Tired of television zombies, fights over the remote and video game screaming matches, my husband and I stuck the TV in our closet for a month. That was a year ago, and it hasn't moved. Find out how our lives have changed and why we're never going back.

I remember the day that pushed my husband over the edge. My son was at a T-ball game, and once again, he couldn't stop flailing like a madman in the dugout: jumping, kicking, yelling. The coach had to talk to him so many times, he didn't get to bat or play for at least three innings. Walking out to the car, my husband leaned over and said, "That's it. I'm done."

Phillips screwdriver

Without another word, he walked into our house, grabbed a screwdriver and removed the wall-mounted flat-screen television from our living room. He stuck it in our closet for "30 days." That was over a year ago.

It's still there.

You're probably wondering what a television has to do with a misbehaving 6-year-old. I'll admit the connection isn't immediately apparent. But over months of observation, we began to notice that the kid would become, to put it eloquently, super weird after he watched TV (and we never had cable, just Netflix). Even if he only watched for 30 minutes or an hour, when we flipped it off, he was irritable, hyper and unfocused.

Plus, everybody in the house seemed to only want to watch television. Though we limited the time they could watch, the kids always asked for it: "Can we watch TV, please?" and "There's nothing to do. I want to watch TV."

And the bickering over which show.

And the fighting over the Wii.

Frankly, we got sick of it

It's been said that one television has the energy of 200 people. In other words, people are drawn to look at the screen as if 200 people were standing there.

Beyond the arguments, whining and complaining, when my son's focus issues seemed out of control, we knew we needed to drastically reduce the energy in our house. I know that sounds like crunchy hippie stuff, but I could see that my son was hypersensitive to stimuli of any kind (noise, light, temperature, etc.), and a television is an intense thing to have in the house. It's been said that one television has the energy of 200 people. In other words, people are drawn to look at the screen as if 200 people were standing there.

So we took it off the wall. I was nervous. How would I get things done? How would I get my three kids quiet and contained so I could cook dinner, enjoy an hour of quiet... do anything?

Also, what were we going to do with ourselves — and each other? I mean, I like these people, but come on. Everybody has her limits.

But we did it anyway.

And honestly, things were awkward for a week or so. The kids seemed to have nothing to do, ever. We all sat around in this oddly quiet house, kind of looking at each other like, "What the heck do we talk about? What do we do with each other?"

But then, all the sudden, things started happening. Books were pulled off bookshelves. Older kid was reading to younger kids. Forts were built. Blocks and magnetic tiles and Lego bricks were crafted into complex buildings and more elaborate structures that developed over days. Games and puzzles went on for hours.

Flower planting

My son and husband learned to play guitar.

We all learned to knit. Like, the whole family. Even my husband.

We planted flowers, build a chicken coop for our backyard (and got hens) and started making our own body products.

My son discovered Jimi Hendrix and jazz. We listen to a lot of music now.

My kids get lost in two-hour-long imagination games. They dress up and trek through the house on missions of many, many sorts. We have a giant dress-up bin now. I converted a room into a play room.

There are more messes. There's more noise. There's more chaos.

I'll never put that TV back up in my house

We still have a laptop. We can watch movies on it if we want, and we do. But the constant pull of television and video games is gone. The change has been indescribably positive. I am not one to suffer in the name of some "philosophy" or parenting approach. I'm 3 inches from "lazy as all get out."

My kids play. Like really play. They've learned to entertain themselves, and I find myself getting more done.

So believe me when I tell you that this has made my life easier and more enjoyable. I cannot explain it. My family has been reborn. My kids play. Like really play. They've learned to entertain themselves, and I find myself getting more done. It's almost like we had all grown reliant on that box to entertain us. Now that it's gone, everybody has sort of fallen into a new rhythm of self-reliance, hobbies and personal interests.

A kid suddenly napping on the couch is not unheard of.

And we talk. Because there's "nothing to do," we've gone back to doing what families are supposed to do: Eat together, play together, talk together.

Sometimes my son ties all the doorknobs to each other in the hallway, somehow incorporating the linen closet. Sometimes the mess is so insane that I walk into a room, mumble, "You've got to be kidding me," and walk right out. Sometimes I send each kid to a different room because I can't take any more noisemaking.

But I see my kids' imaginations moving in ways that had almost completely died. I had no idea family life could be like this.

People tell me they have no idea how I live without a television. The truth is, a year ago, I didn't know how I'd do it either.

Now that I've done it, I have no idea how I could ever live with one.

Oh, and my son? Improved, a lot. Not a new kid, obviously, but way better. Even his teacher asked, "What did you do? Actually, I don't care. Keep doing it."

Don't worry, I will.

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