Early on in our marriage, Justin and I decided we didn’t want television to be a distraction for us, taking away from the short amount of time we had together. We also were a little disturbed by some of the content that was being allowed on network TV, so we decided to get rid of cable — which cut a large expense. We subscribed to Netflix instead and enjoyed watching a movie together about once a week. When Netflix started offering live streaming of shows and movies, we subscribed to that, spending only about $8 a month at the time.
At first, I definitely missed some of my favorite channels, but quickly adjusted to the Netflix. I love the convenience of getting to peruse entire seasons of shows for my favorite episodes, never having to sit through a commercial and being able to pause and return at my leisure. I also love that now I can create a “profile” of my favorite shows and movies and my hubby can too.
When we had our first son James, I spent more hours than I care to remember sitting in my glider in front of the TV watching cooking shows, nature documentaries and reality TV series that I probably never would have watched if I wasn’t stuck nursing and rocking our gassy, colicky newborn. It was then that I started wondering if not having cable was going to be an issue now that we had kids. But as it turns out, Netflix is better than cable when it comes to kids programming — at least that’s what I think.
At our house, we have two “TV Times” a day. The first is at 8am and the second at 4pm (fascinating how quickly James has learned to tell time). Though we sometimes skip TV Times if we’re out and about, the big bonus is that we have eliminated the constant nagging to watch TV all day long. Now I can simply blame the clock for not being the correct time. It’s awesome when you can pass blame onto an inanimate object.
With Netflix my boys can choose from a plethora of great, educational kids programming. The boys also have their own profile, which only displays the kid-friendly shows — score! I always used to wonder what would happen if, one day, my child changed the channel to something horrible while I wasn’t there. Now I can go throw in a load of dishes, put dinner on the stove or actually take a quick trip to the bathroom by myself, without worrying what my kids might be watching.
I have the Netflix app loaded on my phone, which has made long car trips much easier since they can watch a show or movie en route. Though I learned the hard way that letting James watch things on my phone was a blessing and a curse. He would throw a fit if we were out and he wanted to “watch something on your phone Mommy” and I refused. I guess I can’t blame him, I was being selfish by wanting to use my phone to do something crazy like, I don’t know, make a phone-call.
I’m aware that as the kids grow older and learn they are missing out on certain shows their friends are watching, this whole cable-free decision may get challenging. But right now I’m very happy with this television lifestyle we’ve chosen. And when Christmas time rolls around and all the kids are begging their parents for the newest toy they saw a commercial for, I’m going to enjoy this decision even more!
Mandy Watts is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Crownsville with her husband, Justin, who runs their family business, and their two sons, 3-year-old James and 1-year-old Luke.