Musings on TV from a Mom’s Perspective

It’s National TV Turn-Off Week…so I am posting about TV…

My name is Jill and I am addicted to TV. Hi, Jill!

O.K., O.K., I’m not so addicted to TV that it is on 24/7. I don’t put the TV on first thing in the morning and I don’t have the TV on as I fall asleep. I don’t watch the nightly news. I do watch CNN/MSNBC for big news events. I do watch Nancy Grace even though the show is essentially the same stories told over and over again.

I have certain shows that I must watch — no matter what. 24 is one. American Idol is another. I have a host of reality shows which I refer to as my guilty pleasure. I Tivo:

  • John & Kate Plus 8 — I watch, but hate that I am watching a family that is exploiting their children’s every move for financial gain. It’s kind of like watching a trainwreck — you just can’t stop watching.
  • Table for 12 — same type of family show except this time the family has two sets of twins and sextuplets. The parents seem more real and less exploitative, somehow.
  • Little People, Big World — love the mom and the way that the children are old enough to have a say in whether or not they are filmed. In J&KPlus8 it doesn’t look as though the children have much choice
  • 18 Kids and Counting — can’t miss those Duggars and their matching outfits
  • I draw the line at dating shows, but admit to having a crazy fascination with Bret Michaels’ Rock of Love — waiting for one of the “ladies” to rip Bret’s cowboy hat and hair off — you know it’s going to happen.

As a mom I do admit to using TV as a babysitter. In the early days of babies and toddlers and preschoolers, I could not have had a shower if not for Sesame Street, Teletubbies, or The Wiggles. We still have a TV in our bedroom that was used as the “getting a shower” TV. I would lock the bedroom door and set up the child with a TV show. 10 minutes was all I needed.

The TV came in handy when I was a WAHM faced with a “resisting a nap” 3-year-old. I resorted to letting her watch movies while the baby napped. I bought a precious 1 hour of silence from my toddler. I learned quickly to watch the movie first. One experience with my 3-year-old getting scared by Sleeping Beauty was enough.

The bedroom TV bought us a precious hour more of sleep on weekend mornings. Once my toddlers could climb out of their cribs in the mornings, I would let them watch TV in our bedroom with the door locked. My toddler/preschooler would watch TV at the end of the bed while we snoozed. Win!

With a kid, a preteen, and a teen we no longer need to use the TV as a babysitter. Now our problems are different. I struggle with how much screen time is appropriate for each child. I agonize over letting my teen watch certain TV shows and movies. I read ratings and weigh the pros and cons of letting her watch certain shows, like, The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I also try to make sure that my 6-year-old is not exposed to the shows that his teen sister watches. Disney channel is O.K. for all three kids — the kid, the preteen, and the teen.

What is your favorite TV show?

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