For three weeks now, I have been cutting out almost all weekday screentime for the kids and have been mostly pleased with the results. Today, however, it blew up in my face.
After a "Quiet Time" of usual quality (the boys alternating between screaming and sobbing through the door of their bedroom, usually at least one poopy diaper I have to go in and change, scratches or bumps or other such battle wounds, and the inevitable "Can we come out yet??" being yelled over and over again)...
...I decided I'd do the dishes AND make a real dinner while the kids were running around, without putting on a Netflix tv show or anything to keep them zombified on the couch. How bad could it be, right? Surely they have enough toys to keep them entertained for an hour or two.
I was never so wrong.
After having dish after clean dish taken out of the dishwasher and headed in the wrong direction or put in someone's mouth or scattered across the floor, whining, kids fighting over who gets to hide in the kitchen cupboard... I decided to ban them both from the kitchen.
It worked for about five minutes: The boys didn't cross the line into the kitchen, and busied themselves with other fun things. I thought, "Wow, this is how the pioneers did it! What a breeze! Who needs tv anyway? Pshhh. I'm a pro."
Then it began. The whining, the screaming, the removing-Bennett-and-putting-him-in-the-living-room over and over again, the Bennett-trying-to-bite-me over and over again, the crying, the sobbing, Joshy and Bennett each trying to outscream the other, a chair tipping over with a kid on it, both of them coming into the kitchen anyway and fighting over who got to put the soap in the dishwasher and Joshy losing it hysterically for the 50th time because Bennett got to shut the soap dispenser, both of them whining that they were thirsty, whining that they were hungry...
By the time Josh Sr. and Kristen (who is staying with us for a couple months) got home from work, the dishes were done, dinner was in the oven, but
I HAD GONE INSANE.
I am not exaggerating. I could (and still can) feel my sanity floating somewhere near the ceiling, threatening to leave me forever. I was cuckoo.
Now please tell me: How oh how do you fix dinner AND be a parent at the same time without making a habit of couch-potato-ness for your kids every evening while you do it? (And no, it is not an option to let them "help" me.) How the heck did the pioneers do it?
Please tell me, or I might just check out forever.