Yesterday I shared how I lost it a little on the kids cause they were being pretty jerky but then after a little reflection I realized the jerkiness was about 97% the result of my failure to stay consistent with routines over the past few weeks, so I put a freeze on technology and TV for the rest of the day yesterday and there was an immediate change in behavior and attitude, not because the kids thought if they kissed my butt that they’d get their devices back but because they knew there weren’t getting them back so they all figured they better make the best of it.
Number 5 is almost always the first kid awake, followed by Number 6 and then Number 7. They are usually up by 6:30 — anything past that would be sleeping in for them — and today was no exception.
Since it’s spring break, we had no school. So 5 and 6 came downstairs looking for their Kindles. On school days they can’t use them, but on weekends or days off of school, they can chill out for a while and watch something on Netflix or watch Five Minute Crafts (Number 5’s favorite) or play Roblox or whatever.
But the ban on technology and TV had not yet been lifted, and upon receiving this news, Number 5 and 6 were a little upset.
Okay, they were a lot upset.
The tears started flowing.
Then the drama started.
“I’m going to tell all my friends that you are the meanest mom ever AND YOU WOULDN’T EVEN LET US USE TECHNOLOGY ON OUR OWN VACATION!!!”
They pushed it and pushed it and for a while I was able to ignore them, but then I started getting annoyed and then I felt my blood starting to boil, but luckily I am dog sitting for a family who is on vacation and I had to feed the dog and let her out, so I told the kids I was leaving to take care of the dog and also to give myself a time out because I didn’t want to say something I’d regret later.
So I basically walked out of the house with the two of them crying and whining and pleading and begging.
I was gone for about twenty-five minutes, and when I came home I didn’t hear any more whining, so I walked into the playroom and I saw this:
It was a spring break miracle.
The kids were all playing Sorry. And they were smiling. And even occasionally laughing. And then I saw two of them high-five each other and I was like Holy sh*t let’s destroy every piece of technology in the house.
I didn’t do that.
But the point is that the kids all found something to do, they were communicating with each other, they were having fun, and it was a pretty gratifying scene to walk into.
This didn’t last all day.
It didn’t even last all morning.
About twenty minutes after I took this picture they started arguing over something that wasn’t covered in the rules of the game, and ultimately Number 6 picked up all the cards and chucked them, and the game was over.
But by this time, breakfast was ready — and we are still eating all our meals at the dining room table — YAY! — so I sat down with them, and we discussed how they could handle the situation differently next time so that the game doesn’t end in a Real Housewives of New Jersey Theresa Giudice table flipping freak out.
Ultimately it was a good thing. Because we were able to talk about some strategies they can use when they just can’t seem to get along or agree, and this is a skill they’re definitely gonna need to use for the rest of their lives.
And none of that would have happened had I allowed them continue to spend spring break with little or no expectations and responsibilities and with their eyeballs glued to a screen.
So I’m gonna say that Day 3 of spring break was a success.