I fall in and out of love with television. There have been seasons where we have watched no TV. And seasons where vegging in front of the TV at night was a wonderful way to chill and relax. We opted out of American Idol this year and it's actually been nice to have two nights of the week not consumed with it all. We still hold sacred our Thursday night line-up of Survivor and Lost and that won't end any time soon. Other than that, Mike and I aren't much into TV these days.
But it's a whole 'nother story with my almost 2 year old. We have free cable (our high-speed connection only works if we have cable so they give it to us free) and man, is it ever easy to use Noggin or Playhouse Disney as a babysitter. Little Will is a handful and gets into every and anything at cyclone speed. The TV offers me the time to have him sit completely still and almost comatose while I get dressed, do dishes, laundry, and of course email and blog-reading. And when he gets nice and grumpy later in the day, the sounds of Little Bill calm my little Will right away and all is nice again. But I find myself using it more and more as a way to not have to deal with his feisty-ness or to not have to find something creative to do or to not have to read another book...it tempts me to escape mothering and nurturing and to escape to isolation.
And it can also happen when I am weary with all the children's sibling squabbling and grumpy attitudes. I can easily just say "turn on a movie" or "yes, go play a computer game". This isn't wrong per se but often I just don't want to deal with any of it. Even as I write this, Will is fussing and wanting to climb up into my lap and I just wish he could go be entertained.
So recently I have been thinking that I would like to curb some of the TV viewing by my younger two during the morning hours and to curb the computer time by my older two during the afternoon hours. And to curb my own computer addiction that shows its face at random hours every day. So I stumbled upon this TV Turnoff week and thought it would be fun. Well, maybe not fun, but interesting to say the least and good for us for sure. We need a break from being plugged-in...to re-find other ways of recharging, to use our minds for creativity, and to be our own entertainment. I need to take responsibility to take care of the sibling squabbles, to help Will when he is grumpy, and to be more present and interactive with my children instead of being distracted and ignoring them (which happens when I am computer-focused).
So here are my personal rules:
1. No TV for the week. Now my husband isn't sure he'll let go of Thursday night even with my offer of taping the shows. But at least for me and kids, the TV is off (including of course all movies and videos!)
2. No computer games for the week for the older children and no web-surfing for me. Ouch-ola. I will check email twice a day in the morning and at night.
Will I make it through this?!? I don't know. If the going gets too rough, I won't beat myself up too much. But it's good to have goals and it's only for a week. And I bet good things will happen as a result.
Here's to being unplugged.