We quit TV. We have, approximately, been sans telly for about 6 weeks now. Following a month of hell, amidst a fit of screaming, tantrums and gnashing of teeth, we banished the TV to the basement. It sits there, hulking, while we piece together our lives, correct habits and attitudes acquired from the screen and get to know each other again.
I knew I wanted this, but I was unprepared for what would actually happen once we got rid of the thing.
Boredom. The kids wandered lost for a few days, whining. Nothing to do. And then, after they realized how annoying being bored was, they DID something about it. They broke out their crayons. They pulled on their coats. They dusted off their bikes. They made tents in their bedrooms. The perma-drool look they had adopted from staring at the screen began to dissipate, and their gaze cleared.
Fights. Oh my goodness. Now the kids HAD to interact. They could no longer forget their differences and switch on PBS kids. They stand their ground more. They offer, counter-offer, settle. They negotiate (sometimes kindly, often not). They learn that there really is no escape from conflict, not really. But there IS a way through it.
Work. I didn't have time to do it all before. After my TV time, I was too tired to do much of anything. Now, of a sudden, my housework is slightly caught up (slightly, but that's better than not), I'm sewing more, reading more. I'm doing more work.
Judgement. How many people have been to our home, and how many have said, within minutes of entering, "Um. You don't have a TV?"
Empty space. What am I going to do with that yawning space in the corner of the room? How will I rearrange the furniture, now that it doesn't all need to point toward the telly? How awkward...will we need to face, gulp, each other??
Loss of quality time. The nightly TV date with the hubby is no more. Now we talk. Now we sit at the table and chat, each with a project in hand. The "other wo/man" is gone. We're enjoying it, and each other, more.
Tongue in cheek, this post, but secretly...I think the kids are actually enjoying this television free home. Not so secretly, so am I.