The Monster in the Corner
This is our tv. Obscene, isn't it? We bought it at Costco a couple of years ago. In the atmosphere of a giant warehouse store, it looked normal to biggish (55 inches). When we brought it home, lugged it through the house, and set it up, I took a step back and gasped in horror. WHAT had we done?! It is gigantic and ridiculous. When people come over, I feel the need to explain and apologize for the blatant display of American laziness and materialism dominating our living room. ("we didn't know it was so big! please don't judge us!")
Television has always been a pretty major part of my life, I'm sad to say. Yes, as a little girl I loved to play with my toys and read, but I also loved me some tv, and, as an adult, my tv is pretty much always on. I need background noise, and I'm not a huge music person (although I do listen to music all day at work--probably because I can't watch tv there). Having my favorite shows on in the background as I cook, clean, and check things off of my to-do list at home makes me happy.
Several months ago at church a guy for whom I have a lot of respect got up on stage and talked about using tv to create a false sense of community. hmm. As someone who's never been super social and who thinks of Felicity, Lorelei Gilmore, and the girls of SATC as some of her favorite people, what he said made me stop and think; not enough to actually cause me to change my tv-watching habits, but his words have definitely stayed with me, lurking in the back of my mind.
I know that "screen time" isn't great for kids, especially kids who have sensory and attachment issues. They need to be in the real world, with real people, exploring and playing and using their hands and their imaginations. I have given a lot of thought to how my life will have to change once we have kids in our home, and, to be honest, it makes me a little anxious. I've pinned loads of things on Pinterest to aid me in my quest to become that mother--the mother I want to be. That mother doesn't spend hours watching Grey's Anatomy and Bones and Criminal Minds while her kids play alone. That mother creates sensory activity kits and cloud dough for her kids and spends hours helping them finger paint and learn their letters and numbers.
There are some women I know whose households are completely tv-free. Now, that's just crazy talk. But, while I don't think we will ever be a tv-free family, I am working on making it less of a focus. A few Sundays ago when we got home from church I didn't plop down on the couch as usual, remote in hand. Instead, I left the tv off, turned music on, and took care of some things that needed to be done. I responded to e-mails I'd been ignoring, I worked on the blog, I sat down with Jon and made a fundraising plan (I'm feeling completely overwhelmed by the fundraising thing, by the way... more on that later). It was nice. It was needed. Since then, I've also had a couple of tv-free Saturday mornings (just for the first few hours after I got up). Those mornings have also been nice, and needed.
Baby steps, people.
So, I guess part of the "waiting well" thing for me is working out my relationship with the monster in the corner. While I'm not sure I'll ever be that mother, I sure as heck don't want to be the one who doesn't give her kids what they need because she's too concerned with her own comfort and entertainment.