I don't like to play. I feel that I put my time in playing when they were tiny tots, but now I expect them to play together or alone. I simply don't want to play superheroes or cars or Pokémon or Power Rangers or anything else.
I DO love to read with my kids. I DO love to explore with my kids. And I certainly don't remember my mom playing with us, and my brother and I did fine.
I HATE messes. This is the thing that has been the worst part of parenthood for me. I don't mean the clutter of toys on every surface and strung out across the floor and not having time to put away laundry, etc. I mean puke all over a bed or poopy underwear or pee all over the toilet and floor or a plate full of food flipped over onto the rug or metlty ice cream on hands, face, clothes, shoes, the car seat, the seat belt and everything else. These things push me over the edge. I suffer through and try to maintain composure, but these types of messes drive me nuts and with my two boys there are often huge messes.
Sometimes I let me my kids eat McDonalds Happy Meals. I feed my family well. We eat mostly organic and lots of fruits and veggies and whole grains, but on occasion we go through the drive thru at McDonalds and they get to order a cheeseburger Happy Meal. And I'm OK with this.
On a related note: They have asked to go to Taco Bell (having never been there before), and I have told them if they choose to eat there once they're in college they can, but we rarely eat fast food and it's limited to McDonalds – not that McDonalds is better than another; it's just the one we have gone to. I basically survived on Taco Bell bean burritos with sour cream and McDonald's French fries my freshman year of college; I figure that if they have a good basis, they could survive on junk food for a short time of their lives while in college, if they so choose.
I don't know or care to know anything about Minecraft. Or any other video game for that matter. My kids love Minecraft and Angry Birds and Super Mario Bros and a gillion other games. I have never understood the appeal or cared one iota about video games. But their dad does get it and likes it, and they can bond over their creations in their Minecraft worlds. So, I simply refer them to Will when they question something and ooh and ahh over their designs and creations they show me from time to time. (I am truly in awe of the things they build in Minecraft)
My kids get more than the recommended amount of screen time each day. They each have a tablet. They play games and watch videos on Netflix and listen to audiobooks on the tablets at home. At school, they sometimes watch videos in class and in their after-school program there are tablets, computers and a TV for Wii games and movies. And on occasion, we have family movie night and watch movies until everyone falls asleep.
They also run and play on the playground at school and outside with friends at home, but I am quite sure my kids exceed the recommended daily limits for screen time. I depend on this quiet time in which they are creating worlds in Minecraft or watching a favorite program or listening to books on their own. This time allows them to unwind from a long day at school. I can make phone calls or get dinner going or get some work done without interruption. We do put limits on where and when the tablets get used, but I have become quite attached to my kids' tablets (aka babysitter.
As I said, judge me if you will, it won't change the way I feel or the way I do things. The way I see it is that each parent has to figure out how to make everything work for his or her family and in so doing she or he must decide what to let slide and what's important and what's not and when to allow for this, but not that.
Everyone will have different rules and standards, and I think we must respect that in each other. And just because someone else is doing it a different way, it doesn't mean your way is wrong or on the flip side that your way is best.
Of course, there are exceptions when it comes to neglect or abuse. Those things should never be ignored or accepted and should be reported.
But if one family says it's OK for their kids to watch a PG-13 movie and another family says that's not OK, I think they're both right. If one family says no screen time after 6 pm and another lets their kids read books on their tablets for an hour each evening before bed, fine. One family says no pop at all and another says pop without caffeine is OK; well, so be it.
Each family has its own priorities and opinions and ways of doing things. I think that judging another parent for doing something or allowing something that we, ourselves, don't agree with, only makes us feel superior or justified, but does not mean we are right and they are wrong. So, just do your own thang, but be kind to yourself and others. Over and out...