This past weekend was another sort of ‘meh’ one, and I’m not even sure why. Josh was super tired (which makes sense since he has taken a ton of call lately, and has been insanely clinically busy . . . and don’t get me started on his after-hours notes burden).
There was more screen time than I would have liked, though we did some fun things: TJ’s fall pilgrimage, a date night, kids went on late afternoon pool trip with Josh on Sunday while I made dinner. AND I got in my workouts. So objectively, all good!
BUT also, probably ~5 hours of kid iPad time over the 2 days combined, and the behavioral #$*# that always seems to go with it. Plus I just hate to think about what they are doing on their devices for that length of time. I mean I don’t feel good when I spend hours on my devices in that kind of fashion, why would they? An hour here or there doesn’t bother me. The long stretches do. During some of that time, Josh was playing a video game with Cameron. I kind of get that it’s something they can do together – and they were playing some spaceship launching game so ummm it’s science-adjacent? But still.
Also, I ate like total garbage. I am definitely hungrier when I am running more and I have to figure out how to manage that better – probably more protein. I’m pretty sure “more cookies” is not the answer. Or at least not the answer that will provide me with an outcome I am happy with.
Sooo, I was feeling a bit negative. But there is good news: every weekend is a chance to do it again! Even at the end of a month (need to remind myself of that since you all know I am HIGHLY attuned to the calendar page 🙂 ).
I will work on my Fall Outings list and make sure we pick fun and OUTDOORS activities for next weekend, since our weather is finally starting to improve and it feels like we earned it by surviving another South FL summer. I will do a more intentional weekend meal plan & will share here on Fridays. I will discuss our screen time limits again with Josh + the kids and come up with a sustainable plan.
I mean we haven’t hit “cool”, but this is definitely an improvement!
On a slightly related note, I had a great run this morning! My runnersconnect plan had this on it, and I was intimidated:
BUT I cranked the Apple Music Pop Hits playlist and managed mile splits of 8:22, 8:38, and 8:34. Yay! It was 70F/87% (as opposed to 79F/90%) so that probably helped. It was a great way to start the day. I love seeing improvement with training!
I really feel you on the nutritional front. In the last few years (read: since turning 40) I have noticed how crummy I feel when I eat a bunch of simple carbs. It makes me moody and irritable and TIRED! You would think in my line of work (as an adult endocrinologist) that I would have figured this out sooner…It has been a real focus of mine to fine more lunches and snacks that are not just carbs. It is a work in progress.
You know what’s messing up my mood? Working every day for the past month — literally not one day off — either in the OR (with some pretty brutal calls and late shifts thrown in there), or on my grant. The damn thing should be done tomorrow though, which you’d think would improve my QOL, but no, because I just have to catch up on all the things I put off so I could work on el-grant-a-roo! I’m just feeling tired and meh today, and am having trouble focusing. It sucks.
Hugs and hoping you can schedule a break soon! Could you take like a Thurs/Friday off and do a mini vac somewhere? I totally think you deserve it!!!!
Mmmm… no? Who would take care of my kid? I don’t have an army of babysitters or parents I can dump her on, so. Also see: other work.
Other work aside at least you could relax during the school day? But it sounds like work is overwhelming. I hope there is some kind of end point.
Have you started listening to Fuel for the Sole podcast? It’s a great one for runners with a super knowledgeable sports RD – she has super helpful info and i know you’re not doing IG but every Friday also shares lots of helpful info. She’s BIG on carbs to fuel but always concrete and provide sources and studies.
Love your honest sharing. What about … eliminating the iPad altogether?! Kids are really resilient beings and I have no idea but after I likely write patch, they would adapt and figure out how to play together and entertain themselves. Parents spend so much time managing screen time that I often wonder if that negates whatever perceived benefit there is to having the kids out of your hair. Surely they could adjust to being sent outside for an hour, doing crafts, building forts, etc. Might that not actually save your sanity instead of challenge it?!
Curious if you have similar age kids and multiple of them? The fighting, the constant need for attention, the constant noise and chaos, screen time can be a really necessary short term solution.
Yes! 4, ages 10 and under.
Hi Sarah, Don’t be too hard yourself! 5 hours ipad on a weekend is really not that much in comparison with how many hours a weekend contains. We tally up definitely more hours than that here and although it is not ideal, we have other challenges to conquer. My daughter is 8 and my son is 6 (and has special needs). Choose your battles! You can’t win them all… You are doing a brilliant job!
also, I don’t know if your children like raw carrots, but crunching a raw carrot (hence working the jaw muscles whilst watching the ipad is great for sensory regulation, and hence behaviour). I can’t recommend carrrots highly enough 🙂
Yes, raw carrots are great and were recommended by an OT to us for my son to help with sensory regulation. He ate many, many carrots. As he got older chewing gum and crunchy apples entered the mix. But carrots are way better if they’ll have them.
I came to say something similar; 5 hours in 48 isn’t so bad, especially when you do so many other fun things with them. I wonder if part of the reason the kids behavior suffers is because you feel bad about the screen time and they play off that? I know how much screentime has become a big thing in parenting, but maybe it doesn’t need to be. I think you do awesome as a parent, so if you can give yourself a break on this, maybe that would help, especially on solo parenting weekends or when you’re feeling meh.
I have kids similar ages to yours (one in between C & G and a toddler). Our goal is also to wean off the tablets. I think watching or playing a video game on the big TV together seems to make them less crazy but it’s hard to get everyone to agree on that!
I mean, I have 3 your kids’ ages and two more, ha! We get pretty desperate for a break when the toddler is napping, so some screen time definitely needs to happen 😬
I think you handled your weekend as well as you could and it sounds like you’re making strides toward your goals — recognizing what works and what doesn’t is so important, so learning from times when you don’t feel like you had a win is so valuable.
About the iPads — you’ve had a couple of different solution-focused thoughts above (i.e. 5 hours is not that much vs getting rid of them altogether). I think the issue here isn’t necessarily whether or how much, it’s that you’re noticing negative effects on your children and you’re feeling a sense of unease with the amount of time they’re spending engaged with tablets. So my question is (and I mean this in a curious and compassionate way, not a judgy way) why do you allow them to spend these long stretches on the iPad when you know it’s not what you want for them? As you say, you don’t mind an hour but you do mind 2.5 hours. What’s preventing you from stopping iPad time after an hour?
Anyway, just some food for thought. Enjoy your first week of part-time!
Why does 1 hr turn into 3? It’s 100% bc it is a chance for me to relax or even take a nap.
I feel this. When the kids are on their screens and it allows me to get into a flow state with a project- even if it’s just a nap or reading a book- it’s easy to lose track of time.
My husband puts time limits on the kids’ tablets so they have to come to us after their time is up. Then he makes them run laps around the house or do some chore or something before he puts more time on the tablet for them. Or he tells them no. Usually there is some foot stomping or screaming at us…(I don’t police this because the app he uses – family link- is currently only on his phone.)
Is it worth it to hire a sitter some weekends to give you a break and also have the kids engaged in non-screen activity? Pre-pandemic Sarah wouldn’t hesitate to bring in support, and I suspect probably still possible, even with the salary reduction from going parttime.
Oh, I totally get that. I wonder if what you’re running into is that on the one hand, you get that nap, but on the other hand you wind up paying for it in poor behavior from your children.
I’m with you- an hour is fine but much more than that is a problem pretty consistently. I have in the past set timers for myself to cut them off. It also REALLY matters what they are watching. My son likes to watch trick shot videos on YouTube kids which seemed harmless enough but we noticed behavior going down hill after so…no more! Tv shows seem better.
Hello! A lot of great comments RE eliminating the iPad. I have not given my kid one… simply because *I* don’t want to manage it.
I have a client who has 2 children 15 and 17 and I really respect their relationships. I once asked how they handle technology. (This was years ago) The answer struck such a cord with me… they said, “if it could happen in 1985 it’s fine.” Basically they didn’t limit the Saturday morning cartoon vibe of the 80s. And I adopted that. Now my kid will walk away from tv to play something else and then ask for tv time again at some point. It’s a free flowing thing without much issue (I know this can vary greatly with kid to kid)
I share this story because it’s worked so far for us and the “happens in the 80s” boundary really helped me. All love and support!
We have had so many issues with screen time (3 kids: 11, 8, & 3). The biggest issues were the kids constantly asking for it and behavioral outbursts from being told ‘no.’ The kids felt like they had zero control and everyday, there was an argument regarding screen time. To eliminate arguments and give the kids control over their screen time, we implemented one day a week where they can do screen time all day (ipad for one hour, unlimited Switch & tv). Screen Day is Saturday at our house. The kids wake up, do all their chores and then get to do screens all day. We’ve been doing this for a few months now and it’s been great for so many reasons. 1. The chores get done with positive enthusiasm 2. I am motivated to plan outside activities for Saturday because I don’t actually want them on screens all day. 3. *usually* the younger two get bored of screens around lunchtime and voluntarily turn off the tv to go outside. 4. Movie night after dinner is a relaxing way to wind down. I used to have them read first and have the movie start around 7, but now the movie starts right after dinner (even if that’s 6 o’clock), then they read after the movie. 5. I don’t feel any guilt for all the screentime they get on Saturday because I know they won’t get *much* additional screen time at home for the next 6 days (the only other screen time they get is LegoMasters on Wed night & movie night on Friday). 6. Sunday through Friday, my kids rarely ask for screens and when they do, I can say ‘is it screen day?’ or ‘remember to do that on screen day.’ It effectively shuts down any would-be argument. So yeah, big fan of screen day over here. I got the idea from a comment on one of your blog posts, so if the commenter is reading this- thank you!!
We do the same thing! Maybe I commented on this blog? One free-for-all day every two weeks has reduced arguments over screens to effectively zero and plus they do chores quickly and without complaint so they can get to screen time. And yes, we usually have something going on so they aren’t on screens allll day. Win all around.
runners’ hunger is worse when not eating right after finishing a run, which is what I used to do because I just don’t feel like eating. but now, i try to eat within the hour, focusing on protein and some carbs. I’m learning to avoid the day-after-long run hunger. I didn’t even get it after the marathon this time, so properly fueling during and after the run seems to help.
I really like the book Rise & Run. It has lots of great recipes for runners. Especially muffins and cookies that are pretty quick to make and healthy and you could keep in the freezer. I know it’s not as easy as pre-bought but I find when I make the effort it pays back in just feeling better, having more energy and running better
Love this cookbook! The muffins are fantastic — esp. the pumpkin spice ones this time of year!
I have this! I need to make some more of the recipes!
I do find the ipad creates grumpiness that the TV doesn’t? My son will wander away from the TV after awhile. But it is harder when 3 have to agree what to watch.
Hi Sarah, I empathize with the iPad challenges! My kiddo is younger, but I have a similar struggle with nap time. If I am physically exhausted OR emotionally depleted, I tend to let my kiddo nap too long in the afternoon because I want as much of a break as I can get. But if she sleeps too long she gets grumpy and extra clingy, and bedtime later that day becomes much more difficult. So it’s clearly not good for me or for her. But, in the moment, I struggle to find the wherewithal to wake her up from her nap at a reasonable time. Now that I realize this connection, I’m trying to be more diligent about taking care of myself, but it’s definitely a work in progress.
I often feel frustrated when I’m falling short of where I want to be or think I should be. I’ve started thinking of this as being in the gap where I am actively growing. Sometimes I try to picture an actual gap and my actions as rocks that are filling in the space so I can move to where I want to be. It’s corny but it is surprisingly helpful to me.
Also, Oikos brand has yogurt with 20 grams of protein per serving and no super weird ingredients. That and a scrambled egg with a handful of spinach thrown in has become my after run breakfast that is very filling. A slice of toast with avocado makes it even better!
I wish I liked Greek Yogurt! I ACTIVELY dislike it. Something about the texture. But i could do more eggs, or cottage cheese . . .