Rule #23: Use TV as a Babysitter

Your kid looks to you for wisdom and guidance. You tell him Suze Orman is on at 9.

Your kid looks to you for wisdom and guidance. You tell him Suze Orman is on at 9.

Parenting takes up way too much time, and sometimes you just need a proxy while you’re hiding in the kitchen pounding martinis.

As best we can tell, there’s not a better and more nurturing substitute for your stellar parenting than the almighty television.

That’s why it’s important to use TV every chance you get as a babysitter. The boob tube never fails to offer a warm glow when your children need a little love because you’re too tired, distracted, or hammered to provide it.

If the Remote Works, Press It

You might feel “peer pressure” from other parents to use the best and hottest human babysitter—let’s call her Tiffany—in your neighborhood. They’ll laud her to the heavens by saying how affordable she is and how she does the kids’ homework with them—Tiffany will even teach your children how to speak Mandarin, hand-wash poopy skivvies, and bake cookies that resemble semi-famous popes.

Don’t cave.

TV is better than Tiffany, who is, let’s a face it, a no-good, overachieving poser. Unlike Tiffany, TV will never invite the high-school quarterback to your house and do the nasty on your newly upholstered couch. TV will never flirt with and (ultimately) sexually frustrate your poor husband. TV will always stand tall—or 51 inches wide—beside you, especially when you need a babysitter the most:

When saving money…

When you can’t stand the thought of missing happy hour, but don’t have enough cash to cover a few Jager-bombs AND a babysitter. Just turn on the tube and roam free—chances are the kids won’t know you’re gone. (You’ll also want to employ TV when sleeping off your bender.)

When saving time…

The best part of having TV babysit is that you don't have to drive TV home.

The best part of having TV babysit is that you don't have to drive TV home.

When you’d rather eat lint from your Uncle Harry’s cavernous bellybutton than read—for the 50th time—a Strawberry Shortcake book with your daughter.

When saving face…

When your children ask you questions you can’t possibly—or don’t want to—answer. Just say something like, “Gee, Bobby, I don’t know the answer, but I bet if you spend a few hours watching TV you’ll find it.”

When saving your appetite…

When going through the motions of eating the cherished “family meal,” which, as most parents know, requires a strong commitment to “concentration,” as well as “interest in what others have to say,” it’s best to set a place at the dinner table for the TV, distract the kids by tuning in to MTV’s “Wild Girls of Makos” (which, for the record, is very distracting), and slip away to throw down a few party wieners and nurse a Pabst tall boy on the back porch…yep, with Tiffany.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

bloggingmom67 January 9, 2009 at 8:20 am

Sad thing is you mean this tongue in cheek (I think) but so many parents really do this. Well, maybe not the martini part. But so many parents really do use TV as a baby-sitter, although perhaps not consciously.

Good post, as always.


Father Knows Worst January 9, 2009 at 11:09 am

@bloggingmom67: It’s like second-hand smoke. You know it’s there, but it doesn’t seem that bad. So you keep on smoking while you drive your mini-van.


jason January 9, 2009 at 11:11 am

this works especially well in the teenage years assuming you have access to the playboy channel. come to think of it though, i think my wife does this with me every sunday during NFL season…i wonder what she’s doing in that other room…


Mathew January 9, 2009 at 12:56 pm

Excellent post – which, by the way, I would not have been able to read if my boys weren’t busy watching Spongebob Squarepants right now.


Father Knows Worst January 9, 2009 at 1:30 pm

@Mathew: It really is a winning scenario for everyone involved. Full disclosure: Last time I spent the afternoon staring at a yellow sponge wearing pants there wasn’t a television around. Just an empty vial that looked like it may have once contained an acidic substance.


SuzeO January 10, 2009 at 12:03 pm

your kid calls in to the show all the time


Lindsay January 12, 2009 at 7:02 am

you can always count on “educational” TV when your conscience is gettin’ to ya. Noggin——> It’s like PRESCHOOL on TV! (Except without the teacher, without other students, without the nap, without the snack..without the education…. oh shit, wait a minute.. it’s fucking nothing like preschool. ) Not that I don’t turn it on and sit my kids in front of it all day every day though and pretend like it IS. ;p


Jessica (from It's my life...) January 14, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Hey, without Sesame Street and a healthy dose of Noggin my kid wouldn’t know her numbers and her alphabet and I wouldn’t be able to shower every day. Rule on TV!


Sarcastica January 23, 2009 at 11:39 am

The TV will most likely come to be my hero in the next 10 years or so, lol!


luvnetmorons March 5, 2009 at 5:25 am

Got to love it when someone can turn on a computer and write out something they think actually is worth a damn. My own fault for reading this article but what is not pointed out is the history. What do you think people did before the TV was out….probably tossed their children at a babysitter yet that generation grew up just fine. Why is TV so bad? and more importantly, why do you give a fuck what anyone else’s kids do?


SillyDad April 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm

@luvnetmorons – Apparently somebody’s mommy has decided to get with the 21st century and use the internets as HER babysitter. Glad to know you truly do “luv” yourself. Mommy will be proud.

FKW – My dad used to call it “The Modulated Milk Bottle.”


Father Knows Worst April 16, 2009 at 2:16 pm

@SillyDad: I don’t know if I should laugh harder at your response to the Spelling-Bee-Champ or at your dad calling it the “Modulated Milk Bottle.” I think I’ll just cry instead.


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