Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Observations from my couch - or why I may cancel cable

The past week or so I've spent way too much time cuddled under a blanket on the couch. I've allowed my kids to watch way too much TV, and even had my 6 year old pour cereal and milk one night for dinner for the other kids. Now that I'm feeling better, I'm feeling a little television overload. I'm not even sure if it's just the television, perhaps it's the media in general.

I'm tired of hearing about how bad the economy is. Quite frankly, I don't really have concerns about my long-term retirement accounts. I have about 40 years before I'll seriously consider retiring, and I've been alive long enough to understand that our economy works in cycles. That's right, I plan on working into my 70's - I strongly feel as though nursing needs long-term nurses. My thought process with that is that I feel as though nurses that have survived change (current changes being related to increases in technology, local and national government changes related to nursing and population fluctuations), are more likely to help ease the field through the big changes that are still to come. And not to make nursing bigger than it is, but it is the backbone of health care in our country, especially as we begin to see the importance of primary (commonly known as preventative) care. But I digress. So back to the economy - in my little world my husband's job is stable for now - all the things I hate about the military all of a sudden become not so bad when it means I have a roof over my head and food to feed my kids. I am aware that there are other people struggling, and I wish I knew how to fix the problem. But when I turn on the radio or TV or read the paper and constantly hear about how bad things are, it is really overwhelming to me. I start to have anxieties that aren't even relevant to my situation. I almost feel as though I am getting too sensitive to the doom-and-gloom reporting of our country's situation. I'd love to hear more stories about all the people that are giving. We've had some great programs at our church lately, and my son's kindergarten class secretly raised over $200 for his teacher's Christmas gift this year - the money is going for a donation to her daughter's senior class mission trip. Did I mention that Joshua only has 15 other kids in his class - serious generosity at work here.

I caught a few episodes of Jon and Kate Plus Eight. I remember in the past seasons I really liked the show because I liked seeing her lists of stuff all over the house and her big calendar on her fridge. I loved how she occasionally lost her temper. I liked how they were real people struggling with parenting just like the rest of us. This past week, I was disappointed to see that the entire show has turned into a big advertisement for whatever destination resort has invited them to visit. I found myself thinking - man how does she have time to get her hair done with 8 kids at home? Or man, I'd love to hire someone to travel with me and the kids because Lord knows I could use the extra hands. I adored that the kids were all dressed in matching Baby Gap. I was jealous that she actually had the time/money/babysitter to go out on a date with her husband. Quite honestly, my covetous nature kicked in and the green giant in me started doubting myself and being envious that I'm not able to take the kids skiing in brand new clothes after just returning from my trip to Hawaii renewing my wedding vows in a designer gown while my children rolled on the lawn misbehaving. :)

It's funny, I'm really cautious about advertisements for the kids. I don't like the kids being commercially marketed to. Instead of watching Charlie Brown's Christmas Special on TV with all the commercials, I Netflixed it to watch with popcorn minus the commercials. I don't let them watch Noggin, because just about all the shows have become gigantic commercials for the lines of toys that accompany the shows. Not to mention I roll my eyes every time I hear that Noggin is like preschool on TV. Really? Where is the interaction with their peers, direction by an adult, learning about the world around them using all of their senses? Oh dear, this soap box is getting mighty high, I better step off. :)

But funny how I am so worried about over commercializing my kids (as I fully admit that Daniel is wearing an adorable Cookie Monster hand-me-down sweatshirt today, and my mom has bought them more princess, Dora/Diego and Star Wars stuff than the kids ever even knew existed, for Christmas), but yet didn't realize how marketed-to moms are. Lesson learned, the peer pressure for moms is brutal on TV, magazines at the check-out, and a million other places. Nothing like feeling miserable on the couch looking at size zero Kelly Rippa to make me think that it's possible that more moms secretly have self esteem issues and eating disorders than teenage girls, I think we are just more secretive about it, because we are all supposed to be perfect alpha moms.

Maybe it's just my cold-medicine induced hangover, but I'm feeling foolish for feeling the way I do...inadequate.


Anonymous said...

Oh, Mary. I used to LOVE Jon and Kate Plus 8. But you know what? Yes, they are given a lot and have designer vacations seemingly every week. However, you and Keith are 100 times the parents they will EVER be. Material goods aren't everything - being that "cool mom" who (stealing from a CC thread) makes chocolate chip pancakes for dinner and cannonballs into the pool will stick in your children's memories, much more so than a trip to Hawaii. I hope to emulate you as a parent someday.

Meg said...

I agree with you!

Dayfamilyof4 said...

I have never regretted the decision Hubby and I made when we got married. No cable... ever. It's hard enough to screen the dvds,I can't imagine handling the live streaming from the tv. Still, I hadn't even really thought about the commercials.... whew. To be honest I don't even read/ check the news either. Hubby does, and he tells me what I "need" to know. Even though I hate to label it as this; Sometimes ignorance really is bliss. The world will always make us feel inadequate, especially as moms... that's when we need to "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path." (Proverbs 3:5 & 6)