When my daughter was first born I vowed that she would NEVER watch too much TV. On car rides we would play games and talk instead of letting our kids play video games or watch a portable DVD player. We would stay connected and bond without the use of electronics.
Then came the sleepless nights of my daughter and later my son coughing or throwing up. So we would put on the TV. a DVD would be just ending as someone was falling asleep and disturb us.
Thank Goodness for stations that are on all night like Sprout, Nick Jr. and Disney Jr.
Babies usually love car rides and are quickly soothed to sleep, but not my Gigi. She would scream and scream and scream. It was maddening! Then when she got older she would get car sick, saying her head hurt, she was too hot and nauseous. People were always asking us why we weren't going anywhere. I even missed my grandmother's 80th birthday party because I just couldn't ride for four hours listening to the screaming.
This left me feeling a bit resentful of Gigi's dislike of the car. I felt trapped, like I may never get to go anywhere ever again. At the time we lived 45 minutes from where I worked, my husband would drop her at the grandparent's house in the morning. When I finished at noon I would pick her up and drive 45 minutes home. If I sang a particular song to her over and over (it was one I made up) she would sometimes be quiet the whole way. The only problem was I soon grew very tired of singing that song LOL!
So we tried letting the kids watch a DVD player in the car (a gift from Nana), this seemed to do the trick. If she stayed focused on that she would be fine. As the kids got older this also helped alleviate the back seat fighting. They were busy enjoying their movie and weren't provoking each other.
On the one hand I felt like a failure for letting go of my dream of great family car trips without the aid of electronics. Like I was somehow letting these devices do the parenting I should be doing. However in this case it seemed there would be no car trips without their help. Instead of cringing at the thought of putting the kids in the car, my husband and I could now look forward to nice a conversation while we were driving. Then when we got where we were going we would have a great time because everyone was relaxed.
Now years after our DVD player broke and hasn't been replaced, we play travel bingo, name that animal and listen to the radio and sing along. My husband and I are back to not being able to have a conversation but it's for a different reason, now we are too busy having a good time with the kids. Someday we hope to do some long road trips, like to Florida which is a 24 hour drive. I will definitely get another DVD player for that trip LOL! 24 hours of entertaining the kids might be a little more than my husband and I can handle.
I have definitely learned that it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Some of our best moments as a family have been watching funny movies and laughing together. The TV doesn't have to be on all day every day. We usually say no TV on weeknights. Then there are some days when we are sick and cuddled up on the couch watching one movie after another.
There are so many things I said would be one way before I became a mom, only to change my mind later. Usually due to exhaustion or desperation LOL! The kind of parent I was in my mind before kids definitely had too many high expectations placed upon her.
What kind of expectations did you have for yourself BEFORE becoming a parent?