To binge or not to binge: the parental leave Netflix dilemma

To binge or not to binge: the parental leave Netflix dilemma

As new parents, we all need a little respite from the Groundhog Day of parental leave. Could on-demand TV be the answer? Mum-of-two Bec contemplates ‘to watch or not to watch’ while baby is sleeping?

I really looked forward to seeing my friends every day on parental leave. Serena van der Woodsen, Nate Archibald and Blair Waldorf on my first stint of parental leave. And when I had my second child, I would connect daily with the Gallaghers. Oh, the Gallaghers! They were out of control—they made me feel like I was in control of my life.

Parental leave can be lonely and monotonous. Getting out and getting home in time for the next sleep is a challenge. “Sleep when the baby sleeps,” they say—well, that’s fine if you’re a good daytime sleeper and haven’t had a million coffees in the morning just to get you through the first half of the day.

That meant most afternoons when my kids went to sleep I flicked on Netflix. And it helped. It made me relax and tune out to the 10 things that were on my list every day to get done but could actually wait. It gave me something to talk about with other people, rather than poo and teething and how many hours of sleep we were getting. It helped me chill out.

Some of the shows allowed me to dream of a flasher life (Gossip Girl), some reminded me that my life was amazing (Shameless) and others made me glad I was married with kids (UnREAL).

We come from a world where the conversation about how much TV we should consume consumes us. And in the early stages of parenthood we’re trying to do everything. In fact, for the rest of your life as a parent, you are going to try and juggle everything. So, a bit of reality TV in your life is…wait for it…yes, it’s OK.

I’ve recently gone back to work and I miss Netflix. There, I’ve said it. I MISS NETFLIX. 

I now leave the house at 8AM and drop the kids at daycare. I rush to pick them up at 5.30PM, then at home I rush around some more so that they are fed and washed in 90 minutes, and in bed at 7PM. I then remember to talk to my husband while I clean up the mess from the dinner and bath, and hope that I remembered to either feed him with the kids or have something else ready for us to eat. Then once we’ve (hopefully) conversed about our day, I start to prepare everything for the next day (backpacks ready again for daycare, what I’m going to wear for work, what are the kids going to wear, quick load of washing, blah, blah). It’s 9PM before I know it and I’m starting to think about going to bed. I might get woken in the night or I’m up at 5.30AM anyway.

My point is simple…life is only going to get busier. We deserve to enjoy our parental leave. We earned it. The invention of on-demand TV for our generation is nothing short of a little gold nugget implanted in our living rooms that at this point in your life is good for your mental and physical health.

Go forth and binge, my friends! And pass the Maltesers. A little bit of everything that makes you feel great is what the couch doctor ordered.

Written by Bec, Social Impact Manager and mother-of-two.

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