toddler kept you up for the other half because he's getting his two-year molars even though he just turned one. The days when you walk around all morning with your nipple hanging out of your shirt and don't even realize it. The days when there's no such thing as a big enough coffee mug. The days when you seriously question why you ever had kids.
On days like that, you'll never feel like Supermom. But that's okay. The good news? You can still look
Before you had kids, you thought tantrums were preventable. You probably thought they were the parents' fault. You may have even thought they had some kind of logic behind them. You thought that if a kid is throwing a tantrum, it's because something happened
Now, of course, you know better.
Don't be offended. I'm not saying your toddler is actually a dog. Okay, I am. But what I mean is that he acts
like a dog. He thinks
like a dog. He may think
You know it's true.
Apparently there are some people on the interwebz
who think it's a bad idea to get your kids to help take care of their siblings. These sanctimommies think that since you're the one who gave birth, you have to do all the things for the baby till age 18. Maybe age 21.
If you are one of those people, leave now.
Ah, sleep. That long-ago dream. That faraway fairy tale from once upon a time. You remember it, right? Before you had kids, you used to sleep.
When your baby was born, you had a lot to worry about. How to hold him without breaking his neck. How to change his diaper without getting poop all over your hands. And most worrying of all: how to feed him.