Mum guilt - can I press Esc?

I'd like to think that I wasn't naive, 'judgy' or overly-opinionated before I had children of my own.

But, I do have to admit to having those tendencies.

I was prepared for having babies, for looking after children. I had experience with cousins, siblings and the children at the nurseries where I worked after leaving uni. I knew it wouldn't be easy, I knew that I would be challenged but I knew I was ready.

However, I wasn't prepared for the heavy feeling of responsibility, or the mum-guilt and I did make sweeping statements and make decisions about how I would raise my child based on what I thought other parents were doing really well (or not). I don't care how people feed their babies, sleep train them, carry them. I don't care what nappy creams they use, when they potty train or whether their meals are homemade. But there are a couple of things I saw and thought "I'd never do that with my child".

That was the wrong thing to do. Most of the time it wouldn't really matter - like claiming that I'd "never dress my daughter in pink" (hahaha, that was never going to last) but I've lately come to realise that perhaps I've made a mistake in one particular area of Lily's development.


One of my decisions was that I wouldn't be the parent of a child attached to a smart phone or tablet.

I'll be honest. I'm not usually a fan of seeing babies and toddlers playing with mobile phones and tablets. I don't even really know why because I don't have any reasonable objections and 'expert' advice is varied but my gut feeling makes me tut inwardly when I see children totally engrossed in technology when they could be playing with toys.

Lily never really played with my phone, we never downloaded lots of apps for her to play on the Kindle.

And now I'm wondering if that has been a mistake. For better or worse, technology is a huge part of modern life. We need to know about it, we need to understand it. I do believe that kids need to learn to use it. And, by not introducing Lily to it earlier I have now noticed she is 'behind' many of her peers when it comes to using a computer, tablet or smart phone.

It hit home today when she showed me a picture she'd produced on the nursery computer. I was so proud because she'd actually used the mouse on her own - something she's been struggling with. It was even mentioned at her last parent's evening as an area to work on. I've now decided to look into some websites and programmes designed for pre-schoolers in the hope that I can help her learn the basics.

We've also recently introduced more games on the Google Nexus tablet Matt never uses. She's a big fan of the Alphablocks game on the CBeebies app and loves listening to CBeebies Storytime. We've also downloaded some interactive bible stories, a colouring app and some simple games. It seems to be going well and she's picked it up quickly. It helps that they do use the PC at nursery and I'll be letting her have a go at home too.

I still don't want her permanently attached to any sort of tech. I obviously want both my children to be well-rounded individuals. But I do recognise that part of helping the grow into well-adjusted, capable and compassionate adults is to allow everything in moderation.

I know it's not a huge thing. I know I can sort it out. But mum-guilt has got me in it's clutches right now. It's not a nice feeling at all. If I switch off, wait ten seconds and switch on again, will it fix the problem?

3 Little Buttons
the Frenchie Mummy said...

It is so easy to think that tablets and others are not a good thing but it develops some kids' skills that they will need in the future. Have fun with apps you find! #dreamteam

Unknown said...

Ah Mum tech guilt! It has plagued me for around 3 years now! I'm with you in that I wince when I see toddlers glued to devices, and if I do find myself reaching for my smart phone in a moment of public boredom tantrum, I tend to find myself looking around to see if I'm being judged. You are absolutely right though. There is definitely an argument to support developing our little ones in a world that is so technology driven! I'd hate them to end up an I.T Dinosaur like their Mum! Great post x

Unknown said...

This is a really interesting post, particularly as a parent of teenagers, whose children never knew what a smart phone or tablet was until they were tweens. i'm interested in the fact that you feel that your daughter is actually behind her peers. I absolutely wouldn't feel mummy guilt at this. Firstly, perhaps she just isn't a techy person and secondly, if you had let her use technology earlier, your post could well have been about how guilty you feel for letting her spend too much time on a tablet! No guilt please - your gut instinct is right for your child. Alison x #DreamTeam

Unknown said...

I'm actually from the other perspective. My little boy has Autism along with complex sensory issues & developmental delay. The iPad & phone have been life savers for us, seriously. My little man can't cope with busy places, noise, smells, textures etc so without the ipad he wouldn't be able to go anywhere. If a restaurant etc gets a little noisy we can give him the ipad to zone out rather than get overwhelmed and go into a meltdown because he can't cope with sensoryoverload. It's better that he's glued to a device and getting familiar with going to public places than being stuck at home constantly. I get judged all the time, you can see it on peoples faces but they wouldn't be so quick to judge if they stopped to think for a minute #DreamTeam

Unknown said...

Oh it's so easy to feel the Mum guilt isn't it? We feel guilty if they watch TV and use smartphone apps & on the flipside if they don't, we feel like we're not giving them enough. I have to say I don't think you should feel guilty at all, every child is different and I think they all catch up in the end. I do find the technology side of things a strange one with a small child as I never had any until I was in my late teens! You're doing fab and no need to feel like you're not doing enough, yu'll know what's best for your child. #DreamTeam

Annette, 3 Little Buttons said...

Good old mum guilt... Why does it follow us around so much. I completely see where you are coming from. I swore that Little Button would never watch TV ever, and here she is singing along to Frozen for the zillionth time. Gulp. I don't feel guilty about encouraging her to learn technology. She's a bit young, but I think it's the way forwards and a skill she will need in the future. Thank you for linking up to the #dreamteam X

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