Know What You Don’t Want (A Story of How Our Family Almost Had a TV Show!)

posted by Andrea | 02/26/2019

TRUE STORY…

About 3 weeks before James was born (summer of 2015), I got an email from the folks over at TLC (the TV network). Apparently they wanted to come out to our home and film our family for a pilot episode of a potential new show — all about “normal moms” who successfully manage everyday life with work, family, and home responsibilities. 

The email was filled with dates, times, things we needed to do to prepare, suggestions for what to wear, and what their crew would need when they arrived. 

WHAT!!! SO EXCITING!!! 

Dave was home on summer vacation at the time, and I hardly even finished reading the email before yelling for him to come downstairs to read it too. 

We both stared at my computer screen for a few minutes, then looked at each other, and then looked down at my HUGE belly…

The realization quickly set in that it was NOT the right time to bring a TV crew into our home or our lives. 

I replied to the email explaining that we’d love to pursue this opportunity, but suggested we wait to film anything until after James was born, or even after school started up for Dave and we had a chance to get back into our “normal” routine again. 

Of course, the TV network was thrilled with the idea of incorporating a new birth into the “plot” — filming how we adjusted our productivity and our routines with a new baby. But they didn’t care about our timeline, and still wanted to start filming immediately.

After a few more back-and-forth emails I said, “Thanks, but no-thanks” and encouraged them to keep us in mind for future opportunities. 

That was the last I heard from TLC… and to the best of my knowledge, the show never did come to fruition (at least not in our area). 

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Soon after James was born, I started thinking about the reality of a TV network entering our home and filming our lives. It would have been awful (at least for that time in my life). 

I had a newborn, a 16 month old, and a 3 year old. 

I was chubby and “puffy” from just giving birth, we were in the middle of a couple house and yard projects that weren’t moving super quickly, and I definitely didn’t feel like being overly productive to appease TV directors. 

Although a TV show probably should have been something I bent over backwards to make happen… I just didn’t want to do it! 

I don’t think Dave or I told anyone about this opportunity at the time — mainly because we knew most people would say we were crazy for “passing up such an amazing opportunity”. 

But the more I think about it (even now, almost 4 years later) I realize that opportunity would have been SO WRONG for our family! 

We are not the type of people who like others in our “space”, we don’t like to be tied to rigid timelines with strict rules (especially not in the summer), and we definitely don’t like to “perform” in front of a camera — well, maybe Clara does!

Saying “yes” to those TV show producers would have meant lots of additional stress, anxiety, and busyness for our family at a time when additional stress, anxiety, and busyness were not needed (I already have enough after my deliveries!)

Saying “no”, and acknowledging the fact that a TV show was something I personally did NOT want at that point in my life, meant we were able to quietly welcome a new baby into our family without any extra to-do’s, commitments, stress, or hoopla! 

Looking back, that summer ended up being one of the most relaxing summers for our family. We stopped working on house and yard projects, we didn’t go anywhere, and we didn’t do much of anything. 

We just enjoyed being home together without an agenda! 

Dave even took Nora and Simon on a mini vacation with the rest of his family while I stayed home with James and laid on the couch for 3 days.

It was glorious! 

I can’t even fathom how different that summer would have been if I hadn’t trusted my own instinct, realized what I did NOT want to do, and stood my ground against the TV network (who, by the way, was VERY persistent!) 

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So what’s the point of my story? 

Don’t worry… I’m getting there! It’s such a fun story though! 

When we think about time management, productivity, and reaching our goals, so much of it comes down to what we feel we SHOULD do, what we MUST accomplish, how many things we can say “YES” to without over-doing it, etc. etc. 

However, in my personal opinion, knowing what we DON’T want is just as important (if not more important).

Over the past 10-15 years, I’ve worked REALLY hard to regularly set goals for myself, our home, my business, our family, etc. etc. (both big and small). After I set the goals, I continually work towards achieving them — which involves making many decisions about what I will AND will NOT DO in order to achieve the goals. 

This has often meant saying “no” even when it’s uncomfortable or might upset someone. It has meant making choices that are not as fun in the short-term in order to reach a long-term goal much more quickly. And it has meant forgoing exciting opportunities (like vacations and TV shows) when they don’t align with the goals I have for my life. 

By knowing what I DON’T want, I’m able to make smarter decisions that help me better manage my time, increase my productivity, and make steady progress towards my goals. 

Here are a few examples of things I personally DON’T want in my life: 

  • extra clutter and anything we don’t need, use, want, or love — which means I regularly purge and try to limit the stuff that comes into our home. 
  • stress, busyness, chaos — which means we say “no” to lots of extra requests for our time, even if they might be really fun.
  • feeling over-worked — which means there are TONS of business-related things I don’t do (social media, email newsletters, podcasts, interviews, books, promotional posts, additional Virtual Assistant work, TV shows, etc.) even if it means a loss of income
  • financial strain — which means we live fairly frugally, we take a LONG time to finish house projects, we rarely ever go out to eat or on vacation, and we only buy things we have money in the bank to pay for. 

Of course, I could add lots more to this list, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how my thought process works when I say I “don’t want something”

I suppose it’s somewhat of a backwards way of working towards my goals, but for me, having a very clear picture of what I DON’T want truly does help me to make better decisions as to how I will and will not spend my time, money, energy, and other resources. 

 

Have you ever thought about what you DON’T want and how those choices affect your life? 

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14 comments

  1. JJ

    02/28/2019

    Oh, man! That would have been crazy!?! But you stuck with your theme–living simply! And simple living wouldn’t involve a TV crew, haha!!! As a fellow mom who has 3 small kids about the same ages as yours are apart(3 single births in less than 3 years), all I can think of is the TV crew watching me sit around breast feeding while my other two were shoving 93 Duplos down the vent in the other room. “Well, now we get to watch how she’s going to solve that and clean those blocks. Or will she let go of her frugality and toss them for ease?” ‍♀️ Look. Any TV crew would have been working double in my house. Here’s a mop. I’ll finish the end of it for filming purposes, but I have to nurse again. And the mop would have been for my bathroom floor after I set all the blocks on towels to dry after soaking and scrubbing them in the bathtub between nursing my baby. Haha!!! I love how you put your family and relationships first.

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  2. Vicky S.

    02/26/2019

    Totally agree with you for saying NO!

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  3. Brooke

    02/26/2019

    It’s one of those things that sounds like fun, but for many would not be. Reality TV is highly scripted, and you have no control over how you and your family get edited. It’s not something I would want to open up my kids to. If it was something that just me and or my husband were involved in, maybe I’d consider it, but it would be eyes wide open. Using my kids to make money is just not for me or my family, though I can respect that others feel differently. Everyone has to make their own choices. I’m glad you stuck by your values and made the choice that was right for you at the time.

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    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, it definitely DID sound fun — but I’m sure the reality of it would have been stressful and chaotic!

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  4. Roxanne

    02/26/2019

    So glad that you and Dave are level-headed enough to realize that it wasn’t the best idea for your family! I think a lot of people, myself included, would have been so caught up in the excitement and potential of being on T.V. that they wouldn’t realize how stressful and chaotic it would be until it was too late. Way to maintain and guard your priorities!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Roxanne!

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  5. Rhonda

    02/26/2019

    I notice that as I get older, I more easily recognize if I will either A) not enjoy something (activity, vacation, etc), or B) not use something. I find that I can make a quicker decision on some things right from the get-go, and don’t feel as bad about saying that I don’t want to partake in some activity, or that I don’t want something someone is trying to give me (not a gift, but either a “freebie” from a store or from others trying to “clean-out”…I’m usually pretty upfront if I can’t use an item.)

    Also, as you realized with this example…your time and sanity IS sometimes (or mostly) worth more than money or fame!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Yes, me too — I’m getting very good at realizing when I don’t want something (which sound negative, but it’s extremely helpful in making decisions that benefit my life in the long run)

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  6. Michelle

    02/26/2019

    I think you made the right choice. Your family is better for it. I can’t help but think you trusted your gut on this decision. Good for you for putting your needs and your family’s needs first!

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    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks Michelle 🙂

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  7. Chris

    02/26/2019

    Wow! Interesting. I’m sure I’m in the minority, but I think it has negative impact for children to be on a TV show. The famous Dionne quintuplets who had some problems in their lives (they were exposed as an attraction by the Canadian government, but not on TV) wrote an open letter to the McCaughey septuplets family recommending they maintain their privacy.

    On the Pennies and Pancakes blog, the author has a post about being approached for a reality show, which is quite eye opening, also. I’m not sure if it’s ok to leave links but here is her post.
    http://penniesandpancakes.blogspot.com/2014/06/my-invitation-to-be-filmed-for-tlcs.html#.XHU2_IhKiUk

    This being said, everyone has their own decisions to make for their own families. I hope I don’t come across as critical – just offering another viewpoint.

    And, by the way, I just love your blog!

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    Andrea Reply:

    yes Chris — it’s totally OK to leave links (I just read the post you mentioned — wow!)
    I do think there is lots of distortion in the “reality tv” segment — and that’s another reason I wasn’t overly excited to try it for our family.
    Thanks for sharing this very helpful response!

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    Lori Reply:

    I totally agree with you about negative impact on families being exposed, yet scripted, on TV. I would never consider this for my family when they were young, and definitely not for my grandkids!!
    I enjoy your blog as well and frankly given the way you always describe yourself as an introvert I am truly surprised you would even consider it for a moment- also you don’t watch TV so perhaps you didn’t know how awful those reality shows are. Did you take a moment since then to view one? If so,I bet you are even happier with your decision. I always worry about those poor children when the show runs its course and they aren’t “ famous” anymore ….do they think they have failed? Sad and scary! I am sure if there comes a time when your children ask you not to post pictures of them on your blog you will comply, but on a TV show that choice would not be yours. Glad you decided to keep your home a true home and not a TV set for TLC.

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    Andrea Reply:

    honestly, the only “reality tv show” I’ve watched is Fixer Upper (and only a few episodes when it was on Netflix a while back — so you might be right that I really have no idea how horrible it is. But based on what others have commented, it must not be great!

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