We don’t always want what’s good for us. Desire in its rawest form comes from a deep primal craving to indulge in the moment – regardless of consequences. Some of the best times of my life were when I abandoned all reason, and allowed myself to succumb fully to my yearnings. But, you also can’t spend every day doing only what pleasures you – like watching 12 hours of documentaries on Ancient Aliens while eating nothing but cookie dough ice cream sandwiches, then doing a bunch of blow off a hooker’s tits before going to club to dance the night away and have sex with a stranger on the bathroom floor. You can get cavities that way.
The reason why the ability to reason is so important is that it keeps us from spending all our time in a dark void of our longings. When we consider the long-term impact of our decisions, we tend to make better ones. That’s why I only do cocaine off the breasts of young college girls now. See how I’m maturing!?
Part of the parenting process is monitoring your child’s wants, because they’re still learning how to self-regulate. Sometimes they control themselves and choose not to go to the point of excess. Yet other times they struggle with finding a balance between reasonable pleasure seeking and extreme debauchery.
Recently, the main fight I have been getting into with The Munch is about screen time. She’s allowed to watch things, but I also have to be the one to create limits. If I were to let her, she would seriously watch cartoons all day. I mean, that would be fine if she was in her early 20’s and taking bong hits – but she’s a child, and it’s just not appropriate behavior.
On Saturday we had our most major blow out to date. I had let Munch watch the iPad the entire hour drive to my dance rehearsal, and the entire hour drive home. We had a plan that when we got back, we would make chocolate strawberry pancakes. But, once we got in the house, she decided she wanted to finish her show.
Munch: Mom, I really wanna finish my show. Can I please!!!!???
Toni: Dude, you said you wanted to make chocolate strawberry pancakes?
Munch: Well, can you make them while I watch something?
Toni: No way! You’re not my evil stepmother, and I am not Cinderella. If you want the pancakes, you have to be my little helper.
Munch: Can I watch something first, and then be your little helper?
Toni: We aren’t going to have enough time.
Munch: BUT I REALLY WANT TO WATCH SOMETHING!!
Toni: You know what? Do you what you want, but I am asking you not to.
Munch: I’m just going to watch one thing!
I decided I would let her be the master of her domain and make her own decisions. Partly to see what would happen, and partly because I was sick of saying “no” and then dealing with her incessant efforts to negotiate. One thing is for sure – The Munch would make one hell of a used car salesman.
Toni: Okay, Munch. It’s time to go to Grandma’s.
Munch: BUT I DIDN’T GET TO EAT CHOCOLATE STRAWBERRY PANCAKES!! WAHHHHAHHHHAHAAA!!
Toni: Listen. I would have made those with you. But you made a decision to watch something instead – and now we have to go.
Munch: BUT I WANTED THOSE PANCAKES!! YOU SHOULD HAVE MADE THEM FOR ME!! WAAHHHHAHHAHHAAAAA!!
Toni: I told you I would make them WITH you, not FOR you. This is the thing. When you choose to watch TV, you are not making any memories. You are just sitting there avoiding boredom.
Munch: But I HATE being bored!
Toni: No one likes being bored. But it is through allowing boredom to come, that your imagination is challenged.
Munch: BUT YOU SHOULD HAVE MADE ME THOSE PANCAKES!!! WAHHHAHHAHAHAA!!
Toni: Maybe you should have made the choice to make a memory with me, and we could have done that. Every time you choose to be in front of a screen, you aren’t living life.
Munch: Well I want to bring my iPad to Grandma’s house then.
Toni: That is not happening.
Munch: BUT I WANT TO!!! I WANT TO PLAY MY ELMO GAME THERE, AND GRANDMA HAS NO GAMES, AND SHE DOESN’T UNDERSTAND THE COMPUTER!
Toni: Grandma will play games with you. Human to human games. She doesn’t want to watch you play the iPad. Grandma wants to spend actual time with you, and make memories.
Munch: BUT I WANT TO BRING MY IPAD AND IF YOU DON’T LET ME I’M GOING TO THROW YOUR PILLOWS OUT THE WINDOW, AND BREAK YOUR COMPUTER, AND THROW YOUR PHONE IN THE TOILET, AND NEVER TALK TO YOU AGAIN.
Toni: Munch, if you were the mom, and your daughter was acting like this – would you let her bring her iPad?
Toni: And do you think you have watched enough things today?
Toni: Do you realize that by not letting you watch stuff, I am trying to be a good mom to you?
Toni: Do you want me to let you do whatever you want, and be a bad mom?
Toni: Your friend’s don’t watch that much TV, do you think you have watched more than them today?
Munch: Yes, a lot more.
Toni: And if your friends are using their imaginations they are going to get smarter right? And if you just watch things, your brain will melt. Do you want your friend’s to get smarter than you?
Munch: No. I want to be as smart as my friend’s and use my imagination.
Toni: Okay, so do you understand why I am saying “no, you can’t bring the iPad to grandmas?”
Munch: BUT I WANT TO BRING THE IPAD TO GRANDMA’S SO I CAN PLAY MY ELMO GAME WAAAHHHHHAAAHHHHHAAAA
Check out at her inner conflict…