I have an obsessive personality. It’s one of the (many) traits I inherited from my Dad. I remember when I was growing up my dad became absolutely obsessed with whatever he threw himself into for a few months before moving on to the next great thing.
My dad has been a: cow rancher, motorcycle enthusiast, vegan, competitive cyclist, yogi, camper (both RV and tent), horseback rider and a shotgun shell maker to name a few.
What does this have to do with TV? Well, I had to quit TV.
I have binge watched too many shows to count (you should totally watch Friends From College, Handmaid’s Tale, The Path, wait…this is supposed to be about quitting tv, ok, back to the other stuff).
I used TV as a babysitter. Don’t we all? No? Oh.
I turned it on anytime the kids were driving me absolutely crazy in an effort to not deal with their crazy. Sometimes it worked and I was semi-happy and other times it did not work. In the moments when the TV was not an effective babysitter, I would get absolutely infuriated and lash out at them and threaten, “I’m going to turn it off!” I threathened this roughly 18 times (because I’m all about following through) before I would finally turn it off. You can guess what happened next, right? Lots of crying and pleading and screaming and, my personal favorite kid complaint of all time: “I’m booooored.”
This summer we went on a Domestic Church family retreat in Arkansas. We spent 8 days in the middle of nowhere. We had zero cell phone service and zero TV time.
On the drive back to Louisiana, I turned to Marvin and said, “You know, this week was really peaceful and I think it’s mostly because we didn’t watch TV. Maybe we should go completely without TV?” Marvin probably thought I was absolutely crazy, but he said he was on board. (That tells you everything you need to know about our relationship dynamic. The dude is a saint.)
We got home and we did not watch a single second of TV in our home.
Here we are one month later. We are happier. We spend time together in the afternoons. We have dance parties. We play “Would You Rather.” We laugh. We play board games. We talk.
And, most importantly, our family is peaceful. Not the kind of peaceful that kidless people get to experience, let’s not get crazy, but as peaceful as a home with 4 young children can be.
And, I cannot help but think this is how God wants us to live. Spending QUALITY time together.
I’m not very good at absolutes. I cannot say we will absolutely never watch TV again, but I can tell you that TV will no longer be the regular in our family. It will not happen daily. It will not be our default.
Disclaimer: if you are pregnant and you made it this far without closing this page and cussing, I want you to know that I am NOT talking to you. You should most definitely watch TV. You should most definitely use TV as a babysitter. You should also take many naps and spend money on massages and you are beautiful and you are not glowing, but that’s ok because no real humans glow and the baby will one day no longer be inside your body. Everything’s going to be ok. It’s not ok right now, duh, but it will be one day, I promise.
Another disclaimer: my kids do not have tablets, no iPad, no learning games, no nothing. As you can see, I am already slightly insane so the no TV thing was not a big leap.
For all non-gestating humans: Here’s a good documentary you can watch (ironic?) about media and how it effects us. It is available on Amazon prime.