DDIdeas / Featured DDIdeas

Why am I obsessed with Reality TV? Send help!

In a recent client meeting we were asked around the table ‘what the latest TV series we were watching’ in an attempt to give a quick insight into each of us beyond just the usual job title.

I was brutally honest saying that majority of the time my TV is playing kids shows for my two boys (if they’re even paying attention to it) but when I do get some time to myself to become a slob on the couch then I’m mostly watching reality TV shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Vanderpump Rules, Married at First Sight, the list goes on.

I immediately became a little embarrassed as I heard myself say it out aloud and when I saw the reaction around the room it got my thinking, ‘why do I watch these trashy shows?’ I mean, I know Reality TV is mostly fake, so why do I watch it like it’s real? And why can’t I get enough

Insert summer holidays and time to reflect!

Thankfully Psychology Today has shared a post by Melanie Greenberg (of which has a Ph.D. and is a licensed Psychologist, and expert on Mindfulness, Media, Celebrity and Relationships) to help put things into perspective for me with an article called, Why We Can’t Stop Watching.

Firstly, I’m so relived to know I’m not alone, I’m not the only one watching this or the first to admit it. I have so many smart, successful friends that share the same guilty pleasure of loving juicy, dramatic, trashy reality TV. It’s like a car crash, you don’t want to watch but you just can’t help it and want more.
So, WHY can’t we turn away? Here’s my take on the article.

Seeing the lifestyles of extremely rich or famous (or just very emotionally immature and dramatic) people is foreign to our own lives, so it serves as the perfect escape where we can watch something without our minds being drawn back to familiar stressors. It’s pure entertainment.

The cast members take risks we are unwilling to take in our own lives. Getting drunk and made bad, potentially life-altering, decisions is something most people grow out of by their mid-20’s. The idea of seeing people act against their own interests and do things like have bathroom sex with a random person is kind of thrilling to think about, but something that for most of us, is a lot more fun (and safer) to watch than do.

These shows allow us to live our insane perfectionist fantasies. People on reality shows often have the time/money/lifestyle resources to focus on whatever they want to do. Through watching these shows, we can live our own fantasies of what we’d do with unlimited resources: get a revenge body like Khloe, dedicate ourselves to an athletic pursuit, achieve beauty standards though money/surgery, or just be a better partner or parent in a way that’s only realistic when you don’t have any real-life concerns. (This may be one reason Rob Kardashian has drawn so much ire, he goes against the grain of the perfectionist fantasy we have about ourselves being in his situation).

We can make real life conclusions about human nature by watching it play out in the microcosm of a show.
So, next time one of your friends tries to feel guilty about indulging in their (extremely normal) need for entertainment, remind them that smart people are going to get something to think about out of anything. It doesn’t always have to be documentaries or something high-brow. If you’re a curious person, anything will make you think and question. And we all need some time to switch-off and relax.
I don’t know about you but I, for one, feel liberated.

Now, pass me the remote and some ice-cream. It’s my turn to have the remote!

You can read the full article by Phycology Today here.

DDIdeas / Featured DDIdeas

Striking a balance – The Mum vs. Work Dichotomy

Mother’s guilt is real. Nearly all of us working mums experience it. Yet we don’t often speak about it. Like it’s something to be ashamed of. In fact, it’s the antithesis to that. The feeling of guilt is a consequence of wanting to be a good mother, whilst maintaining a sense of normality with a 9-to-5 job and holding down adult conversations that stimulate the non-baby side of the brain.

For years I’ve tried to strike the perfect balance between a successful career and #mumlife. Maybe that’s because I’m a self-confessed organisation (ahem) “freak.” Whilst I sometimes feel I have a double-persona, spinning all these plates is possible. It isn’t easy, but it is possible.

I’m fortunate to work in an extremely supportive environment with amazing flexibility. We have part-time mums and also part-time dads working in the office giving us the opportunity to keep doing what we love, post procreating. But, that doesn’t mean that every day is perfect.

No two days are the same. It is this sentiment that initially made me fall in love with advertising and working in a creative field in the first place. The notion that one day I could be writing a brief to reduce the number of homeless families on the street for Mission Australia, to understanding the psychology behind purchasing luxury jewellery for Georg Jensen and everything in between. The thing is, this thought also extends far beyond advertising, especially when it comes to the unpredictability of children.

So, why do we struggle as parents with unplanned change and unpredictability? It often feels like no matter what we do right as parents, we tend to more often focus on our failings. I’d be the first person to put my hand up and admit that. Would you?

Why are we racked with feeling guilty? Feeling that our best isn’t good enough? Why are we crushed by the looks of disappointment on our children’s faces after we miss them coming down the slide at the park as we peer over our laptop screens?

When I’m asked if I’m a stay at home Mum or if I work and I mention that I, “work from the office and from home,” and the usual reply is, “that must be so nice.” Now, don’t get me wrong, it is. However, part of me feels that guilt when I think to myself that it’s so much easier to go in the office and work, rather than being at home and trying to do it all and keep everyone happy.

It took me some time to give in and surrender to the dichotomy, which was essential when returning to work two years ago, with two kids under 3. I would plan my day with a detailed checklist of things to do, with timelines and a lot of expectation to achieve it all, and then some. Preparation and planning are big parts of my job and I’d often feel disappointed if I didn’t have everything ticked off.

My perspective definitely changed after having kids. I used to sweat the small stuff and stress over the most ridiculous things. Now, I try to focus on the positive things that are on the go. Instead of looking at what isn’t working, what I’m missing out on when I’m not in the office or at home, I focus on what is going right.

So, how can we shake off this guilt? First of all, we have to turn in our ‘super parent’ cape and acknowledge that unconditional love is the only requirement to becoming an extraordinary paternal figure. And, even when it aches at our core, not sweat the small stuff.

If we can understand that perfection and parenting going hand-in-hand is a ridiculous notion, we’ll be on the right path. I’ve accepted that I will make mistakes, but so long as I am honest with myself, my kids and my work then it can be possible.

We are our own worst critics. We all have our good and bad days. But, as long as we do our best, that is more than enough.