Expectation v. Reality: Watching TV

It’s important to know that I have a long-standing love affair with my DVR.  Before becoming a mom, an enormous bulk of my free time was probably spent doing one of my top four favorite things: baking, reading, cryptogram puzzles (if you’re laughing about that one, then QMX FXJP CMU’P KAP WP) and watching TV…specifically, things I had DVRd.

My DVR brought me all of the programming that came on at weird hours or conflicted with the air time of other shows.  It also brought me all the shows I could ever hope to binge watch.

I would spend hours watching The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, I Love Lucy and Mary Tyler Moore.  I also discovered things like My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding, Toddlers & Tiaras, and everything related to pawn shops that has ever aired on A&E, The History Channel or TLC.  I could also watch The Help fifteen times in a row if I wanted.  Oh yes, my DVR was my best friend on many a solo Saturday afternoon.

Now we’re parents, which has brought an entirely new perspective to what we choose to watch.  For example, we no longer watch Toddlers & Tiaras or Tosh.0.  It’s partly because I do forget to DVR them, but also because there’s a nagging voice in the back of your mind that makes itself incredibly known once you have children.  That voice is reminding me “garbage in, garbage out.”  That voice can only be quieted by better programming choices, and wine.  Mostly wine.

Our list of shows has dwindled.  Not only has our taste in what we choose to watch changed, but we also don’t have the free time to watch TV that we did in our early 20s.  Oh sure, we have free time, but we’ve found it’s better suited for doing important things like connecting with each other, finishing household chores, eating ice cream and writing.  Also, playing Candy Crush (I will pay you in cookies to beat level 165 for me).

One of our current fave shows is American Ninja Warrior.

We’ve actually been watching this one for a while, but this is our first season watching it as parents of a toddler.  Over the past few weeks, I’ve noticed my expectation in watching this show is far different from its reality…

Expectation: Show airs at 9pm on Sunday nights, and it’s 120 minutes long.  We will probably watch this show on Wednesday night.  Miles goes to bed at 7:30p; we will sit down at 8:30p, finish the show by 10p, and I will go to bed, still getting almost eight hours of sleep.


  • Wednesday, 9pm: Finally sit down to watch the show.
  • Wednesday, 9:15pm: Realize I need more wine.
  • Wednesday, 9:27pm: Realize I need ice cream.
  • Wednesday, 9:58pm: Realize I have fallen asleep.  Go to bed.  Show is unfinished.
  • Thursday, 8:37pm: Okay, earlier start!  We can do this.  Only 77 minutes of show to watch.
  • Thursday, 8:43pm: Cry uncontrollably after watching the first female contestant to ever successfully complete the course.  Pause the show to discuss the importance of this moment with Evan.
  • Thursday, 8:56pm: Cry uncontrollably after watching the contestant with the insulin pump fall off the cargo net and land in the water.  Pause the show to get ice cream.  Feel overwhelming guilt at the realization that the insulin pump reminded me of how much I love ice cream.
  • Thursday, 9:18pm: Fall asleep.  Get up.  Go to bed.  Show is still unfinished.
  • Friday: Watch Hollywood Game Night instead because we need a good laugh.
  • Saturday: Watch Last Comic Standing instead because we still need a good laugh.
  • Sunday: Watch True Blood because HELLO, Jason Stackhouse.
  • Monday: Watch The Leftovers.
  • Tuesday: Watch Food Network Star.  Also watch Alaskan Bush People, and shows related to storage units and shipping things cross country.  Realize I have stayed up too late just to watch someone roll a giant peanut off of a flatbed truck.
  • Wednesday: Remember we still haven’t finished the previous week’s episode of American Ninja Warrior.  Finally finish watching it.  Feeling pretty amped from watching people with far greater physical ability than I could ever hope to have complete the courses.  Decide – at 9:15p – that we will go ahead and watch this week’s episode.  All two hours of it.
  • Wednesday, 10:15pm: Holy shit, I’m still awake!  We’re going to finish a show!
  • Wednesday, 10:54pm: Holy shit, I’m still awake.  I’m only going to get 6 hours of sleep now.
  • Wednesday, 11:07pm: Oh shit.
  • Wednesday, 11:23pm: Go to bed.  Play Candy Crush to “unwind.”  Say “oh shit” a few more times before giving up and accepting the five hours of sleep I have allotted myself, just to watch people climb cargo nets.

This is how parents of toddlers binge watch, folks.  Also, people in my office, refrain from eye contact until at least 8:30am.  Thank you.

Next American Ninja Napper,


One thought on “Expectation v. Reality: Watching TV

  1. Haha this is so freaking true!! My husband and I get stuck in this same cycle with America’s Got Talent, another 2 hour horror story for parents. Being pregnant also adds several more visits to the kitchen for food or potty breaks. Right on!!!

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