The Wall Street Journal reported this past week that Nickelodeon, the cable channel, plans to launch 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. programming aimed at a very desirable audience: moms. Now that most moms work outside the home during the day, daytime TV exists only on TiVo, and isn't optimal for advertising mom-oriented products. But 9 p.m. is the new happy hour. Work is done and the kids are in bed. And Nickelodeon intends to take advantage of millions of moms kicking up their heels.
Having seen hundreds of time logs over the years, I'd say Nickelodeon is right on the mark. While many women like to claim we have no "me time," the reality is that most of us have hours of it, but we spend it in front of the tube. It makes sense. After a long day at the office, and then chasing preschoolers into the bath or nagging teens to do homework, we're tired. TV is the ultimate in relaxation.
But there are other ways to relax during that 9 p.m. happy hour that are probably more fulfilling than what Nickelodeon has on offer. You can read something fun. You can take a bath and pretend you're enjoying an aromatherapy session. You and your significant other can eat dessert together, or sit and enjoy a glass of wine and adult conversation. A low-key yoga DVD could help you sleep better. Or sex. Sex scores much higher on scales of human happiness than television.
Of course, many of these actions require slightly more energy to start than watching TV, even if the payoff is higher. That's why we don't choose them. But that's not inevitable. Put a date with your spouse on your calendar and you're likely to treat it like a real appointment, rather than something you mean to get around to but never do because, hey, look what Nickelodeon has on!