Friday, February 19, 2010

Pause, Jane.

I want to tell you about a woman I know; let's call her Jane. Jane's had a tough day. Her son woke up at 6:00am and has only taken an hour nap today. Which means that laundry is the only thing she's really gotten started today. Although the day has flown by with sweet play time with her son, the evening is approaching along with the witching hour. Jane realizes that only one thing on her list of 10 thing she needed to get done today has been completed. As Jane sighs from exhaustion, she remembers that her hard working husband (we'll call him Bob), will be arriving soon from a long day of work.

Jane begins searching through the pantry, thinking about what she can make for dinner that will be fast and easy while the toddler is attached to her leg, screaming for more milk. While trying to pick out the quick meal and attempting to the toddler's grip on her leg, Jane remember that she had an assignment due to her professor the night before. You see, Jane isn't just a wife and a mother, she's a graduate student. And Jane completely forgot about that stupid assignment. So Jane sticks her kid in front of the TV, tries to whip up some Hamburger Helper and while it's simmering on the stove, she attempts to do her assignment that was due yesterday. But only 3 minutes into her attempt to further her education, Jane's son feels the need to bother her. He begins demanding to be picked up so he can watch Murray on Sesame Street on her computer. While trying to pull up to windows on the computer (one for her son and the other for her assignment), Jane remembers that she has another assignment due by Sunday. But, she has already committed to a couple meetings at church and a lunch date with a friend on Sunday. While these thoughts are going through her head, she realizes her child is glued to the show she's pulled up on the computer, not moving a muscle; completely captivated by the animated pictures and crazy music.

Jane begins to feel horrible, remembering that "the TV should not be a babysitter." Then in the midst of her tears welling up due to feeling like a failure, her sister-in-law calls. Jane answers the phone, leaving her toddler planted at the computer. After diving into what a terrible mom she's become, Jane takes a breath and is about to tell her sister-in-law she should throw in the towel. But before she can say one more word, her beloved sister-in-law says, "STOP."

"What? Why?"

"You need to give yourself a break."

"A break? But how? I'm behind in school, my kid is becoming a television zombie, and---"


Then after giving Jane a slew of reasons why she's a great mother, wife and student, Jane lets out a sigh of relief. Jane's dear old sister-in-law is right. Jane is doing the best she can with what God's given her. Her toddler is not going to "get dumb" by watching a few shows. Jane is not going to suck as a student just because she missed one assignment. Bob is not going to leave her just because they've had Hamburger Helper 2 times this past week. She's doing the best she can. And the people around her know that.

So breath, Jane. Breath in and out, in and out. It's going to be okay. May is only a few months away....


  1. That is some good advice! You know, if television made you dumb, I'd have flunked every grade since...well, ever. So, as a 29-year-old not still in the 1st grade, you can feel ok about TV. In fact, here are some lessons I learned from TV:
    -Don't ever hide in an old refrigerator, unless you want your friend to have to give you CPR (thanks, Cherrie from Punky Brewster)
    -Any argument with your sister can seemingly be resolved with some sappy music, a speech from dad and a hug (thanks, DJ, Stephanie, Michelle and Danny)
    -Even lower-middle-class people can win the lottery (Thanks, Roseanne)
    -And, most recently, Dora can keep a TON of crap in that backpack.

    So, rock on with your Hamburger Helper! :)

  2. Oh, Jane! What a day. I'm so glad Jane's sister in law had wise counsel.

    Ha! I love the lessons Kristen learned from TV.

  3. You are doing a great job, don't sweat it! I remember feeling that way when I was still in school and my son was a toddler...he watched some TV and he's 10 now and seems to be as normal as the next kid!

    One of the trickiest things about being a mother is getting over the guilt. Perhaps it would help for Jane to consider the kids she counseled, and how vastly different her son's experience has been? Jane rocks.