At the moment I am in the middle of a two week self-discipline test which mostly is to figure out the place I want TV and social media like Facebook to have in my personal life, but also in our home in general (you can read about my epiphany in this blog post here). I am trying to to not watch any TV or go on Facebook.
For those who are following, here are my thoughts a week into it:
I did pretty good with this, and managed to go a whole week before signing in and checking my notifications (just in case there was an urgent message I needed to reply to..or so I told myself). I’d had mixed feelings all week about my Facebookless life..part of the time I felt very relieved at all the spare time I seemed to have, and the other part I felt really lonely, like I was missing out on everyone else’s amazing news.
Through this I realized that it really is a community that can help you feel connected and not so alone when you’re a stay at home mom talking to toddlers all day. However, I did like the spare time from not scrolling through aimlessly (we all know how time can get away from us..), and the sense of accomplishment that I actually did something productive instead.
After this last FB free week I’ll probably just go on once or twice a week to catch up, post some blog posts and reply to messages and invites. A lot of relatives who live far away look forward to pictures and posts about our family so that’s another reason I’ll keep it around (for a bit yet anyway). It will probably always remain a love/hate relationship for me.
Unfortunately I had a bump in the road of no TV. The day after my big decision to cut it out for two weeks, the girls and I all got bad colds, so I was feeling pretty miserable for about three days straight. Because of this, I DID watch White Collar with my husband since I was too sick to do anything anyway (and I had actually gone all Easter weekend without TV, so technically I had already gone five days..just saying..).
Otherwise, I found that things went really well. I had tons of time in the evenings to do stuff, and Chris and I talked more, read more, and did more projects than we usually would have done when we were couch potatoes (he had to join me in my TV boycott since he’s not aloud to watch our show without me! Besides, it not as fun watching by yourself!).
I really feel that TV’s place is for entertainment and not recharging when I’m tired. When I’m exhausted and just want to regroup, TV actually drains me, and leaves me feeling even more tired than before, and slightly defeated that I wasted time just doing nothing to help my emotional, spiritual, or intellectual growth.
I’ve found that reading in bed with some tea, sitting on the couch and talking about future plans, or doing a fun creative project is much more energizing to the soul and makes me feel more connected to the ones I love.
Screen time for the kids
For the girl’s TV time, I cut out one session (the before supper-time one), and shortened the other two to a max of 20 min. The first few days were a bit challenging, as both the girls and I were used to this in our routine, but I made a point to going for a walk or drive instead so that they could have their bottle in the car or stroller.
They associate their bottle time with show time since their morning, post-nap and 4:30 bottle were all on the couch with Netflix before. Taking them away from the couch with their bottle helped, and we even had a day where they didn’t watch anything at all. Today they only watched their morning show, so we’re seeing quick progress with them! Toddlers truly would rather be spending time with their favourite people anyway. 🙂
A few things I’ve concluded about TV and it’s place in our home:
It’s distracting, so time is wasted that I could be doing other things I find more fulfilling.
It takes away from quality time spent on relationships and personal growth.
It leaves one feeling empty because you are not living your own life but rather living vicariously through someone else’s.
It has the potential to bring all the evils of the world right into your home, if not carefully monitored, and because it’s so desensitizing, this may happen more than you like to think.
Through media, Secular Culture can convince people what is normal/ good/bad and can brainwash us to the place where we loose our own morals and ability to think for ourselves if not carefully guarded.
Basically, TV is like a loaded gun. It’s potential for destruction requires it be treated with caution and careful training. I would never hand my kid a loaded shotgun and tell them to go have fun shooting skeets if they had never first had some supervised training on handling it with respect for the damage it is capable of.
So instead of getting rid of TV altogether, we want to teach our kids how to use it appropriately, for occasional entertainment and education, carefully monitored until they are old enough to make wise choices on their own.
I know that we need to lead our children by example, and in areas like this of self-discipline, not expect our children to do something that we can’t do ourselves. If I want my kids to be imaginative and creative and not rely on TV, than I need to be able to demonstrate that to them.
Nothing makes you realize your own character flaws more than having kids and realizing that they copy everything you do..scary!
Our goal is to get to the place where we only have one movie/TV night a week where we can make it a fun family time with popcorn and pizza. Chris and I had been doing that already for awhile (before White Collar) so I’d like to just add the girls in, and then that would be their only screen time all week (they already don’t have any tablet or phone screen time).
I have happy memories of family movie nights growing up, with my brother’s famous ketchup flavoured popcorn and Dad’s latest western. There are classics out there that I want my kids to enjoy too someday, so I’m not saying in all this that TV is evil in and of itself. It has it’s place, and in our home it will have it’s time to bring us together to make memories over carefully selected family films.
Everyone needs to decide what kind of home atmosphere they as the parents want to create. For us, this means a peaceful and quite retreat from a loud and busy world, where we can slow life down and focus on what matters most to us. This looks different for everyone, and in our house, it looks like keeping the potentially addicting and distracting television time to a minimum.
That’s all for now, and I’ll be back with an update at the end of the two weeks! I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic, so feel free to comment below or send me an email!