The other night, Amelia asked me, “Mommy, why do I never get to watch a movie on school nights?” It seems we’ve created a policy in our house of no TV (for the kid) on weekdays. We never really talked about it or wrote it in stone. We just figured that she gets enough TV time on the weekends, and we got in the habit of never turning it on during the week. I, at least, never thought much about it. So when she asked for an explanation, I had to come up with something off the cuff. I started with the standard lines about how it’s not good for your body or your brain to sit around watching TV, how the doctor told her it wasn’t healthy to watch a lot of TV. I wasn’t even persuading myself with this argument of, “Deny yourself something you enjoy because it’s Good For You.”
Every day around 2:30, I get the same clenched-gut feeling. School is almost out. My time is almost up. The time I’m referring to is those six-and-a-half blessed kid-free hours that I get each day. The time when I can work and write and run errands unencumbered. The time when I am my own master. Every afternoon, I attempt to squeeze every last second out of that time, and I end up rushing into school late, my head filled with thoughts of all the to-do’s I didn’t cross off that day. We come home and I find myself sneaking off to the computer while Amelia is playing, returning only when she calls for me.