Written by Jeannett Gibson of Life Rearranged.
We’re working through Tsh’s ebook One Bite at a Time together, because accountability makes it funner (more fun?). Join in any time! You don’t have to do the tasks in any specific order, so even though we are on Project 23, you can easily jump in now. We’re taking it slow, and I’m always honest about what works for me and my family. Buy the ebook here for only $5!
Television has long been a point of contention in our home.
My husband loves television (particularly sports), while I would happily toss the whole dang thing if I had the opportunity. For years, whenever a special occassion came up, be it our anniversary, Valentine’s Day, my birthday, President’s Day—my husband would ask if I had a specific gift in mind. Every year, every holiday it was the same response: “Throw away the TV.”
While that never actually happened, every few months he would commit to “watching less.” The problem was that this would work well for about, oh, say a week, and then the tube would be flipped on first thing and stay on…even when he wasn’t in the room.
After a few hours on my couch and throw pillows watching reruns of Hoarders, I would turn it off only to hear exclamations from the garage: “Hey! I was watching that!”
As you can imagine, this drove me batty. Absolutely batty.
In the meantime, I paid the bills every month. And while I don’t particularly like paying any of them, I would audibly groan every time I had to pay the cable company. Finally, one day I really took a hard look at the breakdown of that $160 I sent away every. single. month.
60 dollars was for Internet, 10 dollars was for taxes and surcharges, and 90 dollars was for mediocore programming. Mind you, we didn’t have anything fancy. No HBO, Showtime, or anything else extra. Just whatever was the basic package “deal.”
Ninety dollars, people! Every. single. month.
So one day, while my husband was at work, and after years of threatening to do it—I called and cancelled the cable. I don’t think he thought I was serious, but rest assured, I was. Oh yes, yes I was.
Besides, there are SO many ways you can still get programming. Internet, Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV are just a few. As a consolation, I left the local basic channels for $7 (which gives us about six of the main networks, which will be nice when it’s time for the Summer Olympics) and an instant streaming subscription to Netflix for another $8. Oh happy day!
Look, we aren’t super granola folks who now sit around a fire in our organic bamboo blankets reading aloud Walden in the evenings. No, we’re just an average suburban American family. The kids still get to watch cartoons in the mornings while I pack lunches and make breakfast, and husband and I still curl up on the couch at night to watch some TV after the kids are in bed (from a much smaller selection).
Except that now, these are the only times the TV is on in our house. Weekends are spent as a family with Dad in the garage, tinkering on something, while the kids ride their bikes in the cul de sac.
Evenings are spent jumping on the trampoline with Dad (but not 7 months pregnant Mom!) or building LEGO, or assembling elaborate Hot Wheels track. We take trips to the park, go for warm cookies at the kiosk in the mall, or fly kites in the street together.
My sports-loving hubby vacillates between still being really annoyed at me and secretly enjoying it. One day he might say to me, “You know, it really stinks that I can’t get the game tonight. I’m dying.” (Theatric much?) And then a few days later, while the kids are blowing bubbles in the backyard and we’re weeding the garden, he’ll say, “I miss the TV, but it is really nice how much more time we spend as a family.”
I think he’s gonna make it after all.
Are you able to simply turn off the TV more often or would it require something more drastic like cutting cable completely? Would you be willing to do it?