A few years ago, I made a big decision to decrease the amount of television I was watching. It was hard because I love tv. Like, love love love tv. I made a decision to only follow three shows and if I caught something else, so be it. I also made the rule not to turn on the tv until after my children were in bed. That was hard. Boy, did I miss Oprah. But, now, now it's no big deal. And, I've been able to loosen the rules and watch more. I'm more disciplined about it now. Years of practice can do that.
Last summer I read The Plug in Drug and Set Free Childhood and made some serious rules for tv watching for my children. That too was hard. Very hard. There were days where I was constantly fighting with my kids, unplugging the tv and at times giving in. But, now a year and a half later, we are doing just fine. Tyler gets to watch a bit more tv than Justin because frankly, I have things to do. One of the biggest ah-ha moments in my readings was discovering how much I use tv as a babysitter. It was upsetting to admit how much of a lame mom I was. But, once I did I was able to make changes. Now, Justin gets a movie day once a week. The movie then becomes special, something exciting. If I can, I try to watch with the boys and pop popcorn and enjoy the moment. Weekends and play dates are fair game because sometimes you need a babysitter and you can't get other people to abide by your rules when your child is with them. That's life. But, I am extremely proud of all of the progress that my family has made.
A few months ago, I gave away a tv. My kitchen tv is now safely tucked away in my closet. I actually don't miss it, and that surprises me. It shows how far I've come. A few weeks ago I was sick with the swine flu (so Ryan says) and the tv came out. Afterwards it sat and was utilized by Tyler a bit. By the time Ryan found the time to put it away, Tyler was already attached to it . That was a few weeks ago and he still cries at times, "Daddy took it my tv away!" He's quite perturbed.
I also have a love/hate relationship with Digital Television. When it first started I was so enamored with all of my channel eights. And, it was nice that my children could no longer work the tv on their own. They can't figure out the converter. But, now, now that fall season has begun I hate dtv. It is the bane of my existence. I have no cable so I have a converter. I have a dvr with a hard drive on it. Last season I could use it to record shows, while watching other shows. I could set my shows to record once and walk away for a whole season. It was awesome. Now, the dtv and dvr are not friendly. They do not work well together. Now, I have to be present to change the dtv channel before a second show begins. It sucks. I might as well use my vcr again. I've had to give up a few shows and that makes me sad. While I want to only watch three shows, the truth is once my kids are in bed and I turn the tv on I will choose something to watch. Some weeks I'm better than others but the beginning of the new season always taunts me. It's hard. I'm at the point where I'm making plans to order cable or buy a new dvr that can function with my dtv. Either way, something has to happen. There are three main ways that I relax at night: reading, Internet usage and watching tv. Without the latter, I am screwed. It's my favorite down time activity. Something has to happen and soon. I've given up a lot where media is concerned but I'm not willing to give it all up. Like I said, it's a love/hate relationship.