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?