Many people are actually surprised when I tell them we don’t have a tv in our household. IT seems strange nowadays, as most houses have the latest technology and in my house new technology is not much welcomed.
I have had different comments concerning my lack of TV at home; sometimes people insinuating that I cannot afford one; that I am a very boring person and must be leading a boring life or even that I am a control freak who is being overprotective when it comes to my children. I know many Muslims who choose not to have a religious reason; they believe there is too much ‘fitna’ (corruption that deviates from the right path) on it. I must say, I didn’t choose to have a TV for that reason.
Growing up, I loved watching TV, it was THE entertainment. I remember rushing back from school, so I would be on time to watch my favourite cartoons, or even putting the alarm clock at 6 am on weekends so I would not miss any of my favourite cartoons. And also, finishing my homework hastily so I can watch my evening soaps etc... The list goes on and on, there were even times when I refuse to go out just because of what was on telly. I remember how my Mum had to stand in front of the telly, so I could actually hear what she was saying even though she had been screaming it out for the past 5 mins. Looking back, it looked like my whole life was centred around TV. Oh I did have good family times, my parents loved to play board games with us, we use to have competitions from time to time and those were our family times on top of outings/picnics. Funnily enough, even though TV was the main focus of my life at that point, I actually barely remember anything about it, the things I do remember is the games we used to play as a family, I even remember some of the conversations we had back then. Those are the moments I really miss, not the TV, not the programmes on telly; none of it; what I do miss is all my family sitting around the monopoly board, and my mum cheating as usual while we all try to play honestly, or the dominos competition me and my dad used to have every month against my uncle and cousin, and how we always beat them. Or even the days when I was so little, and I used to just watch my big brother, big sister, dad and uncle playing Carrom, while my mum and aunt served us snacks.
I remember when I left home for uni, one of the things I was worried about was how was I suppose to spend my time if i don’t have tv. I must say though even though I didn’t have tv, I did have my laptop and internet, and if any was not working, then they were the most boring days of my life; not because I couldn’t watch anything, nope! Just cause I could not keep in touch with my family and friends.
I realised I didn’t need a TV anymore, having spent ¾ years at uni without one I never really missed it.
Following my marriage, I realised how much harm TV can also cause to a family. I used to resent the TV at some point as it had taken over my place as a wife; it also became a reason for argument many a times. I had learnt that there’s a life outside the square (now rectangle) box, and I wanted to live this new life instead, and my ex-husband thought differently. But this was never the reason why I don’t have a TV.
I can very well afford one if I want it, and I have even been offered people’s old TV which I kindly refused. After having my daughters, I realised how precious each and every minute we spend doing things together as a family is important; those are the memories they are going to cherish, the memories they will talk about and miss as well. It is easy to just switch on the TV and let it babysit and raise your children, but instead I choose to raise them and make them independent so they won’t need a babysitter. Oh, it would be way easy to have them in front of the screen, while I get all my jobs done; knowing that they won’t have made any mess, but this is not the life I have chosen. I choose to make the mess with them, I choose for us to not rely on any object, but to rely on ourselves and I choose to give them fond memories of me.
Are we bored? Not at all, we always have something cooking. There’s always something exciting to do, a new activity, something to get our hands dirty with, it never gets boring, and we enjoy each other’s company all along, we talk about random things, we laugh about stupid things, we make silly faces and sounds; there’s always something to do up till bed time!
As a single Mum this is the choice I have made, any Mum can make that choice, it’s not because someone chooses a different life that they must be ridiculed. I spend a considerable amount of my day working, and having my kids away, it is not fair on them and me to even ignore each other for the few hours we do spend together. They need me and my love as much as I need them and their love. Besides, we still have the laptop if we want to watch something suitable for them together. It is not the end of the world!