I’m cutting back on TV.
Mostly I’m doing it for my kids. And not for the more obvious reasons. They rarely sit still and veg in front of the screen. They are rarely still in general.
It’s because of commercials.
It started this past Christmas season. Or was it the one before? That’s when the deluge of toy commercials flood the airwaves and drive parents across the nation crazy by inspiring cries of “I want that! I want that!” Ugh.
The first commercial that caught their attention was for their namesake dolls. It was loud and colorful and kind of adorable, but I thought nothing of it at the time. I was actually glad that I had an idea of what they’d be asking Santa for.
Since then, they want EVERYTHING the see on TV. Damn little consumers.
But toy commercials aren’t the reason I’m weaning my family off of TV.
I’m doing it because my daughters, more than once, have uttered such phrases as, “Mommy, we need that toothpaste for whiter, brighter teeth.” or “We really should get that shampoo, Mommy. Our hair will break less when we brush it.” But all of that wasn’t as bad as this:
Loopsy, while watching Shirt Tales on the Cartoon Network, came to me and said she needed a certain eye cream so her eyes don’t look squinty.
Now, this goes beyond them parroting selling points from commercials. This is a commercial – for wrinkle cream – having the power to convince my 4 year old daughter that she’s not beautiful the way she is.
I was flabbergasted. And flummoxed. And just, just… sad.
My daughters are beautiful girls. They are far, far too young for society’s impossible standards of “what is beauty” to be influencing them. And I can’t help but believe it’s all my fault. I am failing my children.
I leave the TV on too often- sometimes just for background noise.
I don’t give them enough support or set a strong enough example.
So, I have a plan to break us of the TV habit.
Baby steps. Cold turkey could be hazardous to our (my) mental health.
We already have stopped letting them fall asleep with the TV as a nightlight. (stop judging) They now get their teeth brushed, put on their jammies, get tucked in and it’s prayers, songs, sleepy time. They have those cute projector night lights and dream catchers. They aren’t even fazed. Don’t miss the TV at all.
Next, I have decided to DVR only movies for them, and only movies on Disney Jr or Nick Jr because they are commercial free. This has caused much whining since they were accustomed to being able to watch My Little Pony or Gaspard & Lisa whenever their little hearts desired. But, they’ll survive.
Today, I’ve started turning the TV off after breakfast. We’ll listen to music instead. And I’ll no longer watch my own shows while they are around or awake. So, that keeps me away from the TV and off the couch too. Win/win.
I need to work on my own attitudes about health and beauty. I thought I was doing pretty well. I’ve always stressed that Mommy is getting healthy, not getting skinny. If I wear makeup, I tell them it’s because I like it or it’s fun, not because it makes me pretty or feel good. I tell them all the time that they have beautiful smiles, pretty eyes, lovely hair, but I also tell them they are smart and funny and important and special and kind.
Ugh. Seriously, Peeps, if it’s not one thing scaring me about parenthood, it’s another.