Hi, I’m Krista and I’m a TV addict. So is my son.
When I was planning the kind of parent I wanted to be, the images in my head were of a home with a TV that collected dust. But 13 months in, that is definitely not the reality and I’ve decided to accept that it never will be.
I loooove TV. Movies too. I always have. For many years, before streaming and ‘on demand’ programming, my weeknight activities were scheduled around my shows. Even as a kid I would throw a fit if my parents made me go out during Star Trek (yup, big Trekker nerd here!) My mom actually let me quit ballet because I complained that my class was at the same time as the Wonder Years. In short, it interfered with my life. So I was determined to get rid of it completely so that my kids don’t suffer the same fate. But that’s just not going to happen.
My son enjoys the TV. From day one I’ve had it on, usually turned to the news, because the voices make me feel less lonely in my house all by myself. In the last three months it’s been increasingly tuned to Treehouse to entertain Little Man. And I’ve been beating myself up about it because he’s so little, he shouldn’t be watching it AT ALL. But when music comes on and his face lights up and he gets up and starts dancing and laughing, how can I say no? And when it’s five o’clock and I’m itching for some down time but dinner still needs to be cooked and Little Man is literally biting my legs to get my attention, why shouldn’t I give myself that break?
And then there’s the fact that I had many goals like this when I was pregnant and let’s face it, I can only tackle so many things at once. I’m very proud of the strides I’ve made to feed his body (and mine) with clean, delicious, whole foods. It takes a lot of time and energy, and it’s a major life change for me. But this is a crucial period for him nutrition-wise, so right now it’s my priority for him. I do know that this is also a crucial time for his brain development, but the reality is that I’ll be able to continue nurturing his intellect long after I’ve lost the ability to control his food.
So here’s the new plan. It’s no longer about unattainable goals for quantity. It’s about quality, connection, and balance.
I want him to know that TV can be a way to get information, not just a way to tune out. So I’ll be making sure we watch shows in French. My french is good but if I want a bilingual baby, he needs to hear native speakers. And I’ll be making sure we mix some documentaries and National Geographic stuff in with the cartoons.
I don’t want the TV to isolate us. When I was growing up, we had 3 TVs for 4 people. My parents could usually agree on programming (except during hockey playoffs) and shared the biggest one. My sister then took the second TV and I sat in the kitchen to get my Star Trek fix. That won’t happen in my house. We’ll continue to have one TV. So movie night will be an exercise in compromise as well as learning to enjoy the things the other members of the family enjoy.
I want him to see us walking away from the TV. Weekends are for outings. Nice weather is for playing in the garden. Responsibilities get tended to before the TV comes on. I just can’t completely eschew the TV, but if I’m modeling that balance for him – the balance I couldn’t find as a kid – then I’ll feel like I’ve accomplished something.
What about you – what battles have you had to concede? What plans of attack have had to be altered when you realized they weren’t working or feasible?