This is a long one however, if you have offspring, young or old, a grandchild or a two year old I appreciate your feedback.
Here is my soapbox and here is me, in three inch heels, stepping on to it!!!
Mothers, Momma’s, Mommy’s and Mom’s… whatever title you have been given…
I’m talking to you.
Back a few weeks ago I did a post on health and a darling commenter said,
“You had me at “Be Skeptical.”
I love that she said that.
Really, It warmed my heart and made me want to be her friend.
But today we are going to talk about the health of your children and the health of your defensive parenting skills, the Momma Lion in you.
That part of you that is skeptical or not skeptical enough!
In this “Momma Lion” series I am going to try and write about a few things that I believe we parents assume we are doing a good job with but I imagine, we are just a bit too busy and thus, delusional…
I’ve said it to friend’s before,
“It’s not 1983 anymore.”
I was 8 years old then.
Things were bad, I believe this was about the time when that “America’s Most Wanted” guy’s son was killed. I was told not to talk to strangers and we weren’t allowed to watch sit-coms… but today in the Farmhouse or I should say, in this series, I would love to go deeper than that. So strap on your seat belts, grab a cup of coffee or a glass or wine and hear me out…
I believe, upon observation, that most Mom’s… and forgive me for saying this… but most of us are not entirely “On our game!”
I’d like to touch on a few things in this series and if you have more ideas I would be happy to write on them…
Like the 80’s anti-drug campaign.
This Parisienne Farmgirl says…
“Just SAY NO!”
Most of you are going to disagree.
You will have the “everything in moderation” answer.
That sounds like a 50/50 compromise to me and I’m not down with that.
(If you take the national average of hours the average child spends watching TV per year and divide it by two… that’s still 750 hours. How’s that for 50/50 — SEVEN HUNDRED AND FIFTY HOURS! That is almost equivalent to the hours spend at a PART TIME JOB! If you don’t believe me, grab a notebook and sign in every time you’re kids watch… see how fast it adds up in just a week!)
I don’t agree with the authors wishy/washy spirituality but I was given “Mitten Strings for God“
when I was pregnant with my first child and it’s one of the two books I give at every
Baby Shower I go to. (The other being Happy Baby/Healthy Sleep Habits)
. But my point is, the author mentions something along the lines of “Why would I want an outside source to have daily access to my child, telling them what is cool, how to feel about themselves, what behavior is acceptable”
I was very convicted by this as a first time pregnant woman, full of ideas on how I wanted to “do things different.” And then I heard that Madonna was not going to let Lourdes watch T.V. and that Tom Cruise would never let his kids watch his movies and I thought, holy crap –
SURELY I will be a better Momma than MADONNA!!!!
If she can do Motherhood without television, I CAN!!!!
So we made a decision that our kids would not watch television and that initial decision was based on morality and exposing them to things we don’t agree with, never mind what we learned later about what they say about children and their brain development before the age of two… now, at the time I made that decision I was still watching “All My Children” at noon. Religiously. I could not give it up. With me, it was like Custards Last Stand, until my younger sister came over while it was on one day (and her life wasn’t exactly in order at the time) and she said,
“What the heck Ang, this doesn’t match up with anything you say you stand for!”
And that was the end of my daily obsession with A.M.C. for me. Yes, I still watch the occasion Mad Men and things I don’t always morally agree with but A.M.C. was an obsession for me plain and simple. (Shortly there after followed my nightly love of Bill O’Reilly, Fraiser re-runs, Friends… etc. And then one day… poof!, aside from loving to watch a NASCAR race, I had no need for T.V. and now, if it’s on at someone’s house, or when we plug it in on Sundays to watch a race within an hour we find ourselves crabby, snappy at each other and agitated. That sounds dramatic I know but I don’t think anyone could understand until they have walked away from it for a significant period of time.
There are no redeeming qualities in the media as far as I am concerned that our children should have a daily, relationship with.
Children need a daily relationship with nature, music, art, their parents and Scripture.
Children are HIGHLY addictive…
I mean come on, how many times have you heard “DO it again!” ???
From The Wiggles to SpongeBob Queerpants… it ain’t happening in this house.
First of all, those shows, dumb the CRAP out of kids… there aren’t many good reasons to plop them down in front of the T.V. aside from a moment of sanity. And really, face it Mom, it’s probably more about you when you turn on that boob tube and very little about them. Trust me… I have had 3 children in five years… I understand the need for sanity… just ask my wine bottle. (LOL) HOWEVER. All it takes is a few moments of self control and discipline on your end to say “no” to that favorite show and re-direct their interests. I know, it sucks, because it requires your time and attention when you would rather be on the phone, cleaning or… blogging. But I tell you what, you give those munchkins a batch of homemade play dough or a book full of photographs of fish or dinosaurs… you let them help you make dinner… let them help you fold that wash or pull that weed… and that will hold their attention for much longer than Dora the Explorer! But yes, you will have to mess up your kitchen for a few minutes and clean up the crumbs on the floor after bedtime.
The noise of the T.V. is one we can all do without… the rapid editing of the commercials… and you wonder why six year old boys can not pay attention in kindergarten… that is because for the last two years they have spent two hours a day watching scene change after scene change, commercial after commercial… I believe their brain becomes formatted to only be able to tolerate life in 20 second segments.
Life does not come in 20 second segments,
Life does not come with attention getting music
and Lord knows education does not.
What I am saying is briefly this:
Our children can survive without the television.
I promise they can.
But it WILL take more work and more interaction from us. And yes, some day’s… it sucks. You would rather hand the responsibility over to Diego!
But here is the thing Momma, if the Great Harpo and her buddies are advising you on a daily basis, but you’re telling your darling kiddo’s that they can’t be influenced by an outside source… well, you’re kidding yourself. That double standard will only last for so long. And I am all about preventing teenage rebellion and I believe a double standard is the biggest culprit (more on that later).
If the T.V.s is the first thing on in the morning; you are missing out… on family time, on time with God, on not being assaulted with advertising, on not being assaulted with stupid, colorful, musical, crap for your children…
(Now, here is where you could go after me.
We do like movies around here.
Our inventory consists of a whopping 5 or 6…
Toy Story One and Two
and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
That’s it. And if they are available in French, as are Cindrella and the Toy Story Movies, that is how we watch them. Whether we understand it or not and ONLY as a special treat maybe once a week and NOT during the summer.)
If the T.V. get’s thrown on the minute your kids walk in the door from school; you are missing out… there is no Japanamation, not even a corny 80’s “after school special” that beats a homemade after school snack and undivided attention from Mom. BTW, the average time spent in meaningful conversation with children and their parents in America is…
3.5 minutes per week.THREE POINT FIVE MINUTES PER WEEK. And I think the goal here, when we hear a horrible stat like that is not to think, “Well, thank God my kids don’t watch that much” but instead to challenge ourselves, what are they watching, why are they watching, for how long are they watching and what are they missing out on in the meantime???
If the T.V. is on during dinner (66% of Americans)
and the duration of the night. Commercial after commercial, program after program, news cast after news cast.
You’re a fool.
Do you honestly think your children are going to hold your hand when you pass from this life and say, “Dang, I wish Mom would have had a little more sanity, a little more “Mom Time. She should have plunked me down in front of the t.v. more often”. “
I doubt it.
Be a Momma Lion, roar with the responsibility God gave you in raising your children, take control,
Unplug that televsion!
Sorry I can’t say these things a bit more tactfully… stepping off my soap box now and going to bed.