Wednesday, February 16, 2011


I've always had major guilt issues about the TV. Not that the box is blaring all the live long day but I hated when I used the TV to get a much needed break from my children. I'm sure you're all familiar with those kind of days. The whining, the bickering, the backtalk....the craziness that drives you right to the edge. Sometimes, a little Sesame Street is all it takes to settle things down and get back on track. But there were also days when the TV was on for no apparent reason. Or in the evenings after dinner when instead of spending time with each other in a constructive way, we were watching reruns of shows we don't really like all that much anyway.

Movie Night!
I tried self discipline. I tried nagging. I constantly reminded myself of all the cool things we could be doing and the money we could be saving if the TV were off. That long list of sewing projects would finally be finished. That stack of books on the nightstand might get read. All those letters I want to write would finally be penned... And for a while, we'd do pretty well until all of a sudden we weren't. So I took matters into my own hands....

I canceled the cable.

I canceled the cable and I'm kind of freaking out.

Not that I don't think we can live without it. Of course we can! But I've never NOT had cable. EVER. I had it growing up. I had it in my dorm room. I worked extra shifts so I could have it in my first apartment. And no matter how broke we were in those first couple of years of marriage, we always had at least a basic package. And now...nothing.

We're not going completely cold turkey I suppose. We plan on getting a converter box so we'll get the networks for news and such. And we have Netflix for movie night. But there's something a wee bit scary about not being able to flood the living room with Kipper at the push of button when the kiddos are getting out of hand. A TV free home certainly brings us closer to the simplistic life I've been striving to live, but this is a big deal for me. We prepped the kids weeks ago and though there was some initial whining, when I announced the deed had been done, they shrugged and went outside to chase the chickens. I feel like I'm the only  one mourning the loss here, and I watched far less TV than the other three members of my family!

However, in absence of on demand entertainment we have...

-Embraced art. Collages, specifically. My kids love being given permission to cut up Mommy's magazine and get sticky with glue.

-Played several rousing rounds of Chutes and Ladders.

-Found new indoor hiding places for Hide and Seek. And J is learning not to call out when he's supposed to be hiding!

-Started our first family chapter book. We are reading A Nest for Celeste, a sweet story about a mouse who is looking for the perfect place to call home. It has just enough pictures to keep the attention of the littles and just enough substance to keep Mom and Dad entertained.

-Taught K how to play charades. She's limited mostly to animals and playground activities but it sure is fun trying to guess what the heck she's doing ("I'm a monkey going down the slide Mom!)

-Started picking through the scrap bin for the beginnings of a doll quilt for K. It's time I learn this quilting business and I figure something small is best to start with. Since K has free reign on fabric choices, it may not be the prettiest thing but we shall see. Brown and purple go together, right?

-Built the biggest, bestest train track for J using EVERY SINGLE PIECE of track we own. It covered the entire floor of his bedroom.

There are still those moments when someone asks for TV time, me included. It's a whole lot easier to say no when I know that even if I do flip the set on, absolutely nothing will happen. There have been moments of boredom and one flamboyant fit but I think we're adjusting well.  And believe it or's whole lot more fun hanging out with my family than watching reruns. I thought losing TV would make my life more complicated and hectic. Just think of all that time I'm going to have to fill with Mommy made entertainment! But that just isn't the case. Things just seems so much...simpler!



  1. Those are two precious little ones :-)

    No TV - very brave. Don't know if I could've done that with my two, but then we'd only just got TV in 1976 (my eldest was born in 1981)- before that all this country had was radio stations.

    TV certainly was a good babysitter - but then it had programmes like The Simpsons and Southpark - and my kids changed.

    Well done! You will notice the difference when your two are in their teens - they wont have the attitude that is so prevalent amongst young'uns today.

  2. We thought about going without a tv when our son was little but on days when I needed a break it was a life (and stress) saver. But I used to record his favourite programmes, like Bear in the Big Blue House and Scooby Doo, so he watched those rather than the rubbish that can be on. Looking at your two kids they look the right age to accept the change, mine is nearly eleven now and I think he'd pack his bags if I said his tv was going lol!! He's addicted to Friends repeats (we're in the UK) and the Simpsons! But he does love nature programmes too so tv isn't all bad. Good luck!!

  3. Go you, with your brave self. :)
    We've had only basic for a few years, I could probably ditch that now too.

  4. We've never had TV, and never think of it. We watch DVDs on the computer and have a VCR for our VHS collection. My kids watch two movies a day (MAX!!) which still feels like too much to me...they're generally carefully selected and screened for gender stereotypes, smart ass remarks, and sexual innuendo, but I still feel guilty. Then I remember that for the other 10 hours of the day, my kids chase chickens, do puppet shows, colour and draw, bake, play with playdough, etc. etc. and I know it's okay. There's NO WAY I could make dinner or take a bath without the one-eyed babysitter...but I do foresee a future where we have once or twice weekly movie nights and that's IT! Good for you!

  5. Congratulations! I promise it just gets easier and easier!! And you will notice such a difference in the children's play. They begin to use so much more of their imagination. It's a long term commitment with huge future benefits! xo m.