TV Makes The Best Babysitter …

by Emory Liscord MD

Did I get your attention?

It was a Monday night. I worked all weekend.

Pete spent all weekend as a single parent to a 2 and 4 year old.

Family dinner complete, we were desperate for a break from toddler chatter.

We all cozied up on the coach for an enthralling episode of “Clifford the Big Red Dog”

We made sure to follow the American Pediatric Associations guidelines on screen time

  1. Minimize if possible (check)
  2. Something educational (check)
  3. Watch along side your child (………. really?)

We hadn’t had an adult conversation in three days and here we were humming the Clifford theme song while our children stared at the screen in a state of catatonia

This struck me as ridiculous. We were using the TV as a babysitter but not taking advantage!

Why not just embrace our parental failures and enjoy?!

Off we went to the kitchen for an adult beverage.

What a brilliant discovery!

One hour of booze and adult conversation with no little voices in the back ground


I was too embarrassed to admit that this has occurred with some regular frequency since this first night until I listened to this amazing episode of Hidden Brain entitled

When Did Marriage Become So Hard?

I think marriage has become harder over the past few decades for two main reasons.

  1. We expect our spouse to meet all our emotional needs (now that most of us marry for love and not political/social reasons)
  2. We don’t prioritize time together

Before we get married we pull from a variety of people to support us socially and emotionally (friends, family, colleagues)

Then we get married and expect our spouse to do the job of all these different people

Talk about expectations.

We want the person we marry to  “make us want to be a better person”

Thats some serious pressure.

On top of this, we don’t prioritize our relationship

I feel this might have to do with the social pressures of being the perfect parent.

As a modern day parent we are expected to engage with our children ALL the time in some meaningful way.

Dude, its exhausting and impossible

So, you know what?

Im just going to embrace that sometimes …

TV makes the best babysitter ..


One thought on “TV Makes The Best Babysitter …

  1. Barbara McKusick Liscord says:

    Yes! I also liked that Hidden Brain episode. Including the advice to take time for just the two of you. When you were born (Emmy), we noticed pretty quickly that we were feeling distant from one another- so started a date night. My husband had just left his job to go back to school for 2 years to prepare for a different career and I was on parental leave (unpaid). By the time we paid the babysitter we had enough money to go to a deli for tea and bagels with butter. But what we really got was time to talk about important things about our families and relationship and our concern for the world. There are lots of things pulling you away from each other. Glad you are figuring out ways to be together- just the two of you. Love, mom


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