TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Ep. 330: Sunday Sunday, Oh Sh*t Tomorrow’s Monday! Plus, Carvell Wallace on Parenting and Fred Rogers

Biz and Theresa continue our “days of the week” series in which we complain about each day of the week. This time our target is Sunday. What was once a day of rest and recovery is now a day of chaos and exhaustion. Is Sunday the new Friday? Plus for Biz nothing has changed, Theresa exists and we talk to Carvell Wallace about parenting advice and Fred Rogers.

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 330

Guests: Carvell Wallace

Transcript

biz ellis

This is Biz. I’m a part-time working mom with two full-blown kids.

theresa thorn

And I’m Theresa. I have a family business, two young kids, and a toddler.

biz

This is a show about life after giving life. Don’t listen with your kids, ‘cause there will be swears. This… is One Bad Mother.

music

“Summoning the Rawk” by Kevin MacLeod. Driving electric guitar and heavy drums. [Continues through dialogue.]

biz

This week on One Bad Mother: Sunday, Funday—oh shit, tomorrow’s Monday! Plus, for Biz, nothing has changed, Theresa exists, and we talk to Carvell Wallace about parenting and Fred Rogers.

biz

Biz and Theresa: [Cheering] Wooooo!

biz

[Singing] Theresa!

theresa

Hi!

biz

[Singing] I’ve missed your “wooo” even if it was just for one day!

theresa

Thank you!

biz

How are you?

theresa

I’m okay! I had a rough time of it.

biz

You did! [Biz affirms Theresa throughout the entirety of Theresa discussing her terrible week.]

crosstalk

Biz: A rough go! Theresa: Yeah!

theresa

A rough go of it.

biz

A rough go!

theresa

Real rough go.

biz

Real rough go. [Laughs.]

theresa

I—[laughs]—was so sick. [Biz makes sympathetic noise.] It was—I was so sick. I was so sick. And then all the kids were sick, and Jesse was sick, and then… [through faint laughter] Jesse left to go on tour for 10 days. [Biz makes another sympathetic noise.] And—

biz

I just want to emphasize that Jesse left—like, 24 hours—

crosstalk

Theresa: After I started getting sick. Yeah. Yeah. Biz: —after everybody is sick. Yeah.

biz

So like—

theresa

Like—yeah.

biz

Yeah! That’s awful.

theresa

It was… really awful. But, at the same time—to be totally honest, when he was, like, leave—like—when he was like saying basically that he was still gonna go? Like, he was looking at flights and could he switch to a later flight and different things? And I couldn’t even… process any of that. I was just like, well, whatever he does is just whatever he does. [Biz laughs loudly.] And then… he decide—I was so sick, you guys! And, like, it was—it was so impo—it was just impossible. It was that thing that you hope never happens, just that it’s all happening at once. And you just feel like you can’t move. And so, he decides to go, and it’s so hard for me to even wrap my head around… that he’s going. Because the way I’m feeling, is—there’s no way in any universe that I’d be getting on a plane. The way that I felt. Like, I—there was no—I wouldn’t—they probably wouldn’t even allow me on a plane. So he puts on a mask—[laughs]—you know, like, by then he was done puking or whatever. He puts on a mask, and he goes to the airport. And as he’s leaving, I just thought to myself, I mean… it sucks that this is happening; it sucks for him, it sucks for me. But also, it was like—one less person to worry about. Do you know what I mean? Like, not that he wasn’t—‘cause he was taking care of—not, like—like, I was sick too. It was every man for himself.

theresa

Like— [Biz laughs.] —we were really—really—um, but, at the same time, it was just like… one less person to whatever. Like, it really was. And so, he left. And then, like, a week later, we were still kind of recovering. Like, we were just very—we were all very weak, we had no appetite— [Biz sighs sympathetically.] You know what I mean? It was… I don’t know! I’m definitely still recovering. Like, it’s—it really hit me hard. And I’m really glad that it—things didn’t go worse? Like, we got through it. You know, we got through it; we survived and everything. But I definitely feel—I was saying to Biz before we went on the air, my body feels okay. I feel healthy. But I just feel like I’m, like, if you imagine that my ability to manage my life— [Biz giggles.] —and cope with things in my life? Is like, a horizontal line, that’s, like, going… going on the same plane at the level of like my nose? That like, now, after having been through the past [through faint laughter] two weeks, I’m just like an inch lower. Like, my line—my coping—

crosstalk

Biz: Wow. Only an inch?! [Laughs.] Theresa: My—

theresa

Yeah! Like, I’m—I’m okay. I’m functioning. But just, I’m just not—and it’s just gonna be this way for a while. And Biz said, yeah. Maybe ‘til spring.

crosstalk

Biz: I said spring. [Laughs.] Theresa: And I said—

theresa

Yeah! It might—it might take that long! Because there’s no recovery time! And there wa—that was part of why that week was so hard, was like… even as I could feel my body healing itself? There was no rest time! There were no—there was no resting.

biz

You’re not laying on the couch getting to recover!

theresa

No! [Theresa agrees with Biz throughout.]

crosstalk

Biz: With popsicles— Theresa: No! Biz: —and watching TV! Theresa: I was getting—I wasn’t even getting a full night’s sleep! Like it wasn’t—yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Biz: You’re dealing with three—no! Everybody—yeah, no. [Theresa affirms Biz throughout.]

biz

I um, I am so—I was—I was saying to you, that I think… everybody getting the stomach flu… and then my partner leaving… right as it started… for a long time—that’s, like, in my top 10 I really don’t wanna ever deal with—

crosstalk

Biz: —this as a parent. Yeah! Theresa: Please don’t ever let this happen. Yeah!

biz

Please don’t ever—[through laughter] let this happen. I mean, it’s below a lot of bad things. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] But it’s still in the top 10! Yeah. I’m really sorry, and… yeah. I’m so sorry. [Biz continues to affirm Theresa.]

theresa

Yeah! I mean, I think—just—I’ll say one more thing on it and I’ll ask you how you are. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] Um, but like—part of what was hard about it, especially that first day when we were all so sick, even when he was home, was like… I didn’t have anyone to call that it would be okay to call. Like, and I—I’m not saying that like I don’t have friends—like, of course if there was like a life-or-death emergency, I would’ve called you! Or, like, there’s other friends who I could have called. But like, everyone has kids! Like, everyone—and I would never—I would never bring—like, I would never— [Biz laughs.] —ask somebody to come—unless it really was, like, a life-or-death thing. And, so—there was—I don’t have anyone who doesn’t have kids, and then my family is not nearby! Like, I was like—my—I know that my mom would come. And help. Like, she would just deal with it and she would get sick! Like, she’s done that before! But like, she’s not nearby! Like, she’s not nearby! She’s just not. You know? And like—there was something really… there was something kind of like scary about that? ‘Cause I was just like, there’s not—like, there isn’t anyone to call. Do you know what I mean?

crosstalk

Biz: No, I know. Theresa: And it made me, like…

biz

It made me feel bad that, like, our lives are set up this way—

crosstalk

Theresa: —kind of. You know? Biz: Well, I would have—

biz

—been happy to throw Gatorade—

crosstalk

Theresa: And you offered! To do that. But that—that’s not what I mean. Do you know what I mean? Like, it’s— Biz: —and popsicles over the fence. Sure! But I get it. I know what you mean. Like, it’s not—

biz

Like it—

crosstalk

Biz: —once was, where neighbors come and… Theresa: It’s like, I needed somebody to, like—

theresa

—help Curtis, like, go to the potty! And like, get in—lift him into his crib! You know, just, like, stu—you know? Like, just stuff.

biz

I’m really sorry.

theresa

I know. Thanks.

biz

That [whispering] sucks.

theresa

It sucked. How are you? [Theresa affirms Biz throughout.]

biz

I’m alright. I had this realization over the weekend. It’s been a growing realization. That… when it comes to my children needing my attention and time, and not feeling like I have any time to myself, that it hasn’t changed. That, like, even—you know, like, when you’ve got infants? And you’re like… I—I—my whole everything is for this infant. Right? And then, like… toddler, it’s, you know, banging on the bathroom door—if you can even close the bathroom door? Coming into the showers, you know. All that. And there’s this… like, saying or assumption that people toss about—and I have clung to—like a life preserver—that’s like, well when they get older, that’s gonna change. And it really hasn’t. I—I—I hate to say, false truth. [Laughs.] I just feel needs to be added to the list of false truth. Like… I can’t… think… of, like, more than five minutes yesterday that I wasn’t being interrupted. For something. And at one point, I was just in the bathroom trying to clean my face. And I was like—it was gonna be a little treat for myself, I’m gonna get everything all ready—

crosstalk

Biz: —for bed. Theresa: What a treat.

crosstalk

Biz: What a fucking treat! Theresa: What a treat. [Laughs.]

biz

Before I have to go in and do Ellis’s, like, five-hour putdown routine. Uh, and I was like, I’ll just, y’know, my lotion and wash, and like—[breaks off, laughing.] [Theresa laughs.] And like—knock, knock, knock! [Resigned voice] Yes? “Mama, can I come in?” “No.” No! You—you can’t come in. “I have a question!” And I broke, and was like, [yelling] I—just ten minutes! Ten minutes! She’s like, “Okay. I’ll wait.” I was like, “Okay!” And then, like, later I was like, “What was your question.” And it was something… meaningless!

theresa

Completely.

biz

“Can I read this book that you’ve told me a million times I’m not allowed to read.” And I ju—I’m like, [semi-yelling] fucking read it when we’re not home! That’s how you do stuff, kid! We tell you not to do it—do it when we’re away! That is what kids do. Right? And I just was like… [Sighs.] I am so tired of the myths that are out there? About—[mocking voice] “It’s gonna get better!” and “Oh, it’s so lucky” and “Isn’t this great?!”

crosstalk

Theresa: “You’re gonna miss that they always wanna be with you!” Biz: Blah, blah, blah—You’re gonna miss, it’s gonna be past—"

theresa

“They won’t wanna be with you anymore!”

biz

And there are—there are truths to that? However… [aggressively] fuck it!

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I am done with that myth. Just like I am done with the myth we’re gonna talk about today—which is: Sundays. [Laughs.]

music

Banjo strums; cheerful banjo music continues through dialogue.

theresa

Please—take a moment to remember: If you’re friends of the hosts of One Bad Mother, you should assume that when we talk about other moms, we’re talking about you.

biz

If you are married to the host of One Bad Mother, we definitely are talking about you.

theresa

Nothing we say constitutes professional parenting advice.

biz

Biz and Theresa’s children are brilliant, lovely, and exceedingly extraordinary.

theresa

Nothing said on this podcast about them implies otherwise. [Banjo music fades out.]

biz

Theresa.

theresa

Yes.

biz

I’m… gonna throw out… a little quote about Sundays.

theresa

Great.

biz

“A Sunday well-spent… brings a week of content.” How does that feel?

theresa

Ugh. [Biz laughs wildly.] [Theresa affirms Biz throughout as they discuss Sundays.]

biz

Oooh! We have spent time on the show talking about Mondays, ‘cause I remember lots of… I—“It’s Monday. Go fuck yourself.” [Theresa laughs enthusiastically.] T-shirts. [Laughs.] Stefan and I keep, like, coming up— [Biz affirms Theresa throughout as they discuss Sundays.]

crosstalk

Biz: —with—[breaks off, laughing.] Theresa: [Through laughter] It’s Monday; go fuck yourself.

biz

We keep coming up with, like, awful t-shirts? They’d be like, “I don’t like Mondays, because that’s the day my husband left me.” [Bursts out laughing.] “I don’t like Mondays, because I lost my job on a—” Like, like—[through laughter] just like, horrible reasons to hate Mondays. Anyway— [Theresa laughing so hard she has to gasp for breath.] —also, “Where’s my coffee?” Uh, I know we’ve talked about Fridays. And those are not the same. And—and I think it would be fair to say—Mondays have changed because now it tends to be a day that you’re just—[through laughter] not with your children, possibly—like, they go to school or camp or you go to work—whatever! So Mondays, different than when we didn’t have kids and it was like, [put-upon voice] “Ugh, gotta go to work!” Fridays—used to be party hearty! It’s Friday! TGIF! And now it’s like, aww, TGI-fuck me, I’ve got—

crosstalk

Theresa: And everyone’s like, so— Biz and Theresa: —tired— Biz: —but like, have high expectations of the weekend? Theresa: —and…like—totally. Yes.

biz

And I’m like it’s just gonna be the same as it was last weekend. [Pause.] Sundays. Let’s explore it. I wanna start with— [Theresa laughs. Biz joins in.]

theresa

I’m sorry, I just pictured us in explorer costumes. [Biz laughs.]

biz

What if?! [Laughs.]

theresa

[Through laughter] Exploring—yeah! Yeah! Exactly! [Laughs.]

biz

Sundays. Let’s put on our little explorer caps— [Theresa laughs.] —Theresa, and—

theresa

Can I use one of those flashlight pens?

biz

Yes!

theresa

Okay.

biz

Absolutely. I’ll have a compass to navigate—

theresa

Great.

biz

Do we have plenty of water? Check your bags! Plenty of water and waterproof matches.

theresa

Powerbars.

biz

Let’s go explore—good—good shoewear?

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Okay.

theresa

Always.

biz

Let’s go… explore… Sundays. [Theresa laughs.] I wanna sta—[breaks off, laughing.]

theresa

Get in the Jeep!

biz

Get in the Jeep! [Mimicking car beep] Toot! Toot! [Theresa laughs.] Buckle up! Don’t pet any wild animals on the way out to Sunday! [Laughs.] Okay. Let’s just—that’s the end of the discussion. Alright. When you think of Sunday, what are things you think of?

theresa

You mean, like…like what it should

crosstalk

Theresa: —be? Or for me and my life? What are Sundays? Biz: No! No. Just in general, like, church.

theresa

Okay.

biz

To me, I think of Sunday, I think of church? I think of… the newspaper?

theresa

Not because you go to church. Just—

crosstalk

Theresa: —‘cause Sunday is church day. Me, too. Biz: No! Just that—well, I did, when I was a kid! So, like—

biz

What is ch—what is Sunday? [Laughs.] What does church mean to you? What is Sunday? Just—throw out your life.

theresa

Well… Sunday is usually… once we stopped going to church— [Biz laughs.] —Sunday is a good day.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah! [Biz laughs.] It’s like, a chill day!

biz

Sorry—sorry, religious listeners.

theresa

Yeah, sorry. I don’t mean—I just—I meant, like—

crosstalk

Theresa: —as a kid. Biz: No, I know. As a kid you were like—

theresa

I sometimes now wish we went to church. But like, I mean, a different kind of church? [Biz laughs.] But still. But no, as a kid I didn’t really wanna go to church, especially because for a lot of that time we went to church at my school. So it was just like—

crosstalk

Theresa: —another day where I had to go to school. You know. Yeah. Biz: That’s—your another day to be at the—that’s no good.

biz

Yeah, I think again of the newspaper, because, like, that was a—my parents always got the Sunday New York Times. And that was like… a thing. Some people I think, like, it’s considered a day of rest?

theresa

It’s a day of rest. Yeah.

biz

That’s a big slogan for Sundays. Day of rest. It is the day that the Lord has made for resting. And—it—

theresa

And making lunches for the week ahead. [Laughs.] [Biz bursts into laughter.]

biz

That’s right! Or cooking a gigantic fucking Sunday meal. Just being in the kitchen all day. Just three meals you gotta make sure happen. But also, it can be melancholy. Like, some peop—like, that—for—

theresa

It’s like a recovery day—

crosstalk

Theresa: —kind of. From—yeah. Biz: Yeah, like a—[wordless vocalization] hrnnnnn. Right?

biz

And then Sunday driver? That’s an expression out there. Don’t be a Sunday dri—a Sunday driver would mean that you are really slow? Driver? So it’s Sundays, you’re like, these long—slow is another way to think of it. And then stores? Used to not be open? When I was a kid. On Sundays.

theresa

Yeah, I remember that.

biz

Yeah! So… in the olden days, in the 1900s—[laughs]—stores wouldn’t be open. On Sundays. With all that said… pre-kids, what, like… what was Sunday for you, pre-kids? Like, for me it was… there was some bummer-ness to it? Like, I was bummed because I was gonna have to go to work? Right? Monday was coming? I don’t do Mondays? It was a lot of laying around and Law & Order marathons—

theresa

Laying around—

crosstalk

Theresa: —yeah. Yeah. Biz: Takeout. Y’know?

biz

Like… just being… a relaxed person. Was it similar for you?

theresa

Yeah, except that I didn’t—I was a runner. So—

crosstalk

Theresa: —I would— Biz: Oh, so you would get up and do—

theresa

I would go—I would exercise. I would go for a hike, maybe. Or… something. I would—yeah! And then I would—I think I would do, like, some weekends I would do like chores around the house. And like, you know? That kind of stuff.

biz

Would you say that in theory—[laughs.]

theresa

It’s, like, a quiet day.

biz

It’s a quiet day that is a lot of self-care things happening in it.

crosstalk

Biz: You’ve got time—right. Theresa: It—whether you notice it or not?

theresa

It’s like—it’s sort of, like, important to… the… flow of the week, right? That—

biz

A Sunday well-spent brings—

crosstalk

Biz: —a week of content! [Laughs.] Theresa: That’s a—wow!

theresa

That’s crazy! Yeah! No, that’s right!

biz

Yeah, so is Sunday still like that for you? [Bursts into wild laughter.] [Theresa laughs.]

theresa

I mean… wow. Yeah. I think… in a way, it is still a—I’m still experiencing some things on Sunday— [Biz giggles.] —that are a natural part of my emotional cycle? And a lot of that is that melancholy, except now, because there’s kids there and I don’t get any time to myself on Sundays? I become depressed. I really do.

crosstalk

Biz: No, I—I see it. Theresa: Like, I—I’ve—

theresa

I’ve really realized this. Like, if like, me needing to have that quiet—even, like, that kind of melancholy that’s just like, I’m just gonna curl up and be quiet. For a while. When I feel that I need that? Subconsciously or consciously. And I don’t get that? And there’s kids there? I quickly become depressed. Like, I start really questioning my life choices. [Biz laughs boisterously.] And, like, really—no, honestly!

crosstalk

Biz: I believe this! I am giggling out of honest agreement. Theresa: Like—really feeling—yes. Yes. Yes!

theresa

Like—and I—I get like really hopeless, like, I’ll never—nothing will ever be okay. [Biz interjects a knowing “Mmm.”] [Laughs.] And then it’s so funny ‘cause last night— [Biz laughs.] —so, you were texting me about a topic for today and I was like, I—how about, like, just hating everything? [Biz laughs.] Like, how about just… fucking everything fucking sucks forever? And then, literally, my kids went to bed— [Biz giggles.] —and I went out into the kitchen to, like, do some cleanup and like Jesse was at—out at Jordan, Jesse, Go! And I just, like, had—I knew that I had, like, two hours to myself? To like, do some things I needed to do and then read in bed? And I was a totally different person. I was all better! I was great! I was great. I was like [sighs contentedly.] And then I went, oh yeah. That’s right. I just needed a little bit of time to myself.

crosstalk

Biz: Two hours! That’s what you get. [Laughs.] Yeah! That’s amazing. Yeah. Theresa: Everything—I—literally! But that’s all I needed! That’s all I needed.

theresa

I felt so much better, and it was like—it’s just—it’s so hard to not have that introspection time. We’ve talked about that before, how, like—[laughs]—we love our kids the most when they’re at school or they’re asleep? And part of that is that, like, it’s really hard sometimes to… be in the present moment. And… constantly feel that something’s being asked of you, even if it’s just somebody wanting to talk to you. It’s totally innocent. It’s nobody’s fault. But it’s just—it’s a marathon!

biz

It is. Weekends are marathons. And it’s—you know, it ties to the guilt of… [cynical singsong-y tone] “I should be loving every minute of this!” And—you know, like, yeah! Yay! Yay! I, you know, I do! I—obviously, we love our children. But it is—it’s like, two concentrated days of… being come at. The entire time. So for me, like—I am so tired. By Sunday night. I—just like, and if it’s a three-day weekend, fuck me. You know? Like, it’s… my patience is a lot less. I’m not feeling, you know, like you say—recovered, or self-cared, or having a moment. And in that world of, you know, false truths about parenting, they say, as kids get older you’ll get some of that time back because, you know, they’ll be reading on their own, playing, blah, blah, blah—yeah. Sure. Katy Belle will read. And listen to podcasts. Or whatever. And that’s great. And Ellis sometimes goes off on a tear of Legos and is fine. Rarely is that simultaneously, and… also, the moment that they’re done, if I’ve settled in to do something? They are done, and then they come up—they would be furious if I interrupted their time, and yet— [Theresa laughs.] —they interrupt mine and there’s such a part of me that wants to, like… teen out, and be, like, [high-pitched angry voice] “Don’t you understand you’re doing it to me?!” Right? Like—and—and then you start just—speaking of the, like, my life choices. Weekends, especially Sundays, feel like—have I given my children too much of my time?

biz

Like, this doesn’t feel good to me. Anymore. The way I’m spending it. And I want it to be, like, [high-pitched enthusiastic voice] “We’re going to the park and flying kites and we’re having picnics” [regular voice] and we’re, like, doing all these wonderful Sunday things, and… it’s not like that. So that’s also disappointing. Yeah.

theresa

The other thing about, like, what you were saying with Katy Belle and Ellis sometimes getting involved in their own things? Is like—I agree that also is true but it’s like, that thing that you know will happen, you don’t know when that’s going to happen. And it’s just really—like, when they’re there, they’re just there and it’s like—it’s—it’s sort of healthier that—to, like, even when they are doing—even when they are involved in something? To not try to use that time for yourself? Because it’s—it’s the understanding that it’s going to get ripped away—

crosstalk

Theresa: [Through laughter] —from you. Biz: It’s gonna get ripped away! [Laughs.]

theresa

At any time, and that is such a, like, un—like, uncomfortable… you don’t get to enjoy that time—

crosstalk

Theresa: —even if you’re using it for yourself. You know what I’m saying? Biz: It’s like the—it’s like the fucking baby naps.

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah, it’s like the baby naps! Like, the 20-minute baby naps. Yeah. Just being on edge. Yeah. Biz: Y’know, like, it’s just—a repeated, like, lesson. That you’re being taught by the universe.

biz

That the moment you think you—you should use this time, it’s like—it’s—I’m not gonna kick that fucking football, Lucy. Not gonna do it, no matter how much you try and convince me that you’re gonna hold it. And… yeah! So… Sundays. [Theresa laughs.] Super great. Super great. [Laughs.]

music

“Ones and Zeroes” by “Awesome.” Steady, driving electric guitar with drum and woodwinds. [Music fades out.]

biz

[Chill acoustic guitar plays in background.] One Bad Mother is supported in part by iTrace, the iOS app that teaches kids handwriting.

theresa

So with iTrace, kids learn how to trace letters, numbers, and words. The app uses the same font styles that schools teach to give your kids extra practice at home! And iTrace never shows ads or collects any personal information. I have been using this perfectly with Oscar right now, because he’s really just learning to write his letters and that’s exactly what he’s working on in kindergarten, so the timing is like perfect. It’s a really nice app. It plays this, like, really chill music in the background? And it’s just very… straightforward, pretty, easy to use, and he loves it. He think it’s like, a [through subtle laughter] super-fun game. [Biz laughs.] But it’s really fun!

biz

Parents and teachers love iTrace, too! There are hundreds of positive reviews in the App Store. Download iTrace now to start learning. [Music fades out.]

theresa

Hey, you know what it’s time for! This week’s genius and fails! This is the part of the show where we share our genius moment of the week, as well as our failures, and feel better about ourselves by hearing yours. You can share some of your own by calling 206-350-9485. That’s 206-350-9485.

biz

Genius fail time, Theresa. Genius me! [Biz affirms Theresa throughout Theresa’s recounting of her weekly genius moment.]

clip

[Dramatic, swelling music in background.] Biz: Wow! Oh my God! Oh my God! I saw what you did! Oh my God! I’m paying attention! Wow! You, mom, are a genius. Oh my God, that’s fucking genius!

theresa

Okay. So… I… really wanted to… volunteer at Oscar’s school. And I needed to fill out paperwork. I needed to get the live scan fingerprinting. And then I needed to do the TB test assessment thingy. And it’s taken me a really long time to get it done, but I’ve done it, in—intermittently in moment, like, worked my way through it intermittently. The last thing on the list [through laughter] was this TB test, and I had made the wrong kind of appointment, I guess. Because I made a TB test appointment, but then in looking at the paperwork I didn’t actually need to get a TB test? I just needed to have the assessment? Given to me? And when I went in—well first of all, when I went in, they were so backed up because it was Veteran’s Day that it was gonna—we were gonna—I had Grace with me and she had an appointment across town afterwards and we were gonna miss her appointment. So we had to leave after going. So then I had to go back a second time, and my appointment was wrong because… they wanted the—it needed to be a—somebody who counts as a healthcare provider? Which is not the person who was gonna give me the test.

biz

Right. What?!

theresa

So—and they said, well, everyone’s in a meeting right now. So you—we just can’t. You’re gonna have to come back another time. And I almost started crying. And I was a little bit grumpy. And then I felt really bad, so I apologized for being grumpy and I said, it’s just everything else going on in my life. It’s not you. [Biz laughs.] This is just too much. And I was literal—I mean, I was—I was breaking/broken. This was all while Jesse was gone. And she’s like, I’m so sorry, and she’s so sweet about it. And so we—[laugh]—make the—the other appointment, and I went and I did the thing and they were very nice and so that had been, like, the third time that I had gone back. [Biz laughs.] And so I finish all the stuff and I turned it in. And this is my genius moment, because there was a point in the process… where I thought to myself, I may never be able to complete this one simple thing that the school has asked of me, that I want to do!” I actually really want to do this! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] But it started to feel like an—a mountain that I would never overcome. So it’s my genius moment because I did it. And now I can volunteer in Oscar’s classroom for this special soup thing they’re doing on Friday. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Good job!

theresa

Thanks.

biz

That is a really good job.

theresa

Thank you.

biz

It is definitely an easy thing to just say…no. Especially after the first time it’s cancelled. So—good job.

theresa

Thanks, Biz! [Theresa affirms Biz as Biz recounts her genius moment of the week.]

biz

Friday—last Friday—I was at the school for the, you know, a thing with Katy Belle in the morning and then there’s always like this like all-school, everybody gets together and shares things, like an hour after that. So, like, my Friday mornings are pretty shot. And I knew Friday was gonna be shot. I also try and visit with my very good friend—and right now our schedule is that we only can do stuff on Friday. So we were just gonna have coffee at my house. And that was gonna be it. I was in the car between the first thing I did with Katy Belle and then the 11:00 thing I had to do at the school [through laughter] so I was in the car, scrolling, looking at stuff on my phone. And I take a look at the—what’s happening around Pasadena for the weekend. And there’s a little craft festival that’s happening at the convention center, starting that day! Starting Friday! It was open! And it wouldn’t be crowded ‘cause it’s not the weekend! So I text my friend—do you wanna just blow the coffee and instead go to a craft con?! And she was like—“What?! Okay.” She likes to be pulled along a little bit. And she said okay, and we first had lunch? Like, we sat—I knew I wasn’t going home for the day. I knew—

theresa

So you knew—needed to eat.

biz

I knew—I just knew that, like, if we went through with this, I’d be doing it right up until pickup. And you know, sometimes you’re like, oh, my whole day. Right? It felt like skipping school. We had a big lunch and a little glass of wine with it, and then we went over to the craft thing and roamed around! And then we still got coffee after that, and it was—like, it was like—I felt like I was playing hooky on being a—a—mom!

crosstalk

Biz: Exactly what it felt like. Yeah. I was hyped. [Laughs.] Theresa: Yes! That’s amazing! That’s so great!

theresa

Good job!

caller

I’m calling with a genius. I… felt like we, you know, we’re having a lot of screen time and a lot of Peppa Pig and I felt like I wasn’t doing a very good job. And then… I realized, if I made it—if I turned the language to French, all of a sudden it was educational and the toddler wouldn’t know any different. So now we watch Peppa Pig, but in French— [Biz giggles quietly in background.] —so I feel like I’m being a good parent. She’s still… distracted, so I can get my stuff done, and… it’s great. So it’s—it—it took away, like, the—the screen time guilt— [Biz giggles slightly louder.] —for just a little bit. So I’m feeling great. Uh, you’re doing a good job. Thanks much. Bye.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

Sure!

theresa

That’s great!

biz

It’s French. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] It’s French! That’s—I—I love this. I just think—sure! Switch the language! You should switch it over to, like, Mandarin after that! Maybe… I mean, you could just convince yourself that your children are learning all kinds of languages!

theresa

We had accidentally downloaded Toy Story 2 in Spanish? And I—my kids really liked it! So we just—I don’t know why we don’t do that more.

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah, I don’t either, actually! Theresa: They just left it—

theresa

They just—they just only watch Toy Story 2 in Spanish.

biz

I think you are an educational genius.

theresa

Yeah, you are.

biz

Very good job. I would send my child to your French screen— [Theresa laughs.] —preschool. [Laughs.]

theresa

[With a slightly haughty edge to her voice] “My child goes to a French screen preschool?” [Laughs.]

biz

[Through laughter] Yeah. It’s like—go and put them in a dual immersion class? Does anybody speaking that language at home? Peppa!

theresa

Yeah! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs wildly.]

biz

Failures.

clip

[Dramatic orchestral music plays in the background.] Theresa: [In a voice akin to the Wicked Witch of the West] Fail. Fail. Fail. FAIL! [Timpani with foot pedal engaged for humorous effect.] Biz: [Calmly] You suck!

biz

Fail me, Theresa. [Biz affirms Theresa as Theresa recounts her weekly fail.]

theresa

Okay. My phone has like, that—that flashlight button and it’s just too easy for me to turn on. I don’t know why, but it’s too easy for me to turn on. I’m always accidentally turning it on. The other morning, Oscar was asleep in my bed, which—you know, he is a lot of the time in the morning. And I had to get up, ‘cause Curtis was calling for me. So I went to get up, and I got my phone off the bedside table, and it’s pitch-black in my room. And I accidentally press the flashlight button, but my f—the flashlight was facing me— [Biz sighs.] —so it blasted me, like, right in the face? [Biz laughs.] It was so unpleasant! And then—what’s worse is, it was so bright that it actually woke up Oscar! Like, it—I guess he was like, y’know, shifting or whatever? And it woke him up and he was pissed off, ‘cause it was too bright for him.

biz

Yeah, fuck you, Mom!

theresa

I was so mad.

biz

Oh, yeah! Ah, so sorry.

theresa

Thank you.

biz

You’re doing a horrible job—

theresa

I know.

biz

—in your own room.

theresa

I know! [Biz laughs.] [Theresa affirms Biz as Biz recounters her weekly fail.]

biz

One thing that I do for myself that is a little treat is that I get this ice cream that is vanilla caramel. Salted caramel. And it also has tiny chocolate-covered salted caramel chips. Like, little candies in it.

theresa

Sounds great.

biz

It’s fucking delicious. And I—it’s mine, and no one eats it. And… the other night, I had some and was feeling very good. ‘Cause I still had half a tub left. And the next morning, I got up and we were getting breakfast ready, and I open the fridge to get stuff for school fucking lunches and there in the refrigerator is my ice cream! It’s not in the freezer. It’s in the refrigerator. And now—

theresa

That’s not where it goes.

biz

It’s not where it goes!

crosstalk

Theresa: Ice cream shouldn’t be in the refrigerator. No. Biz: It doesn’t go there.

biz

And… it was ruined. [Theresa does a tragic, dramatic gasp-sigh.] And— [Theresa moans dramatically on Biz’s behalf.] —I wasn’t, like, going for a separate trip to the fucking grocery store just to get the ice cream, right? You gotta get it when you do the whole trip. Like, ugh! And I just was—

crosstalk

Theresa: It’s probably pricey, too—because it sounds like a good one. Biz: It is! Even though it’s the store brand.

biz

Which is fucking pretty great.

theresa

Oh! That’s cool! Yeah

biz

It is the store brand.

crosstalk

Biz: Private Selection! I love Private S— Theresa: There are some good ones! I love Private Selection! [Laughs.]

biz

I also get the Private Selection deli meats. They’re also lovely. Yeah! I—it’s still—it’s still, like, four or five bucks. ‘Cause it’s a big tub. And it’s got—

crosstalk

Biz: —salted caramel in it. Theresa: That you didn’t eat!

biz

That I did not get to enjoy. And it—again, it’s one of those, you just like, open the fridge? And you see the mistake you’ve made? Or the pantry or the closet or whatever. And you just wanna close it and say, nnnope. [Theresa laughs.] And… there ya go.

theresa

Sorry.

biz

Eh, it’s alright.

caller

Hi, One Bad Mother! So I have a double fail from last week. But I have to get it off my chest and I figured I would call anyway. So Wednesday night, my six-and-a-half-year-old was having a horrible night which included throwing bread on the floor because I didn’t have the right kind of bread for dinner. And I was so patient and so present, and… the next morning, this sort of behavior continued, and I lost it. I just—we were in a rush to get to school, and I couldn’t take it anymore, and I lost my temper several times. Then, on the way home after I dropped her off, I decided I was gonna get myself a coffee as a treat to get me through the day wherein I work with preschoolers from my home-based preschool. So I [through laughter] was ordering from the barista, and I let it slip that my child had been an asshole that morning. When she asked me how it was. And I felt so bad after. [Through laughter] She gave me a look that was just horrible. And said, “Oh, haha, that’s funny.” And afterwards I just couldn’t believe— [Biz laughs.] —I had called my child that, especially to a, like, 12-year-old-seeming barista. The double-fail was that I realized Friday after I’d sent her to school, that she had been getting sick. And that was probably why she had felt so awful Wednesday and Thursday. And I still continued to not realize it until Friday afternoon when she got home from school and was coughing and sniffing and lethargic all weekend.

caller

So not only did I call my child an asshole to the barista, but I sent her to school sick— [Theresa and Biz laugh.] —and… uh… yeah. Big fail. So, thanks for your show. I just started listening to it and I listen to it all the time now, whenever I’m in the car alone especially, and um— [Biz and Theresa laugh.] —yeah. That’s my fail. You guys are doing a great job, and I suppose much of the time I am, too, but… not those two times. Thanks! Bye.

biz

Woof.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Oof.

theresa

We’ve been there.

crosstalk

Biz: Been the— Theresa: Right?

biz

There are so many times… that things come out of my mouth to strangers about my children. And I can’t believe I’ve said it. I can’t believe I’ve said it or I’ve given a look or I’ve done whatever. And—they don’t approve.

theresa

Yeah!

biz

And I—and you go, [whispering] “Why did I just—” [regular voice] like, uh, the rest of the day you’re walking around going, “Why’d I say that? I could’ve just kept my mouth shut.” And then you feel awful about that. Uh, we’ve all been there with the sick. Yeah! Sure!

theresa

It—you don’t—it’s—it—it’s messed up that the first thing that shows up is behavior. [Biz laughs.] It’s really unfair to parents. It is so unfair. ‘Cause it catches us totally off-guard, and we’re not thinking about sick! If it came on the end of the sick, we’d be all—

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: [Sympathetic tones] Awwww! Theresa: They’re not feeling well! Biz: Poor baby! Yeah.

crosstalk

Biz: You’re recovering. You’re getting your [through laughter] recovery grumps. [Laughs.] Theresa: Yeah. We’ve all done that. Yes.

theresa

Yes. And it does really suck. You feel bad. 

biz

Yeah. I’m… I’m really sorry.

theresa

Yeah, me too.

biz

Thank you for calling and letting us know what a horrible job you’re doing.

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah! And how much you suck! Biz: And—

biz

You suck! You—you really do. I recommend getting at least four more coffee treats for yourself, and being incredibly awkward with all baristas that you, uh— [Theresa laughs.] —encounter, telling them all kinda weird stuff. To make up for the one that you regret.

music

“Mom Song” by Adira Amram. Mellow piano music with lyrics. You are the greatest mom I’ve ever known I love you, I love you When I have a problem, I call you on the phone I love you, I love you [Music fades out.]

theresa

[Jazzy piano music begins, continues through dialogue.] One Bad Mother is supported in part by HelloFresh, America’s #1 meal kit. Get easy, seasonal recipes and pre-measured ingredients delivered right to your door. All you have to do is cook and enjoy.

biz

I enjoyed cooking this! [Laughs boisterously.] [Theresa laughs.] It was great! And the selection was so good, too, which is what I really like? And there was, like, something for everyone, from family recipes to calorie-smart recipes and vegetarian, and fun menu series like Hall of Fame and Craft Burgers—I had one of their burgers and it was freaking delicious—and I really appreciated the packaging. It was incredibly minimal. [Laughs.] Which I really liked.

theresa

Get nine free meals with HelloFresh by going to HelloFresh.com/BADMOTHER9, and using the code BADMOTHER9. That’s HelloFresh.com/BADMOTHER9, and code BADMOTHER9 for nine free meals. [Music fades out.]

biz

Hi, One Bad Mother listeners! We’re about to have an absolutely amazing conversation with Carvell Wallace. But we wanted to let you know that towards the end of the interview, there’s a brief mention of Postpartum Depression and suicidal thoughts. Hey, Theresa! Let’s call someone today!

music

[Up-tempo acoustic guitar with choral “ahhs” in background.]

biz

Theresa, this week we are calling Carvell Wallace, who is a podcaster, editor, and New York Times best-selling author. He is the former parenting advice columnist for Slate and former host of Slate’s parenting advice podcast, Mom and Dad are Fighting, as well as a regular contributor to the New York Times Magazine. His book, The Sixth Man, cowritten with Golden State Warrior Andre Iguodala, spent 14 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. He is the father of two teenagers—teens!—was a stay-at-home dad for 7 years before becoming a writer; spent 15 years working with at-risk, incarcerated, and foster youth. His new podcast is called Finding Fred, about Fred Rogers. Welcome, Carvell!

carvell wallace

Thank you so much! I’m happy to be here.

biz

I am very happy to have you here. I am gonna try not to derail, to only talk about teens, ‘cause I love teens, uh—

crosstalk

Biz: Uh, mainly—yeah, mainly ‘cause I don’t have teens yet? Carvell: Yeah. There’s a lot to talk about with teens.

biz

I’ve got, like— [Carvell laughs.] —really close to teens? But they’re not teens? But if somebody doesn’t slam a door in my face in the next five years— [Carvell laughs.] —parenting will have been for naught! [Laughs.] [Carvell and Theresa both laugh.] Uh, but before we get into that, tell us: who lives in your house? [Biz occasionally interjects to affirm Carvell.]

carvell

So, uh, it’s uh—it’s interesting because right now, neither one of my kids live in my house. [Biz laughs.] Uh, and we talked about this a lot on the show, because the Bay Area—our housing situation is so insane—that both their mom and I lost our respective three-bedroom houses. We separated in 2010, and stayed co-parenting. We were 50/50 co-parenting and then both of us, within the year, lost our—our own three-bedroom houses due to various gentrification-type forces. Raised rent and so forth. And… I… then… um, moved basically into a one-bedroom, and then she moved in with the person she was seeing, who had a rent-controlled three-bedroom just by sheer luck. And so the kids spend their time—they have bedrooms over there, so that’s where they live now. The good news is that’s, like, a—about a five-minute drive from where I am? Um, and so it’s not that far. And I take the kids to school every morning, pick them up from school some nights, and spend certain days with them. So we—it’s like I’m parenting in a lot of ways it’s so different than what it was a few years ago? And… it’s been really… it’s been really complicated! And I’ve had to learn a lot about how to parent under these different circumstances.

biz

Yeah, I was gonna say—I mean, like… y’know, you were a stay-at-home parent for—

carvell

Yeah. [Carvell occasionally interjects to affirm Biz.]

biz

—a long time with them! And that’s a… y’know, there’s already a shift of course when it comes to when parents separate and it’s amazing, the 50/50 divvying up of raising the kids. But that sounds like—what you’re doing now—that—what is that like?! I mean, do you wanna talk about it? [Laughs.] ‘Cause that—

crosstalk

Biz: —sounds crazy! [Laughs.] Carvell: Yeah, no, I do—

carvell

No, I do, it’s really fascinating. I mean, it’s—it—I feel like it’s dovetailed with another thing that happens when the kids grow older? Which is that, you know, I’ve said before in the parenting column that, like, adolescence is a, sort of, seven-to-nine-year period in which you’re slowly handing over the controls of their life to them.

crosstalk

Biz: That’s depressing. Stop. Just—just stop. [Laughs.] Carvell: And—[laughs.] Theresa: Nevermind! We don’t wanna talk about this! No, I’m just kidding. [Laughs.] Biz: Nevermind! We don’t wanna—exactly. [Laughs.]

carvell

And like, it’s—and over the course of that time, it’s very awkward because there’s a lot of push-pull. Like, you think you should control stuff that they want to control. They think you should control stuff that you think they should control. [Biz chuckles.] And so, a lot of the suffering through adolescence comes through the awkwardness of that handoff. And… in the situation that we’re in, I feel like this dynamic sort of doubles the intensity of that handoff for me. Because there are certain ways in which my parenting can no longer be managerial, and logistical, and forceful in the way that it might be, or the way that it was when they were living in my house. Because it’s just not—it—it just creates more problems and doesn’t go smoothly. So I’ve had to rethink my role as a father in a lot of ways based on this, like, y’know, this kind of, like, economically-enforced living situation that we find ourselves in.

biz

Do you have a good therapist? [Bursts into laughter.]

crosstalk

Carvell: I do! I have a great therapist, actually, and this is something we talk about a lot! Biz: Good! ‘Cause that’s, like—

biz

I bet! ‘Cause that’s, like, a huge shift! I mean we—we talk and—on the show, and I know you guys have talked about it as well. Like, this—the shift from, like, pre-kid life to suddenly there are kids in your house and, y’know, identity and… things you weren’t prepared for and why wasn’t there a book about this? Y’know? [Laughs.]

carvell

Yeah.

biz

Like—like honestly, about what we go through as, y’know, parents. And that’s a hell of a shift that you are currently going through! I’m so—

carvell

Yes, it is. And like, even when we went to 50/50 parenting, that felt like a ginormous shift for me, because I was used to just being there all the time and then to suddenly not see them for, like, a week—um, ‘cause we did week-on, week-off, or eventually we landed on that schedule—that was so disorienting! And their mom and I would always talk about how weird we felt the week that the kids weren’t with us. We would just be like, standing in the aisle of the grocery store, like, being like—how—how do I shop? What do I— [Biz laughs.] —y’know, just like, mystified! [Laughs.]

biz

It’s like—it’s like your kid’s going off to college, but every other week. [Laughs.]

carvell

Exactly! Yeah! Exactly. Yeah.

biz

That’s— [Carvell chuckles.] —insane. Alright, well—you’re doing a really good job. That’s super impressive. [Laughs.] [Carvell laughs.] That’s gotta be—I’m just gonna stop right there and say, uh, good job! Um— [Biz continues to affirm Carvell.]

carvell

[Through laughter] Well, thanks. [Carvell continues to affirm Biz.]

biz

Yeah! Sure! The—let’s talk about—I mean, yeah! I guess I’m just gonna go right into the—your work as an advice columnist for parenting. I mean—y’know. You are clearly in a situation that’s—one might scream for advice for. [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Carvell: Right. Right. Biz: Tell me what—Yeah. Theresa: But also I feel like—

theresa

That’s one of the situations where somebody might give you advice about it? [Biz laughs.] That might be unwelcome! Y’know? Like—

biz

We talk a lot about advice on this show. And that—in fact, when—we encourage our listeners on the, like, Facebook groups and stuff to start—before they post whatever they’re gonna post—they gotta hashtag it, y’know, it’s just a rant. Just don’t—I don’t need anything. Or—

crosstalk

Carvell: Right. Theresa: I don’t want anything. Do not give me advice! [Laughs.] Biz: I don’t want anything! Not just—don’t—don’t give me anything! [Carvell laughs.]

biz

Just say “smiley face hashtag,” you know, “heart heart.” I don’t know how to use the internet. Or advice! Right? So that—[breaks off, laughing. Continues through laughter] I guess—so, I guess, as an advice columnist, people are quite literally asking it. Right? You’re not, like—advice columnists don’t wander down the street [through laughter] and butt in. [Biz and Theresa laugh enthusiastically.] But—yeah, tell me a little bit about what that’s like, especially as a parent yourself, when… oh my god, under the best of circumstances we sometimes can’t keep ourselves from wanting to help. So, what was that line for you like?

carvell

I—I mean, I think that—I think that, like, there’s a couple things. One is that—[laughs]—you— [Biz laughs.] —half the time you say advice, you say the advice that you need to hear?

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah. Theresa: Mm-hm.

carvell

Right? You become your own advice columnist? Like, you’re—you’re saying the stuff that you need to be reminded of. And like, with parenting, there’s a big difference—I mean, this is probably true with all things, but—it’s a big difference between knowing something intellectually and actually living it and— [Biz laughs.] —embodying it? And my experience has been that we, like, we need reminders of the important things all the time. Like, knowing it once isn’t enough. ‘Cause if it was, then we could just tell our kids stuff and then they would do it for the rest of their lives. But—

crosstalk

Biz: Oh, that’d be great. [Laughs.] Carvell: That’s not how it works.

carvell

And so… a lot of times I felt like, when I gave advice I was trying to come from A, trying to say what I would need to hear? And B, another thing is I think that… parenting is so messy? And even the quote-unquote “best parents”? It’s always messy. And… we don’t get a lot of that from the internet because social media, Instagram or whatever, is designed for us to only post the good stuff. We don’t post the messy stuff. So I think that can create a false—false impression that everyone else is just having a great time, like— [Biz laughs.] —we had a wonderful day; all the kids were at the beach; we ate this wonderful food; we played soccer; it was a wonderful day. And that’s what you post! And so, when you’re seeing all your friends do that, you think, well, why will my kids, like, melting down in the car and having, like, a 20-minute tantrum over, like, an orange cup versus a blue cup. I must be doing it wrong. [Biz laughs.] But like… so I think as an advice columnist I tried to—as much as we could—all of us tried to be really honest about how messy and difficult things are for us. Then you’re coming from a place of, like, I’m just trying to share what I know and have experience? Not like I’m an expert and I’m gonna tell you the right way to do things.

biz

Right. Yeah. That’s—yeah. No, that always feels tricky. I—I think… for… y’know, anybody, especially in a field that involves parenting on any level. You know, that, like—oh my god. You’re probably making the right choice. [Laughs.] [Biz continues to affirm Carvell.]

carvell

Yeah. [Carvell continues to affirm Biz.]

biz

But— [Carvell laughs.]

carvell

Yeah! [Carvell continues affirming Biz throughout.]

biz

Uh, yeah, you probably are! It’s just, you’re panicked! So I guess, actually… we have a hotline here, and people can call and leave genius moments, where, y’know, that no one cares about. “Hey, my kid slept for an hour. I can’t share that with anybody.” Fails, and then rants. And… y’know, there are definitely common themes. That come through. So, during your time as an advice columnist and on Mom and Dad are Fighting, is there something that you think people just… in general seems to be like a number one… [panicky voice] “Ahhh! What am I doing? I need advice.”

carvell

Yeah. I mean, we got a—there was a lot of stuff about media? And… keeping your kid safe from just… the world? Like— [Biz laughs shortly.] —the belief that, like, the feeling is that the world is bad, and things—and it’s—it’s all—and none of it’s kid-friendly. And so there was all this advice about how to manage and control what your kids see and are exposed to. Another major thing—which I think is kind of a variation on that?—is like, this other family member isn’t parenting or isn’t treating my kid or acting the way that I think they should, or the specific way I would? And people needing help parsing out the difference between, like, okay, this is my preference but they’re not doing it; or the difference between that and this other person is like, damaging or harming my kid in this way. And I think that that was the stickiest stuff. We had a lot of parents who were parents of young kids, who were mad about their parents not parenting their kids—grandparenting their kids in the way that they had described. [Biz laughs.] That they had wanted. You know? Like, grandma gave my kid a cookie and I said no cookies! And she’s always controlling my life! You know, and like— [Biz laughs enthusiastically.] —there was a lot of that. And I really—I super remember that from being—from having little kids. Like, we thought that we had figured out—somehow—y’know, nine months in to having our first baby— [Biz giggles.] —we somehow understood parenting better than everyone else. We had read all the books— [Biz laughs loudly.] —we figured everything out, and everyone else was doing it wrong.

carvell

And so we had to—we had to actually—‘kay— [Biz and Theresa laugh.] —I remember this, like, debate with my ex-wife’s grandmother about whether or not to give the kid ice cream at some point? I think he was maybe… I dunno, maybe, like, 18 months or something. [Biz laughs.] And she wanted to give him ice cream and we were just—were just horrified. No! [Biz and Theresa laugh.] This is horrible! How could you do this? Don’t you understand?! Sugar and everything in the environment—you know, just like, whatever. [Biz laughs.]

carvell

And we were—just kind of cocked her head to the side and just said, “You kids are so funny.” [Biz laughs wildly.] And that was all she said. ‘Cause she’s from a generation where people don’t drag each other, y’know? And I—and I always think about that moment, because… y’know, it must’ve been so annoying for her! [Biz laughs.] This woman has raised, like, five kids and then unknown grandkids and here we are, trying to tell her what to do. I think we got a lot of that, and I think parents needed a lot of help sorting out what is a fair thing to ask another person not to do with your kid— [Biz laughs.] —and when should you just shut up and take the help and just be grateful that someone is loving your kid. Y’know. [Chuckles.] Even if they’re not doing it the way you want.

biz

Even if it’s only with cookies and screen time. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] [Biz continues to affirm Carvell.]

carvell

[Through laughter] Even if it’s only cookies and screen time. Exactly. [Laughs.] [Carvell continues to affirm Biz.]

biz

Well, I—that’s—that actually ties in really nicely to one of the things you were just saying is, y’know, how scared we are of the world is—is definitely a motto of many. [Laughs.] Yeah, and—and to each generation we get to yell, “Ours is the worst! And the scariest.” And each generation has rightful claims to that. You’ve started this new podcast, and it’s called Finding Fred, and it’s about Fred Rogers. And in the very beginning of the series, you present listeners with the question of: how do we explain the state of our world to our children. Because definitely there are—as you say—no words sometimes. To—that are good enough to explain it. And… Fred Rogers was, y’know, good Lord. Every time there’s a tragedy, I see the meme go around of [through laughter] Fred Rogers telling children to look for the helpers. Right? And I’m like—I’m bawling! But he did so much more than that, as well.

carvell

[Emphatically] Mm-hm. Mm-hm.

biz

Was it the state of the world we are in right now, that led you to this podcast? To wanting to do this? Or… was it… Fred Rogers sort of leading you to wanting to address these tough issues, ‘cause he was so good at that?

carvell

Well… I think it was a little bit of both. I mean, I felt like he probably had an answer to a question that we really need an answer to right now? Which is how to be a good person in a world where people are doing bad things? And I think that’s a parenting question and it’s also a person question, because, y’know, the whole thing is like, you can only really—I mean, the—you can tell your kids a bunch of stuff, but like, the—most, 90% of what your kids learn, they learn from just the way that you are? And so… your main parenting job is to figure out how to be a good person? And… how to deal with whatever stands in the way of you being a good person? And… my sense was that a lot of what stands in the way of people—of us being good now, or being better maybe than we are, is fear! There’s this weird contagious nature where, like, if people are—if—if everyone else is being terrible, then we have to be terrible, too! And… if someone is being, like, crazy or violent or aggressive, then we have to—we can’t just be nice! We have to also, y’know, fight fire with fire kind of vibe. And I think that’s a really—that’s a seductive way of thinking? And I think that it makes sense? To a certain extent? And yet I think Fred Rogers had a very specific way of countering that? He had kind of a mastery of the technology of using goodness to combat badness. And I thought it would be really good to just explore and kind of break down the game tape of how he did that, and maybe that could inspire some other people to—to—to be more like that. I mean, that’s kinda—that’s sorta the way I was thinking about it. So yes, that’s driven by the moment we live in, in which… I don’t think it’s a—necessarily a worse moment than other moments? But I do think that there’s a feeling or a fear that it is. And I think that’s making people kinda freak out a little bit. Um—

biz

A little? [Laughs.] [Carvell laughs. Theresa joins in.] I mean, like…it—

carvell

Kinda little bit! A little bit of freaking out going on!

biz

There—there is quite a bit of freaking out. [Carvell laughs.] And—so—[breaks off, laughing.] Ahh! I just every day, I’m like, nope! Just—how much do I need to take in today? How do I parse this? How do I, y’know, stay positive in the world while, y’know, feeling inundated without also wanting to be blind to it? It’s a lot! And I—I guess—

carvell

It’s a lot. [Carvell continues to affirm Biz.]

biz

What have you explored so far on the podcast? What kind of questions are you trying to… answer, and I am not gonna just jump to the first one. You—[breaks off, laughing.] [Biz continues to affirm Carvell.]

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah, I want you to take us through it. Yeah. Carvell: Yeah. Right.

carvell

Well I think—I think we’re trying to—I mean, I think we’ve—it’s been a very exploratory method? Like, we had these initial questions: how do you be good in a world where people are bad; this guy seemed to have an answer; what was his answer; what does that imply? And then we just went out and interviewed a bunch of people, and I think each interview that we did, y’know, led us in a new direction and… one of the things I’m really thinking about this week is… the way in which his message has been misunderstood, and co-opted. And I think you—you—you even mentioned that that thing about looking for the helpers, and—

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah, the memes. Carvell: Y’know, that conundrum—

carvell

—that we really struggle with. Uh, and even—I think—just last week or last night, Jake Tapper on CNN did some kind of, like, end-of-show, um, y’know, essay about how Fred Rogers told us to be kind to our neighbors, uh, and so we need to be more civil. And I think that there’s a—there’s a great temptation to misinterpret—and maybe it’s even willfully misinterpret—his ideas of neighborliness and kindness as a way of not holding people accountable. And one of the, like, sort of technical ways that he was really good, is that he knew how to be kind and also hold people incredibly accountable. And he was unique at that! And I think that that’s a rare quality, but a really powerful one. I often think—even though it seems unrelated—that’s one of the things that really great writers do? Like, I think a lot about Toni Morrison, um, because she was able to write… really terrible characters? [Biz laughs.] But she understood their humanity without letting them off the hook. And I think… what Fred Rogers was talking about was something very similar. I view those two as being in the same category in that regard. That, like… to understand someone’s humanity doesn’t mean to not hold them accountable for their behavior. And… Fred Rogers rarely, if ever, talked about forgiveness. Even though he was a Christian, he also never talked about God. And he was a Christian and he was a pastor. But and—and the show was indeed a ministry! Like, there’s no question about that! But because he was ministering to… the entire world, he had to deliver sermons that were… um, legible to people that weren’t Christians, to people that didn’t—were not of faith at all.

carvell

And I think that’s a lot of what guided how he talked about these concepts. Well, one concept he didn’t really talk about a lot was this idea of forgiveness? And… I think that that’s… I’ve been thinking that that’s probably because he was wise enough to know… that… you can talk about kindness and you can talk about love and you can talk about focusing on people who have loved you and supported you and what it means to be good for those people? That’s one thing? But if you start talking about forgiveness as a blanket concept? Then it’s very easily co-opted for people to just kind of do terrible things and then be let off the hook. And… that is a big part of how terrible things continue to happen? [Biz laughs mirthlessly.] And so I think there’s a very narrow path that we—that we have to walk between recognizing someone’s humanity and also… living by moral standards. And I think that we’re having a really hard time with that? And I think Fred Rogers had some way of—of talking about that? And so we’re looking to explore that, uplift that so that people… maybe have a more nuanced view of these ideas.

biz

Do you think Fred Rogers was aware of what he was doing? Like, I mean, one of the things you’ve said a second ago was, y’know, he was talking to… the whole world, or was he just talking to kids? Which, of course, become our whole world and are in the world!

carvell

Right. Right.

biz

Y’know? Yeah. I mean, how much do you think… ‘cause I—I think when… people are truly kind. Like, it is—y’know—they don’t always realize their impact, uh, of their actions. They just know to go out and do good actions. Right? What do you think Fred Rogers thought about himself, or—or his place in the world?

carvell

Yeah. I mean, it’s hard to say because we’re—you know, we’re speculating, we only have—y’know, the records in what he said and what he wrote and what people who were close to him report that he told them. It seems to me… that… he was constantly willing to be surprised. [Biz chuckles.] By… his impacts on people. I just saw a clip this morning where he was inducted into some television hall of fame, something-or-other, I forgot what it was—and he said, y’know, fame is a four-letter word. And everyone laughed, and then he said, like, face or love or tape—meaning, what happens really has everything to do with how we use it. And then he started talking about how… people who work in television—and I think this extends to all media—you have a platform, that means you have a responsibility.

biz

Right.

carvell

And how you use that responsibility is entirely up to you. I think he was always aware of the power of his platform? And yet, like you said, his humility made it so that he’d never overestimate it. Or rarely, it seemed to me, overestimated his impact. So when he got letters from—from people that were like, y’know, I heard a clip the other—we have a clip in—in—in episode seven which we haven’t released yet—but I’ll give a little preview, which is that he got a letter from a woman who was suffering from Postpartum Depression. And… she had a six-month-old child in the car with her. No, I guess it must’ve been, like, 18 months or something. And she forgot that he was in the car with her—her son. And she thought about driving directly head-on into traffic and committing suicide. And she started swerving into head-on traffic. And then from the back, she heard the child humming a song from Mister Rogers. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Jesus. [Laughs.]

carvell

And she remembered that he was in the car, and suddenly she had this moment of like, what am I doing?! What is all this? And she wrote that letter to Mister Rogers when the kid was, like, 14. And hearing Fred Rogers recount that, he was—he still was shocked and amazed that his work had that level of impact. So I think that he was… I think he was—I don’t think he was walking out there going, like, “I’m saving lives! I’m Fred Rogers! I’m so fucking cool!” [Biz laughs wildly.] Sorry, I don’t know if there’s cursing on this. Um—y’know.

crosstalk

Biz: He deserved to do that, though! Every once in a while! It would be fine. Exactly! [Laughs.] Carvell: I don’t think he was—I don’t know if he would— Theresa: Yeah. He would be fine if he had done that. [Laughs.]

carvell

Yeah, I don’t know if he was doing that! I think that he really just was focused on… trying to be a good person every day. So I think trying to work every—thinking of every day as, like, what am I going to do today that is of meaning and of value. Forget what I did yesterday. And I think, uh, having a sense of “I’m not doing this for me to make myself feel good; to make myself look good; I’m doing it in service of someone or something else.” I think that is what he really embodied.

biz

Well, that said, if we ever have a Fred Rogers day we should all wear shirts that say “I’m Fucking Fred Rogers.” [Laughs wildly.] [Theresa and Carvell laugh.] Carvell, thank you so much for joining us at—y’know, thank you, of course, for all the years of advice that you have given many of us. And I am so excited about this podcast? And we will link everyone up to where they can get ahold of it—obviously—where you download your podcasts you can—

crosstalk

Biz: —get ahold of it! [Through laughter] But—wherever you find your podcast. Carvell: It’s—everywhere—wherever you find your—that’s where we are.

carvell

Thank you so much and thank you so much for doing that podcast and pursuing that—that line of thinking. That—we need a lot more of that. So thank you so much.

carvell

I was so happy to be here and thank you guys so much for your work.

biz

Absolutely. Thank you. Have a good one!

carvell

Okay. Take care. Bye.

biz

Bye.

theresa

Bye!

music

“Telephone,” by “Awesome.” Down-tempo guitar and falsetto singing. Brainwaves send a message: Pick up the phone (When you, I call) Arm is moving now, no longer stone (When you, I call) Hand reaches out with a will of its own (When you, I call) [Music fades out.]

promo

Music: Fun, jaunty, upbeat music. Renee Colvert: Hi! I'm Renee Colvert. Alexis Preston: I'm Alexis Preston! Renee: And we're the hosts of the smash hit podcast Can I Pet Your Dog? Now, Alexis. Alexis: Yes. Renee: We got big news. Alexis: Uh-oh! Renee: Since last we did a promo, our dogs have become famous. Alexis: World-famous! Renee: World—like, stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! Second big news. Alexis: Mm-hm? Renee: The reviews are in. Alexis: Mm-hm? Renee: Take yourself to Apple Podcasts, you know what you're gonna hear? We're happy! Alexis: It's true! Renee: We're a delight! A great distraction from the world! Alexis: I like that part a lot. Renee: So if that's what you guys are looking for... Alexis: Mm-hm. Renee: You gotta check out our show! But what else can they expect? Alexis: We've got dog tech, dog news, celebrities with their dogs. All dog things! Renee: All the dog things. So if that interests you, well, get yourself on over to Maximum Fun every Tuesday! [Music ends.]

promo

[Swingin’ … jazz? Big Band?^ rendition of Up On the Housetop featuring trumpet soloist plays in the background.] Speaker 1: Hey, cool shirt! Speaker 2: Oh, this? Thanks! I got it at MaxFunStore.com. Speaker 3: [Computerized voice] MaxFunStore.com! Speaker 1: Hm, that’s strange! I visited MaxFunStore.comSpeaker 4: [Computerized voice] MaxFunStore.com! Speaker 1: —a few weeks ago and didn’t see it! Speaker 2: That’s because they’ve just launched a ton of new stuff. Right in time for the holidays! Speaker 1: Oh, cool! Speaker 2: There’s patches, mugs, totes, stickers—even a onesie! Speaker 1: Nice! Those’d make great gifts for everyone I know. Speaker 2: Great! Because I already got you something from there. Speaker 1: Thanks! Now, excuse me a moment. I need to look up MaxFunStore.com— Speaker 4: [Computerized voice] MaxFunStore.com! Speaker 1: —on my smartphone. You know. To see what’s new! Speaker 2: Yeah! You can’t go wrong with anything from MaxFunStore.com. Speaker 3: [Computerized voice] MaxFunStore.com! [Music fades out.]

biz

[Theresa affirms Biz throughout.] [Singsong voice] That was fun! That was fun! I enjoy talking to Carvell! [Laughs wildly.] ‘Specially ‘cause he’s got teens! [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Everyone should go download Finding Fred, the amazing podcast that he is hosting about Fred Rogers! Eeek! Fred Rogers makes me feel good. So does listening to a mom have a breakdown!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi! I don’t know if this is a rant or maybe count as a genius. But um, y’know, I guess… I’m sitting in the parking lot at the grocery store and I’m just gonna sit here in my car, because I saw somebody who… um, like—I stopped somebody parked behind me to take my parking spot. Which is fine! Which is fine. But they saw that I had a toddler. They also saw me take snacks out of my bag and put them in a cup for my toddler. They saw—they saw that I had a toddler. And that my toddler was upset. And they saw me putting the groceries away, and while I was putting my toddler into the car seat, this person honked at me. And— [Biz laughs.] —it pissed me off. So much. So… I’m taking a moment before I… completely lose my mind. To just call you! [Biz’s laughter intensifies.] And I’m just gonna sit here and chill a minute and they can choose to move to a different spot if they feel like it, or they could choose to be patient. It’s up to them! Ohp, they just drove away. So, um, I don’t know where this falls, but… I just needed a minute and somebody to talk to about—if you’re gonna park behind me to wait for my parking spot, and see clearly that I have an upset toddler who’s fine now because he has a snack, um, just don’t honk at me. ‘Cause it’s gonna make me want to sit in the driver’s seat and tell everybody about how much you kind of suck today. [Biz laughs wildly.] Bye!

theresa

Yes!

biz

Youuu are a treasure!

theresa

Yeah, you’re a treasure!

biz

I… I love this!

theresa

I do, too!

biz

We don’t talk enough… about the honking, the impatience with parents trying to parent. You are damned if you are taking time to be present with your child to keep them calm in public? Or just to help them navigate public? Or you’re damned if you are rushing, putting everyone else’s need before the child. [Biz affirms Theresa throughout.]

theresa

The existence of us with our children is the problem.

biz

It is!

crosstalk

Theresa: To other people sometimes. Biz: Oh, that’s the problem. Theresa: Just—no matter—

theresa

—it’s literally that we are here, existing. [Theresa continues to affirm Biz throughout.]

crosstalk

Theresa: That is the problem. Yes. Yeah. Yeah. Biz: Years of research [through laughter] prove that this is the problem.

biz

And—there is—I haaa—I mean, look. I’ve done it; I’ve been the waiter, but I always wave and acknowledge to a parent—

biz

Biz: —who’s putting their kid—I would— Theresa: No problem! No rush! Yeah.

biz

—prefer to wait for you. I—good job!

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Right? When people are like [impatiently] “Ugh!,” ‘cause I hate like, that [noise of impatience] “hughh,” right?

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah, they’re rushing! Yeah! Yeah! Biz: I gotta put my kid in! [Harried vocalizations.]

biz

And I gotta get out! But you know you still have, like, so much to do when you have a kid in your car. And I do—

crosstalk

Biz: —not—you gotta get songs— Theresa: There’s so many things to do.

biz

—possibly, you gotta make sure people are buckled and waters are where they should be and no one’s spilling and, like… just—do you have the lovey with you? Did it fall?

theresa

We are sometimes still using the potty chair with—with Curtis when we get to the car?

biz

In the car!

theresa

Because—yeah! In the car! And that [through laughter] takes time, too! Like, sometimes we have to— [Biz sighs.] —do that—I mean, there’s—

biz

I know. I just had a flashback. I forgot. [Biz continues to affirm Theresa throughout.]

theresa

Yeah! [Theresa continues to affirm Biz throughout.]

biz

All the years. Of Ellis and the potty—wouldn’t use a potty anywhere but in the car. And I was the parent taking him out of the pool—

crosstalk

Biz: —all the way to the parking lot. Theresa: Yeah! Going to the car! Yeah!

biz

Pottying! Now we getta drive all the way back in! Oh. Everybody, you’re doing a good job. And—and you—you are doing—

crosstalk

Theresa: You’re doing such a good job. Yeah. Yeah. Biz: —an amazing job!

theresa

You use that phone!

crosstalk

Biz: You use that phone! Theresa: Hang out.

crosstalk

Biz: You use that parking space! That is—that is correct. Theresa: Yeah! That’s your parking space right now. You’re using it right now.

biz

That’s right. That person can certainly stand another lesson in patience. Oh, parents, you're doing a great job. What did we learn today? We learned that, uh, we’re gonna start a new series called Biz and Theresa Yell About Days of the Week. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Nothing productive! Just… whining about days of the week. [Theresa laughs.] Uh, and that’s okay, ‘cause sometimes we need to do that. Because it’s just a reflection of how things are not how they once were. And… it also plays into, like, again, what we—been talking about throughout the show—or I’ve been complained about the show—throughout the show—these myths! That like, I mean, there are truly things associated with each day of the week that are somehow supposed to make feel great? Or bad? And… that’s—

theresa

They’re mostly about capitalism. [Biz lets out a cheer]

crosstalk

Theresa: If you take it back, I think. [Laughs.] Yeah. Biz: Yeah, I think you’re right. [Laughs.]

biz

And I—like—it’s just another thing to remember that it’s… we’re not getting enough time. [Laughs.] I don’t do Monday, because I don’t have enough self-care. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] That’s my new t-shirt. Speaking of t-shirts! We have got three new pieces of merch [through laughter] online. Just head over to MaxFunStore.com. You will find “I am a self.” That t-shirt now exists in the world.

crosstalk

Theresa: And it’s really pretty! Biz: It’s pretty! I like it. Theresa: I like it too! Biz: Uh, there— Theresa: I already bought one. [Laughs.] Biz: [Excitedly] I did, too! I bought it that day—

biz

That, like, they came out. I was like, I gotta get out there and buy it! Yes! We do buy our own merch. [Theresa laughs.] A sweatshirt—

crosstalk

Biz: A hoodie sweatshirt! Theresa: We finally have a hoodie, guys!

biz

Yes! It’s cold!

crosstalk

Theresa: It’s black. It’s perfect. Biz: In most—yeah! [Laughs.]

theresa

It’s just a black hoodie that says “One Bad Mother” and it looks great.

biz

It’s perfect. And—[breaks off, laughing.] [Theresa laughs.] I had forgotten about this and I’m so glad. ‘Cause when I was on buying the shirt? I was like “Ooh!” There’s a bumper stick that says…?

theresa

Honk if you’re DOING IT! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs wildly.] [Theresa continues to affirm Biz throughout.]

biz

Do you know why you need that sticker? Because you are doing it. [Biz continues to affirm Theresa throughout.]

crosstalk

Theresa: You are doing it, guys! Biz: You are doing it!

theresa

We’re all doing it.

biz

Whether you are getting your child into a car seat after grocery shopping, you’re doing it. Whether it’s Sunday, first thing in the morning and you’ve got a long day ahead of you? Or in the evening, when everybody’s down and you’ve got three minutes to get some self-care crammed into your final Sunday moments—you’re doing it. School? You’re doing it. Work? You’re doing it. Packing lunches? You’re doing it. Opting for some sort of school lunch? You’re doing it! Eh, I mean, like—stickers—there’s so many, like—I saw a Tesla with—

crosstalk

Theresa: With a sticker window? So good. Yeah! Biz: —sticker window! And I thought—

biz

Yes! You’re doing it! [Theresa laughs.] Everybody? You are, in fact, doing it. Yeah. Sure. The holidays are coming. They’re, like, right there. Right behind the, like, shower curtain, like Psycho-style. They’re just there— [Theresa bursts into laughter and frequently renews her laughter as Biz continues speaking.] —ready to jump out and [mimicking the Psycho soundtrack] Ee! Ee! Ee! Happy Holidays! They’re coming! Eh, and we’re gonna get through that. You’re gonna do it. You’re all doing a great job. Theresa? You are doing… a great job.

theresa

Thanks, Biz. So are you.

biz

[Sings.] [Regular voice] Thank you. And we will talk to you guys next week!

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: Byeeee!

music

“Mama Blues” by Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans. Strumming acoustic guitar with harmonica and lyrics. I got the lowdown momma blues Got the the lowdown momma blues Gots the lowdown momma blues The lowdown momma blues Gots the lowdown momma blues Got the lowdown momma blues You know that’s right [Music fades somewhat, plays in background of dialogue.]

biz

We’d like to thank Max Fun; our producer, Hannah Smith; our husbands, Stefan Lawrence and Jesse Thorn; our perfect children, who provide us with inspiration to say all these horrible things; and of course, you, our listeners. To find out more about the songs you heard on today’s podcast and more about the show, please go to MaximumFun.org/onebadmother. For information about live shows, our book and press, please check out OneBadMotherPodcast.com.

theresa

One Bad Mother is a member of the Maximum Fun family of podcasts. To support the show go to MaximumFun.org/donate. [Music continues for a while before fading out.]

speaker 1

MaximumFun.org.

speaker 2

Comedy and culture.

speaker 3

Artist owned—

speaker 4

—Audience supported.

About the show

One Bad Mother is a comedy podcast hosted by Biz Ellis and Theresa Thorn about motherhood and how unnatural it sometimes is. We aren’t all magical vessels!

Join us every week as we deal with the thrills and embarrassments of motherhood and strive for less judging and more laughing.

Call in your geniuses and fails: 206-350-9485. For booking and guest ideas, please email onebadmother@maximumfun.org. To keep up with One Bad Mother on social media, follow @onebadmothers on Twitter and Instagram.

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