When I was in middle school (about 1,000 years ago), my mom would race home from work and shush everyone in the house so she could watch The Young and the Restless in peace. (On the VCR, of course, since she taped it while at work.) I always thought it was lame and would complain to no end about why it was that I had to wait for dinner until she saw her shows.
But now that I’m a mother, I TOTALLY GET IT. I’m stupidly busy running a house and chasing three kids (and a husband) around all day, just in order to keep this ship afloat. So all this talk I hear of people gluttonously binge-watching an entire series all weekend? I literally cannot imagine it.
Like most moms, I have to get my fix of my favorite shows the only way possible: By sneaking it. In the carpool lane; during nap time; late at night, after my kids go to bed … you name it, I’ve done it.
And I’m not alone: In a new video released by Cat & Nat, in partnership with Netflix, the hilarious blogging duo opens up about the reality behind the #MomSneak — aka parenthood’s version of binge-watching — and the various lengths they go to in order to stream their shows.
For starters, there’s the ole’ pretend-to-go-for-a-jog trick, in which you dress up in work out gear and jog out of the house, head to the park, then hide under a tree in order to catch that last episode of House of Cards. Or how about the get-to-the-car-pool-early move, in which you sit outside your kids’ school and watch Netflix for 30 minutes before school actually lets out? (Honestly, I thought I was the one who’s pulled this one.)
I laughed and laughed, and also kind of cried a bit, while listening to the pair describe my own secret TV habits. But it turns out that a lot of women do this. According to a recent Netflix survey, 71 percent of American moms said they resort to all kinds of sneaky ways to get their shows in. Here are just a few (amazing) ones:
- The Bathroom Sneak — 40 percent of moms admitted to extending their time on the proverbial throne to sneak in some QT with a new series like The Crown.
- The Beauty Sneak — 27 percent said they’ve taken a little extra time applying makeup to sneak in an episode premiere, like Scandal.
- The Hiding Sneak — 21 percent have ducked into the dark recesses of the house (aka the pantry, closet, basement or laundry room) to indulge in a nail biter like
- Stranger Things (can’t blame ’em there).
- The Health Sneak — 15 percent have spent an extra 30 minutes at the gym to burn off the last episode of a slamming series like Marvel’s Jessica Jones.
- The Carpool Sneak — 15 percent have pressed play on a nostalgic throwback like Gilmore Girls while parked for school pickup.
It doesn’t exactly take a rocket scientist to figure why we’re all sneaking our shows in in weird, yet creative ways: We’re freaking stressed — all the time — by the mountain of stuff we have to do in order to keep our homes and families running like well-oiled machines. It’s what experts have started to refer as “the mental load”: the invisible work that mothers often feel weighed down by; the round-the-clock, always-on-call nature of parenthood; the constant need to remember every little thing when it comes to the household, and our kids.
Shades of this can be seen when reading between the lines of the Netflix study, too: According to survey results, 66 percent of moms reportedly sneak-watch their shows simply to get a much-needed break from the daily grind, 55 percent said they just needed to chill out and feel less stressed, and 46 percent (including me) just wanted to watch something other than kid shows for a hot minute. (My sanity can only take so much Caillou.)
Speaking of, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go pick the kids up from day camp in about an hour early — and I have plans to sneak in the finale of Scandal while I wait in my car!