life Parenting

Wallowing and Moving On

November 10, 2022

I tried yesterday, I really did. We went outside, though for not nearly as long as I would have liked. I held out until 12 pm (when I was scheduled to co-host our Patreon session) before letting the kids onto screens. Our neighbor friends came over at one point, which was great! Annabel finished most of her math homework and Cameron did his project. Thanks to him, I now know more about saber-toothed cats than I did before!

BUT (and?) I also wallowed and escaped into my phone and let G watch several hours of YouTube (she is into A for Adley and while I can’t see the appeal apparently I’m an outlier because this kid makes MILLIONS yearly). I did not work out. I ate some extra chocolate that was entirely unnecessary. I pouted, mostly to myself.

Today school is closed again. However, I’m ready to move on from yesterday’s attitude. No more crappy coping mechanisms. I am going to get my (?treadmill) workout in and some strength. I am going to talk to G about what she likes so much about watching other kids play on YouTube and try to figure out some alternative activities for at least most of today! AAAAND I will monitor my own screen time and apparent compulsion to check my phone every 30 seconds while under stress.

PS: Thankfully Nicole seems to be more tropical storm than hurricane and it’s been fine here. Hopefully true for our neighbors to the north (in FL and above) as well!


  • Reply Carrie November 10, 2022 at 6:45 am

    Oh the stress phone check. I don’t have any solution but I SOOOO can relate. Good luck today.

  • Reply Chelsea November 10, 2022 at 6:51 am

    It’s still pretty windy here. It’s funny because I didn’t have any trouble sleeping through the hurricane, but this morning I was woken by the wind around 4:30 and couldn’t fall back asleep. Which is annoying because I swapped this to be my day off, and I would have liked to get some extra sleep. Oh well. I think this might be my day to scroll back through your favorite YouTube fitness videos and pick something out.

    Somewhat random, but – if you are in the market for potential podcast guests – I think it would be awesome to hear from Meghann Featherstun (Featherstone Nutrition) on BOBW. I’ve said before that she’s my nutrition guru, but she just ran a 2:50 marathon, has two little kids, and recently transitioned from working FT as a dietician in a hospital to running her own (seemingly very successful) sports nutrition business. I think it would be cool to hear about the working mom part of her life. Plus, you have lots of runners in your audience 🙂

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 10, 2022 at 8:05 am

      OMG yes!! I’ve been following her these days and was actually thinking of buying her group program. I feel like she’s super in demand but it wold be really fun to have her on!

      • Reply Chelsea November 10, 2022 at 1:35 pm

        I think you should do it. It’s definitely $$$ but following her advice – particularly for training and racing – has made a huge difference for me. And her advice is way more specialized than the general sort of “eat healthy” stuff you can find all over the internet. I did one of the groups this summer/early fall, and she still had a lot of time for individual questions about fueling, labs, supplements, etc.

      • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 2:55 pm

        Do you eat graham crackers before runs now too? 💁🏼‍♀️

        • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 10, 2022 at 4:47 pm

          Once. Not usually. But I do drink a Skratch sports drink before hard runs!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 10, 2022 at 8:05 am

      And, it’s pretty much completely over with here now so hopefully it will pass quickly in central FL!

  • Reply Gwinne November 10, 2022 at 7:20 am

    Apparently watching others play games on YouTube is a huge thing. Left to his own devices that’s what Tiny Boy does most.

  • Reply Sue November 10, 2022 at 8:15 am

    We all have those days. Here in NC the kids had off several weeks ago for the hurricane that wasn’t–they were all stuck inside while it drizzled. =p Thanks for your honesty as usual.

  • Reply Amanda November 10, 2022 at 8:27 am

    Sounds like a lot of good stuff happened in there too! As a newer mom I’m curious – I’ve heard so many parents complain about their kids’ YouTube consumption and I’m wondering if you think it would be possible to just avoid it altogether? Or is it just so ubiquitous now that once they get older it just happens? Or is there enough good stuff on there that it’s worth the other dumb stuff? My oldest just turned 4 and her screen time is still just TV shows/movies, but I know it won’t stay this way forever.

    • Reply Coree November 10, 2022 at 8:36 am

      My son is 5 and we don’t do YouTube as solo entertainment. It’s Netflix or nothing. We do have two focused exceptions – he and my mum have discovered Lego speedbuilds – adults building Lego sets at very high speeds, no talking, just some peppy music – and he curls up with grandma and watches those. And sometimes he and my husband watch videos of different types of trains. But despite the speed of the build/train, it feels like slow TV, it’s a bit meditative, without the “unboxing” or bratty kid as entertainment element.

    • Reply Lag Liv November 10, 2022 at 8:41 am

      Everyone is different, of course, but just a hand raise that my kids have never had iPads and now that they’re old enough to have phones (well the older two are) YouTube is a blocked app. All of my friends are constantly complaining about their kids YouTube consumption and how it affects their behavior and I just decided that was something we didn’t need in our lives. My kids are now 15, 12, and 8 and it hasn’t been an issue. They ask sometimes, I say no, they move on. I know they watch it with their friends at school or at their houses, which is fine and social and keeps them current, but doesn’t seem to affect them the way it might if they had access to it on their own.

      (I know we’re an outlier on electronic stuff though. We’re absolutely zero screentime/TV time Mon-Thurs, family movie together on Friday, and individual shows/gaming for a few hours on weekends. It’s worked well for us to have really hard black and white limits so there isn’t even any asking. Any time I bend it, I immediately regret it- my kids are less pleasant to us and to each other, they seem to forget how to play and entertain themselves, and frankly they’re less likeable when they’re constantly asking for more screentime. Hard no’s are just easier for us.)

      • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 2:14 pm

        Same — any time I bend the rules, I regret it even if it makes life easier in the short run. It rarely pays off in the long run.

      • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 10, 2022 at 4:52 pm

        I honestly really WANT to be just like you in this regard. All of it! But I admit I find it so hard to pull off when I just feel like I need a break. I will keep trying though.

        • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 5:42 pm

          You can do it!! Draw on your stoicism!! (And it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, really! Balance is possible!)

      • Reply Taryn November 14, 2022 at 3:40 pm

        We are the same way. Our kids are 9 and 11 and they get 1 hour of TV Saturday and Sunday mornings and that is IT. I hear so many parents complaining about screentime, how their kids’ behavior is awful after, parental controls, etc. I don’t want any part of it. So we just avoid the subject with no issues. And yes, kids need to be bored and figure out ways to entertain themselves. It is amazing for brain development and creativity.

    • Reply Diane November 10, 2022 at 11:18 am

      We are also are pretty restrictive about screen time, but I found YouTube really hard to avoid once my kids were issued Chromebooks at school. Ostensibly YouTube is blocked on school issued devices, but students will find a way around that, and they will share with each other all the tricks and hacks. (The main one is that you can open a Google Slideshow and imbed a video.)
      I try really hard to monitor my kids’ YouTube viewing – like we’ll cast it onto the big tv and only watch very specific things – church service, train videos, snowplow videos, domino builds, music … There are fun things to be found. And, hey, I use YouTube for so many things myself so I can’t denounce it completely to my kids. But I find the difficult part is when the auto-play feature is on and my kids just get sucked into an endless rabbit hole and it is hard to pull them out. And I know we’re not supposed to judge what our kids watch, but some of it is just so insipid and borders on “mean girl” snark that it makes me cringe.
      Sarah – I really like your idea of talking to G about what she is watching and trying to find other ways to satisfy that. I think that might be a better tact for me rather than judging and pouting…

      • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 2:09 pm

        YouTube can be useful for sure — just want to push back on your comment that we’re not supposed to judge what our kids watch. Yes we are! That’s our job as parents! If I felt my kid was watching something I didn’t feel was edifying or reflective of our values / incorporated mean girl snark / you can actually feel their brains atrophying as they watch you better believe I would not allow it.

        • Reply Diane November 11, 2022 at 4:59 pm

          I guess I mean judging out loud, particularly for my ten year old. I definitely judge silently. When I make negative comments about the content she watches, I see her visibly wilt and she feels a little ashamed, and I don’t want that. I think, ideally, a discussion about what she finds interesting or gratifying about a certain program and what she might not like about it is a better tact for helping guide her habits. My younger kids, yeah, I definitely dictate their watching a lot more, but it’s not a tact that works well with the older one.

    • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 2:12 pm

      We don’t do YouTube or iPads either. It is 100% possible. Don’t let yourself drift down the stream of “I guess it’s just what kids do these days idk there’s nothing I can do” — you do have final say as parent.

  • Reply Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns November 10, 2022 at 8:48 am

    Our older son gets to watch one video before bedtime and he nearly always wants to watch a ‘paw patrol toys’ video where a kid is playing with paw patrol toys. I don’t get it at all! I would rather watch a short clip of a paw patrol episode if I was him!

    I hope the kids are back in school tomorrow! What a tough week with unplanned days at home with then! At least with our snow storms it’s pretty rare to have multiple days off in a row or at least not in Minnesota. When I was growing up in ND I can remember some times when we did have 2-3 days of because of ridiculous storms. But we don’t seem to get those in Mn! Our daycare has rarely closed for storms.

  • Reply Kate November 10, 2022 at 9:08 am

    Much sympathy. Today is the first school day in a week and a half that I don’t have a kid home due to a) upper respiratory illness symptoms or b) school labour disputes. I feel too worn out to enjoy it.

    Without judgment (because sometimes one has to get through the day!) I will say that like another poster above, YouTube is strictly banned as a passive entertainment source in our house. For reference, my kids are almost 12, 9, and 6. I’ve heard too many not-great stories from people with kids who’ve become addicted to channels that add nothing to their lives. For us, the sole acceptable use of YT is to watch an instructional video that teaches you an actual skill, and I’m not talking about Minecraft tricks – how to build, fix, or cook something. I try to model this – I’m learning to sew on a machine and have been watching tutorials when I need to see something executed repeatedly. It has forestalled a lot of unpleasantness.

  • Reply Elisabeth November 10, 2022 at 9:19 am

    Hmm. I never even think about YouTube?! My kids have just…never really done anything with it. Netflix and Disney+ provide more than enough options!!
    Screen time is such a tough balance; I agree that my kids behaviour/attitudes tend to deteriorate with too much screens, but I also…want that screen time for what it provides!! Especially when I’m solo parenting. We have no hard-and-fast rules except for video games are only on the weekend. Aside from that, there are no quotas, no set day when everything is off limits. My son plays NHL and occasionally a LEGO game and this can ONLY happen on the weekend (and I purposefully haven’t learned how to operate the gaming console – we wouldn’t have one if it were up to me – so when my husband is travelling, which is back to being a lot again, there are ZERO video games).
    I will say, now that the kids are busier with extracurriculars, it is so much easier to go days without using screens, but there is often a pretty long stretch on one weekend day where they watch things and I’m mostly okay with that. I watched quite a bit of TV as a kid and now would be quite content to never watch TV (my husband loves shows/movies, so we do this as a join activity, but when he travels I watch basically nothing!), so I think they’ll be okay as adults?!
    Glad the storm has fizzled and I’m a huge fan of allowing myself to wallow; when I don’t fight against that, more often than not, I feel much better much faster.

    • Reply Amanda November 10, 2022 at 12:47 pm

      This is sort of where I’m coming from – I never watch YouTube and don’t really think about it but then I hear all these parents complaining about it, so I’m like “where does the interest come from?” I’m also not opposed to TV shows and movies or screen in general but all the talk about YouTube is interesting to me.

  • Reply Keren November 10, 2022 at 9:47 am

    I’m curious how your discussion about YouTube with G will go.
    I don’t think I can explain why I like watching vlogs or people setting their planners or other stuff I watch on YouTube, yet I watch more YouTube than TV…

  • Reply Irene November 10, 2022 at 10:06 am

    Oh YouTube! I really struggle with this. My daughter watches a lot of how to drawing videos and Lego builds and I have no issue with anything she watches. My son on the other hand got introduced through Ryan’s world (now banned) and typically watches things like top 20 trick shots etc. not my cup of tea but fine. But it’s HARD to really say why’s is ok and what is not. In general I don’t like banning things I know they are going to encounter later. But I do really try to monitor and we take breaks.

  • Reply Sarah November 10, 2022 at 12:45 pm

    Ok, I am not a screen limit person at all, and lots of people in my department study media effects on kids and THEY aren’t screen limit ppl either, so I feel good about it. BUT. We do not let the kids watch YouTube AT ALL. A couple of yeas ago, I taught a feminist media literacy class at a private college in town for fun/CV-building, and I was HORRIFIED by the way YouTube had destroyed students’ ability to decipher source credibility. Like, truly horrified. So, we just pulled the plug cold turkey at home and have not looked back.

    • Reply Amy November 10, 2022 at 2:16 pm

      Interested to know more about that — source credibility and YouTube’s influence! Say more!

    • Reply Sarah Hart-Unger November 10, 2022 at 4:49 pm

      I think I want to pull the plug on it too and will do that. Not with all iPad games or tv/movies but reality kid tv YouTube in particular. It just feels wrong ….

      • Reply Ashley November 10, 2022 at 9:39 pm

        My kids (one in particular) started watching YouTube a lot over the summer. She wouldn’t turn it off and her behavior after was awful. I told them no more after one incident and it’s been great. They are allowed some Netflix/Disney + and they are so much better behaved! They even listen to me when I tell them to turn the tv off.

  • Reply Grateful Kae November 10, 2022 at 1:35 pm

    I don’t know the answer specifically on You tube or not or if that’s “right or wrong”, but generally speaking, on a day where you are busy/ working without formal childcare, I would not feel guilty leaning into screens even if it’s more than usual. I mean, you kinda gotta do what you gotta do. I don’t think 1 day will make ANY difference in the long run. Most days she is at school or with a childcare provider, doing many many non-screen things. So, don’t sweat it. (About the You Tube though, I guess I’m curious- how does she know about that channel? I admit I’m totally out of the loop with anything You Tube, but I’d imagine somehow had to have introduced her to those “kids playing with toys” channels at some point? Since she’s so young, I highly doubt she’s like, googling “you tube channels for 4 year olds” or anything like that. hahaha.) These types of posts (well, the comments) always make me feel all sorts of things, ranging from “yeah, I think we’re doing ok on screens” to “omg, look what Ms. Random Commentor’s family is doing- they’re so strict! I am so doing this all wrong!!” 😩 I have so many mixed feelings on it all, and I just find it to be SO CHALLENGING to navigate!!! Especially with my older boys now, from what they want/ they feel is fair, to social pressures/ friend relationships, to what seems reasonable/fair to me personally, to what’s “best” for them…. UGH. I have no answers for you, sorry!!

    • Reply Irene November 10, 2022 at 3:31 pm

      I hear you! In some ways I wish I could close Pandora’s box and we would just not be z YouTube family at all. But for my particular kids and my relationship with them, it works best for it to be something we allow in a limited and monitored way. I really can’t think why my daughter can’t watch a how to drawing video. But my kids know I approve what they watch and while they have broad approval for Disney plus and some shows we know and appropriate, YouTube is different and there’s stuff on there that is not good for kids and not behavior that is consistent with our family values. So there are times when I say no you can’t watch it because I’m not available to monitor it – in some ways it slightly defeats the purpose of screen time because I’m constantly checking on what is on the screen. But we have had some good conversations about things they have seen and what we want to be focusing on as a family.

    • Reply omdg November 10, 2022 at 6:22 pm

      How do you know Little Miss Perfect Random Commenter who bans all screen time isn’t an emotionally abusive narcissistic perfectionist who projects her own issues onto her children? Have confidence in yourself! I bet you are doing just fine.

  • Reply Melanie November 10, 2022 at 4:05 pm

    My two boys like to watch other kids play video games. I really don’t get it. I find it highly annoying. I’ve been trying to cut back their screen times but it’s tough. Glad you guys are ok from the storm!

  • Reply Coco November 10, 2022 at 5:47 pm

    phone checking while chewing something is my ultimate stress coping mechanisms, i don’t like it but it brings comfort, and in extreme situations that is okay. Hang in there
    i really don’t understand why kids or adults like to see other people’s video playing instead of playing themselves… can’t find the logic. sigh…

  • Reply omdg November 10, 2022 at 6:09 pm

    My daughter found unboxing videos on YouTube at around that age as well. I have no idea how. Then when she was five, she decided she would make some of her own which were *completely adorable* IMHO. Now she watches people play video games and plays Roblux. She has also found some really cool videos (e.g. daily dose of internet) and learned things she would never have learned otherwise. IDK, I don’t really care. Sometimes the screen time gets out of control, and then we take the iPad away. It’s been useful for leverage too sometimes.

  • Reply Sunny November 10, 2022 at 8:48 pm

    I do not have a lot of screen time rules so I want to encourage people who are pondering it, it is possible! You do not have to be someone who is very strict, no screen time during the week but can still say no YouTube. During the pandemic when he was 4-5 years old, my kid’s YT watching got really out of control and I hated the type of content, the endless amount of videos (there really is no end to some channels as they are constantly producing videos), and I agree with the person said it can interfere with their ability to evaluate for credibility. There are a lot of 20 something’s who act out pretend scenarios and my son would argue with me that it was all real. I finally told him no more YouTube but said I would pay for subscription for Nick Jr/Noggin and that was okay with him. I cancelled that subscription after he lost our iPad (long story but another blessing in disguise as it cured his iPad addiction), but at first he really liked it. Now he really likes PBS kids. Two years later, he occasionally asks if he is no longer “banned” from YT but doesn’t push it when I say no. I wish I had the same ability to “ban” my daughter since I don’t love everything she watches, but she is teen and a different situation.

  • Reply reallifeinutopia November 12, 2022 at 6:06 am

    Such an interesting conversation about screentime! I see moderators and abstainers, and you probably have to to do you because if there was 1 clear solution, we would all be doing it right? We’re a moderator family, so my kids can generally have access to most things because what I fear about the banning approach is that they grow up, leave the house, and have no clue how to regulate themselves. So I feel more comfortable already talking with them about how technology, and have a good relationship with it than them being 18 and gorging on whatever I banned them doing while they were living at home.

  • Reply Rebecca November 12, 2022 at 8:42 am

    My son (5) was watching YT kids and his behavior was not great after. So he plays games on the pbs kids games app now. it’s interactive, he likes it, it’s screen time so I can have a break, but no weird behavior after.

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