A Dilemna

My husband and I are currently in a disagreement about a big issue. It is the issue of owning a TV or not. Originally, we agreed (though I was kicking and screaming) to not have a TV for our first year of marriage. We both liked the idea of not having the temptation of coming home after work and just vegging out in front of the TV instead of having meaningful conversation with one another. I did think that we could still have a TV and just monitor how much we watched but because I was so excited about getting married and I figured that I could do anything for a year-we decided (together) to not have one. It really was nice that first year without a TV. I feel like we talked more and enjoyed longer dinners. We were also in bed earlier, which was good for our overall health. Also, it is important to mention that we discovered Hulu and watched a fair amount of TV shows that way. It was nice to be able to control when and how much we would watch. Plus we couldn’t just have it on in the background as noise (as I did when I lived with roommates and we had a TV). When we watched Hulu it was pretty purposeful.
After our first year of marriage we were able to buy a home and according to my husband “a TV wasn’t in the budget.” Again, I kicked and screamed and tried to find one on craigslist at a better price but to no avail. He wouldn’t budge. Hmm…that is weird. According to our original agreement we should have already bought a TV. I kept wondering why he didn’t want to go to Best Buy or Fry’s and look at TVs and discuss which one we would like to get. I thought this would be every man’s dream come true-to get a blank check to go and pick out his very own TV. I would even encourage him to go with a couple of his buddies and check out the new TVs but still he wouldn’t go.
Now it’s been 2.5 years without a TV. Life hasn’t been horrible or boring without one but I do miss cuddling up on the couch on a Friday night to watch a movie. I would love to have a TV and get cable and have a thousand channels but I am ok with getting a TV and just having Hulu or Netflix. I mean, geez, cable is expensive. Recently I brought this issue back to the table with my husband. His response, “If you still want a TV then we are on fundamentally different pages about the raising of our daughter.” Wow-Can I say bitch-slapped?  What? We had an agreement, remember? Whatever happened to that? Besides the fact that that single statement made me feel like I was a horrible parent because I was ok having a TV in the house. Since when did TV equal dumb kids? I know, I know….studies show…yadda, yadda, yadda. And it’s true. Studies do show that too much TV can be detrimental to the mental, physical, and emotional development of children, especially children under the age of two. I get that but all I’m asking for is a Friday night movie on the couch. It’s not like we aren’t watching TV now. We watch Modern Family, The Office, Parenthood, etc all via Hulu on my 15” laptop. I also believe that TV can be utilized as a learning tool but you have to be proactive and disciplined in its use.
Maybe I need to just let this go and be thankful that we even have the option of buying a TV. What are your thoughts? Do you have a TV? Did you make a purposeful decision when either buying one or choosing not to?



9 responses to “A Dilemna

  1. As a person that grew up without being allowed to watch TV I can say it did nothing but make me socially awkward. Not having any idea what your friends are talking about when they reference movies we grew up with like Star Wars etc is something that in some albeit small way still affects me. Sure I could go back and watch all those old movies but I have too much to do now that I am an adult to do something like that.

    The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents establish “screen-free” zones at home by making sure there are no televisions, computers or video games in children’s bedrooms. I think everyone can agree this is completely reasonable. No study has or ever will show that a Friday night movie on the couch is in any way detrimental.

    The bottom line is that you two would have to intentionally go out of your way to try to have a dumb kid. We all know that Abby is going to do amazing things with her life because she has amazing parents, family and friends.

    Good luck coming to a compromise….love you guys!!!

  2. Lisa

    I love your blog Sarah. Just found it today. I don’t know if you recall, but Steve and I got rid of the TV for a year way back when we were doing the Amway thing, and it was a nice change of pace, but eventually the Olympics and other important events were on TV so we resumed having television. I think that it is important to have a balance. I have a friend that lives in an area where they just didn’t have an reception for TV or cable, so they had a lot of movies etc for the kids. I have also known people that have gone too far with no tv no movies etc, and then when they let up, their kids became obsessive about always being entertained. So I think balance is the key.
    I also agree with Mari, no tv’s in kids rooms, and I also don’t like XBOX, NINTENDO etc games for kids. In my personal opinion they become addictive.
    And lastly, sometimes when people are controlled too much, they push back against the control and rebel when they have the opportunity.

  3. Matt Cowper

    Buy a bigger laptop?

  4. Rosie Geck

    My brother and his wife decided 38 years ago, when they had their first child, that they would not have a tv in the house. The result was that they all found other houses on the street to watch TV in. All three of my brother’s children have their own children now…. and they all have tv’s.

  5. Colleen

    Sarah! This makes me laugh. Dave is so dramatic! haha. We chose to have a TV but no cable. We haven’t had cable since moving to FL several years ago so we rely on Netflix only for the movie junky needs that we have. With cutting ut cable, we cut out a monthly payment of at least $100/month. I’ve recently started watching shows on TV via my laptop. HOWEVER, if you have an iPhone, ask for Apple Tv for Christmas. You can have your favorite shows playing on your phone but it will mirror onto your tv. It’s like magic!!!!!!!! I hate when TVs are on in the background all day. It drives me crazy. So when I purpose to watch tv, I have my few favorite shows and that’s it. No junk TV watching. I love you and your blog! You crack me up.

  6. This is hilarious!! Dave’s statement totally cracked me up. I get the whole “no tv” thing. Caleb and I have struggled with this same dilemma. We weren’t going to get one and then of course, he won one through work. We started with just watching Netflix and Hulu and then we got an antennae for the Olympics. We still watch it pretty minimally compared to most of the population. We do have to keep ourselves in check when we find we are defaulting to movie watching all of the time instead of spending quality time together. Now that we have a little one, I’ve noticed that I’m even more sensitive as to what is watched in our home. This will definitely be a challenge! You are not alone!!

  7. Pingback: Living Off the Grid: Ditching Cable for Netflix and Hulu « Akathisia: A Life In Motion — David Rosendahl

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