Today was morning number four of the great no TV for the kids before leaving for daycare experiment. I wish I could really take credit for thinking of it, but really it happened by fluke. I just didn’t turn on the TV Monday morning. On my way to work that morning I reflected about how much easier it had been to drag the kids out of the house and off to daycare. A thought occurred to me, that maybe, just maybe, the TV watching which I thought was making my life easier was actually further complicating it. Many days I end up coercing The Boy into turning off the television, or just turning it off myself and facing the tantrum that ensued. Many days I was annoyed by not being able to catch a glimpse at the weather forecast because our TV was set to Little Einsteins on Disney or Caillou on Sprout, but I just lived with it. As I was reflecting about the ease of my Monday morning (perhaps it was partially glee at being able to have some kid-free time after a solo weekend away with them), I decided to see what happened if the kids just didn’t watch television in the morning.
I am not sure what I expected out of the little experiment. I did expect some reaction from the kids. However, there has been no reaction. They haven’t even noticed that television is missing from their daily routine (no I haven’t pointed it out to them). I can’t say that every morning this week has been a joy, but we haven’t had any arguments over watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse pleeeeease before heading out. I’m not sure how far I will push my luck, but my hope is to avoid morning television even on weekends. I’m not sure how strong my resolve will be when one of them wakes at 5:30 am on a weekend, and I want to use television to baby-sit while I catch a few extra Z’s on the couch. Only time will tell.
The bigger picture here is that there are certain things I do that make my life more difficult. I tend to check my internet message boards obsessively, and often boot up the computer before work (even when running late!) to do so. The flipside is that I hate being late, and I hate feeling rushed, so why do I do it? While the kids are giving up television in the morning, I am giving up my morning message board fix. There is no reason for me to feel rushed in the morning simply because I had to turn on the computer and check three websites. I need to feel rushed because sometimes it is hard to get two kids dressed, fed (only if they insist), in coats, hats, mittens, and boots, and strapped into carseats. I cannot complain about how harried my morning routine is if I am doing things to actively make my mornings harder. Is it really fair for me to tell The Boy that he has to hurry when he just sat next to me on the couch for 20 minutes watching television while I checked online? No, I suppose it isn’t.
I don’t want to be that Mom who is always yelling at her kids, I want my kids to know that they are important and valued. I do have the power to change things, and when I really looked at the situation I saw that most of my frustration was a direct result of things under my control. It is more than just no television in the mornings; it is about actively working to make things better. Accepting that something is difficult gets us nowhere; looking at things with a critical eye and taking actions to correct them will make a big difference.