Susie Fiddes, from Glasgowdragonfly?s Blog, explores the complex relationship we have with television, as parents. Over to Susie:
Do you hear that? Nope, neither do I.
I must admit to feeling rather triumphant as I sit here typing in quiet contemplation.
Yes, the television is OFF! It?s white-hot exterior having some rare time out from back-to-back Ben & Holly?s Little Kingdom; the smell of burning dust noticeable by it?s absence. I kinda miss its ever-presence. But I?m not going to let that suck me into Judge Rinder again today. No sir-ee.
Telly = great
Telly is great for kids. No really. As a mum who occasionally has to work from home, I can absolutely vouch for this. OK, so my Scottish daughter?s accent has a gentle lilt to it as if she?s grown up somewhere between Peppa?s nasal Thames estuary and Lola?s London chatter. But I?m cool with that.
Her vocabulary is great for her age. So what if she?s obsessed with frog burps and knows all too well that magic only ever leads to trouble?
Telly IS great for kids. So why do I feel one of my self-flagellationary confessionals coming on?
To be perfectly honest ? until now ? I have aligned myself with popular cultural mythology in projecting an image that our dirty little TV watching habit doesn?t exist. Our days are all about wall-to-wall crafting, baking and having harmonious trips out to awesome coffee shops.
I mean, who actually reaches out for Cbeebies or Nick Jnr 2 at the first sign of trouble?
What the other mums do
I nod sympathetically as one friend tells me that she allowed her daughter to watch one five-minute episode of Peppa last night although, ?only whilst she had her milk? and that she feels really REALLY guilty about it.
My eyes move from side to side as another tells me that she?s never come upon, what?s it called, that In the Night Garden thingy. Another staple of ours from about the six-month mark for that tricky post-bath, pre-milk twilight zone.
Do they suspect that I?ve been awake since 5am with The Clangers blaring from the iPad in bed beside me?
Or are they trying to confess their sins to me?
I daren?t give an inch and so change the subject to the latest in vogue inter-mum competition topic: potty training.
Why so guilty?
Why am I so ashamed to admit that we watch TV?
Does some degree of multimedia reliance actually make me a bad mum?
Is there a definition of what makes a good mum in the 21st century anyway?
We do crafty things and go to a toddler class outside the home most days (honest) and my little one also attends nursery for part of the week.
Surely we?re both allowed to zone out sometimes?
What are we so anti-TV?
Where does this telly-shaming groupthink originate from?
I certainly remember watching bits of children?s TV as a very small child in the ?80s, much to the disapproval of my grandparents.
Perhaps increased concerns around video nasties and the rise of crime inspired by computer and TV characters has caused mass hysteria. Or just maybe, in the age of social media, family life is more about perception than reality. I?m in absolute awe at the hoards of mum bloggers who excel in projecting perfect images of what it means to be a modern housewife. I admire from afar, but shrink as I realise I?m simply not up to it.
Where?s the real danger?
If you really want to weed out some ?nasties,? go analyse the traditional nursery rhymes that my daughter comes home from playgroup singing. Only yesterday, she was crooning about squashing, licking up and vomiting a baby bumblebee because, ?Won?t my mummy be so proud of me,? for most of the afternoon.
I hardly think she?s going to head out into the garden and start maiming animals.
OK, so now my secret is out.
Maybe my daughter?s psychiatrists will read this post in years to come and be able to pinpoint exactly where it all went wrong with parenting in her formative days. Or maybe she?ll grow up enriched by a vivid imagination and a sense of the world in it?s varied sensory forms.
I reach out for the TV control. The blue screen glows.
Quiet contemplation is overrated anyway.
Susie Fiddes is a mum of one with another due any day and generally spends her days failing in her endeavours to successfully navigate towards becoming the perfect 21st century housewife. She is currently writing her first book and blogs over at Glasgowdragonfly?s Blog. Twitter: @Glasdragonfly
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