Oct 11 2014

One year – TV free at home

Posted by     16 Comments    Posted under: Kitchen
Happy 4 Family 2014 - Version 2

This is a FULL family photo – with 6 pp in it .. two adults and four kids … I can’t put the rest of the image on the blog because the HSE does not allow us to flaunt the faces of our foster kiddies … but picture two lovely lassies with smiles as big and bright as the other two and my arm wrapped around them.    One happy, never-normal, family.

 

Where to start …

One year ago:

Me: ‘Put down that remote’

Me: ‘Turn off the TV’

Me: ‘No you can’t watch cartoons all day.’

Ron: Clutches remote tightly … pretends he does not hear me. He is gifted at that.

Kids: Throw hissy fit … whine, rant, rave , even shed crocodile tears because they can’t watch whatever they want, whenever they want.

 

Today – it’s been a year with no TV in the house:

Silence. Someone is reading, someone is outside weeding with their father, and a couple of them are playing Yahtzee.

I – am blogging; the kids hate me ‘less’.

IMG_5455

I did not make the decision to rid our lives of telly. I’ve never been a fan of the telly box, so it really was not my decision to make. The chef, however, could have been described as a borderline TV addict. When we lived in the US, and worked nights at the restaurant, we just taped or Tivo’d everything we wanted to watch. It was bliss. No ads. Never. We never let the kids watch telly either, just pre-recorded episodes of Dora or The Backyardigans …

When we moved home to Ireland in 2008, Ron started complaining about how awful Irish TV was, and how much he missed ‘real’ TV. I did like most good wives would, and totally ignored him, because unless for the odd episode of Antiques Roadshow or Downton Abbey … I never whiled away my time watching telly. I used ‘college work’ as my excuse to retreat to my room and read or study. It worked out just beautifully.

Then a change was made … we moved house late last summer, and the time came to renew our TV contract. I grumbled a little about what a waste of times and money it was, when all he did was complain about how awful it was. So he made a big decision to just ‘let it go’.

No TV and no internet either. We do have satellite broadband here in the boonies but not anywhere close to streaming speeds … so only get to see Netflix on a rare occasion and it is usually a binge fest watching past episodes of Sons of Anarchy or House of Cards.

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So how’s it been?

The answers won’t surprise you:

Jack – aged 9: “Well, I miss my Saturday morning cartoons but I really don’t miss all the ads on telly. I like that Dad rents a few movies for us at the weekends and we go to the Cinema a good bit more too.

Rori – aged 11 – “I miss TV but we get to watch it at Granny’s house! Last year, she let us watch the Late Late Toy Show – we were up until 1am in the morning. Ha ha .. it was legend Mom! I don’t miss watching crappy shows when there is nothing good on. I like having LOTS more books to read.

Sam – aged 13 – “yeah, I miss it. We used to watch Victorious .. and the music video channel .. I miss that, but now that I have more music on my mp3 player it is fine like”.

Lulu – aged 8 – “Yes, I miss cartoons … and miss having a TV but I love all the boardgames we play”

I asked Ron if he was going to sign a contract with Sky to get the TV service back and to my surprise .. he said ‘no’ very quickly. “I really don’t want to pay for mediocre TV. The kids and I are all happy to watch movies I rent from extra vision and I’m not sure if you’ve noticed honey, but I’m reading more now than I have ever done in my life.”

Books my bag

Oh – I’ve noticed alright because he is the kinda husband who has to read passages of a book out loud when he thinks you should listen to what he has discovered.

He is reading a lot more. The kids are reading a lot more and are all playing outdoors a heck of a lot more! There is very little Wii allowance time (less than one hour a week) and they have exhausted their library cards. Only one of the four of the kids still really dislikes reading …. the other three fight over books.

They are reading more. They are cooking in the kitchen more with Ron and they are doing all the weeding and garden projects with him too.

 Charlie Byrnes Books

Just today, we were at Charlie Byrnes Bookshop in town, at a very cool ‘Build-a-book’ workshop for kids, which the MA students from Lit/publishing and Writing programmes at NUI Galway were on hand to help with, and I told Olivia, the Children’s section media manager I had to frisk my kids when we left because I was afraid they had stolen a few books.

Her response was brilliant: ‘Isn’t it great to worry that they’ll want a book *that* much!

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We are spending WAY MORE quality time together. We have always made a point to eat at least one meal together around the table with the kids – every day. There is no annoying noise from the telly. There is chat and talk and conversation and lively debate. Sometimes, there is so much talking all one-over-the-other we have to just wait our turn and marvel at the fact that they are very much present and engaged.

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I’ve noticed that anything I need to watch on Telly – Twitter tells me what is happening. If there is a big story breaking, the Tweets guide me to a link and I can catch up the next day on playback … if it is really important – and it rarely is.

Kids Swans

So there you have it. Life without the TV is just bliss.

TV viewing robs us of our time, our most precious asset. Even with the internet, the average person watches more than four or five hours of TV a day. That’s 30 – 35 hours a week. That’s a lot of TV. If you get rid of your TV, you can reclaim this time for yourself and you just never know what you might accomplish with a few extra hours a day to play with.

Sunflower

If you are thinking about it – unplug the TV for a weekend. Starting Friday – just go cold turkey. Before you know it, your sunrises will be brighter and you will be finding excuses not to spend time walking along the beach with your loved ones watching the sun go down on Galway bay …

Sunset Galway

That’s all I got for now folks. I’m kept on my toes these days. Along with lecturing a few hours a week I am also working (freelance) in the Marketing and Communications office at NUI Galway – writing a few articles for their annual Amumni Magazine, Cois Coiribe. This year, the magazine will be distributed via The Irish Times – thats over 120,000 copies of our magazine available to people living on the island of Ireland … on Friday 28th November which is (purely coincidental) the day after my graduation from the MA in Journalism – which, also purely coincidental,  falls on (US) Thanksgiving.

This WiseWoman has so much to be thankful for …

WiseMóna

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16 Comments + Add Comment

  • Great photo of Ron and Rori…. she looks so grown up!

    • I love that photo too Margaret … she is 11 going on 27 alright … but still really loves her Daddy ..

  • Fair play on the TV. When I renovated in Dublin I didn’t get it back for 3 months, and listened to the radio a lot more in the evenings and well … I NEVER stop reading. But I have to say – I would be lost without the TV on the very miserable dark winter days I’ve had living in a small village in the West. Especially when I don’t have disposable income.
    That said – the record feature is the best part of it all. It never got in the way of my studies. And I’m not a soap girl!!
    So I won’t be giving it up – but since that TV-less diet years ago I am much more choosy about what I watch…..

    • I hear ya Karen … I think my stint in the US watching only taped TV taught me a lesson .. no time for ads and no time for trash …
      such a waste of time. And I do not think ANYTHING has ever gotten in the way of your studies xx

  • Have to admit I’d have to keep the TV just to watch Downton Abbey! I’ve never really had to limit the TV here though, only once when a friend of Kate’s told her about those ruddy awful Victorious and Sam and Cat etc! Can’t stand them. It can sometimes happen that the first time to turn on the TV is to watch the news after the kids are going to bed but then we do have occasional TV / duvet type days occasionally too. I hear you though – nothing as bad as background noise from crap TV.
    When I think I used to be addicted to Coronation Street – I think it is around 8 years now since we last watched it.

    • I hear ya Lorna … I actually really miss watching the news but am so immersed in ‘news’ because of the Journalism MA that I found I was getting plenty of ‘headline stories’ both on the internet and reading the daily newspapers …

      And – I am only on season 3 of Downton Abbey … I need to catch up this winter with the box set .. ‘Dear Santa’ …

  • Your dates always seem to coincidentally coincide – is this a coincidence?

    • It’s karma Amee….I think Ron is the one who is truly ecstatic about the Thanskgiving date…he loves that holiday so much and now has an excuse to party party party … He’s taking TWO days off …

  • Enjoyed your glimpse of family life. Glad all is well with you and your’s.

    • Ah thank you. Yes- all growing like weeds, happy, healthy and having lots of fun.
      Hope you are well too x

  • Such a wonderful post with lovely pictures. I think it’s fabulous that the kids gravitated to reading more frequently when the option of the TV of taken away, that and spending more time outdoors and with one another. The best part is that when given the option to resume with TV once again, the decision was made not too. Life and family is so much more present when the TV is absent. Bravo to all of you.
    I can imagine how everyone will be bursting with pride for you when you graduate later this month. Enjoy the day Mona! Congratulations 🙂

    • Thanks so much Paula … I am really looking forward to graduation …
      I will make sure to throw a few photos up of the special day, especially as it falls on Thanksgiving!

  • Well done! We have seriously cut back on television and gadget time in our house but we haven’t gone cold turkey and ditched the lot. Congratulations to you and your family and thanks for your inspirational story of TV-less success.

    • Ah thanks Mairéad! It was easier than we thought in the end … literally here today and gone tomorrow.
      Try removing the TV set for a weekend … you’d be surprised – by the third day you kinda get tired of sitting on the couch doing nothing … a lovely experience and long may it last!

  • It’s amazing how easily we can ditch things we need or want.
    We don’t have a TV for a long time, my best friend never had one, they were reading books aloud.
    Also what I notice when now I watch TV now I see how much crap there is, ads, random tv shows that promote unrealistic life expectations, so disattached from real life.
    Happy no TV living 🙂

    • It is funny Magda, ever since I blogged this, so many people have stopped me in the street to tell me that they too have ditched the telly! It was all about the crap and the ads for me … I just hated it. So happy to be free from TV!
      Hope all is well in the East x

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About Móna
I am a native Galway girl that seems to be drawn to professions that rhyme with 'err'. Writer, Mother, Restauranteur, Wedding Planner, Dishwasher, Grass cutter, Cocktail maker. I suppose you could say I am a well rounded entrepreneur.
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