Sky Sports v Dance Moms v Me

We have only one working TV in our house, which is ridiculous for a family of five with three big kids. If it was up to me, it would be off 98% of the time, just going on once in the evening for a drama or comedy.

But it’s not up to me.

Instead, the TV is the source of endless frustration and arguments.

Because everyone wants to watch it. And if you’re foolish enough to leave the settee to go to the toilet, get a drink or have a shower, someone will turn it over.

My husband is obsessed with football. Obsessed.

He will deny it, but it’s not unusual for him to watch three football matches a day at weekends. Even if he’s not actually sitting in front of it, the game will be on, so he can dip in and out of it and nobody will be allowed to turn it off or over.

How thoughtful of Sky Sports to schedule a lunchtime game, a ‘normal time’ (for want of a better phrase) game and a teatime game. And how thoughtful of them to show games pretty much every night of the week – with ‘weekend’ games being played as late as Monday and ‘midweek’ games being played on both Tuesday and Wednesday, before a nice early weekend game on a Friday.

My husband works hard. I get that. He works very hard at his job and, when he gets home, he is always doing something useful like painting, gardening or tidying stuff. And then he watches football.

He’s a Man Utd fan. I understand why he needs to watch Man Utd. I could also understand why he might want to watch something like Arsenal v Chelsea. But is it really necessary to watch something like Stoke v Bournemouth?!

Maybe when there’s a game like that on, someone else should be allowed to watch the TV. Someone like my daughter?

But the football is sacred. And not just the games. There’s the chat beforehand and the post-match analysis, which seems to go on almost as long as the game itself.

And I hate it! Our downstairs is open plan and the TV is loud. There is literally nowhere to go to get away from it.

But, when there’s no football on, my daughter will be watching the telly. Unfortunately, my daughter’s current favourite programme is Dance Moms. If you haven’t had the pleasure, it is some incredibly talented teenage dancers, their very argumentative mums and a dance teacher (Abby Lee Miller) who is totally off her trolley. The way she treats those girls looks remarkably close to child abuse. Why do the ‘moms’ put up with it? And why must they always be yelling at each other?! (Yeah, I know, they’re paid a sh*t load of money and they get lots of exposure, enabling them to put out crap singles, get massive numbers of YouTube subscribers and sell hideous hair bows to 8 year old girls.)

My husband HATES this programme. And I can understand that. There are a lot of things to hate in it. But surely my daughter should be allowed to watch the TV occasionally, rather than have football on for nine hours a day?

Daddy hating Dance Moms upsets her. Daddy having the football on all the time upsets her. So she retreats into her room (to watch Dance Moms on her phone) and we don’t get to see her.

So we end up with a divided and very unhappy household, which I hate.

Sometimes, the TV is free for long enough for my eldest to sneak in and put The Simpsons on, another programme that nobody else likes.

If I’m lucky I might get near it at approximately 10.30pm, by which time my eyes won’t stay open for long enough to watch the comedies and dramas I’ve recorded and will therefore delete in a few weeks – to free up valuable space on the box for football matches, Dance Moms and The Simpsons.

I’m not sure I can put up with the trouble the TV causes for much longer. If we can’t ban it altogether, we need to get one or even two more working TVs, with a good selection of channels and a recording facility, so that we can put a stop to the arguments, the sulking and the telling off and everyone can enjoy a bit of telly in peace.

How does it work in your house? How many TVs do you have?

Remote control, TV, Television

Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. Oh dear. I’ve said to you before that I really think you need a tv in your kitchen. I have one so I can at least watch my Sunday dramas in peace – mostly when they used to clash with the dread Top Gear! Altogether we have 2 downstairs, and one in each bedroom. It’s only when there’s a specific film we all decide to watch together that we all sit in the same place…I think that happens when all the kids have different interests and games consoles!

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    • It sounds like you’ve got it sorted! We definitely need another TV! I don’t mind that we don’t all sit together watching stuff as I think it’s difficult to find something everyone likes, but I’d like to stop the sulking!

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  2. Sarah,

    I can certainly relate to this — back in the 2000s, our TV viewing gave me a lot of annoyance and not a lot of pleasure. We watched the wrong programmes at the wrong times and in the wrong way (i.e. constantly switching from channel to channel).
    IIRC, what people watched on TV wasn’t such a contentious subject when there were fewer channels. Until 35 years ago, we had a choice of three. Then came the deluge…

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    • My husband used to be bad for switching from channel to channel, but doesn’t do it any more. My kids can’t get their heads round how few channels there were when we were kids. Needless to say, I mainly choose to watch the old terrestrial channels when I get the choice, so I don’t need the other stuff!

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  3. Oh I sympathise with all the footy. Z is obsessed too and if it’s not a match it’s fantasy football league on his phone which he makes me repeatedly check if he’s driving We have two TVs but weirdly never ever use the second one even when we want to watch different things. We end up pretty much recording everything and watching Sarah and Duck. And z watches Alvin and the chipmunks on the iPad. Eventually, when they’re in bed we might watch a movie where I fall asleep about 10 minutes into it! Our evening social time is not really the best right now.

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    • That sounds so familiar! I cannot stay awake to watch TV by the time the kids have finally gone to bed. I’m pretty sure we would use a second TV if we had one – even if it was just to stop my daughter sulking!

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  4. Oh dear, yep it sounds like you need another television. I don’t really watch it, my husband watches the rugby and it makes me cross because he ignores the children rather than because I care about what’s on. The girls watch a bit of television but not that much. When the rugby’s not on, my husband usually watches TV on the iPad as its portable so he can do other things at the same time. Sometimes Lia watches the iPad with headphones on if there’s something she finds scary on the programme Libby is watching, maybe an iPad and headphones would work for your house?

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    • My husband ignores the kids when he’s watching football too – apart from to occasionally shout them to come and see a goal! iPad with headphones sounds like a good idea, except the only iPad in the house belongs to my younger son and he is the least likely of al of us to watch TV! He’s constantly watching YouTube on it (while gaming on his DS and messaging his friends on his phone!). x

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  5. Our TV is rarely on before 9pm most evenings, as son will be upstairs before then on his PS4 /doing homework/karate/out with friends and daughter is in her bedroom watching her iPad or playing in the playroom. Son always comes downstairs at 9pm and watches a film with his dad, and then I get to watch the TV about 10.20pm when I subject the husband to Gilmore Girls. Once a blue moon we will all watch a family film together. We do have TVs in the kids room, except they very rarely watch TV on them, and again the playroom TV is never switched on. And whilst I would like us to spend more time than just having meals in the same room, it seems to work for us as a family. Hope you manage to work something out so everybody is happy x

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    • Thanks! I don’t mind that we are in different rooms – I think it’s to be expected with older kids, I just don’t like it if people are arguing or feeling unhappy about the TV! It’s good that your son and husband have a bit of bonding time together. It makes me laugh that you get ‘allocated’ the TV at about the same time that I do every night!

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  6. Oh dear. I am not quite at this stage yet as the kids don’t watch a lot of tv. Aria loves films, but the boys not so much. They do watch football. Maybe as they get older this will change. I tend to watch netflix and be on my laptop upstairs while my husband takes up the tv to play games.

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    • My kids have always liked watching TV, so maybe you will get lucky! We don’t have Netflix, so opportunities for watching TV on my laptop are more limited – I guess I could watch iPlayer though!

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  7. We have been like this for years although is is A who dominates the TV with constant Cartoon Network on. The boys do like Sky Sports though and like you, I struggle to watch what I want, often I end up going to bed early and watching things on my laptop. The boys have both got small TVs with their Xboxes but as we don’t have an external aerial, they haven’t been able to watch TV unless it is iPlayer through the Xbox. We have just invested in Sky Q which was my husband’s idea but it is quite good. There are two boxes, the main one which is in the living room and a second smaller portable box which you can move to other TVs and watch something different. I think it will help to keep everyone happy.

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    • Wow, Sky Q sounds amazing! My boys have TVs in their rooms which aren’t connected to the aerial too – one has his fixed up to the Xbox he no longer uses and the other watches DVDs, but still comes downstairs to watch Simpsons! I think I really need to start watching TV on the laptop. I can count the number of times I’ve actually done that on the fingers of one hand!

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  8. Oh god, I know your pain. We also have to suffer football although not quite to that extent, mainly because the OH is always working. And in the day time, I have to fight off cbeebies. But evenings I don’t have remote control because the OH tells me I’m on the laptop. Yes, but that’s because he doesn’t chat and watches dull tv. We usually end up with police interceptors, repeats (x3 or 4) of can’t pay we’ll take it away or the like (and don’t get me started on Movies 4 Men, Spike and C5 action movies – westerns and bad war movies – yawn). And occasionally Holby City, Silent Witness or similar 9pm dramas. He does let Call the Midwife be watched, but otherwise we have an HD recorder (we just have normal freeview) so I record everything I want to watch and watch it late at night when I’m still up blogging.

    We do have a second tv, but apart from N occasionally watching it, it’s rarely used (oh, during the Olympics which the OH can’t stand but I love). It just feels too separate, being banished in the other room. We spend little time together as it is because he’s always working, so I don’t want to sit and watch tv in the other room.

    The only way to sort it is like we used to do as kids. Have a timing allowance and each person is allowed so much tv a week. You can watch other people’s choices, but otherwise you have to choose your viewing. Might not work with that many people in a house. The recorder is the way to go but you still need to find the time to watch it.

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    • Nearly all our TV is recorded (even the football sometimes!), it’s definitely the finding the time to watch it which is the issue. We’re often in different rooms anyway, so I actually wouldn’t mind someone watching TV in a different room. I’m pleased to say I’m always allowed to watch Call the Midwife too! My husband used to watch it with me, but hasn’t watched as much this series. My daughter has started watching it with me now though, which is lovely! Your husband’s viewing choices sound very similar to my 15yo son’s! He loves Police Interceptors.

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