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TRIUMPHS of parenthood

What Happens When You Turn The TV Off

It’s funny, I remember when I had my first daughter thinking that I was never going to let her watch TV. I was going to entertain her all the time, with all my color sorting, co-ordination, and super smart activities I found on Pinterest. And I was going to enjoy every second of her cute little chubby face.

And then the exhaustion, depression, frustration, and defeat kicked in.

As she got older I let her watch more TV. I did monitor what she watched, and I made sure that they were “educational” programs.

With the birth of my son I became way more lenient with what she watched. If you had a toddler and a newborn, you will totally understand this. They were 23 months apart, and my husband was working out of town. Which resulted in just little old me and two babies that demanded all of my time.

I didn’t batt and eye at the increase of screen time. She would nicely sit while I could make baby food, do the dishes or laundry or just sit on my butt and cry into my hands because I was so exhausted.

I had a stock pile of Disney movies and she loved her princesses. Sounds perfect no?

The thing is, I hadn’t watched a lot of these movies as an adult.

I don’t remember being frightened of them when I was younger, but my daughter was soon having nightmares and talking about weird stuff in general. If you think back to it, Snow White, Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, and Sleeping Beauty all had some pretty bad ass crazy “witches.” No wonder she was having nightmares.

Now on to my son.

He has grown up watching TV even more than she did. For parents who have more than one kid, you know that you become A LOT more lenient with the next kid. Things that seemed super important just kinda drift away because honestly, you got more important crap to think about, and you don’t have the time or drive to be that strict anymore.

My daughter would go to preschool, and he would watch a good chunk of TV. It was the part of the day I genuinely looked forward to. It was my time. Lets face it, my time consisted of doing things for my family. But hey, it was quiet and I never realized how efficient I could be in 2 hours until having multiple children. This was my time of the day to get everything done, because my little man decided he was too good for naps much earlier than most kids.

The more they watched, the more they became what I have come to call “TV Monsters”

Generally speaking, a “TV Monster” is a toddler who harasses you all day to watch a show.

When you try to turn off said show, their face turns red, they sound like the devil, and they make you feel like they have opened the fiery gates of hell and you are the star guest.

Yeah Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t give into my kids. I’m the adult. I wear the pants in the relationship. I make the rules.

Likewise, you also need to learn to pick your battles.

If I am having a hard day and I need 1-2 hours to myself to get my shit together so I don’t have a mental breakdown, damn rights I would turn on the TV.

If the show ended and the kids were miserable again, and I hadn’t finished my laundry or cooking supper, yeah I would throw another episode on. Everyone always says, that you can’t pour from an empty cup. There was a big chunk of my life as a parent where I think I was trying to pour for a completely dry cup. I finally said Eff it. I will use the TV as much as I need to make sure that I have my sanity in tact by the end of the day. Here’s the real shocker, I didn’t feel guilty about these times. Watch away my pretties, mommas catching her breath.

We finally started to cut down on the tv when I felt like I could emotionally and physically handle it. The kids are also 5 and 3 now, so I do think it’s easier as they get older.

It started out pretty rough. The kids were miserable and did not understand why all of a sudden they were only allowed to watch a half hour to one hour of tv while I was cooking supper. We powered through like champs, like we always do.

I went from having the TV on in the background ALL DAY to just in the morning for the news and then switching it to the radio station. The kids were allowed to watch 2 shows a day, but they had to be what I picked. It was narrowed down to Curious George, the Magic School Bus, Daniel Tiger, or Wild Kratts. Thats it, thats all. 

Then we moved.

We decided that we weren’t going to get a big TV subscription package. We wanted to cut down on our screen time as a family and it seemed to be the easiest way. If we didn’t have it, we couldn’t watch it.

We ended up not having our TV set up for a week or two. Although, we did have our Netflix still.

We went with the smallest package, which basically has the news and a few channels that are pretty lame.

The only time the kids get to watch TV now is when we are in the van driving, or on the odd day we choose to have a “movie day.” This typically consists of one movie, because the kids now say that is “too long.”

I don’t even turn the TV on until the end of the night when the kids have gone to bed. I also don’t watch the news anymore.Rather, I listen to the radio all day. We catch up on our shows at the end of the night, but we stop at 9:00 so we can read before bed.

As a result of this, something magical happened.

My kids can keep themselves entertained.

Sibling love
Sibling Love

They play and get along way better then before.

We do more things as a family. Skating, playing outside, and board games.

Me and my husband have time to read the stack of books we have, which we never had the “time” to before.

Morning Coffee and Reading

I don’t start my day with knots in my stomach listening to all the crap thats happening in our world. I don’t hear about stabbings, shootings, robberies, drugs, murders, and how the world as we know it is slowly but surely becoming  a mess.

We have the time to set goals, and make plans for our next year (it will be a good one !!)

And guess what? My kids don’t even ask to watch TV anymore.

Okay, okay, this last month and a bit has been amazing!

My husband has been home because he was sick, and then had his vacation days. I’m sure this has helped drastically with not having the TV on at all for the kids. I have an extra set of hands, and an extra able body that can help entertain the kids while I do some housework or vice versa.

As of right now our kids meltdowns have decreased and they are turning into cool little human beings that actually play and love each other. Which lets face it, is basically the reason we had two in the first place.

Let’s hope back to school and a routine doesn’t bitch slap us right where it hurts.

I am saying that right now, no TV to a little TV has been amazing for our family. Come next week I could be writing about how this giant box in our home saved my life once again.

May the odds be ever in our favour.