Monday, February 11, 2013

On my love/hate relationship with TV

I feel like the touchpoint for me in whether or not I'm a good mother is how much TV we watch.  And that's probably not entirely fair.

I'm of two minds on the whole thing.  On the one hand, I have read the studies.  I know that developmentally, TV really isn't good for babies and very small children.  I know that it is correlated with delays in language development. (But correlation doesn't imply causation, screams all my social science training. Did they really do a case-control study on TV?)  I don't like the way BG sometimes gets zombie-like when it's on, the sense of bored-alertness that TV provides - for me in the evening as much as for us during the day.  I want to have more quiet, to do more meaningful activities, to have more space for imaginative play.  I want to banish the TV.

Except I don't.  At all.  I LIKE TV.  When I hear people talk about how they got rid of their TV completely, my first thought usually isn't "I wish I could do that," it's "well, that's awfully pretentious of you."  (Which, yes, is also judgmental and unfair.  I apologize for my brain.)  To say that everything on TV is garbage is as absurd as to say that everything in a book is good.  I enjoy TV.

And? I enjoy kids' TV.  Sometimes.  Some of it.  I really like Curious George.  I love Daniel Tiger.  Sesame Street is awesome.  I like watching them, and I like that BG watches them.  I like that she sings "Friends help each other, it's truuuuue," as she helps clean up the water she spilled on the kitchen floor.  And I LOVE cuddling with her on the couch and watching together.  It's one of my favorite parts of the day.

So what's the problem?  TV isn't all we do.  We go to playgroups.  We have tea parties.  We read books.  We go to storytime and classes.  We use crayons and playdough, and as of last week SCISSORS (hold me, please).  We cook and eat meals and clean and fold laundry together.  We talk to each other, a lot.  (Well, not Baby Sister so much yet, but I figure it won't' be long, right?)

So, if we've done all those things, and my two year old asks to watch The Electric Company, and I want to watch it too, why should I feel bad about that?  Is it just that I secretly want to be the kind of mother who can say "Oh, we don't watch TV" ... even though I HATE when people say that?

Why, of all the things that we do in a day, do so many of us let TV be the one thing that defines us?


  1. Huge hugs. TV shouldn't be the only thing that defines you. I think we let the "shoulds" run through our mind. You are doing a wonderful job. We love watching TV with our girls and snuggling with them.

  2. Amen. I wrestle with this too. Lately I have been shutting it off though--not out of guilt or feeling like I'm a bad mom, but b/c it's giving me a headache. But when I need a break, I don't feel guilty for reaching for the remote.