Dear Netflix, I have a love/hate relationship with you and my TV. You provide hours of entertainment. However, you steal time away from my family, friends and my side hustle. We are judged by the company we keep. I have things I want to teach my son. Binge watching hours of TV is not one of them. Here’s what happened when I gave up TV and other time wasters.
Overview of Girls’ Night:
Mom friends are very important and I think beneficial for one’s mental state. However, you must decide if the activities you are participating in are a healthy choice for you. I made a handful of new mom friends after we moved. I was grateful most had children the same age as my son and they played well together. Weekly, each friend would take a turn making a meal and hosting girls’ night at their house.
We would eat and then maybe have a glass or two of wine while we watched our favorite TV shows. Sounds relaxing and fun, right? Well, it wasn’t. Most of the time the kids were so loud we could not hear the TV unless it was on volume 54. If they were in a different room or level of the house, then I, a helicopter mom, would stress out. Maybe they weren’t getting along or they would decide to do gymnastics off a couch or something worse?! Also if you are like me, watching your favorite TV show with a lot of distracting background noise is a huge pet peeve. “This is my mommy time! Stop ruining it kids!”
Heart to heart mom conversations did not occur when time was spent watching TV and keeping little ones busy. Since I was new to the area, I had lots of questions. “What preschools should I be trying to get into? What are some fun family things to do around here?” There was never an opportunity to ask these questions. Girls’ night also became a little clicky for me. I appreciate the small company of one mom at a time with their kids. It was almost an abomination if you invited one mom to something and not everyone else.
Parting Ways With Time Wasters:
The moms of girls’ night never knew I was pregnant twice last year. They could have teased, “Why are you passing on the wine tonight dear?” None of my new mom friends even knew I miscarried twice as well. “You’re sick again and can’t make it over tonight?” Maybe they knew what to expect when miscarrying and could have offered some insight. I didn’t want to suffer in silence. However, most of the time the conversation tilted toward complaints. Frustrations with in-laws, spouses that worked late and weren’t around enough or hated their own jobs.
Needless to say, I did not have a lot in common with this group. Each mom, on their own, is a great person I enjoy talking and spending time with. However, when a group becomes negative or unproductive, it’s time to change things up. I proposed turning girls’ night into craft night, group exercise or try a new activity in town. Everyone seemed pretty excited about the ideas, but did not want to give up their one night to watch TV. OK ladies, until you feel otherwise, peace out!
I reflected on the quality of shows I was watching. Dear ABC and Shonda Rhimes: you are annoying. I feel like your shows are pushing political agendas of pro-abortion, anti-gun laws and the list can go on really. It is sad television lacks the creativity to come up with material that is not taken out of the headlines and politically driven. In the girls’ night group, I used to be quite humorous and play a game. I would say how I would write your shows and what should happen, and then guess (accurately) of what actually played out. Clearly, I know your style well and you’ve become predictable. If you need any new writers, I’m available!
The dark shows were my favorite as well. My husband and I spent years watching Dexter, Sons of Anarchy, Breaking Bad, Walking Dead, Spartacus, Game of Thrones, Narcos, American Horror Stories and other dirtier comedies like Weeds, Always Sunny in Philadelphia and Shameless. It wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son when I realized the darker shows started bothering me. I did not sleep peacefully.
My dreams became nightmares. Shows would be on re-run in my brain and I was always the main character running for my life or trying to save others. I became very sensitive to violence and other drama. We last left off with Shameless in an episode where the 3 year old boy accidentally overdoses on cocaine. Neither my husband and I could rest very easily after watching the episode. I have no desire to continue watching this show. These type of stories are playing out somewhere with innocent victims the same age as my son.
Gaining Time Well Wasted
I lost a few friends by not participating in girls’ night. However, I would say I have invested my time in other opportunities. By finding couples that you can be friends with is a better way to spend time with your spouse, kids and another mom! A couple recently moved to town, who we had mutual friends with before we moved and they suggested we should hang out. The initial common ground was sharing funny stories about the dear friends we moved away from. Then found more similarities in jobs we loved, hated and I even learned the mom had been through 3 miscarriages! Sharing experiences, questions and overall knowledge helped immensely during my grieving process. I am glad we have been there for each other and I am currently cheering her on while she is pregnant now.
Finding other positive groups to be a part of was not that hard. I joined Toastmasters ya’ll! Toastmasters, apparently is not just a place where you want to be a better speaker. I’ll be honest, I had no idea what it was before I went to a meeting. I was blown away at the positive environment and education tracks focused on leadership and effective communication. It’s an awesome place where an introverted overachiever like me can continue working on getting in front of others and social skills.
Of course when you aren’t spending hours in front of a TV, there’s more time for family. I looked back on the last couple months in my camera and I was amazed how many more activities I’ve done with my son. We went to pumpkin patches, community events such as fire fighter nights, a couple trips to visit family and tried a few of our own craft (Pinterest fail!) nights. We found a church we all enjoy and our son is loving Sunday School.
The biggest area I’m focusing more energy and time on is writing. Writing not only supports the side hustle, a shared vision with my husband, but now material for Toastmasters! Giving up my TV shows frees up a lot of my time where I can creatively think for myself and not become a zombie entertained or brainwashed by others. Hey Shonda, I get my material from real life, not fake news. Oops. Went there. You’re Welcome! ~ In Moanna accent.
Don’t Worry, We Still Have a Few TV Time Wasters:
The news in the morning is important to me. Not only does it tell me how to dress for the weather but I am also more aware of what’s going on in my community as well as the world. Impractical Jokers keeps the mood and spirit light. It also makes me think of the fun friends we’ve known over the years (or married!). Naked and Afraid is a show I could never physically do, but, I appreciate the mental strength one must have in order to get through it. A few HGTV shows will always be near and dear to my heart. Although for those shows, I’m ready stop watching other’s projects and start my own. I will keep recording the Profit as that is a shared favorite with Mr. Defined Sight.
Of course, Disney and Nick Jr. dominate our household. I’ll take a queue from Moanna, it really is a great movie. Who doesn’t love a strong female who sees the big picture and takes risks? One of my favorite lines from the show is, “I’ll lead the way, I’ll have my people to guide me, We’ll build our future together. Where we are.”
By giving up some time wasters and unproductive activities, I was able to focus more on the Defined Sight. This is a shared vision between two people who couldn’t be more opposite in activities and interests, but find themselves to be a well-balanced working duo. While my husband is passionate about our financial future and living vicariously through the folks that attended FinCon this past year, I’ll keep up my end striving toward personal and professional development.
What time wasters have you cut ties with to focus on things more important to you?