For all fans of TV other than reality TV, please stay with me to the end of this article ✌🏻
I have a confession to make – I am a huge Real Housewives of Cheshire fan. Since moving to Australia, it has to be up there on the list of things that I miss the most about home. I love the drama, the fashion, the insults and more of all I love Dawn Ward. Seriously, Dawn Ward is quite possibly my most favourite person ever.
Back home in England I looked forward to a Monday night catch up with my favourite group of rich, fabulous ladies and then a Tuesday dinner time analysis of what had happened the night before with my friends in the staff room. I worked as a teacher and have lost count of the number of times people would say ‘really? You educate the future and you watch that?!’ to me. But ‘hell yes I do,’ would always be my proud response. No one could shame me for my weekly reality TV fix because it was my very much needed escape. Sure it was a reality show about a group of women with more money than I could imagine going on wild trips and having even wilder arguments, but it was my reality show, my escape.
In that hour I didn’t have to worry about marking, data, book scrutinies, OFSTED, pupil progress, learning walks, pupil happiness and the million and one other things on my list of worries. I wasn’t just ‘Miss’, I was Jess again, sat in her pjs watching something that would simply just make her laugh. I wasn’t an adult with a huge responsibility but just a viewer who wanted to watch something that she enjoyed. If I chose to spend an hour of my week worrying about the state of Dawn and Tanya’s friendship or wondering how Hanna always, always got her hair to look so damn good all the time, then so be it. That hour was an escape into a world of drama, rivalries and friendship and it was a world I couldn’t wait to dive into. For that hour, all I had to worry about was someone coming in and interrupting my viewing time (or people being too critical of my Wardy, that never went down well with me). For that hour, the world around me melted away.
That’s not to say that I hated the world I was in or wanted my life to be different – I loved my life… but I also loved a break from it. Floating around a world of mansions and hair extensions and fast cars was so differentt from my reality and I loved it. I didn’t have to talk or think, just enoy.
It’s important to take those times to ourselves, to be selfish and warn anyone else in the house that if they interrupt your show you will not be happy. We are never selfish enough. There’s always a friend to support or a message to reply to or a thing you could do for work tomorrow. Somewhere along the way we learn to put ourselves and our needs on the back burner. We say we will get around to making time for ourselves, but the time never comes and we keep going and going for everyone and everything else until we simply burn out.
But that’s not how it should be, and making steps like watching a television show you love is one way of giving ourselves a much needed dose of ‘me time’. I think sometimes we underestimate the power of sitting back and watching something not for the critical acclaim or the kudos it will get us from our peers, but just for the sheer hell of enjoying it. We call them our ‘guilty pleasures’ but really what is there to be guilty for? Why should we feel bad for putting our own personal happiness first for just a short space of time? What’s really so bad about that?
I know The Real Housewives of Cheshire is never going to win an award for groundbreaking TV. I know that some people will judge me for my choice in televison (people who have never watched an episode clearly because I defy anyone to watch it and not get hooked). I know that I will never learn anything lifechanging from my favourite Cheshire ladies, but I also know that every day life is stressful enough without your downtime having to add more on top of it. I know that sometimes after a hard day of dealing with the demands of over 30 children, it was nice to sit back, relax and head to Cheshire. There were no hidden surprises, no after school clubs, no meetings for me there. I know that I will laugh at least five times an episode. I know that I will be cheering on the women to make friends again. I know that I will be admiring their style. I know that I will be free of any and all of my worries for an hour a week… how could anyone ever turn down an opportunity for that?
So the next time you get the opportunity, switch off from the real world and escape into the one you don’t inhabit. Turn your phone off, shut the door, tell everyone to shut up and put your feet up in time for your favourite TV show. Let reality fade away and enjoy yourself. Trust me, you’ve earned it.