What is happening?!?!?!
We’re T-2 days out from pulling a gigantic rug out from under our kids. Well, let’s just be honest. It’ll be a big rug pulled out from under us too.
We are getting rid of our TV.*
Now before you run away feeling like you need to justify why you are keeping your TV, just hold on a second babe. This is not something I think everyone needs to do, AT ALL. Some mamas can’t shower without their kids watching a show for a hot minute. Some of you aren’t addicted and/or aren’t feeling led to do this AT ALL. So just chill.
You get to watch us suffer or thrive through this next month or longer and then decide whether you want to try it too.
While I’m all about fun, cute movies and educational shows, I’ve been sensing that the kids (and I) have grown quite dependent upon it.
This is my dealio:
It all started about nine months ago when we met a guy at a Northwestern Mutual conference (where the hubs works as a financial planner). He was telling us how he and his wife were starting a school, housing missionaries, and raising three equally young and close in age children as we were. Overachievers, I know. Nevertheless, as we were talking, he mentioned in passing that they don’t have a television in their house. My jaw was on the floor of that ballroom.
I had never met anyone who had chosen this way of life, but it deeply intrigued me. I had rougly 2412 questions, but due to the fact that we were in survival mode at home, I was certain that getting rid of the TV would be the death of all of us.
But I couldn’t stop thinking about how that family also had three extremely young kids too, and how it must be possible. I have thought many times about this family and their lifestyle choice since that conversation happened last winter. And I’ve mentioned my desire to try life without TV to Kevin numerous times.
A couple months later, I read a flyer at the YMCA that said the average amount of screen time kids have each day is SEVEN HOURS. Holy Smoksaroni, that’s a lot, I thought.
But really thinking about it, I concluded that my kids would probably LOVVVVE to watch 7 hours of TV a day. Despite only allowing them to watch a couple 20-minute Netflix episodes a day, they seem obsessed. Hooked. Addicted.
They ask if they can watch Netflix when they wake up, before school, after school, and before bed. They ask if they can watch shows we don’t allow them to, even when the answer is no every time. In general, they love it too much.
When we talk about family fun nights, the kids want to know what movie we’re going to watch or rent.Our younger two wake up wayway way way way way too early (we’re talking in the 5:00 hour — and while we don’t usually let them watch TV in the morning, we have used screens in the past to keep them quiet. I suspect there may be a link there.)
We’ve tried alternatives and limits that just aren’t effective when the big screen is beckoning from the corner of the main living space.
Also, when the kids are fighting or being annoying, sometimes we just tell them to go watch a show. I don’t want to parent like that. I’m annoying myself with something as dumb as a TV, because it’s easy.
I like easy. But good is often hard.
Finally, what tripped my trigger: Recently, a close friend of mine posted a beautiful thing on Instagram. This is what it said:
“Doing my best to raise organic, free range babes. I want them to explore, invent, read books, dig for worms, use their imaginations and suck the marrow out of life. What’s your mission?”
Damn. Drop the mic, y’all.
It put into words exactly why I felt like we needed to actually pull the plug — for now at least. And Kev was finally on board.*
WHAT IS THIS GOING TO LOOK LIKE?!
Well, I’m sure it’s going to suck. For a little while at least. 😉 It’ll be hard — potentially like having a new infant or losing a limb hard.
BUT what if it gets easier and then we love it?? What if it becomes way of life? What if it’s actually possible to squelch our desire to zone out into zombie TV world?
According to the people who have done it, it is possible. Five people so far have told me they have gone without TV and LOVED IT. Three of those families have never owned a television in their married lives, and they never plan to. Y’ALL ARE HARDCORE!!
Seriously though. What if my kids develop a deep hunger for learning, books, games, imagination, adventures, and playing?
That’s why we’re trying this.
So we’ve been weaning ourselves off and prepping the kids, but I’m prepared for the ohsheeetwhatdidwedo??? feelings that are certain to come. I’m fairly confident that I will want to quit my life on day 3. Also on day 1, likely 30 minutes in. Oh and when This Is Us starts up, don’t even. I may have to quit the world, or at least Facebook, which I’ve pretty much already quit.
I’m collecting and creating fresh games, playlists, crafts, WINE, and random ideas. My book pile is tall and ready to be attacked.
I’m also trying to prepare my heart (and simplify my schedule) for the enormity of intentional parenting that’s about to hit us.
This is going to be hard. And it’s going to be good. I believe that with all of my being.
You know what I tell people for the 30 days to healthy living wellness challenge? Anyone can do anything for a month.
One month. One glorious, reading-filled, adventure-filled month. 😀
(Also, don’t tell Kevin but my plan is to never go back. But we’ll see. I talk a big game, I know 😉
I’ll keep you updated along the way. I’ll have plenty of time, I think!
Let the games begin.
*For all of you wondering where the TV will be going….we won’t be kicking it to the actual curb yet. It’ll be relocating to our cold basement, where the kids and I will not be watching it. Kev might watch football occasionally, but the kids and me…nada. At least for a month. PRAY FOR US!!!