Popular blogger and author Glennon Doyle ("Carry On, Warrior," "Untamed") has a message for other parents in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak: This is not business as usual, and parents need to "try easier," not harder.
"If we can not go easy on ourselves right now, we will never go easy on ourselves," said the 44-year-old mother of three in a video on Instagram. "This is our moment."
Doyle raises her children with ex-husband Craig Melton and wife Abby Wambach.
Doyle described a scenario happening in family rooms across America right now: Her friend called her and, while her 4-year-old son screamed in the background, she told Doyle that she was losing her mind and that the only time she got a moment of peace was during "TV time."
"Wait. Stop. Did you just say the words 'TV TIME?!' WHAT DO YOU MEAN, 'TV TIME?'" Doyle replied to her friend.
"Parents, listen to me, and listen good: 'TV TIME' is for PEACE TIMES," she said in the video. "You know what 'TV TIME' is during the corona? 'TV time' is ALLLL THE TIMES. ALL THE TIMES. ALL!"
Doyle described a period in her life when she ran a preschool out of her basement and spent inordinate amounts of her time preparing "magical" activities for her young students, only to find that the only ones they ever remembered for their parents were the last activities she did with them each day.
What she learned about young children during that experience, she said, was that the key to children is is, "Start strong, finish strong, and have one big, mediocre middle," Doyle said.
"This is my philosophy with all things children now. All you have to do is finish strong," said Doyle.
What would this look like in a global pandemic? Feeding the kids breakfast, maybe reading a book with them, then "a quick, seven-hour TV show," suggested Doyle, followed by "something cool, something fun — not Pinterest fun — but something like a board game."
That is the "corona plan," Doyle said: TV all day, with a short breaks to try to entertain the children.
Doyle reassured those parents worried about their children's educations that this "corona plan" actually does continue their schooling, by allowing them to read closed captions on the TV, or count the number of episodes of "Daniel Tiger" they watch in a day, and by requiring them to walk to the kitchen to get themselves a drink. "P.E? Done," Doyle said.
"They whine: 'Mommy, I’m tired of TV.' You look them right in the eye and say: 'Listen to me, baby. Keep on keeping on. Don’t quit. You can do hard things. LESSON ON RESILIENCE AND STICK-TO-IT-IVENESS: DONE!"
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For the skeptics, Doyle cited a recent New York Times op-ed by two University of Oxford professors, Andrew Przybylski and Pete Etchells, "Don't Freak Out About Quarantine Screen Time," that confirmed that screen time during quarantine is not harmful.
"Do the right thing. TV time is all the time. Just finish strong. It's all they'll remember. No shame," Doyle concluded. "The best thing we can model for our children is no shame.
"Don't try harder with them today; try easier," Doyle urged. "Do whatever you have to do — not to improve their test scores during a global pandemic, but to bring yourself some freaking peace. When you bring yourself some peace, they'll get some peace, and that's all they need."