Lion King

Kiddo watches a movie during the weekend. (Sarah Kelber / July 13, 2012)

I'm not going to lie. When my husband was deployed, certain rules and routines in our house kind of fell apart. The worst of these was probably TV.

Between pregnancy, a hellacious cold that kept me up at night for literally weeks on end, sciatica that just wouldn't quit, work stresses, and, lest we forget, winter, we watched a lot of television, my 3-year-old and I.

By the time his baby brother was born, Isaac could actually navigate streaming Netflix by himself. I'm not proud. (But I am thankful he couldn't figure out how to turn on the TV, so I never found him watching Power Rangers by himself at 2 a.m. or anything.)

But by then, we were in triage mode -- let's just get to the end of the deployment by any means necessary. Heck, a lot of mornings, it was, let me have a shower by whatever means necessary.

When my husband got home, we started enforcing the limits better (man-to-man defense is much easier, as my friend Beth points out). Isaac went along, but he was awfully cranky about it -- and he pushed back a lot.

Then there were my own TV habits. After five-and-a-half years of blogging about reality television for The Sun, nearly every night during some parts of the season (though after my son's bedtime, for the record), I was just kind of used to watching it. And these days, there is some reality show or another on all. the. time.

But then, our (brand new) TV broke. Between repair visits and back-ordered parts and miscommunications, we were without television for almost two weeks. It's maybe the best thing that's ever happened.

It completely reset Isaac's habits. After day care, he runs immediately to his toys, colors and books, rather than whining to go to the basement and watch TV. He earns maybe one (short) show a night, but not every day, and much of the time, he's having so much fun doing other things that he doesn't even think about it.

It's a relief. Like I said, we were working in that direction in the first place, but when there wasn't a choice, it made resetting the habits so much easier.

And as for my own viewing, the long-standing routine is broken. I don't need to know what song the American Idol finalists sang the night before the winner was named or which celeb got the highest score on Dancing With the Stars. I still watch a couple of my favorites, but rarely on the night they're broadcast, and with much more fast-forwarding than in the past.

I'm enjoying the relative quiet.

If you let limits on television -- or anything else -- slide, how did you go about resetting them?