I was talking with my husband recently about whether we should get Hannah a milkshake while running errands. An important point to bear in mind is that milkshakes and mirrors are Hannah's favorite things in the world. I'll get back to the mirror later. We talked about the relative nutritional value or harm of a milkshake, versus a frozen lemonade, or whatever other frozen-ish beverage we might grab at a drive-through so Hannah would feel like she'd had a treat. Husband pointed out my relative hypocrisy in complaining about the junk content in a milkshake for Hannah, although I eat various other junk without a thought for its nutritional impact. My reply was: That's true. Still.
This double standard is applied to how I spend my time, as well. Hannah has always had a limit on daily screen time. Some days, just because life is busy, she has none; occasionally, on a sick day or rainy day off, she'll get extra time if there is something we all want to watch together. I give myself no such limitation. If I had a timer on my web browser as Hannah does, I might spend less time reading stuff on Cracked.com, although I can't promise that. I check my Facebook and work email multiple times after I come home in the afternoons, even when everyone else is home to offer live human interaction. Then, after Hannah has gone to bed, Husband and I settle in for grown-up television time. Don't get too excited; it's usually old episodes of Cheers or The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes on Netflix. If I added up all my screen time, I'm sure it would better than double Hannah's daily allowance.
Why do I think this is acceptable? It takes approximately four minutes to look at my work email to see if I need to change my schedule for tomorrow. The other 20 minutes are spent trying to catch up a few points on a Words with Friends game or see if anyone has responded to my Facebook status.
That brings me back to the mirror. Hannah loves to look at herself in the mirror. She can spend 30 minutes in the bathroom having a conversation with herself before she gets around to brushing her teeth. I wouldn't let her have a mirror at eye level in her bedroom when she was smaller, because it only exacerbated her tantrums. She loves to look at herself, and talk to herself, and pretend there is someone other than her talking back. I'm pretty sure that's the purpose that social media serves for me. I want to see my reflection, and pretend someone is talking back. Have my friends responded to my last comment? Did anyone Like my status? Do I have any new blog minions?
I'm fourteen years old and I'm electronically checking my hair every 20 minutes.
Someone needs to install some parental controls for me.