Kids, Meet Mommy’s New Best Friend: The Television

I had a mental list of things I said I would never, ever, ever do as a mom. Oh, how I wish I would have actually made a physical list. I could use a big, huge, great belly laughing session like right now. I think I did a pretty good job not judging other people for these things I swore I’d never do, but they just weren’t for me. Not my parenting style, or the parenting style I hoped to have. If you want to feed your kid a Big Mac for dinner, more power to you. I was going to have it together enough to get a balanced meal on the table every night while working full time. I was not going to bribe or negotiate. Apparently I was going to raise a child who would always listen. And I would be a mom who never yelled or threatened. I’m not sure how exactly I thought I was going to keep my cool 99.9% of the time. Perhaps I planned to fall back on my yoga training?

Then there’s the big one – television. I wasn’t going to rule it out totally, but I would not use it as a tool to placate my kids. TV would be ok, in extreme moderation and never hours at a time. I would choose the shows carefully. I would set time limits. I would always watch with them for appropriateness. We would discuss the lesson after the show was over. Yeah, right.

Starting this summer, television has been an absolute life saver. I just started typing all of the reasons I needed it, had to have it, this summer. Husband was out of town a ton, I increased my work schedule by 14 hours a week, the kids fight like cats and dogs. Excuses, excuses. Why do I need any? I could write about the shows that the kids watch – all PBS Kids and what I would consider pretty educational. I could celebrate that there are no commercials on these shows, meaning I don’t have to listen to my kids ask for some toy they saw advertised on TV. But I’m just here to say – thank you television. You help me get food on the table in the evening. You help me get the older kid to be quiet while I put the younger kid to bed when I’m flying solo at bedtime. You help the kids settle down when they are knocking each other over they are so hyped up. You help me get a 3 minute power nap when my day starts at 4:30am, again. You give me a few minutes of quiet time now that the older one doesn’t take a nap anymore. And thank you to the Roku, which always has a ready supply of our favorite shows – Curious George, Cat in the Hat, Peg + Cat and Daniel Tiger. Thank you to PBS for having these shows that have a nice message and interest my kid enough that she asks further questions about the topics.

My husband and I have dreams of sleeping until 7am and waking on our own to find the kids eating breakfast they’ve made themselves and watching Saturday morning cartoons. For now, I’ll take finding them like this after I’ve turned the TV on for them.

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3 thoughts on “Kids, Meet Mommy’s New Best Friend: The Television

  1. TV is the only thing that is maintaining my sanity right now. My husband injured his arm and is unable to do anything with it for the next few months (including anthing that requires him to lift or carry our toddler). This means I do both drop off and pickup for daycare, baths, diaper changes…. you name it. Those quite times where my son just sits on my lap or on the floor engrossed in a TV show are worth their weight in gold, allowing me to get something done or just sit and breathe deeply! 🙂

  2. I am SO with you! Thank you television!! My girl watches it every morning so I can get ready for work. I too always said I’d never do this before I had a kid but that went right out the window!

  3. I’ve always thought the hype about TV is a little over the top, especially if your kids are stimulated in daycare during most of the rest of the day. The only thing I have recently started to do is limit it at dinnertime and before bed, only because my kids get GLUED to it and we end up fighting whenever I turn it off (tantrum city!). That being said, I am always amazed at what my kids learn through TV. My son can identify most dinosaurs and types of trains out there. My daughter knows several Chinese and Spanish words (through Kai-Lan and Dora). My kids know that caterpillars turn to butterflies, and that turtles lay eggs. They learned all this through various shows on TV. I think that as long as you are picking shows that are productive (i.e. not Spongebob or Beavis and Butthead) and are choosing WHEN you let them watch, then it really is no big deal. Enjoy the little bit of peace when you can get it!

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