…was a great big flop.
OK, that might be exaggerating a little bit. I suppose I should backtrack anyway, since I wasn’t blogging when the experiment began.
It was almost the end of Lent (a more ominous beginning than “It was a dark and stormy night,” don’t you think?”) and I was sitting around and realized that I wanted to make a change as a parent. I knew that my daughters and I had suddenly gone from my parenting goal of no more than an hour of television a day to having it on constantly. It had only been exacerbated by the purchase of a 46 inch Sony Bravia…a major splurge for my husband and I. Before I knew it, my 22 month old daughter knew every single theme song from Playhouse Disney and Nick Jr. It was time for a change.
So, I turned the TV off. I tried to be realistic, saying that if the girls had a really good day they could watch one video (a 30 minute sing along or the Leap Frog Alphabet Movie) before bed. I could do this…right?
I did do it. I was really proud of myself, my girls, and my husband. We cut back on our television watching during the day time drastically. I was worried less about my husband and myself than I was about my daughters. You hear so much about how bad television is, and I hated the thought that I was hurting them in some way.
And, television made parenting easy. I could sit on the couch and knit, I could read, I could clean…I could do the things that helped keep our house together and me on the sane side (eh…). It made it easy to tune the girls out, and I didn’t want to do that. I was worried that I’d miss something.
But, I wasn’t as happy without the television on some during the day. I felt more anxious, more stressed out, more pressured to be the perfect parent, which I know doesn’t even exist anyway. I felt like a failure when and if I did cave and turn the television on.
So, the great television experiment was, in a way, a big flop. I don’t want to go back to nothing but that one bedtime show. But I know I don’t want to be the mom who leaves the kids in front of the box all day long, either.
I think most of all, what I want is the realization that whatever I do, whatever choices I make about the television or otherwise, that I’m doing the best I can do, and that’s all I can do. My children are resilient. Watching The Lion King three days in a row (maybe even more than once in a day!) isn’t going to scar them for life.
Maybe the great television experiment was more successful than I’d thought. I’ll think on it when we watch Peppa Pig.