So okay, the title might seem a little extreme. But here's the thing : I am at a place in my life right now where I can admit that most of the things that I had been doing up until my son turned 3 years old were wrong. I didn't want to admit it. I was too ambitious with my so-called work and (blogging) career that I didn't want to have to think about taking some time off to focus on my little J. But then he started to go to school and his teachers started to notice something : his social skills and language skills are a bit behind compared to his peers.
I can blame it on the fact that he's bilingual or that he had never been to school before, but one thing was clear : something was wrong with J and I needed to fix it.
When I had that talk with his teachers, I was devastated inside (but of course, I kept my composure, holding back my tears till my throat hurt). What kind of mom takes it lightly when her kid's weaknesses are being exposed by other people? I felt horrible.
I didn't want to talk to anybody about it, not even with Mr.Man, because I didn't have the strength to be vulnerable and admit that I have failed as a mom. So I kept it to myself. But then my husband started reading about screentimes and how it affects kids' brain. And I started reading about it too.
And you know what I found? Letting toddlers and babies watch TV/videos make their brains lazy. Too lazy to even think of things for themselves. To use their imagination. To interact with other human beings. To use their words. No wonder J didn't want to color in school or to participate in any activities. He just wanted his music videos and cartoons. Sure, J was repeating what Elmo said on youtube, but he wasn't willing to talk to me.
And yes. I was to blame.
I love him so much but I wasn't willing to be present and do things the hard way. The right way.
In this day and age where gadgets are our easy way out to almost every awkward/boring/sad/confusing situation, it's almsot painful to put our phones down and be in the moment.
Mom-bloggers would post their photos with their kids with these profound captions and quotes, without actually mothering in real life. Blah, is it all even worth it?
So here's how I'm fixing it :
- Less Screentime for Me. Because My Habit Could Become His.
This might sound easy for some of you, but for someone who makes money out of posting on social media and blogs, this was really hard. Because as most bloggers know, less social media presence means less opportunities. Or at least that's what I thought.
My blog stats was down by more than 50% last month, I was not posting as often as I used to, I wasn't invited to as many events as I used to. But you know what, J is worth it.
We play, we read books, and we eat!! Oh yes we do! This delicious buttery almond toffee was sent to us by Sweet Virginia's and we had a blast sharing it! Well I was the one eating it most of the time lol.
Oh wait, I thought less media presence means less opportunities? Well not always. Got this lovely box of sweetness in my mail last week ;) You can order it as a gift here!
2. Giving Him Zero Screentime & Making Him Play Outside or With His Toys.
This has actually helped a LOT. We have our iPad hidden until today (and he's stopped asking for it). Have our TV off the whole day until he falls asleep (and he's stopped asking for it as well). And we literally have to make him play with physical toys, go out visit the library, and play outside.
This battery-powered motorcycle is his new favorite thing. It's on sale from $119 to around $49.98. You can get it just in time for Christmas by ordering it today here .
3. Getting Professional Help
Yup. All the parenting books in the world might not be able to help you fix the problem rightaway. So seek help. We did. And it's going great.
Getting a speech therapy isn't a bad thing. It will help him, so let's focus on that! I'm also keeping J's teachers in the loop so we can all work together into helping him thrive in school.
It's so easy to want to give up. But with all of the progress J's making so far, I know we're on the right track!
Whatever it is you're dealing with, I hope you're humble enough to see what you've done wrong. And I hope you're brave enough to fix it. Life is not easy. Parenting is not easy. But live, we learn. We thrive. And we cling to God. Always.