The summer holidays always come with an infusion of memories and a dash of guilt, don't they? This year, our summer started with the sun-soaked streets of Barcelona and whispers of "I do" in the presence of our loved ones. But amid these joys, there's a silent struggle that many parents, including us, grapple with: the balance of work, parenting, and the omnipresent screens.
With 12 long weeks off from school, it's not a stretch to say our boys have clocked more screen time than ever. And every swipe, every late-night video, and every game rouses the specter of mummy and daddy guilt. Is it right? Are we letting them lose themselves in the digital realm because it offers us a respite as we manage our work?
We started the summer with a goal – independence by September. We wanted our boys to embrace routines that would make their mornings seamless. To our delight, they achieved this in a week. But post this morning routine, the day was a digital free-for-all.
Here's the thing. We parents often cloak our own feelings of guilt and inadequacy with the facade of 'it's for their good'. We've been honest with our boys about our struggles, our guilt of them overindulging in screens, and the need for structured boundaries. And the revelation? They feel it too. They too yearn for that structure, guidance, and supportive boundaries.
Our approach is clear: collaboration, not dictatorship. This weekend, we're sitting down as a family, laying down our needs, desires, worries, and aspirations. The aim? A routine that respects everyone's needs – from family dinners, workout timings, to regulated screen time.
We took these steps a few weeks before September, to ensure it doesn’t become another item in the pile of ‘sudden changes’. Every voice matters, every concern is valid, and every need is acknowledged.
To all the parents out there feeling the pull of guilt, remember, you're not alone. Engage, communicate, and involve your kids in the conversation. It's through these dialogues that we can create more understanding and find a balance that works for everyone.