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Football, family, my son, and me

post #1 of 122
Thread Starter 
Hi

DS is 2.5 and we have a no live TV policy in our house which to be frank I need to uphold on a regular basis. (DH just seems drawn to the remote) DS watches approved DVDs...which I OK and which contain NO commericals which is a big part of my refusal to allow live TV.

So DH's huge italian family, who 99% of the time I adore, all live close by and are all very close. They are all also sports fans. This year my MIL keeps having football get togethers on sundays. We usually just do the superbowl thing, but not this year. Every weekend, she's inviting everyone over to watch whatever game is on.

sorry fo typos..typing as I eat lunch one handed..lol
So I have some issues with this.
1. I Hate football and sitting through a 3 hour game is about as fun as root canal for me personally but this is not my issue
2. I don't want DS watching football becasue I find it violent
3. I don't want DS to think that sitting and staring and yelling at a TV is the "norm"... meaning I really don't like when folks get so into a sport that all life ceases to have meaning when the game is on, I'm sure you all know the type
4. I loathe the commercials that air during games...the worst of the worst I think with the fast food, the drugs, and beer ads with women with big boobs...it's just really low rent
5. My MIL bless her serves food that is my own personal worst nightmare for DS...all bought at costco (so you know what kind of "meat" that is) prepared foods etc. I once thought DS would be safe nibbling on crackers unitl I looked at the box...corn syrup, preservatives, hydrogenated oils, food coloring..in crackers for pete's sake... ugh. I'd bring over my own foood for DS but it really upsets her and being a person who also entertains frequently I know how I would feel if someone refused to eat my food

So I don't know what to do. I understand the importance of family time but I just HATE football because I think it's more than a sport, it's like a whole culture, one I want nothign to do with and I really don't want DS watching it. I was OK with the superbowl because it was once a year but every weekend? DH is no healp becasue an afternoon of junk food and football and his family is his own personal heaven.

Not sure how to compromise here.
post #2 of 122
In my opinion, go and just let it be what it is or don't go. If you are really truly concerned about a once a week tv/snack fest than do something else. Its not realistic for them to expect you to be there every weekend. If it were me, I would think that spending time with the family would be more important to me than a less than healthy snack. But it is up to you and your husband to decide what is most important to you!
post #3 of 122
Let me preface this by saying I am married to a HUGE sports guy and it is just part of our life. We watch sports, spend money to attend sporting events, play sports, coach our kids in sports, etc.

Fortunately, the football season is only 16 weeks with another 3-4 weeks of playoffs. So, at most we are talking 5 months. It isn't the entire year. You have that going for you. My husband is a baseball and basketball fan. There are like 160 baseball games in a season and over 80 basketball games. Football is so much less. Consider yourself lucky.

I think you can easily find compromise with your husband in terms of the number of weekends he spends there. That seems easy. If he goes every other weekend for just one game (not a double header), that is only 10 games. 10 games over an entire year doesn't seem like that much. In terms of bringing your son, that is also easy. It seems unfair to expect a 2.5 year old to sit still for the 3 hours of a game. So, it is easy to keep him home. Or, if he goes, bring toys or something to keep him occupied.

To me, the biggest issue is the food and the commercials. I know I really struggle with the commercials in sports. So much so that we tend to tivo gmes and start watching about half-way through. That way we can speed through the commercials. I don't need my little boys seeing Hooters ads.

In terms of the food, does she serve fruit or vegetables? If not, bring your own and have him eat that. I actually buy a lot of organic meat and seafood from Costco so I am not quite sure what the comment there was meant. I totally understand your point about entertaining. If it was an adult who brought his own food to my house, I think I would be a bit upset. However, I would NEVER care, or even really think twice, about a parent bringing food for a kid. That is easy.

I hope you can find compromise soon. If it is any consolation, there are only two more weeks (just three games TOTAL) of football left until the fall. At least you have that.
post #4 of 122
I don't think you can prevent your son from getting into sports. I mean, he will know they exist as he gets older, and he will either get into them or not. Plenty of people that grow up in sports centered households don't get into sports and vice versa. Also, for a lot of people, watching a sporting event is a shared cultural experience. Like you always remember what you were doing when you saw that really big play that saved your team, or that call that took them out of the game, or whatever.
post #5 of 122
We too are huge football fans. At our football and family parties there are always a ton of kids running around and they aren't watching any of the game. Is your son the only kid there? That seems weird that the other family members wouldn't bring their kids too. What about the other wives? There are a few people (not just wives) in our family who don't like football but they still love the get togethers.

Secondly I just don't think some crappy crackers are worth the uproar. I agree with the pp though and would never think twice with a parent bringing specific food for their toddler. I would assume the kid was picky and not give it another thought.

And Costco food is fine. And there is no "type" who loves football and I'd probably keep the "low rent" stuff to myself as well. Be careful there-those kinds of comments just sound really nitpicky and like you think his family is lowbrow or culturally deficient.

Finally I have never been a fan of one parent laying down a no live TV in the house policy if the other parent isn't on board. I kind of think that sucks that one person gets to decide the viewing habits of the other adult. Sounds like your DH really likes football and frankly he should be able to watch football at home. If you feel that football is that huge a corrupting influence then maybe you and your son can go to the library or do something out of the house and let your dh have a couple of hours.

You are certainly not obligated to go every weekend and it is only for two more weeks anyways.
post #6 of 122
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by betsyj View Post
We too are huge football fans. At our football and family parties there are always a ton of kids running around and they aren't watching any of the game. Is your son the only kid there? That seems weird that the other family members wouldn't bring their kids too. What about the other wives? There are a few people (not just wives) in our family who don't like football but they still love the get togethers.

Secondly I just don't think some crappy crackers are worth the uproar. I agree with the pp though and would never think twice with a parent bringing specific food for their toddler. I would assume the kid was picky and not give it another thought.

And Costco food is fine. And there is no "type" who loves football and I'd probably keep the "low rent" stuff to myself as well. Be careful there-those kinds of comments just sound really nitpicky and like you think his family is lowbrow or culturally deficient.

Finally I have never been a fan of one parent laying down a no live TV in the house policy if the other parent isn't on board. I kind of think that sucks that one person gets to decide the viewing habits of the other adult. Sounds like your DH really likes football and frankly he should be able to watch football at home. If you feel that football is that huge a corrupting influence then maybe you and your son can go to the library or do something out of the house and let your dh have a couple of hours.

You are certainly not obligated to go every weekend and it is only for two more weeks anyways.
Really, costco food is NOT fine. But that's a whole other thread.

I don't care if DH watches TV after DS is asleep but TV is not good for children and commercials are hugely recognized as not acceptable for children as well. And FYI, DH agrees with me that DS should not watch TV, he just tries to sneak it when he thinks DS is not watching. I enjoy TV watching too but I no longer do it around DS becasue it's in his best interest.

Also, I did not say sports, I said football. My issue is with football. I played every sport under the sun as a kid.
post #7 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by rhiandmoi View Post
I don't think you can prevent your son from getting into sports. I mean, he will know they exist as he gets older, and he will either get into them or not. Plenty of people that grow up in sports centered households don't get into sports and vice versa. Also, for a lot of people, watching a sporting event is a shared cultural experience. Like you always remember what you were doing when you saw that really big play that saved your team, or that call that took them out of the game, or whatever.
Of course its NOT a shared cultural experience of you hate it YKWIM? I think that the real issue here is the exposure to media that the OP finds violent and inappropriate for her kid. Football holds a funny place in American culture. If the family liked to get together and watch horror movies or even watch pro wrestling I think the responses would be very different.

My Dad's family was a lot like this when I was growing up. I have always been very bleh on sports (and thank GOD my husband has no interest either) and this disinterest on my part ended up being one element of a huge cultural wedge that was driven between me and them. I never ever see that side of the family anymore. So sports can be a divisive element in family dynamics also.

OP, if you go to these family funtions tell everyone that you think your soni s too young to participate in watching the sports, and tell your son that it is a grownup activity. Then entertain him in another room. If the fam is upset by this then I think there are larger issues than sprots going on.
post #8 of 122
Are there other kids there? Most football gatherings I go to have multiple children involved and while they sometimes stop and watch most of the time they are playing together. The 2.5 year olds that I know aren't zoning out on football if other kids are willing to play with them.
post #9 of 122
We are avid football fans- my kids love football too. But my 7, 5 and 2.5 year old probably watch 5 minutes total per game and they're interested! You know what they say about forbidden fruit...

And the costco food is probably not the best, but once a week/ a month it won't kill him (really it won't!). And in my Italian family it is a huge faux pas to show up empy handed- you could certainly bring a veggie and dip tray, salsa and tortilla chips or even a nitrate-free antipasto (though that can run big bucks!)
post #10 of 122
I can understand an increased annoyance at the football-watching suddenly becoming EVERY weekend. I'd try to duck out of some of those weekends with your DS, according to your feelings about tv/football/food issues.

I don't think bringing over a preferred dish or two of food would be an issue, especially if it's a big and regular gathering. Nor would a small activity or two that you and DS could do during commercials or lulls in the game/etc. so it's not such a sitting-down TV fest. Depends on how into football-watching your DS is and that sort of thing, what'd be the big deal if you set up fingerpainting in the other room?

Here, dd watches football with dh when he's off - for us, though, its his time to watch her, I spend time in the house doing stuff myself and cooking food for us. They'll watch it really actively and play 'football' together during commercials with dd's little football (and for her, I think, it's all about getting to yell in the house and we don't complain about it) - and often he'll record the games to skip commercials. I don't share your issues about football-appropriateness, but the way dh has dealt with it we do avoid certain food/tv-coma types of issues which I understand your concern about.
post #11 of 122
It seems like you are the only one that has a problem with this, and really, its only once a week, a few months out of the year. if you are feeding your child healthy foods and providing a no tv environment for the majority of the week, that one day isnt going to do much harm and it seems important to the family. your son may have great memories of it when he is older.
post #12 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
DS is 2.5 and we have a no live TV policy in our house which to be frank I need to uphold on a regular basis. (DH just seems drawn to the remote) DS watches approved DVDs...which I OK and which contain NO commericals which is a big part of my refusal to allow live TV.
It sounds like you have a no live tv policy. Is your dh on board with this decision? It is his son too, right?

Quote:
DH is no healp becasue an afternoon of junk food and football and his family is his own personal heaven.
.
You can protect your ds from the football afternoons with dh's family for a few years (after that, your ds will have more of a say and may or may not be interested). But, it may come at a cost to family relationships, and a cost to your dh's enjoyment of his family (his wife, his son, and his extended family). For me, it wouldn't be even close to worth the cost.

With our young children, we have some foods that are an absolute, 100% "no" in any situation. When dd was younger, anything with food coloring, MSG, or asparatame was out. We'd read labels, and let her know which foods at a gathering were ok and which foods were not. Now that she is older, only asparatame is still a 100% "no". Things like preservatives, transfats, HFCS, etc were not what we served at home, but not things we would get upset about at occasional gatherings. That was our compromise.
post #13 of 122
I know how you feel. My ds1 is now 8 and refuses to go anywhere if there is a "big" game on (big according to my dh). It's become paralyzing. My ds2 (4) is also getting into it. Their favourite parts are teh commercials. You'll have to excuse me because I'm doing a PhD in women's and gender studies, but those beer commercials are HORRENDOUS!

BUT, I'm working on accepting this. If there is something that I really want to do with the kids on the weekend, I don't accept ds1's refusal, but I do try to realize that it's part of the boys' relationship with their dad. Dh and I have very different ideals about parenting and I tend to be the one who sets limits. I try to set limits that accept dh's ways.

If you can escape some of these weekly getogethers so you don't feel like they're so often, that would be a good way of setting a limit while also accepting it. This would help with the food issue, too.

hth
post #14 of 122
What's the cost of not going? You've outlined clearly why you don't like it, and the negatives associated with going.

Can you do the same for the negatives involved in staying away? Off the top of my head they would be:
-Missing a family experience that's important to the extended family
-Not partaking in a family experience that dad really enjoys

how does that weigh against the food and tv issues that you have?

If it were me and I hated football, I'd have dh go without me some/most of the time (but take the kids!). I'd use this time for some well deserved time to catch up with old friends or read a worthless novel or take a bubble bath. I'd go about one a month (every other week if you really like his family).

As for the food - clearly the stuff that your MIL buys you object to. Fair enough. But either you have to let it go or bring your own. My kids are remarkably picky about the junk food they eat, and they're pretty able to leave it when they're not hungry. If I give them a good meal before we go, they won't eat much while we're out. So, junk food isn't a big trigger for me.
post #15 of 122
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarnMomma View Post
Hi



So I don't know what to do. I understand the importance of family time but I just HATE football because I think it's more than a sport, it's like a whole culture, one I want nothign to do with and I really don't want DS watching it. I was OK with the superbowl because it was once a year but every weekend? DH is no healp becasue an afternoon of junk food and football and his family is his own personal heaven.

Not sure how to compromise here.
Well, I agree with basically everything that you said.

Unlike most of the other posters, I am not a fan of organized sports in general, and football in particular; I also totally agree about the commercials, and I chuckled about "low rent"-- absolutely.


If I were you, I would not go.

I also disagree that you have no control over whether your child is "into sports." IMO, there are two issues-- healthy interest in play and competition, which I think is absolutely, 100% good for a variety of reasons; and our culture's bizarre obsession with multi-million dollar franchise sports which are all about profit for advertisers and players and owners (profits driven by playing upon a general need that people feel to be part of a "team" and creating a truly false sense of camaraderie). You can encourage your child to participate wholly in option 1 while intentionally cutting down on opportunities to participate in option 2, and personally, that's the course I want to pursue for my family.

So--- I have no advice except to say that I think you should avoid it if possible-- and that I support you.
post #16 of 122
We are big college football fans. We follow one team (Go Gators!) and only watch their games. Our TiVo has become our best friend during football season. We start watching the game about 45 minutes or so after it starts so that we have enough time recorded that we can fast forward through the commericals (our DDs are not allowed to watch TV with commericals). Although we're really into the game, we are both always parents first, which means that if we need to pause the game or put it off until after bed time, that's what happens (so no DH glued to the couch while I am reading, changing diapers, and playing games).

If we lived in the same town as my parents, we would probably watch the game at their house every week with other family members. (We definitely wouldn't see the ILs on a weekly basis, since I'm not their greatest fan . . .)

For us, the violence in football is secondary to the actual sport of it. Although it hasn't come up, we wouldn't let DDs watch boxing, wrestling, or . . . .what is that cage fighting thing? Ultimate Fighting? With those sports, violence is . . . not sure how to put it . . . like, the point of the event. You're supposed to beat up the other person. Football, in our minds at least, is about strategy and game play, with some incidental injury. That could totally be me justifying, though, since I'm a fan.

If you are going to be going over there on a regular basis, it's really important to get the food situation under control. Is your MIL the kind of person you (or your DH) can have a frank conversation with? If she wants to provide the food, can you give her some ideas of what your LO is allowed to eat? Will she be ammendable to you bringing food of your own, esp. since it's for a child? To me the food is the bigger deal, since that will be a regular, not seasonal, conflict.
post #17 of 122
I am NOT a sports person and I understand everything you say about your dislike of football. I never thought about the commercials, per se, but in retrospect you're right! I really dislike the national obsession with sports and the way some people are so invested in sports teams, the ridiculous waste of money, everything about it.

Personally, it would be torture for me to spend one day every week around a bunch of sports fans, even if they are family. It would basically be a waste of a day for me, unless there were other people there to socialize with that were as uninterested in the game as me.

How do you feel about a compromise? Maybe go once month? That seems like a reasonable frequency to me.

Does your MIL cook dinner also, or is it just a day of snacking in front of the TV? If there's dinner afterwards, maybe you could time your arrival for halftime or the 4th quarter so you're there for just part of the game.

Personally, I wouldn't freak about the food, but I do understand your dislike of everything else surrounding the past time. Unfortunately, you may find that as your DS gets older he decides he really enjoys "football sundays" with the family and at that point I think you'll have to honor your DS's personal preferences.
post #18 of 122
Thread Starter 
OP here

Yes, DS is the only child there. My MIL's other grandkids are all over 17 so it's kind of him plus a bunch of adults yelling at a TV, which he also doesn't understand and sometimes gets upset thinking everyone is mad.

The problem with NOT going is that as I said we are a very close family and any abscence is well, kind of frowned upon. If you are familiar with big italian families, then you'd understand. When MIL calls a party- you go.

And DH's family is VERY mainstream and really struggles I think to understand why we eat the way we eat. (which DH is fully supportive and appreciates99% of the time...it's just I guess his Mom, so he wants to eat and make her happy)

Anyway, thanks for all the opinions. Just feel a little stuck doing something I really don't want to expose DS to.
post #19 of 122
Let. It. Go.

Seriously, do not die on this hill. To mitigate, maybe make plans on some of the Sundays - playdates with WOHP who are unavailable during the week, maybe? Also, why can't you take ds in the other room and play with him? And does he nap? Would he not be asleep for part of the time during afternoon games? If nothing else, there are two weeks left in this season so just deal and then you'll have until August to brainstorm some other solutions. Oh, and be careful about being so certain about what you do and do not want your ds to like. He is his own person and he just might be the type who will relentlessly go after the most forbidden things!

Also, maybe the prepared food is dubious, but there IS a lot of healthy and economical stuff at costco. Just sayin'.
post #20 of 122
Well, I'm a big football fan and I come from a big Italian family, so I thought I'd weigh in. We watch football in front of our kids and they get excited before a game and put on their Ravens gear. But after the game starts, they pay almost no attention to the game.

The difference from your situation is my kids have one another to play with. And at my family's get togethers there are a ton of young kids running around. Does your son watch the tv? Is there another part of the house you can take him to to play? That way you are there but he's not directly exposed to everything.

And with the food- I've relaxed over the years about what my kids eat during family get togethers. I figure as long as they eat healthy most of the time, a little junk food won't kill them.
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