TV and film play a huge part in my life. I majored in filmmaking in college, and worked in independent film and commercial production after I graduated. For the last 15 years I’ve been working in TV as a writer/producer, and my taste hasn’t varied much during that time. By my views on TV changed after I had a baby, and in ways I definitely didn't anticipate. Before kids, I didn’t really notice how parents were portrayed on screen, or what role weapons played in so many of my favorite films. Now that I'm a mom, though, it’s all I see.
Before I had kids, I never watched children’s shows. When my partner and I started discovering programming for toddlers, I realized I didn’t like the majority of it. I think the only shows we allowed the kids to watch, purely based on our entertainment preferences, were Yo Gabba Gabba and Sesame Street (specifically, Elmo’s World). Everything else was either so cloying or vapid… to us, anyway. I know it’s unfair to judge a kid’s show by a parent’s taste, but since we had to watch it too, I felt justified in heavily curating my children’s media diet.
And when it came to TV for grown-ups, I still loved complicated characters and unpredictable stories and some eye candy (I’m human, after all), but I was watching all of it through my “new mom” lenses. As a result, things were less, well, "rosy." So many guns. So many female characters written to serve a man’s story. So many “tired mom” tropes. So much violence. So much sex. So much problematic messaging.
Now, when I watch TV, I view programs as my kids will see them, experiencing it all anew and without the influence of life lessons my children haven't learned yet. A lot of it is making me cringe, to be honest, as I want to protect my kids from anything that might upset them. But a lot of it is becoming more reflective of the world in which we live: increasingly diverse, not easily defined, and very dependent on new technology.
I’m glad we, as a family and as a country, get to watch better content. But I’m not done being scared by it, even though I’m no longer a “new” parent. So with that in mind, here are some ways my viewed on TV changed when I became a mom: