We’ve stopped getting a newspaper. I think we phased it out around the time that Splodge was born nearly three years ago. Occasionally I’ll pick up a Metro and flick through it if I’m bored, but we’re not fussed anymore.
I’ve stopped watching the news too. That happened around the same time. A combination of it always clashing with a feed, or a nappy change or a lovely cuddle. I’ve tried watching it since and it just fills me with heartbreaking horrors. Dead children everywhere, young soldiers dying, natural disasters, heartbreaking, terrible things. I just can’t face it without getting upset. Hodge is the same. Since the day our son was born we just can’t hack it.
It’s not like we don’t keep abreast of current affairs. We’ve got news apps on our phones. I check mine several times a day. The beauty of it is you can get the gist of the story from the headline, if it strikes me as upsetting I scroll quickly past and move on to less traumatic things.
It’s not that I don’t care; it’s that I suddenly care too much. Every suffering person is someone’s child, mother, father, brother, sister. Every death is a heartbreaking hole in a family unit. Every abuse is a personal affront to my sense of humanity. Every story makes me draw my family closer to me and hold them tighter.
I do sometimes watch the news. I watched the news when the Boston Marathon bombing happened. I watched non-stop scrolling news, getting more and more upset and anxious. I have family in Boston. Were they safe? Were they well? I watched a lot of the earlier reports on Syria but I can’t bare to watch anymore. It makes me so angry and I feel so impotent.
Having a baby changes your perspective. It’s made us feel more. Empathise and sympathise more. It’s made us acutely feel the pain of distant families in war-torn countries. It’s made us better, more caring, more charitable people. You don’t need to watch the news to make that happen, I think the news hardens your heart to things, makes them seem more everyday, more normal, more ok. It’s not ok. It’s never ok.
To be honest I’m on Twitter a huge amount and you can pick up on a big news story a minute after it’s happened there. Often Twitter is quicker with the stories than the TV news, with more detail and gorier pictures.
Do I ever think I’ll watch the news again? Probably not regularly, I’ll pick and choose when I do and watch the big stories, coverage of events, that kind of thing. I don’t miss it and I don’t feel I miss out.
I’m not missing out am I?