From sports to Yo Gabba Gabba, the DVR can instill familial harmony and marital bliss
A while ago, the editors of the Good Men Project noted that divorce rates are down, and conjectured why. They raised the obvious answers: people getting married later, more egalitarian values, the recession, etc. But I think the most under-rated reason is the rise of the DVR.
Amy and I have been Tivo customers since the day we got married. My awesome co-best men bought us a Tivo and a lifetime subscription (much to Tivo’s chagrin, the unit is still chugging along 9+ years later and we’ve never paid a monthly fee).
DVRs may be the best invention ever made for helping dads better manage their time—they give dads more opportunities to be present fathers and/or devote time to getting ahead at work.
O’ how I love my Tivo. Let me count the ways:
1. The pause button eliminates arguments
2. Recording and watching later removes time conflict, letting me be more present during family time
3. It gives the wife and I more opportunities for mini “Date Nights”
4. It keeps the boy from watching kids’ TV that annoys us
There’s two minutes left an exciting Knicks game, and of course, that’s the perfect time for my wife to tell me it’s time for me to get Nick showered and ready for bed. Pre-DVR, I’d be stuck either missing part of the game, or having a ticked-off wife and a kid who’s up past his bedtime.
But now, I only have to pause, take care of business, and get back to the game. In the meantime, my wife thinks I’m awesome and I can take my time and enjoy Nick’s bedtime routine instead of perfunctorily rushing through it.
Way fewer arguments. Far less missing out on life to watch sports. A win-win all around.
Networks and advertisers hate this, but DVRs killed “must-see-tv”. But for dads, this is a good thing. Instead of rushing Nick to bed in order to watch Walking Dead at 9pm, we can just “set it and forget it” and record the show to watch later. Before DVRs, my volleyball league meant I’d miss the first half of every Monday Night Football game.
Another side benefit is that watching sports or events like the Oscars later on the DVR means you can blow through these events in about 1/3 of the time—between commercials, replays and dead time between plays, football games contain about 30 minutes of action!
In short, DVRs mean I can shift TV watching until after Nick’s in bed and spend less time overall in front of the tube (the original time-suck to avoid!).
After Nick’s in bed, Amy and I take care of the last few things around the house, and then get ready for the boring-married-couple’s version of a hot date- an hour or two of Tivo!! Oh the joys of watching Game of Thrones with a nice glass of wine, cuddling with my Khaleesi.
No Yo Gabba Gabba!
Perhaps the best benefit of DVRs is that we are fully able to control our son’s tv consumption.
At each stage in his development, we preselected shows we either wanted Nick to watch or at least could tolerate. So, lots of Sesame Street when he was young; Wonder Pets, Backyardigans, Bob the Builder, and Wow Wow Wubbzy as he got a little older; SpongeBob, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Penguins of Madagascar and Lego Star Wars now. We have a bunch of family-friendly movies at the ready: ET, Dolphin Tale, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (yay! Emergency baby-sitter!)
Dora, that mimbo Diego, Yo Gabba Gabba!, the Wiggles, LazyTown, Thomas the Tank Engine, and Barney all annoyed the hell out of us, so they were never on our “now playing list”—so Nick never got into them. This saved our sanity, and Nick never knew the crap he was missing.
Nick graduated from Nick Jr. to Nickelodeon, and is now showing interest in Adventure Time, the Regular Show and other things that are weird, but we can sign off on. But we’re in no rush for him to watch violent stuff or insipid pre-teen iCarly-ish shows. The DVR helps us set the pace. We never experienced raising a child without a DVR, and we’d never want to.
DVRs bring many benefits for busy dads. It frees up time, avoids arguments, helps family time be family time, and keeps kids away from shows you hate!
What do you think about DVRs? kid’s TV? Let’s discuss in the comments section.
(disclaimer: I have no financial or other arrangement with DVR providers, such as Tivo, and I don’t play that game, anyway. I’m just a happy customer)