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Modern Perspectives, Young Married Mom

September 26, 2012

Turning off the Television

John and I have a handmade rug that was given to us as a wedding/shower present hanging in front of our only television. When people come into our living room, they often ask where our TV is. We hide it this way because we recognize that both interior design-wise and figuratively, a television can be a black hole into which one can get sucked for long periods of time.

This is not to say that we don’t watch TV. We are loyal Jets fans (ahem, currently the #1 team in the AFC East), and I have a proud history of convincing John there are shows we should watch together. Sadly, The Biggest Loser is not yet one of them, but that’s what friends are for.


When John’s working late or out of town—as he has been this week, in the great state of Texas—


(My only experience of Texas was at a Houston rodeo, and I loved every minute of it, save the mutton bustin’. YouTube that on your own time.)


I tend to spend lunch or dinner in front of a television show on my computer. On a busy day, this can relax me. Every now and then, it is a little time to veg out and let my brain recuperate from an early or whine-filled (or both) morning.


Lately, I’ve let this habit become routine. More often than not, I’m finding that I’m not accomplishing what I want in that quiet time while Jacob’s sleeping. Then I stay up later in the evening to get said things done. Then I’m too tired the next day to do things when I have time, so I watch TV. Then . . . you get the point.


This week, something came over me. I don’t know if it was energy from the great fun I had this weekend or some kind of nesting impulse, but I didn’t turn on a television show when it was time to eat alone. Instead, I started finishing the four or five books I’ve started over the last few months.


Can we talk about how wonderful it feels to finish a book? None of what I’m reading is so enthralling that I’m having that I-don’t-want-this-to-end-I-wish-there-were-more experience. It’s just something to cross off the list, clear off the shelf, and move on with. Seeing all these half-read books on the shelf makes my brain feel cluttered, which makes me a little less fun to be around. Clearing out the clutter means a happier, more patient, more fun me.


I’m feeling these days like everything I do is leading up to Henry’s birth. I’ve started to make a plan to cut down on work projects by the holidays, and take some self-imposed maternity leave at the beginning of the year. I am working desperately to finish up a round of edits on my novel (which may well lead to more work, but I accept that). I am settling the piles of to-dos around here and shedding what isn’t necessary.


A lot of these impulses are probably symptoms of nesting, which is just fine with me. I’m one week away from the official start of the third trimester—expect a poem—and every day that passes is a kind of counting up to the special day we anticipate bringing our little boy home.


At the same time, I can’t help realizing that I wouldn’t have accomplished so many of the nitpicky things that jam up my brain if I had indulged in the new episodes of my current favorite TV shows that I know are available online. I’m sure I’ll get to them soon enough, and if I don’t, who cares? I have more important things to do—and I’m doing them.


Now if I could only harness the addictive power of the Internet . . .

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