Screen time is defined as the amount of time spent each day using devices such as TVs, gaming consoles, smartphones and tablets. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends limiting screen use to one hour per day for children ages two to five years.

I really thought that this summer would be the one; the summer I have dreamed of since moving out to the beautiful countryside of Douglas County. The big one. The infamous, rainbow-unicorn of motherhood bragging rights — the screen free summer!

But, I have to tell you the truth, dear readers. It took until the second day of summer vacation with my five spirited boys for me to decide that I needed a moment of peace and fire up my BFF, Netflix.

We are now about a month into summer vacation and it is becoming very clear to me that this will not be a screen-free summer.

We are doing lots of fun things. My kids play outside (sometimes under duress). They fish, they play with friends, they swim, they fight and, every afternoon when I can’t take the noise for one more second, I cheerfully turn on the television and get myself a cup of coffee. Let’s call it a not quite screen-free summer.

So, now I have a choice to make. I can choose to feel guilty about my electronic babysitter and beat myself up about unmet expectations. Or, I can choose to accept that this is the stage of life I’m in and that this is the best decision I can make for the health, happiness and sanity of my entire family.

I choose the latter.

There are lots of things in this stage of my life that I am having to accept and let go. For example, wearing my hair in anything other than a ponytail or a messy bun, or having a living room that doesn’t have a permanent laundry basket full of clean clothes in the corner.

Perhaps there are things in your life right now that are not going how you imagined? Perhaps there are compromises that you are making for your sanity or happiness that you feel guilty about? I don’t know a mom who doesn’t. I don’t know a person who doesn’t.

This might not be the screen free summer I envisioned. But it is the summer that my six year old learned to ride his bike with no training wheels. It’s the summer that my nine year old learned to gut a fish. It’s the summer that my twins refused to potty train. It’s the summer that my oldest started laughing at all my jokes.

I guess it’s a pretty magical summer after all!

Caitlin Harris is a Portland native who now happily lives in Douglas County with her husband and five boys.

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