Without Television, We All End Up In The Backyard Without Pants On

The Hardcore Television Challenge has been, well, hardcore. We actually got down to five minutes of screen time this week. Mostly because I’m afraid to use up my minutes. HOWEVER, next week is ridiculously busy so I don’t see as much success in our future. Especially if THIS is what I call successful:

On Monday, I decide that I CAN get my children dressed and ready for the pool by 9:30 in the morning. This is, in fact, a lie. I can have us all in bathing suits but realize that I am not {ahem} properly groomed for said bathing suit, so I will have to use a cover up AT ALL TIMES. I also will forget food, my son’s life vest, and my coffee. The last one made me cry, too.

By 10:45 a.m., N is exhausted. She falls over three times WALKING. I put her to bed. E and I chat and read books and then I decide that we should PAINT. Because I’m insane.

Out we go with kids’ paints that I’ve had for three years because I’m not artistic or motivated. And I hate any mess that requires bathing.

We begin painting with brushes and a palette. Then brushes directly in the jars. Then jars poured out on hands. Then feet. By time the N joins in, we’ve got some sweet mustaches going on.

In the midst of the chaos, I attempt to change out of my bathing suit. Halfway, I realize that my children are painting the windows. With blue hands.

So now I’m back outside monitoring the mayhem in my undies and a bathing suit cover-up. HI NEIGHBORS!

Since there is no scenario in which I can leave my children covered in paint for the rest of the day (STUPID CULTURAL NORMS), I strip them down to prep for a bath. But the image of trekking up to the tub without getting paint and tears on everything, is, well, HORRIFYING.

In my non-television creative brilliance, I run to the front yard (IN MY UNDERWEAR) and get the baby pool. (Where else would you leave a baby pool? We have ours up on concrete blocks.) I drag it THROUGH THE HOUSE because it’s 100 degrees and the my feet are beginning to smell like bacon on the bricks.

Old water and dead leaves trail me through the house in case the pool needs to find the front door again.

I separate my children from the paint for the last time.

After everyone piles out of the baby pool, we go inside feeling proud of our pool, books, painting, pool-again parties! GO MAMA! And then I realize that IT’S ONLY 2:30 IN THE AFTERNOON. Scott won’t be home for another three hours. My daughter isn’t due her nap for another hour. Holy crappy. I have NO IDEAS LEFT. Nada. Zip. Zilch. We’ve done EVERYTHING over the last few days and weeks.

I do what any good Mama does in times of crisis. I feed them.

N freaks out so I think SHE MUST BE TIRED (because I’m delusional) and I put her to bed thirty minutes early. I put E in quiet time.

And I lay on the floor in total exhaustion.

E from the sunroom: I need a snack.

I get up. I bring him carrots.

E: NO! Not carrots.
Of course not. Me: What do you want?
E: Apple!

I head back to the kitchen. Because I KNEW that he’d want apples. He ALWAYS wants apples for snack. But when I’m lazy, I’m stupid. And a bag of carrot is easier. So I slice up an apple and walk back to the sunroom.

E: I’m drink-y.
Me: No you’re not. (We’ve only been in 100 degree weather all afternoon.)

I get him a drink of water. Because it’s the right thing to do. {sigh} And I can’t tell him to get it himself because he’s doing the right thing by STAYING IN THE SUNROOM for quiet time.

And then I go back to laying on the floor.


Because N starts talking. Then crying. She never falls asleep.

I glance at the clock again. It’s only 4 p.m.. I have not made dinner. Or returned a single phone call. I’ve tweeted once.

We wander up to E’s bedroom to play. Well, hopefully for them to play and for me to lay on the floor and die.

I call for pizza and gush at the miracle that is delivery.

I’m exhausted and overwhelmed. But I also have these:

Link up here so we can all see how it’s going! Or if you are on Facebook-only please follow these directions. Email me [email protected] with questions!

We are only challenging until the last Thursday in July (the 29th). Or forever! DUNT DUNT DUH!

Oh and the Early Year Institute in New York picked us up!

Alex Iwashyna

Alex Iwashyna went from a B.A. in philosophy to an M.D. to a SAHM, poet and writer by 30. She spends most of her writing time on LateEnough.com, a humor blog (except when it's serious) about her husband fighting zombies, awkward attempts at friendship, and dancing like everyone is watching. She also has a soft spot for culture, politics, and rude Southern people who offend her Yankee sensibilities. She parents 2 elementary-aged children, 1 foster baby, 3 cats, and 1 puppy, who are all Southern but not rude. Yet.

17 thoughts to “Without Television, We All End Up In The Backyard Without Pants On”

  1. Loved today’s post! It had me spitting out my cereal, which was messy but totally worth it. My little one is only one & doesn’t watch any TV, so I can relate. The older one is in preschool, but when she’s home, we don’t watch much TV at all. And there have definitely been days like that. Like the one where we did an art project, I looked over & the little one was eating the paint brush. The black paint covered paint brush. Made gentian violet mouth look normal…

  2. My kids’ swimming lessons are at 8:15am. I KNOW! What kind of sadist organized that? Serious assholery. You have no idea what we look like when we lurch into the facility at that hour…well, actually, you do. Homeless, that’s what we look like.

  3. Psychologists will tell you that a happy mom is a better mom. Coffee comes FIRST.

    Garden hoses were invented for impromtu kids’ cleanup. I’m pretty sure.

  4. I love it! I would have done the same thing except for the pool. When you said all that, I immediately thought where is the garden hose? Kids love being hosed down/off…whatever you want to call it. Pool works just as well, though.

    On the underwear and cover up…I have been sitting in the house working in shorts and a bra all week. I realized yesterday I went out to water the garden in said outfit without thinking twice about putting a shirt on. Ooops!

  5. Alex: Good first week! You are doing great and I think week 2 will be easier. Just set pizza delivery on speed dial. Just in case.

    I completed the link to my update and below is my post on our first week as well. I can’t wait to read how everyone else is doing with the challenge.

  6. Our kiddy pool is sitting in the family room as we speak – no water or leaves though. It decided to take off like a flying saucer during the recent thunderstorm as I was trying to keep the patio umbrella from tumbling over and breaking… again. My son is getting in and out of it like it is a new toy. I think you have something here with the pool inside the house thing… who needs TV – bring the kiddy pool inside to keep them occupied while you cook dinner!

  7. We actually put our tv in the closet for a few months. Literally. We were all way too addicted. And then we brought it back… and even though we don’t have cable we’re now too addicted to PBS and Sid and George and oh my goodness it’s on now and it makes me a little sick.
    So it’s going to go back in the closet soon. Because moderation is not my strong suit.
    But WAY TO GO!! 🙂 Even though the days are super crazy and you have to get creative and you might cry more, it’s totally worth it.

    1. You should totally join in! Moderation is not my strength either (i like to swing past it on my way to the other extreme) which is why we’ve done basically NO tv instead of even the 30 minutes/week.

      I do like how you put it in the closet. Pictures please.

  8. The painting and the pool is total genius. I’m with you, though. It’s like a million degrees outside. And, it’s not acceptable for me to get in the baby pool. So, they sit all cooled off and wet, and I sit in my sweat.

    Bring on the boob tube!

  9. You are my new hero. After Frida Kahlo. And Oprah. Of course. And the pictures are totally worth all your troubles 🙂

    I was a big fat FAIL today with this challenge. Little Miss woke up for I-don’t-know-what-reason at 1ish and then again at 2ish, then at 4ish and never went back to bed. I slept all of 1.5 hours. By the end of the long night, between me and her dad taking turns with her, we were SO done. And I had to be at work at 7am. When I could no longer rouse MY Guy from his exhaustion (he does poorly with no sleep), I plopped her in front of Barney and said goodbye. She probably had an hour of TV this morning before being dropped off at daycare. Much to my chagrin.

    Today is one of those rare days I’m glad I have a full-time job because then she can be someone else’s problem for awhile. At least they get paid to deal with her. #MomOfTheYear

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