Posted by: COULTER
Posted on May 10, 2013
Tagged in: Untagged
By Erin M. Fuller, FASAE, MPA, CAE, Group President, Coulter
Thanks to my friend Ilana, who writes the ridiculously funny MommyShorts, I watched this Google commercial in honor of Mother’s Day. Like Ilana, I loved the use of YouTube videos, and was struck at how both viral some of those moments were, as well as how instantly universal. The use of user video makes it feel immediately accessible, connected and way less sales-y than a standard commercial.
The commercial also made me think about the role of mothers, and our complicated relationship with our kids and our media.
My kids have rules about screen time – rules that I admit get bent, broken, negotiated and whined about (by all parties) on an almost daily basis. “Screen” sometimes feels like the ruler in my house, which makes me a bit anxious. And so we do “Turn it Off” Tuesdays, and whole weeks, and boardgame marathons, and nights where we read many, many chapters of Harry Potter. We make things from PlayDough and Legos and play with our toy, foam swords for at least five minutes at a stretch before they go back into Toy Timeout. (Seriously. Never more than five minutes.) And we have scooters and an endless amount of balls and things to shoot them into and chalk and helmets.
But, as I always hear from other parents, older kids mean more complicated problems. As my kids get older, we aren’t arguing as much about what is appropriate to watch (they know they lost that battle long ago – thank you Common Sense Media for being the arbitrator of appropriateness) – but how we find information. When my five-year-old airily tells me to “Google it Mommy!” when I can’t explain how a tornado happens – and I realize he fully expects me to do that, as we drive to a friend’s house – well, these are uncharted waters for parents and kids.
We each set different limits – my kids don’t use our computer at all, don’t have access to the Internet, but do play a lot of active Wii games and iPad apps (that only I can download). We have a Roku player, screened currently to TV-Y7 programming. (“But I’m eight!” is the new battle cry.) It may seem like a first-world conversation, but it is a conversation I have a lot with my friends who are parents.
And some Sundays, I like the cozy feeling of hearing the theme song of the cartoons I watched when I was a kid as I read two papers in relative peace, all of us wearing jammies until far too late in the morning. (My attempts at explaining to my kids that I could only watch one episode of “Spiderman and His Amazing Friends” each week at a set time is literally incomprehensible to my children.) We read the excellent Washington Post Kids’ Post together too, and make pancakes and too much bacon. There is a lot of tickling, and a lot of smeary fingerprints on my iPad, and a lot of dancing to the same five tired pop songs that my kids love. (I am raising some partyrockers, let me just say.)
So, this Mother’s Day, I am giving myself a break from the media. We will have brunch, and then we are going to a ballgame – a real, live one. Join me – in both a break from some the routine media consumption and by getting outside a bit.
And if you are buying a mom in your life a gift, think spa. We all have too many picture frames – and who needs those when we have our phones?
Happy Mother’s Day!
Interested in random thoughts about motherhood, women, nonprofits and managing an overwhelming lipgloss addiction? Follow Erin @erinmfuller.