To TV or not to TV. That is the question.

I keep seeing commentary about the last couple of episodes of Grey’s Anatomy on social media. Most of it negative. Apparently, fans didn’t like the ending. I used to be a fan. Grey’s was the ‘one show’ I used to watch. Most of my time as a parent I seem to have only ever had time enough for one show in my life. 

However, midway through this past fall, I stopped watching. A friend and colleague had gotten me hooked instead on How to Get Away With Murder. So that became my one show. I watched the first half of the season, and never finished the second half. Life got busy.

So that’s two shows now I’ve invested in, without knowing the outcome. No spoilers, please.

In addition to these two shows, I’ve been known to watch an occasional episode of New Girl, Modern Family, NCIS, Million Dollar Listing, or House Hunters. All very educational and enriching, I know. Just the way I like my TV.

Pre-latest-baby I’ll say I watched an average of an hour of TV a week. Now, the only TV I’m watching is that which the kids watch, and there’s a LOT of that going on these days. Daniel Tiger, Super Why and Cat in the Hat just aren’t doing it for me, though. 

What I’m wondering is: How do people have so much time to watch TV series? I keep hearing about all these must see shows, that, truth be told, I’d love to be able to watch. Or binge-watch. Binge-watching Lost years ago, before I had kids, was one of the greatest TV adventures of my life. So addictive. 

I know of parents of two or more kids, just like us, that seem to have time to watch lots of TV, so I can’t use family as an excuse. So what, then, is wrong with me?

And then I realized. Two words: breastfeeding and co-sleeping. The two things responsible for strangling the would-be-free-time from my life. (Incidentally, I also like to blame my lack of exercise on these two activities as well).

As I was falling asleep last night, I calculated, roughly, that I have been breastfeeding for three years and eight months out of the past four years. That’s about 1,340 days out of the past 1,460. And, I’ve had one or more children in bed with me as many nights or more.

What does this mean? I have consistently nursed my children to sleep, and many times, fallen asleep with them, unable to wake at a later time and make it to the couch to watch TV. I guess not having eight hours of uninterrupted sleep for a thousand days or more is enough to make anyone go to bed early, if not cuckoo.

A couple of weeks ago, I agreed to watch my friend’s toddler for the day since his normal babysitter was unable to do so. Crazy, I know, given I’m barely able to care for just my three. Before I agreed to do it, I checked with Liam to make sure I wasn’t a nut job to offer. He thought the lot of us would be OK for the day. 

I also checked in with my friend to see about the little guy’s routine. Specifically, I was concerned about what naptime would look like with me trying to get three or more children to sleep at roughly the same time.

“So what’s his nap schedule like?” I asked my friend. 

“He takes two naps. A morning one around 9:30 and then in the afternoon at 1:30.” she said.

“And what’s his nap routine?” I said.

“What do you mean?” she said.

“Well, do you rock him, or walk around with him until he falls asleep? Sing to him?” I said.

She paused for a bit before she answered, as if silently acknowledging my lunacy. “Um, no. We give him his blanket and tell him it’s time to go to bed. And then he just goes to bed.”

What?! “Oh,” I said, chuckling. We’ve never had one of those before.” Amazing!

“Really?” I asked, after a pause, incredulous. “You just tell him it’s time for bed, put him down, and he goes to sleep?”

“Yep,” she said.

And sure enough, he did just as she said he would, bless his little heart. It certainly made my afternoon easier, as I struggled with my two youngest in the other room, arranging both of my boobs and the kids every which way until they both were latched on and at peace. Gracious! I’m going to have chronic arthritis and a hunchback before all of this is through. But anyway, I digress.

When I told Liam about all the little guy’s sleep routine, he also was in disbelief. 

“Really?” he said.

“Uh-huh.” I said.

We both took a moment to sigh, wondering about greener grass on the other side.

“Must be nice,” Liam added. “They must have a lot of extra free time in the evenings.”

“Uh-huh,” I agreed.

So, basically, what I’m hearing is, if I want to be able to watch more TV and actually hang out with my husband, I need to wean my kids and sleep-train them immediately.

Seems like that might take more work than I’m willing to put in at this time, so we’re likely to be status quo over here for awhile. Probably another thousand days or so.

Guess TV can wait for now.


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