Rediscovering the 'Me' in 'Mumeeeeeee'

'I have always thought that there is no more fruitful source of family discontent than a housewife’s badly-cooked dinners and untidy ways'. (Mrs Beeton's Book of Household Management, 1861)

September 6, 2009

What do you mean, no TV?

I have taken an incredibly brave stance against unruly behaviour among the small people. I have - drum roll, lengthy pause, drag it out a bit longer – BANNED TELEVISION! Dum, dum, duuuuuuuuummmmmmmmm (clap of thunder, flash of lightening). Gasp. Shriek. I know. Sooooooooooo evil.

Are you nuts, I hear you cry? Well, long story short, there was far too much protesting going on about the TV being switched off after the permitted intake of CBeebies (this isn’t meant to sound quite so much like we live in a prison).

“Enough, enough, ENOUGH”, I cried, “Right, THAT’S IT. No more TV. If you’re not happy to watch what mummy says, then maybe you’re better off without any TV at all”.

And with that, the dreadful deed was done. Despite much wailing and protesting about such an awful punishment, the TV has remained firmly off (at least as far as the kids are concerned!) for two days now.

The only problem with this punishment is that it has started to back-fire on me. I didn’t realise just quite how valuable those 40 minutes of ‘quiet time’ chilling out with Charlie & Lola can be for a demented mother who is frazzled beyond repair at the end of another day. I now feel like I am punishing myself as I get the jigsaws and Play-Doh back out of the cupboard for the twilight hour before daddy comes to the rescue.

Now I’ve made such a stance against it, I am starting to wonder if I, or the kids, have become dependent on TV. I’d hate to think so – but maybe we are? Despite all our tut-tutting at other parent’s apparent over-reliance on TV before we had children of our own, have we ended up doing just the same? Or, actually, is a limited amount of TV perfectly fine for the kids and do parents just guilt-trip each other out; feigning disinterest in the latest TV craze while secretly Sky +ing every episode?

Well, in for a penny as they say, so having started this as a punishment, it has now developed into something of an ‘experiment’. I have decided to tough it out and go without kids TV for a week. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, you heard me right. A whole week. I do not care what happens to Iggle Piggle’s blanket, Dora will have to explore without us and Sportacus will have to show off his moves to someone else.

If you feel like joining me and switching off your TV as well, then please pledge your support below.

I will keep you updated here and through my Twitter account (click button above to follow me). I know this is going to be a tough journey, but I shall remain strong. Grrrrrrrrr.



  1. You are very brave.

    Very, VERY brave. I can't commit I'm sorry. Those odd half an hours are the only time I get anything done.

    I am quite strict with it though, No TV after 9am, a bit over lunch while I make dinner, than TV off till tea-time. But even at 14 months old Kai wanders over with the remote and points at the tv and shouts at me - so I do worry about how addicted he is already.

    But the peace! The peace is soooo lovely!

    Good luck anyway - I'll be with you in spirit! Hope you survive...

  2. Hey there,

    I'm only here writing this because my youngest is being distracted by the TV! If you really want this to be fair, you have to ban the adults from TV in the evenings as well and get the kids to entertain you instead. (If they are in bed and can't put on a nursery rhyme show you can always watch them sleep...)

  3. Good luck! I've actually just drafted a post about children and TV! I'd struggle to ban it for a week (for reasons given in post when it's published). You're very brave. That post-telly turn off tantrum is awful and then they sulk for ages afterwards. Argh...

  4. You have my internet support but our tv is staying on :)
    Besides...I'd have to ban myself from the tv too and Grey's Anatomy is gonna start soon

  5. I admire your bravery. We use ‘the TV’s going off’ as a punishment (although not regularly thank heavens!) but the most we’ve had it banned is for three days. I was glad when the three days were over, especially as two days were a weekend. It’s definitely easier to manage when it’s a school day as there’s less time at home.

    I wish you all the luck in the world and look forward to hearing how you get on.

  6. So so tempting! I already have an evening time ban in place and most 'tv' watched here is on DVD. I will give it due consideration.

  7. You are a brave woman banning TV!

    I wish I could pledge with you, but the men in white coats would drag me off to a more pleasurable life, complete with straight jacket and the weaving of baskets. I am not worthy of such a life.

    Good luck


  8. I always try and keep it off during the week. The kids will learn to occupy themselves. We do have exceptions, though. Good luck! It's not easy to start with.

  9. You are a braver woman than I.

    We try and stay TV free 'til around lunch time at which point Big E usually chooses a DVD to watch or we'll have cbeebies on. I usually turn it off mid afternnon only to have my husband turn it back on out of habit when he comes home. Sigh.

    I like to put the radio or a some music on in the afternoon. I find that he is much less frantic without the TV.

    Sorry though, can't promise to ban.

  10. I wrote my thesis about children and television, titled it 'Sponge Brain, Square Eyes' LOL... now I have two little sponge brains of my very own, so I really understand the parent side of it, from my research most parents drastically underestimate the amount of TV their children watch, how much it adds up in a day, and even though they want moderation and supervision, reality is rarely that ideal. I am finding it is a slipperly slope with the TV, so easy to put on for this or that and the next thing I have a pint sized little mike TV roaring at me for his PROGWAAAAM.... I am faced with your very dilema myself lately. I want moderation, I think my 3 year old has as much right to a little dora and a 'relax' on the couch, as I do my cup of tea and flick through a magazine, everything in his life doesn't need to be educational/active... but that said, I am a lazy sod and stress out quite easily and the remote is my best friend some days if I am to be totally honest.

    I watch your week with interest.

  11. ARE YOU MAD OR WHAT?!! No way!! it will have to be without me! I am afraid to say that life without the TV here would equals to a mum on Prozac, so I would rather reduce the chances of me ever getting to that point. Good luck lovely :)

  12. I am so grateful for all your fabulous support - thank you, thank you, thank you. Man - this is TORTURE! The kids don't seem to be suffering at all but I'm now fast approaching 'Hairy Hands Stage 5 (for any of you Father Ted fans out there) - I have uncontrollable shakes and am snacking constantly. Oh WHAT HAVE I DONE?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  13. Lol I tried to confine all tv based viewing to DVDs this week in support of your sacrifice; but alas i failed, miserably. 3:30pm Ballybradden in RTE (great show if you have not seen it btw), ah well, we will try again tomorrow

  14. I think tv schedules are great! I am not sure I want to do away with the tv for good though. We love PBS in the morning! Super Why is the best! :)
    Good luck! I look forward to reading more and seeing how it is going for you.

  15. Flea doesn't watch television.

    There, I said it.

    I know I'm now outing myself as a hopelessly right-on middle class, neurotic mother but she doesn't.

    As Mwa says, it can be difficult at first, but kids DO learn to entertain themselves, honest. When Flea turned 3, I did get a small selection of DVDs and they're available to her, but honestly? She very, very rarely asks to watch them - she's much happier playing with her toys.

    Off the top of my head, I'd say it's probably been a couple of months since she last asked to watch anything.

    God, I don't mean this to sound preachy, but I definitely think it's a good thing to do for kids - so few children really have the ability to entertain themselves, and turning off the TV is a great way to encourage your kids to develop that skill.

  16. Well, isn't this getting interesting. Thank you all for sharing your deepest, darkest secrets with me! TV, it would seem, continues to be a very controversial (just took me ages to think of the right word there!) aspect of parenting. The debate will no doubt run and run. I think I will, at the very least, have a differnt perspective on TV from now on.

  17. hello!
    my son is only 2, so I cant say what will happen in a few years time, but I have managed to keep him off the tv radar as much as possible and now, he pays almost no attention to it. and i wonder, and i am amazed to read the comments about the modern use of a television becoming no more no less than a free digi nanny service. it is tempting, but at what cost?
    i personally feel zombified any time i end up watching more than 2 hours of tv, and if i start, it becomes increasingly hard to let go of the habbit. thats the thing- in the evening, after the little boy is off to bed, if im super tired, i will switch the tv on, and bam- im in there- hooked to the screen. and the next night, i feel the tickling need of addiction and apathy creeping in- just one more time?
    instead, when i was away for 6 weeks, in the midst of russia, with no tv, no running water, no heating, it was perfect! i had not read and written as much as i did back then since the birth of kolya. and now, when me and kolya are together for the 3-5 days when he is off nursery, I am inclined to find new things to do, brain working...tick tack. wam. what shall we do? where shall we go? the balance, i have to agree comes only from outside activities. if we manage to wake early and cook the meal for later, clean, wash, blah blah, we go out- out and about and that is so much better than any tv possible as you get the real thing right in front of you. the goats and cows on the city farm, the canal, the museums and walks. music groups, football, drama, swimming, come on ladies, there is so much out there! its so much better than a super clean house. super ready everything. life changes dramatically after the babies come- i think what the hardest for a woman to accept is that she now has to choose to either be a mum, or work. she cant do both well. i certainly am struggling big time- as this is the thing- those 30 minute breaks.. its better to allocate 2-3 hours, put the kiddy in the nursery and get those chores, work done. anything but the tv. im sorry, if i offend anyone, i certainly dont mean to. I am simply just worried about the mass dependency on technology to such degree. good day ladies. (she types away at her g4 mac) a little hypocrite hides some place in there. :)))


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