Screen time makes me feel guilty—and helps keep me sane

An extra episode here and there isn’t going to break us. 

Screen time makes me feel guilty—and helps keep me sane

It happens more often than I’d probably like to admit. I get a work email that needs immediate attention, so I pop on a movie to distract my little one while I write articles or call in for a quick team brainstorm.

Or, while participating in my weekly volunteer work, I calm a sudden tantrum in the car by handing my two-year-old my phone, her favorite nursery rhyme videos already queued up and ready to play (again.)

I wish I could tell you that I followed the American Pediatric Association’s screen time recommendations perfectly, but, well…I don’t want to lie to you.

It’s a rare day indeed that we view the one-hour-a-day recommended by the pros, and I’m not sure any of my daughter’s favorite videos would really be considered “high-quality programming.” (Thanks a lot Johny Johny Yes Papa.)

Sometimes I feel really guilty about it.

Am I frying her brain? Is another episode of Sofia the First going to ruin her chances of getting into good schools?

But other times, I have to let myself off the hook.

Because to be honest—there are days when screen time is the only thing keeping me sane.

Days when I have three articles due and an hour-long call with a client. Plus breakfast, lunch and dinner to make and dishes to do and laundry to fold and dreams of working out and even taking a real shower. All while raising that tiny little human I love so much.

Sometimes life requires a little help, and I’m not ashamed to rely on our friends Elmo and Dora when necessary.

We all want to be the best moms we can be.

But the thing is, sometimes being my best is not focusing every second on my daughter. It’s not filling every second of her day with a new, amazing activity that requires my undivided attention.

I take pride in my role as a work-at-home mom because I love that my daughter sees me taking care of our family and home all while being her closest companion.

My daughter also sees me stretching my creative muscles and contributing to our family in financial ways too.

And I’m so proud of that.

I want my lesson to her to be that she can be a mother (if she wants to be) and still be a person. A person with big goals who is ready to go after them.

Sometimes screen time is the only thing that lets me set that example. So I’m doing what I have to do.

Do I feel like the world’s greatest mom when I hand her my phone to watch makeup tutorials on YouTube for half an hour (#girlmomlyfe) so I can finish an article? No. Do I think I’m winning parenting awards when I answer the question “Frozen again?” with “Um…okay…” because my conference call isn’t done yet? No.

But in this busy season of life, I think we have to be okay with some sort of balance.

I set limits on her screen time, but I also accept that an extra episode here and there isn’t going to break us. She may not always pick the most educational content, but I make sure that what she watches is wholesome (and try to sneak in educational options when I can.)

Odds are, she won’t remember what she watched when she was two. But I’m confident she’ll remember the time we spent together—and that’s the kind of plugged in parenting I can get behind. ?

This 'mama' necklace is a bestseller for a powerful reason

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama.

There's a lot going on in the world right now, but one thing that's certain? You're still mama. No matter what is going on at work, what decision you make about heading back to school, or how you're caring for your family right now, we know you're the best mama for your family.

So in case you need a little reminder of just how incredible you are, we love this sweet necklace from Tiny Tags. And other mamas do, too, because it's been one of our top sellers for weeks.

Whether you're coveting it for yourself or want to gift it to your favorite mama, it's one of those gifts that'll keep on giving years later. It's dainty enough to easily layer with just about anything you have in your jewelry collection, but is just as beautiful as a standalone piece to wear daily. And in these tough seasons, it's honestly a gentle, much-needed reminder that you were made for this. You can do hard things. You are doing the best you can even when it feels like you can't make one more decision.

Tiny Tags script 'mama' necklace

tiny tags mama necklace

The charm is 1/2" long and the chain is 16", falling just above most mama's collarbones. All Tiny Tags personalized jewelry is laser engraved by highly skilled artisans to make the most elegant pieces.


And, don't worry, it's totally low-maintenance. Simply polish with a polishing cloth every now and then for extra shine. Now to decide: gold or silver?

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.


Why do all of my good parenting or baby-focused inventions come after they've already been invented by someone else? Sigh.

Like the Puj hug hooded baby towel, aka the handiest, softest cotton towel ever created.

Safely removing a wet, slippery baby from the bath can be totally nerve-wracking, and trying to hold onto a towel at the same time without soaking it in the process seems to require an extra arm altogether. It's no wonder so much water ends up on the floor, the countertops, or you(!) after bathing your little one. Their splashing and kicking in the water is beyond adorable, of course, but the clean up after? Not as much.

It sounds simple: Wash your child, sing them a song or two, let them play with some toys, then take them out, place a towel around them, and dry them off. Should be easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, right?

But it hasn't been. It's been more—as one of my favorite memes says—difficult, difficult, lemon difficult. Because until this towel hit the bathtime scene, there was no easy-peasy way to pick up your squirming wet baby without drenching yourself and/or everything around you.

Plus, there is nothing cuter than a baby in a plush hooded towel, right? Well, except when it's paired with a dry, mess-free floor, maybe.

Check out our favorites to make bathtime so much easier:

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In Montessori schools, parents are periodically invited to observe their children at work in the classroom. I have heard many parents express shock to see their 3- or 4-year-old putting away their own work when they finish—without even being asked!

"You should see his room at home!" or, "I ask him to put his toys away every day, and it's a battle every single time" were frequent comments.

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