If you came and you found a strange man… teaching your kids to punch each other, or trying to sell them all kinds of products, you’d kick him right out of the house, but here you are; you come in and the TV is on, and you don’t think twice about it. ~Jerome Singer
A-Z Challenge Week 3…
We located the addict and are attempting to correct the behavior.
Being an avid reader, I come across the most interesting perspectives, medical journal information, politics, news and most importantly, other parents struggling to raise good children too.
I’ve read so many cautionary tales about television in the home.
I laughed at them and quickly turned on Teletubbies to buy me enough unmolested time to prepare a meal, pee or if I was feeling really daring and smelly, a shower.
Now that our people are older, busy and are trying their best to carve out lives of their own outside their family, it’s harder to monitor who’s been watching and how long have their little couch potato butts been there locked into the boob tube.
Like wise with the computer.
They are so fortunate to have a computer to use. We thought by sharing a computer we would be encouraging them to communicate, be fair and compromise.
Perhaps we forgot that they also have phones with Internet too so that was a big parenting backfire FAIL.
Everyone has chores to do.
It’s the price we pay to enjoy this beautiful life… not to mention have dishes to eat off of, clean clothes to wear and the ability to find something in our own rooms.
Summer lethargy had set in.
I was turning into a raving lunatic ready to shuffle down the sidewalk twitching and singing one line of a bad song repeatedly at the top of my lungs, if I passed by another kid plopped down vegging out trying to tell me that they’d get to the chore I’d asked 3 zillion times already to do.
Then my head exploded, making it even more of a mess in the kitchen.
OK, so maybe it was just my sanity cracking a bit. Which by all accounts causes even bigger messes than an exploding noggin.
Consulting my Handsome Prince we decided things needed to change and quick!
Each month we’ve made a point to examine our spending and bills, making Frugal changes slowly so that we’re not tempted to revert back to the path of plastic.
I took a closer look at our Cable/ Internet bundle.
We’ve been paying THAT much for HOW long?!
With one phone call it was gone. We had entered the NO CABLE ZONE!
When we broke the news to the kids, they looked at us with that ‘I thought you loved us and then you went and sold us to the Circus’ look of betrayal.
Due to the business we’re in we have 2 wireless modems that we pay for but hardly ever use. One is now our business line and the other can be checked out to children for 1 hour a day or educational purposes. Problem solved!
I’m angry with myself for believing that cable was necessary, a can’t live without expense, while at the same time we were cutting a check each month for something SO under utilized. We’re so careful and there it was taunting us but we didn’t see it through our over connected stupidity.
They have DVD’s, game systems and ye old VHS to occupy their time if need be and access to Internet.
Took them about 15 minutes to be on board with these changes.
Their rooms are still a mess. I always can collect someone’s laundry from the bathroom floor and I still have to ask several times to get simple chores completed.
They each are curling up to read more, riding their bikes daily, volunteering to help cook or organising a family outdoor activity. They have been gardening and the only time someone has asked for Internet was to look up an insect they found in the yard. All of the animals have gotten a much needed bath. We’re running out of craft glue and glitter after their creativity kicked back in. A couple of the kids are even working on posts to add to this blog.
Our family dinners are SO much longer as everyone lingers and often it turns into a game night or just some awesome round table discussions. They still gather at the television for movie night or to play video games together. I’ve noticed that they pick old movies to watch and then spend much of the time discussing memories.
They are no longer running for their devices the second they scarf down dinner.
I am very proud of them.
They took change in stride and are becoming better more creative people for it.
I am the most affected.
I am the Cable Television Addict.
I am the monster that created the bad example in the first place!
In my defense, I’d like to take this moment to put the blame for my addiction squarely where it belongs…
If those little buggers slept like normal humans, their infancy would not have made sure that I was wide awake to take in all infomercials and Nick At Night for several years.
I believe I could recite ANY episode of Mr. Ed, Golden Girls or Full House on command.
They grew and I was left with a bad case of insomnia that I struggled with for years. Against what all the medical professionals said, I used my TV as white noise and friend in the wee hours of the morning.
It took a long time for my Handsome Prince to get used to having the TV on 24/7 talking at me. Months of bad sleep gave way to his unfortunate conditioning to my nightly freak show.
When I write, it talks to me. I find quiet utterly distracting and can’t seem to get past the anxiety until the TV or radio goes on.
I do enjoy several programs BUT it’s not what is playing on the TV as much as it’s just on yapping at me.
On insomnia nights my DVR is there waiting for me. Ready to spew forth the Kardashians, 17 and Pregnant, Tia and Tamara and other guilty reality show pleasures that the Prince can’t stand. There they are waiting for me to hit play and revel in my bad TV until sleep and I make up and I run away with the sandman for a few hours.
My great plan totally threw me for a loop!
The first night I cried.
The second I was giving up and ready to make the call to fix this cable nonsense.
The third, I pulled my big girl pants up and decided I was going to be the change!
I effectively enrolled myself in my own 12 step Cable Withdrawal Program.
I thought they needed it. Turns out it was me that needed it the most!
Cable was NOT an important part of my childhood.
I did envy friends that got the Disney Channel and looked forward to watching Kids Incorporated with them.
My after school activities were rushing home to deliver newspapers with my girlfriend. Then we could ride bikes or play anywhere within a 12 block radius. At 6 PM sharp her father would whistle a crazy high pitched 2 finger blaring dinner bell that could be heard EVERYWHERE we could think to go. At the whistle, all the neighborhood kids raced home for dinner. We pitched tents in the front yard on the weekends to camp out with all the neighborhood kids, crossed major streets and rode our bikes for miles to the beach alone.
It was another time.
Now, we have to worry when our children leave our sight to walk to a friend’s house 2 blocks away.
We live in one of the repeatedly ranked “Safest Cities in America” and in a very nice well kept working class neighborhood. We are surrounded by good hard working people that take pride in their homes and families. It’s a sweet little area that often feels much smaller than it really is. We are very happy with what our town, schools and neighborhood have to offer.
In this “safe” city, at the end of our very own street, TWICE in 2 years, two different people have tried to get my child into their vehicle.
Once they tried to talk her into the car but she’s a very smart cookie and knew to run. We called the police.
The second time was just a few weeks ago. When the man couldn’t get her to come close to the car he jumped out. She hopped the school fence and ran straight to her friend’s where the police were called.
Neither time has anyone been caught or questioned to my knowledge.
This is NOT at all how our neighborhood is!
The fear of losing my children shakes me to the bone and makes me want to plug them right in so I know exactly at every second that they are safe.
But is what they are watching any safer than climbing too high up a tree, taking a bad spill on a bike or learning life lessons from actually engaging?
Will I allow my fear based anxiety to turn these great people into anxiety ridden couch potatoes?
Or worse, encourage a sedentary lifestyle that ultimately could contribute to the decline in their overall health?
NOT A CHANCE!
We developed better buddy systems and often follow them from afar so they have independence but we know their cute rears made it there safely.
Cable no longer has a hold on us.
I admit, I do miss my junk TV BUT I love the savings and benefits that have come from it’s passing more.
I wish I had listened to the sage advice from the Mamas who came before me…
But seems I need to try reinventing the wheel before admitting it was already pretty great before I got there.
Cable or No Cable… what will be YOUR answer?
Working Through The Quiet,