TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Ep. 354: Movie Moms! Plus, The Parents Are Not All Right with Chloe Cooney

Biz is joined by guest co-host Drea Clark, producer, film festival programmer, and podcaster. We discuss how motherhood is portrayed in the movies, from the effortless high-heel wearing mothers of the 50’s and 60’s, to the outright terrible mothers in horror films, and the surprising representation in action movies. Drea gives us a movie mom watch list that we can get behind. Plus, Biz is slipping, we miss Theresa, and we talk to Chloe Cooney about her article, “The Parents Are Not All Right.” 

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 354

Guests: Chloe Cooney

Transcript

biz

Hi. I’m Biz.

theresa

And I’m Theresa.

biz

Due to the pandemic, we bring you One Bad Mother straight from our homes—including such interruptions as: children! Animal noises! And more! So let’s all get a little closer while we have to be so far apart. And remember—we are doing a good job.

music

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

biz

This week on One Bad Mother—movie moms! Plus, Biz is slipping; Drea Clark stops by to cohost; and we talk to Chloe Cooney about her article, “The Parents Are Not All Right.”

crosstalk

Biz and Drea: Wooooo! [Biz and Drea repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective weeks.]

biz

You did such a good job “woo”-ing, Drea! [Laughs.]

drea

I feel like I maybe went a little more Haunted Mansion? Than raw enthusiasm? But like—the heart was there.

biz

Given the days that we are in? [Drea laughs.] “Haunted Mansion” seems… appropriate. [Laughs.]

drea

Sure. Sure.

biz

So before I let everybody know what’s happening, I wanna do what we’ve been doing at the top of the shows since the virus started. And that is just to say—what a wonderful job you guys are all doing out there. I cannot believe how long this is going. Even though I know facts! And yet— [Laughs.] And yet I am still amazed! [Drea laughs.] Every day! That this is… that this is life! And I just wanna say—we wanna say—a big thank-you to all the essential workers. Everybody who is on the frontlines. All the healthcare workers. You guys are amazing. And everybody who works in the healthcare industry so that many other healthcare workers can work—data entry; procurement; I mean, like, all of it! The chaplains who work at the hospitals. I mean [makes noise of being agog] you guys! I really see you. Because many—many people can’t get in to see their loved ones right now and you guys are really a bridge. And so I just wanna give a special shoutout there. Everyone at the grocery stores and at all the delivery services and… I know that in lots of places businesses are gonna start opening up with curbside pickup, etcetera. I… really love you guys! [Laughs.] Really appreciate and—fucking teachers!

drea

Yeah. [Laughs.]

biz

Fucking love you guys. [Laughs.] What?

drea

Uh, yeah. I’m with you! I’m also the good job and in this time I’ve been someone who’s very much, like, constantly looking for silver linings. Or my own moments of gratitude or like, how can I spin this so that my head still sees as sunny as possible? And one of those things has been that the level that people have had to appreciate and value work? That is not always recognized? And that also goes for… speaking of your show!—the idea of caregivers in general. So— [Biz sighs appreciatively.] —there’s such a long undervaluing of what caregiver work means? And support at home and keeping families running and keeping households running. And… there has been something about the recognition of that in this time of how much of a burden and a weight that is. And how much of an achievement it is!

biz

Guess what? People have families! [Laughs.]

drea

[Through laughter] Right?

biz

Y’know? Like… sometimes people have them. And… it’s not invisible. Or hiding when you’re not at your job. Now, with all of that said—a special shoutout to Theresa. She has—again—there is a lot of attention she needs to be giving her family right now. And… it’s a lot and… we see you, Theresa. And you’re doing a remarkable job. And I’ll say it again! If I could come to Hell with you I would! If they would let me in with you! I mean, they’ll let me into Hell. Do not get me wrong! [Laughs.] [Drea laughs.] Do not get—I’m sure there is a tattoo somewhere that says that on my body. So… but—we see you. You’re—you’re doing such a good job. So there’s that. And now! Drea Clark.

drea

Hello!

biz

Thank you so much for joining us! Just to let everybody know who you are, you are—a film producer; a film festival programmer; and a podcaster. [Through laughter] That’s kind of the most awesome collection of jobs. [Drea laughs.] You cohost MaxFun’s Who Shot Ya?, which is a movie podcast that isn’t just straight white guys! What?!

drea

I know!

biz

Is that possible?! And—

drea

Who knew?

biz

[Through laughter] Who knew? And Ticklish Business, which covers classic Hollywood films with a feminist viewpoint. Which we could just do a whole ‘nother show as a Women’s Studies Minor. I—

drea

Ahhhh!

biz

—would love to talk about The Color Purple! And, like… Amazon Women in The Avocado Jungle of Death. I mean, I just—

drea

Nice!

biz

So many! Those were also the last times I ever saw movies. Uh— [Laughs.] [Drea laughs.] So—Drea—welcome to One Bad Mother! How are you doing and I hope you’ll be brutally honest.

drea

Um, I’m actually good and I think that it’s appropriate and—thank you for having me, as well! But I also think it’s appropriate in answering that for… getting the call to help in a sense of—I feel—I—so I don’t have kids myself. As I was telling you, I have cats that I ask a lot of questions of— [Biz laughs.] —that never truly answer me. Um, but I am a mom ally from way back. And, uh, not to brag—I’m friends with lots of moms. But—

biz

Whaaaat?! [Laughs.]

drea

Yeah! I know! It’s true.

crosstalk

Biz: That’s so cool! Drea: Those are my credentials!

drea

But oddly, in this time, one of my highlights—so I’m self-isolating shelter-in-place so I haven’t seen another person—or another human in person—for over two months now?

biz

Holy shit.

drea

Which is a very different experience than so many people have and it’s really brought to light the idea of… whenever this all finishes or whenever a new normal happens, the idea of this time? What everyone’s gone through? Is so uniquely specific to them? And there isn’t really a shared experience! There are individual experiences and trials and that feeling is gonna be so different from everybody. And the—of course—that’s how life is! Which is a dumb realization that took me like two months of this to figure out? [Biz laughs.] But it’s true! Like, so how we go through everything. But I think it’s been exacerbated in this and so to—being here today and getting to be a part of your show and hopefully, like, helping step in, has been something—for said friends with children—I got to—a couple weeks ago, one of my best friends from college texted me and she’s like—oh my god. [Biz laughs.] My—my son has this freaking paper to do on Romeo and Juliet. I can’t. I’m out. I’m busted. I was like, yeah! Set me up! I fucking love Shakespeare! [Biz laughs.] So I—I Zoomed with her 16-year-old boy, which is probably his biggest nightmare in the world? [Biz laughs.] Talking to some woman he hasn’t seen since he was seven. Definitely doesn’t remember. And who’s asking him, like, so what do you think the Nurse represents? He’s like, who are you? But I have the time for that! I have the bandwidth, ‘cause I’m not doing that all the time! And I think there’s something about having relationships hit this point where we’re filling in those holes. So where I am is—I feel pretty good? Overall? [Through laughter] Largely because of said “always looking for silver linings”? [Biz laughs.] Uh, that said, I watched a movie last night and I sobbed for 43 minutes straight and at least 20 of those minutes were after the movie ended. So—

biz

Nice.

drea

Y’know, we have our moments. But um, yeah.

biz

Yeah. I—oh. I have so many things. I—I wanna touch on when you said about the like—the different experiences? We were—we have delved into that a lot. In parenting. Because… uh, the—the papers, the magazines, the commercials—all of that would really like you to think there is one way to do something. And… there is not at all. So I—I like to think of it as—the collective experience of everybody— [Laughs.] Doing the best they can! In their different situations. Right? Like, what works for one person does not work for somebody else! And that’s… one of a bazillion people. Like, that— [Laughs.]

drea

Right.

biz

[Through laughter] That is—everybody’s not gonna come out of this 100%. But— [Laughs.] Like, what your individual experience is… yeah. They’re completely different and they deserve the respect in allowing it to be identified as different. Right? Like… we constantly talk about—it’s not a competition. I’m not here with my children at you. Trust me! That would be the last thing I would do at somebody! [Laughs.] And you’re not isolating at home at me—right? Like, it’s—

drea

Yeah.

biz

Can I ask what the movie was?

drea

Yes! It’s a movie we’re talking about on Who Shot Ya?, my other podcast this week. It’s called Driveways, by Andrew Ahn. And I adored it. It was tears because of grace? But it was also tears because… it’s a film about this young boy and his mother. And they go to clean out the house of her recently-departed sister? Who is a hoarder? And then she lived next door to Brian Dennehy and it was his last role so there was already ties of that and there’s this little kid who’s befriending these old people— [Biz laughs.] —and so then I just started thinking if I was like, oh! I have all of this older family that I don’t know now if I’m ever gonna see again. I don’t know what travel’s gonna look like. So it was the movie, but it was also—it was one of those, like, perfect keys that fit into like… [Biz laughs.] —this bruised lock in my brain? That just all of like—oh, there’s all the sadness I have! Oh, that’s fun! [Biz laughs.]

crosstalk

Drea: Yeah. There is goes! Yeah! Biz: That’s where I’ve been keeping it!

biz

I’ve been keeping it there!

drea

Yeah. Oh, it’s—it was right there! [Biz laughs.] Got it! Yeah. Yeah.

biz

Well thank you very much for being with us today.

drea

Well, it is—I’m very grateful for it. [Biz laughs.] Um, so now, Biz—I would love to know—how are you?

biz

I’m… physically here. [Drea laughs.] In the same place I’ve been. But I was going to say that what has been on my mind is the… concept of the slippery slope and we’ve spoken about it on this show, like—y’know, the “if you say yes to your kid about one thing… they are going to forever ask for that.” And now, though, my slippery slope is—I—I will be honest. I want so badly to see people? I want so badly to… let my children see people? See their friends physically? And even with the, like… okay, we’ll be six feet apart or maybe we can do it in the yard or maybe like… people can drive by and see each other! It—my head then goes down the slippery slope of—okay, but then what if somebody wants to use the bathroom? Also… hey! Do you know what kids are? They hate following those kind of rules! [Drea laughs.] Right? Like—um—

drea

You know what kids love? Figuring it out exactly six feet between them and their friends!

crosstalk

Drea: They love it! Biz: They love that.

drea

It’s their favorite thing! Slippery slope, indeed.

crosstalk

Drea: You’re doing what you can. Biz: Slippery slope! That’s gonna be my new cocktail.

biz

The “Slippery Slope.” [Drea gasps.]

crosstalk

Drea: Delicious! It’ll have to be— Biz: Thank you. Thank you. It—

drea

It’ll have to be a single-serving cocktail. [Biz laughs.] For safety purposes. Yeah.

biz

That’s right! I mean, it just completely destroys you in that one—but it’s—slippery slope. There’s probably a fire involved. [Drea laughs.] In the—it—it could be—get ready for this transition, guys!—a lovely drink to have… while watching a movie. [Drea gasps.] Ohhhh!

promo

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 and Drea repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss the weekly topic.]

biz

Drea.

drea

Yes.

biz

Movies! A lot of things we could talk about with movies. But… just like I am a parenting expert— [Laughs.] [Drea laughs.] I’m just gonna say—you’re a movie expert! ‘K? We’re just—for the— [Laughs.]

crosstalk

Biz: The—I mean, you— Drea: For—for these purposes—

drea

I can be a movie expert in the same way you’re a parenting expert!

biz

Exactly!

drea

That’s fair!

biz

We—we are both in it. So—

drea

We are in it! Yeah.

biz

I wanna take advantage of that and I wanna start—I—I feel… like I’ve always felt… that movies’ portrayal of mothers had misled me greatly. ‘K? It’s like the Pottery Barn Catalog of the child’s room, where you’re like—if I just paint everything white, my children are gonna be really well-behaved. So— [Drea laughs.] And—and I feel like—I also love apocalyptic movies? Like, I love them. And I am great at surviving an apocalypse. My children are not behaving the way that children in apocalyptic movies behave and that’s upsetting. So—I guess I wanna talk about… to start off with, this image of mothers. And if you say to me “movie with a mom in it,” the first two things that come to my mind—which are horrible role models—is Mommy Dearest and the mother from the movie Sybil. Okay.

crosstalk

Drea: Oh my god! [Laughs.] Biz: Those are horrible!

biz

Those are horrible—horrible mothers.

drea

They’re not great blueprints. You might as well throw in Piper Laurie in—from Carrie.

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah! Piper Laurie from Carrie. Plug it up! Yep. I— Drea: In there. Sure. Yeah.

biz

Definitely… oh!

drea

Or you could also put in—if you’re gonna like— [Biz laughs.] The twist of, um… Shirley MacLaine’s character in Terms of Endearment? Which was—but kind of split the difference! Because was sort of a nightmare human? And like super codependent, overcontrolling? However, had this deep reservoir of love and affection, which is perhaps harder to see in something like Mommy Dearest. [Biz laughs.] Um—

biz

True.

drea

Yeah. Those are not the movies you wanna take your—your, uh, cues from as a mother! But, Biz! You probably feel—you’re doing pretty good—

crosstalk

Drea: —looking at Sybil! You’re like, [inaudible] Biz: Oh yeah! No, I— [Laughs.] They’re my—[inaudible]

biz

The Sybil mom, in particular? I’m doing great! I— [Laughs.]

drea

Like, in your face, Sybil mom!

biz

I know! I’ll take you with the purple crayon lady!

drea

You know what? I—I will say—to bridge off of that, I find it almost more damaging in terms of that comparison you were talking about? The—the moms in movies that are… that it’s effortless. I think that is harder for a mom to palate? Or anyone! Than it is, like, if you’re watching something and you’re like—oh, you’re horrible. So clearly they’re the bad guy. [Biz laughs.] But when you’re watching someone and you’re like—well—why is it—it’s so easy! Like, that’s actually such a case in television?

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah. Television is— Drea: Almost more than—

drea

Almost more than movies ‘cause movies require a certain level of conflict that doesn’t always allow for the kind of Stepford mother? But there is something to be said of… when you’re looking at a fictional character where it’s just like… effortless is the word for it! Right? The just—oh, they know the right thing to say and they’re supportive and like never tired. They certainly never snap at their kids! Like—

biz

They definitely have high-heels on—

crosstalk

Drea: Always. You know what— Biz: And are dressed perfectly.

biz

During the day! [Laughs.]

drea

Yes. Oh, for sure! They have the energy to keep their stuff together and they dress the children before dinner and then like… let’s come out to give their father, like, nod? Or whatever? I—yeah.

crosstalk

Drea: No, those— Biz: Whatever affection was shown. [Laughs.]

drea

Yeah. And I think that there’s such a, um… that—that era of those kinds of mothers? Which was very much your sort of 1960s, um, melodrama and… just family dramas in general? I do think—once you hit the ‘70s, there’s more complexity. Even in anything from as varied as like The Godfather to, y’know, the—

biz

Yeah, no. The—the—the women in The Godfather

drea

Ugh.

biz

Are fascinating.

drea

Mm. Um— [Biz laughs.] The mothers for me—and I had sit—talked to you briefly beforehand about this—that I’ve been really grateful for? The last… especially 10, 15 years? Um, both in indie cinema and in kind of the bigger studio films? Obviously any character that has an authenticity and a well-roundedness is grateful—or, I’m grateful for? But I love seeing mothers like that? And when we—when we talked about this subject. That, um, oh, the topic of mothers in movies. The first mother that came to mind to me? Is actually a stepmother and she’s my favorite stepmom in all of movies. Allison Janney in the movie Juno?

biz

Yes.

drea

It’s Allison Janney anyway, so who doesn’t love her. But she plays a stepmom named Brenda—which, personally, I think all stepmothers should be named Brenda. Like—

crosstalk

Drea: Sorry to any stepmoms out there? Biz: Brenda is a—yes.

drea

You have to change your name. [Biz laughs.] Those are the rules. But I loved that! Because it—she doesn’t have to be a stepmom. She doesn’t have to be written that way. But it’s also a very big reality for so many families that there’s branches and different shapes to them. So I just liked that inclusion. And she—I am also from Minnesota? Which is where Diablo Cody lived a lot of her life, which is where a lot of her stories are based. And man—there is something about the like… [Biz laughs.] —fast-talking, non-nonsense, midwestern mom? That I’m just like, yes! Like, I’m just doing this sort of Tina Fey high-fiving a million angels motion! Like yesss Brenda! And Juno would—so Juno—there’s an unplanned pregnancy and this teenaged girl who’s her stepdaughter, she ends up taking her to the obstetrician. And the woman there is kind of—the technician is very snotty to her? And Brenda gives her this dressing-down which is like… and those are the mom moments that I’m like, that’s it! Right? That’s teaching by example. That’s, like, having your kids’ back in unexpected scenarios. But not—but not effortlessly! Like, she struggles with it! She’s disappointed when she finds out she’s pregnant. Like, there’s layers to it. And I’ve—those are the characters that I think are like… so resonant.

biz

Yeah. I’m with you. Those—those are qualities that I do like when I see them. In… the portrayals of mothers. In movies. I also— [Laughs.] I also think that moms… are portrayed well when they’re portrayed as human beings?

drea

Yes! [Biz laughs.]

biz

Like—when you say well-rounded character, it’s like… well, they’re—they’re more than just… Mom 1. Y’know? Like, they’re—

drea

100%.

biz

Yeah! So… give me—give me more!

drea

Okay. So that’s funny because the other one that came to mind right away—Jamie Lee Curtis in True Lies

biz

Oh, yes!

drea

With Arnold Schwarzenegger, which you may not think of! When you’re like, oh, mothers in movies—probably not the first one to come to mind, but it’s exactly what you’re talking about! Like, their daughter’s kidnapped; that’s a whole part of it and how she’s treating her. But the big thing of that—and why I think it’s such an inter—the fact that it’s so successful in this type of movie makes it stand out even more—is because Jamie Lee Curtis plays a wife and a mother who is ignored in a certain kind of way. And taken for granted by both her partner and her kid and that she’s now just an entity. That she helps sort of… keep things moving. They’re eating because she’s somehow made food appear as if that just happened? Their lives are clean and orderly as if it just happens. And she’s bored. [Biz laughs.] And lacking anything. And so of course in True Lies, her husband is secretly a spy and then sets up a whole thing and she goes on a spy adventure. Which may not be an option for everybody!

biz

No. No. I keep waiting! [Laughs.]

drea

You keep waiting, but what is an option is—it also involves her entire family having to see her in a way that they do not.

biz

Yes.

drea

You know, that she is someone who wants adventure and she wants to be sexy and she wants to be recognized. And I think those are acutely… um, familiar feelings for a lot of women.

biz

Yeah. Well… “women.” [Laughs.]

drea

Right. [Laughs.]

biz

Let’s just start off right there! But also, I think—now I gotta go back and re-watch that movie—because it’s—everything you just described that Jamie Lee Curtis was going through, I think, is a huge part of suddenly finding kids in your house for… women. Like, they—like, you lose… or you have taken from you… any identity that you had before on some level. Right? Like… y’know. Comedian. Eh, well you’re a mom. Right? Like, when you—even when you introduce yourself, you have to be like— [Laughs.] [Dejectedly] I’m a mother. [Regular voice] Right? Like—I—I used to—could never even get those words out of my mouth? ‘Cause I just felt like it deleted anything else I had done prior. And I’ve come to grips with lots of this. But like— [Drea laughs.] But it’s… the fact that—I think there’s a fantasy… for many people who are mothers. [Drea laughs.] As well as fathers who—who are the primary caregivers of… if it’s—the like—this is—It’s a Wonderful Life. If you could only see! But for everybody else to see. Right? Like—

drea

Yes!

biz

That’s the flip! I see it. I see how great I am. I need everybody to acknowledge. And I—so like, Jamie Lee Curtis is—wow. That is now my poster child for… for this desire! Yeah.

drea

And thinking of the audience for a movie like True Lies! I love it when there’s movies that take in… female consideration. One that’s not, um, is adjacent to this but Geena Davis in The Long Kiss Goodnight. That again—in terms of a film that is for a broader audience that has an action element? Geena Davis plays what seems to be a stay-at-home mother who is like super wrapped up in her kid and then all of a sudden realizes, like—oh, no, she’s actually an assassin named Charlie Baltimore who has amnesia and is on the run and she’s a badass and she can do—she has all these knife skills! [Biz laughs.] And she was like—oh! I guess I was a chef in my previous life! You’re like, no, you were an assassin! [Biz laughs.] But the whole thing of it is, like, this connection she’s made to this child. And—and again. Anyway. So I love a good movie that can package motherhood in an unexpected way?

biz

Now… one of my favorite movies to discuss—from a feminist perspective—is Alien.

crosstalk

Biz: ‘K? I— Drea: I was just gonna bring that up!

biz

And I—I cannot believe I have never thought of it from… a… I mean, I’ve always thought about, like—the alien mother versus the, like, y’know, Geena Davis. But I’m thinking of—

crosstalk

Biz: —the AlienDrea: Sigourney Weaver.

biz

2? Where they find Newt? They find the little girl in Alien 2? And like… she takes on this motherhood role!

drea

Yeah!

biz

I—uhhhh.

drea

I wrote a paper back in college about motherhood in Alien? With the Ripley character—which is Sigourney Weaver’s—and in the Terminator franchise, which is Sarah Connor. Um, and the idea of… the strengths of motherhood that are often sort of the assumptions that it just comes with the role? Like, you have a kid and therefore you’re immediately completely protective! And— [Biz laughs.] —immediately like, oh, any—sacrificial! Like, all of these things that come into play and then put into these sort of sci-fi action films. [Biz laughs.] Which I think is fascinating. And I actually… one of the—I will put in a small plug for the—the most recent Terminator: Dark Fate?

biz

Oh, how is it?

crosstalk

Biz: Is it good? Drea: You know what? I—

biz

I wanna see it!

drea

I dug it. I dug it because Sarah Connor comes back and she’s… uh, in her 60s now? It’s Linda Hamilton. Total smokeshow still. Mackenzie Davis plays a younger, kind-of hybrid, uh, Terminator-human. And then there’s a young—oh, I forgot her. This amazing young, um, Latina actress… like, in her 20s. That’s young for me. Not like, a child. [Biz laughs.] But, um, who’s ultimately the hero. But one of the things they talk about is—Sarah as a mother—as all of these things of—built into the Terminator franchise! Sarah Connor had value only because she gave birth to the boy that would become the man that would lead the rebellion? And Dark Fate kind of twists that! And in—in—

biz

Did people just hate it because of that?

crosstalk

Biz: Did they just like— [Laughs.] Drea: I am—yea.

drea

It—I am convinced that it—it did okay? But it didn’t do great? And I do think it’s because they put, like, the women first in the marketing.

biz

Yeah, I’m sure. No, I’m—I’m sure.

drea

But it had a really thoughtful takeaway. I—

crosstalk

Biz: I love that. I can’t— Drea: If it—if it tickles your fancy—yeah.

biz

I’ll watch that. ‘Cause I—my favorite movies are movies in which people beat the shit out of each other?

drea

Oh, yeah.

biz

Like, for justified reasons? [Drea laughs.] Usually justified reasons make me… the most happy. But occasionally—I’ll just watch something where people are beating the crap out of each other. So—hence True Lies. But now I’m gonna need to go watch the new Terminator movie—

crosstalk

Biz: ‘Cause—yeah! Drea: Dark Fate! Yeah!

biz

Dark Fate! I’m way into that! This—let me let this segue briefly into talking about movies as an escape. Y’know, I know a lot of people—my husband is a huge movie watcher. I used to be a very big movie watcher and then I just got too tired to stay up late? [Laughs.] But I know that movies definitely offer an escape for him, especially… right now. Talk to me a little bit about, y’know, your thoughts on movies as a form of escape, especially right now.

drea

One of the things that I always talk about films as having? Is flavors. And I think—like, the same as eating—you’re just in different moods for different flavors at different times? And there’s also some shit you just never like! Some people don’t like spicy food and some people don’t like horror films. And that is totally fine. Like, flavor is flavor. I think for me right now? I have discovered— [Biz laughs.] —I am coasting on—like, much like if I went two steps further I would basically just eat donuts for all meals? [Biz laughs.] Like—that’s the kind of movies I’m looking for right now? Of like, oh, is there a powdered sugar donut movie? That’s what I’m wanting. So I’m personally—my escapism? Is almost exclusively, like… Agatha Christie adaptations? [Biz laughs.] Of octogenarian lady detectives living in a small village. Dealing with vicars. Like, that stuff is great for me. I’m like, it’s manageable; it’s in, like, the 1940s; so I—I not only know the bad stuff that’s coming for them? I know what’s coming for a long time! So— [Biz laughs.] That’s where I’m ending up. I think the other thing that’s become key at this point? With us all at home and with people looking at both, like, for you—if you’re—if you’re thinking of viewing as, oh, I have an hour to myself somewhere so I wanna watch something. Or, I think we’re viewing things as a family differently? And I think that your—people’s time with screens and people’s time watching has had to sort of change and shift with all this going on. And I’ve always looked at movies as being a social entity—entertainment. Rather than just a—y’know, it seems like they’re quiet and it seems like it’s an individual thing, but I look at them as—it’s both the movie that you’re sharing but then also, what conversations are you having afterwards? What callbacks? What ongoing jokes does that set off with you and your family—whoever you’ve watched something with. So those are the things that I think a lot of people—and a lot of my—like I said, my mom friends are berating themselves right now of, ugh, we’re watching so much stuff! And to me, I’m like, no, that’s—that’s—a-okay.

biz

Well, like a—like a family bonding experience with it. I—yeah. You know what? That’s really interesting. I will say that movies… my relationship with movies has—but for the most part—been in a movie theater. And the bonding—even though I don’t know the people in the theater? There are many movies that, when I recall the movie, I’m also recalling the experience of the movie, like… the people watching it around me. Uh, opening night of Jurassic Park was that. Star Trek. Y’know. Pretty much any original Star—y’know, when Spock died. Ho-ho-ho-hooooly shit! That was a—but like, I remember my father and I coming to visit Los Angeles. He was coming out for a work trip and at the time we were living in Alabama. And we go to like the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. We go in—and to be honest, I don’t remember what movie we were going to see. But the lights go down and the trailers start to play and it’s pitch-black dark. Y’know, all the lights out. And then you hear… [singing] Dun dun… dun duhhhhh… and then— [Laughs.] dun dun du du dun du du duh [regular voice] and it’s in all blackness! And it’s the Rocky theme and it’s for like Rocky 2 or 3—I think it’s 3—and everybody in the theater goes apeshit crazy. [Drea laughs.] It’s like, USA!!! Raaaah! Versus Russia! Raaaah! Right? Everybody—and like—that will always, like, have this, like, physical sensation? Uh, like, memric. A physical… memory when I think about that and I—I think I—I definitely… feel like I have taken for granted the movie theater experience and—recently. Y’know, as a—as a parent and just, like… time and we all get to reevaluate all of our choices, guys. [Laughs.] Right? During this time together and apart. Yeah! I—I—I see that. I think that that’s… something that could be very interesting… to see where we come out.

drea

Yeah.

biz

In terms of how we are experiencing movies and how our kids are, uh, experiencing them.

music

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

music

Laid-back acoustic guitar plays in the background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Candlewick Press, publishers of Baby Clown, the hilarious new picture book about a frazzled circus family when its newest star is born. Award-winning author Kara LaReau and Caldecott medalist illustrator Matthew Cordell juggle wit and warmth in a story relatable to any parent or caregiver who has tried just about everything to soothe a wailing baby. Baby Clown—available now wherever books are sold. [Music fades.]

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, Drea. Genius me.

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! [Biz and Drea repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective genius moments of the week.]

drea

Alright. So we are coming off of Mother’s Day—Mother’s Day weekend. And— [Biz laughs.] —um, we’re obviously all in different spaces. I also live—like, my parents retired to Northern California and my sister’s in New York and my brother’s in Minnesota. So we’re kind of all over the place anyway. And, um, we’ve been Zooming more regularly. And my genius was—I was very proud for our, like, Mother’s Day Clark Family Zoom! [Biz laughs.] I put together a scavenger hunt for each of their houses? And then like I shared a screen—I gave them team names based on their names? Like, I did portmanteaus of like—yeah. I was very—like— [Biz laughs.] My sister’s name is Bevin and her husband’s name is Bill and their kids’ names start with “J-A”? And their team name was BillBevJaVoe?

biz

No!

drea

And I was, like, super proud of myself for that? [Biz laughs.] And so they had this list and like I set up these rules, like, one person can be a runner for each family! And they don’t get to count until they bring it back and put it in front of the camera and I see it! And… anyway. So it was—it was so fun and it was this thing of—it would’ve been fun regardless? But pulling off something right now? I mean, I say “pulling off”—really it was not that difficult. And I encourage you to try it! But I was like— [Biz laughs.] —beaming. I was like, yessss!

biz

You are—

drea

Games!

biz

—a fucking genius! That—

drea

It was great!

crosstalk

Drea: It was great. Biz: That is about to be tried by lots of people. [Laughs.]

drea

Oh, I hope so! Please do!

biz

Because I am looking for anything new. And that’s… amazing. [Laughs.] I’m so torn. Uh, sometimes on what I want to share. But I think I am going—my genius is that I married well? A—married somebody who likes to bake? And… again, years of working through resentment of—[viciously] oh, you just get to spend your time baking while I’ve been trying to—[regular voice] that’s all gone. And the payoff is—I’m gonna show this to Hannah and Drea. Stefan has started making—we used to do this thing with the kids on Monday when we picked them up from school? We’d go get donuts? Uh, and we can’t do that now? And Stefan has learned how to make muthafucking donuts! [Laughs.]

drea

Did I not just mention donuts?!

biz

Yeah! And he just—

drea

Oh my god.

biz

He just brought it in to me? And they are—

crosstalk

Drea: It is beautiful! Biz: They are duh-licious.

drea

It’s like a beautiful glazed donut with perfect rainbow sprinkles.

biz

Yes!

drea

I’m dying. I’m very impressed.

biz

It’s—all my mid-40s reaction to sugar is just—I don’t even care! I don’t even care about the headache I’m about to get. [Drea laughs.]

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, One Bad Mothers! Um, I’m calling with a genius today because we’ll take the smallest victories where we can get them any time these days. Um, my husband and I are trying to work from home with our full-time jobs while also caring for our 22-month old. Um, and—y’know. That’s been tough. Um, and this morning the kiddo decided to throw an epic tantrum right in the middle of a check-in that I was having over the phone with my team and I had to jump off, um, to deal with that ‘cause dealing with a crying child and also trying to listen to the phone call was just not compatible! And the thing that finally pulled the toddler out of his tantrum was a few wet paper towels and a large window and we are washing the windows. And it’s the simplest thing because, y’know, I’m able to actually clean the white vinyl around this window that’s never been clean for the three years that we’ve been living in this house and the kid is no longer screaming. And y’know, I’m not getting any work done? But I’m also feeling a little bit like a genius. So we are all doing a good job. We are all surviving the best we can. And thank you for your show.

biz

You are doing a great job! And let me tell you why I love this. I love that the genius had nothing to do with actual work. It—the genius was how to calm [though laughter] down your tantruming toddler? Like… I—ah! I love this. And this just goes—this just circles us all the way, like, back to this idea that—guess what? People have children in their house! And like, they’re not… they’re not… secondary! Right? Like they’re— [Laughs.]

drea

They continue to exist! Yeah!

biz

They continue to exist! And I… I just… uh, you’re doing… you’re doing a really good job! Failures. Fail me, Drea.

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 and Drea repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective failures of the week.]

drea

Okay! So… my failure is in the realm of self-care? Which—which can sound as if it’s like, oh, I didn’t get enough time to give myself a facial this weekend— [Biz laughs.] But no. It is as much as my, um, exterior life is still coping okay? Like, yeah! I’m feeling decent. Mental health, decent. However, nighttime Drea is like… joke’s on you! You’re gonna be a teeth grinder now! So I have been grinding my teeth in my sleep— [Biz groans.] —to the point of pain. And the—the saddest—the fail isn’t that I’m doing that, ‘cause man—I can’t control that. [Biz laughs.] It’s that over a week ago, I bought a mouthguard? To try and remedy this? But I have not yet unwrapped it ‘cause you have to like boil it and do a whole thing to like set your teeth in it. So every couple days I wake up with my jar hurting and I’m like, you dumbass. [Biz laughs.] Put your freaking mouthguard together and sleep in it! Like, that’s my fail. It’s so stupid.

biz

Yeah. You are doing a horrible job. [Drea laughs.] Taking care of yourself.

drea

Good. Thank you.

biz

So we all see you.

drea

Good.

biz

We all— [Laughs.] I—in one of these, like, bursts of—I have to reconnect with people!!! I have been talking to many people. About the fact that I had recently bought and downloaded, uh, You Don’t Know Jack and a few of the other games. I—in the ‘90s, uh, or maybe early 2000—I don’t know. However old I am. I used to play a lot of this sassy—sassy, irreverent trivia game You Don’t Know Jack. And I thought—this’ll be great! Yes! You can play this with multiple people. I did all this research. I’m gonna—I’m even gonna tell my school about it! We do this for like an event! Stefan and I sat down to play it—just the two of us—uh, over the weekend. And— [Laughs.] And… Stefan was like—well, how do people do this if they can’t see the screen? ‘Cause what you do is you—you see the screen where the questions come up and then you go to, like, YouDon’tKnowJack.com—or .tv or whatever—

drea

On your phone.

biz

And then that’s your—your—on your phone. And your—all you see there are the answers! Like, as the A, B, C choices that you get to pick from. And that’s when it hit me—oh, this is unsharable unless I, like, Zoom screenshare—in my mind, it was the kind of thing where if I gave you the code, you would just… go to your computer and you’d be able to see it, too. And it’s not. And I spent money on that? And I was like I’ve told lots of people I’m ready to share this thing with you guys! And I’m like, oh, it’s just gonna be a lot of fucking extra work to share it? So… uh, expectations… crushed.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi! This is a fail. I was trying to make my life easier? And I remembered that there were two more plastic plates in the back of the cabinet from when my oldest was little? So I pulled them out and now the only thing that my three-year-old and two-year-old will eat off of are the Cars plate and the Toy Story 3 plate. Three meals a day. And if we give them a different plate, they demand the Cars plate and the Toy Story plate. So I suck and I’m doing a terrible job. I should definitely not try to make my life easier. [Sighs.]

biz

You clearly have listened to this show. Because the fail— [Drea laughs.] —is trying to make your life easier. That’s—we’ve proven that time and time again! Also, Drea, you might not know this— [Drea laughs.] —but two- and three-year-olds are kind of difficult. And this woman has one of both in her home. So nothing is easy. Uh, right now. And you are doing a horrible job just trying to make things fun. [Drea laughs.] You can’t have fun!

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.]

music

Jazzy piano music plays in background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Care.com. As the world’s largest online destination for finding and managing family care, Care.com helps millions of families find high-quality care for their children, aging loved ones, homes, and pets. I need help now that school is closed. Did you know you could find a tutor to help your child continue to learn from home? Well, you can! With tools and information to guide families through the hiring process, reviews, background checks—Care.com provides a platform for finding all kinds of family care services. From childcare to senior care; errands; housekeeping and pet care. Care.com can even help you with all your household employer obligations, including payroll and taxes with Care.com home pay. To save 30% off a Care.com premium membership, visit Care.com/badmother or use promo code “badmother.” [Music fades out.]

biz

Hey, Theresa! Let’s call someone today!

promo

Upbeat guitar with choral voices.

biz

This week we are talking to Chloe Cooney, who is an advocate and writer focused on expanding access to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the United States and around the world. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her wife and son—welcome, Chloe!

chloe cooney

Thank you! It’s great to be here.

biz

It is nice to have you here. And I just, y’know, spoiler alert—gave away the answer to the first question— [Chloe laughs.][Through laughter] we like to ask all our guests. But maybe—maybe something’s changed. Who lives in your house?

chloe

Yeah. So, um, I’m bunkered down here with my wife and my five-year-old son and whatever character is—or characters are—making up the day in our house. So we’ve got stuffed animals and Legos and they’re—on any given day, really—active participants [through laughter] so. [Biz laughs.]

biz

So—did you say five years old?

chloe

Five. Yeah. He’s a five-year-old.

biz

Oh yeah. There’s—there’s a lot of… people. That—that are created.

chloe

Yeah. Humans. Stuffed animals. All of it. Yeah. Mm-hm.

biz

Oh yeah. Yeah. So… here’s something we’ve been asking guests recently. Given… given the current situation in the world—how—how are you?

chloe

[Deep breath.] You know? I mean, I feel like I’m answering this on a minute-by-minute basis? So, um, permission to change an answer in 30 minutes. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] But I’m okay right now. Um, we just—we—I—you’re—I’m on East Coast time so we just did dinner with my son. Who had a high—we do highs and lows. He had a high today so I feel not like the worst parent in the world? [Laughs.]

biz

Yeah. No, that’s a great way to—like, the weather. It was a nice day?

crosstalk

Biz: It was—like, a high—right. Yeah. [Laughs.] Chloe: Yeah. It’s—it was—I mean, not that I go outside these days. Right? But.

chloe

It’s sunny. Um, yeah. So I’m okay. I’ve—y’know. It’s Monday, which is always like the day you—you sort of—I’m already really behind this week but my son, y’know, was okay at dinner and we all had dinner together so that’s a—a win, I would say.

biz

Yeah. No. That’s a win. You gotta take the wins. Where you can.

chloe

My other win is that he is in his PJs all day? But it’s not the same as yesterday.

biz

Oooaa! That is very good!

chloe

Yeah. As long as we’re not doing PJs—the same PJs for two days in a row? I feel victorious. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Chloe, we have had you here because you wrote, uh, pretty much a… spot-on article that came out really at the beginning of all of this sheltering-in-place. When this started, our first show back—well, not back. Our first show of the—of the COVID times definitely… touched base on… some shit hitting the fan when it comes to… responsibility! Of all sorts! Emotional. Emotional well-being of small people in our house. Educational well-being. All the whole—I mean, we—we refer to it as “President of Everything”? And… you—you wrote this article “The Parents Are Not All Right.” It is… for us to have to shelter-in-place at the same time that we wrestle constantly with the image of parenting; the image of motherhood; the image of perfection; and Pinterest; and— [Chloe laughs.] —Instagram; and fucking everything. I would really like you to… talk about… why, oh, I can tell you why. But why— [Laughs.] [Chloe laughs.] Thank you for saying it. What led to the article for you? Let’s just start there.

chloe

Yeah. No. Well, um… yeah! I mean, I think—like so many of us, and D. C. started—I think—only a few days after—maybe a week later after, um, California. But um, and that first Monday we woke up where we would—this was like, what was happening. I was like—am I in a satire? Like… I feel like I’m in a—a spoof movie. And it just—the impossibility kind of came crashing down on me. [Biz laughs.] And, y’know, I—had my little homeschool box ready to go. I was gonna create a routine. And I—I didn’t have, like, big expectations? Like, I was not delusional about what I could do? And, um… and it just—it was so hard! And I—I was so angry at how hard it was and that that was sort of not part of the conversation. And every parent I knew was having that feeling. And over, y’know, the first few weeks it was, um, parents were all talking to each other, going, oh my god, this is fucking impossible! But I didn’t see that coming out in the broader… landscape. Yeah! And I was disheartened! And then I started to hear discourse like about a month in of people online; out in the world; of people sort of saying… oh, the parents that work—it was hard, but they’re fine now. And I was like, oh, I know they’re not fine. [Laughs.] I mean, I’m talking to enough of them. I know they’re not fine. And I just sort of… it made me enraged! [Biz laughs.] Um… that was kind of it. And I was so sort-of worked up that I just sort of, y’know, threw up on the page. And… and I—and I felt—and it was because it felt invisible. It was clear to me that what was happening… was so obvious to every parent I knew? And so… invisible to every non-parent I knew. And I was so mad that it wasn’t just coming up and a part of the conversation, that this is a big load to bear! And I am still disheartened, frankly, that it’s not more a part of that. I mean, we’re talking about states reopening and we’re not putting childcare as essential contingency on that. Um, it’s—y’know, I think there’s been more conversation since the essay came out for sure? But it still feels like it’s cloistered among parent groups? Um, and it’s not mainstream yet. And it’s disheartening! ‘Cause I think—

crosstalk

Chloe: It hasn’t— Biz: Well, families have never been mainstream?

biz

What is true is that… we know they exist. Right? Family—clearly—kids are in people’s houses. But other than that, they exist totally separately than what we deem as reality. Which is… work. For me, the thing that kind of pokes my enrage button right now is… a lot of articles that have been coming out recently like—maybe now! [Chloe laughs.] We’ll see. Maybe now we’ll have… universal healthcare. Maybe now… we’ll have parental leave that makes sense! Maybe now… women— [Laughs.] Will be seen as not the assumed sacrificer of career. In—in a dual household. The article really touches on this. You have a thing in there that say, y’know, viruses—or in this case, global pandemics—expose and exacerbate the existing dynamics of a society. It’s very well-said. That was a lot more concise than whatever I just yelled out. [Chloe laughs.] And one of these dynamics is the burden we put on individual parents and families! And we’re asking them to solve it. Here we are, two-and-a-half months, really, into this. Where do you see us from when… this started and you wrote this article and where we are now?

chloe

Yeah. Well, I mean… I—I mean, just to go back to what you were saying before about, y’know, viruses expose—exacerbate? And that is something I—y’know, I work in global health so I see these dynamics. Any time there’s a crisis, you see whatever the sort of fault lines are come out? I mean, I think we’re seeing it in the—the deaths—the death toll of COVID is—is disproportionately leaning on people of color? And that’s not because of the disease; it’s because of racism. And that’s an existing fault line. Um, and it was—y’know, I think in writing this essay it—part of what also motivated it was I know that we’re really privileged. Like, we have two, y’know… two parents to one kid. Like, the ratio’s good! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] Um, I mean—we’re his entire social network, but nonetheless. The ratio for caretaking is good. We both are employed. Both of our jobs can be done from home, right? Like, we can do it remotely. I know people whose jobs cannot be done remotely, right? Our families are not impacted by COVID right now. Like, none of—our parents are not sick. Um, so all of the above, y’know, we—and yet, it still felt so hard? And I knew it’s that much worse for folks who don’t have the same opportunities and resources that my family does. We’re two moms and both of, y’know, as a consequence sort of like socially expected to be the caregivers in our families. [Biz laughs.] Like, there’s no—I’ve talked to friends who have a very coequal partnership in their household and yet, y’know, their husbands’ employers don’t respect that they have childcare responsibilities. And I think that’s happening a lot. Um, I think it’s probably also harder in some cases for… men in workplaces to, y’know, speak up! And raise their hand. And say, I can’t do it. Whereas like… y’know. I was pregnant. I was breastfeeding at my office—I mean, I’ve done—I’ve done it all! [Laughs.] Outright. Um, and again, I—I’m not a person who ever felt like I had kept my parenting invisible. I didn’t feel overly like I had to separate those things? It’s just the situation. And what’s sort of asked of all of us—employers and employees alike—is really impossible at the end of the day. So I—I do think something’s coming up? But I—I’m getting increasingly—I—y’know, I—the outpouring to the essay was really overwhelming and validating in some ways? But it was also very heartbreaking. Um… ‘cause I—I didn’t think I was alone.

chloe

I’d talked to enough people to know that this was not, y’know, a unique experience? But I didn’t expect to hear it as widely as I did. I mean, I, y’know, one person on my Facebook feed was like—oh, it’s all over Cyprus. And I was like, what?! [Biz laughs.] It is like—all over the world people were sharing it and reaching out to me. I got a bunch of people from Europe saying, oh, I thought this was written by someone in Europe. And y’know, honestly, naively I did think… this was maybe more of an American burden? Because we don’t have universal healthcare. Because we don’t have parental leave. And I have no doubt that the fact that we don’t have universal healthcare is making this harder? And the—the pressures greater for so many families? Um, but it turns out that this experience of having to do both things at once is being felt around the world. Um, and parents are… are, um, are feeling that. But I—y’know… and—when you look at who are the, y’know, frontline healthcare workers around the world? They’re predominantly women. Who are the caregivers around the world? They’re predominantly women. They’re predominantly the same people! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] You know? And it’s—I’m like—it doesn’t work! Like, this is crazy! So… um… I—I think that there’s been increased awareness? But I’m… y’know, now two-and-a-half months in, I guess, getting a little disheartened that it’s not… it’s not top of mind! And it’s not—as I said—top of mind as we talk about, uh, reopening states. Um, y’know. When are places gonna reopen? Well it—like—to me, it’s such a moot point until you talk about when schools are reopening. And—

crosstalk

Biz: Exactly. Chloe: When it’s safe to do so.

biz

Exactly. Yeah. We had… we don’t know when our school’s gonna reopen. There’s an assumption: fall. And—

chloe

At this point, I’m like hoping fall.

biz

Yeah! We’re hoping fall. [Chloe laughs.] But even then, you know that it could be, maybe, two days a week. And then three days home learning. Or half a day. Or… y’know… this rotating schedule. Y’know, it’s like… I keep thinking… okay. I—I have a flexible schedule as a podcaster. ‘K? So I get to do my work at night. When everybody’s done. My partner, he… y’know, definitely has been working from home and strangely has a ton of work. Sometimes at night. Sometimes, y’know, very early. And… I get it. Like, I get it. Right? But like, even—and I think this is something… that we don’t touch on enough, too. Just because I have the time… to do it. Comparatively. Doesn’t mean I enjoy it? Or… y’know, or… am feeling rewarded by it or want to do it. I wonder about… the mental health of parents coming out of this. And that’s also not being discussed. So fix it! Can you fix it for us? And I know the answer is no. But! [Laughs.]

chloe

I—yeah. Y’know, I—y’know, it’s interesting. One of the—a bunch of the reactions I’ve gotten from the essay were also from people who weren’t two working families? Two working-parent families? They were—someone was home and they were like it’s still hard. And the reality is—y’know, parenting is a group sport! Like, we’re not built to be like sequestered and y’know our kids need to go to playgrounds. [Laughs.] And run around. Like, they—staying inside is—y’know, that’s one of the hardest things, I think, for us right now. Is watching our son… he won’t go outside right now. Um, and we have to like kind of force him into the car and drive somewhere far away to like a forest? [Laughs.] Or something? Um… and—and I know a lot of kids are like that right now. But it’s—it’s not good! Like, I’m worried that he’s not moving more and, um, so it’s—I think it’s hard no matter what? The extra layer of the working and not having that flexibility that’s—some people are—I mean, I’ve heard stories, too, from parents who have really no flexibility and it’s, um, really outrageous. I’m like, give me your boss’s email! [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

crosstalk

Biz: I am going to email them this article! [Laughs.] Chloe: I am joining your guys’ Zoom! [Laughs.]

biz

That’s right! I am gonna Zoom-bomb the shit out of this! Tits out. Like, we are going for it. I’m just gonna fill the screen with children. [Laughs.]

chloe

Yeah. Exactly. I don’t’ have any—I mean, I—y’know. I feel very—y’know, in a very supportive space. It’s just—it—it doesn’t change the fundamentals of like what’s—what’s happening. And I do! I think it’s so—the mental health. I mean, the—the other thing I’ve been thinking about a lot is parents are multitasking 100% of the time now. Like, there is not a moment in the day when my brain is not in at least three places. And, y’know, you could say—oh, isn’t that normal? But… not like this. Right?

biz

No. It’s not the same.

crosstalk

Chloe: It’s not the same. Biz: It’s not the same.

biz

Y’know, it’s not… it’s—this is not the same as homeschooling. This is not the same as… y’know… a week off. It’s… [Chloe laughs.]

chloe

God, no!

biz

It’s not the same as normal parenting, which is already a shitshow. Right? Of just… of—of—of different, like, [screams] all the time. Let me wrap up on this: is there one thing that we can yell about the most?

chloe

[Deep breath.] I mean I think, um, right now? Y’know, I—my biggest takeaway is we don’t—as a society—value caregiving enough. And that’s evident across this epidemic. Right? Like, teachers. Frontline health workers. Right? Like, across the board, we don’t value caregiving as a—as a—as an enterprise. And yet it is fundamental to our society. To functioning. And as a friend of mine said on Twitter, parents are essential workers. [Laughs.] And I think that’s right. So I—I would love to re-envision—y’know, we talk about like the—the sort of world post-COVID and sort of America 2.0 or—I don’t know. 6.0. I don’t know what number we’re on. Um, and I’d love for caregiving to be a fundamental pillar that we build out from and think about? But at the minimum, we should be talking about… our management of this epidemic? With that as a central focus. I think. [Biz laughs.] We should be thinking about what are reopening strategies tied to what parents and people who are giving—it’s not just parents. I mean, it’s all forms of caregivers who are on the frontlines in need? Because I—y’know—the tools for employers are not great, either. Right? It’s not—it’s not like a… good guy/bad guy thing at all. It’s that we don’t have the tools as a society to do this well. Um, so I think putting that central focus of caregiving—of parenting—as… a really key element and a precondition of the next stages, uh, would be the thing I’m focused on today. But—but I do think it’s a much bigger conversation.

biz

Uh, yeah. No. 100%. And maybe we’ll just have to have you come back and have a bigger conversation! [Laughs.]

chloe

Would love it. [Laughs.]

biz

Chloe, thank you so much for joining us, and thank you for writing… that article. I—it… it definitely made me and many of our listeners feel seen. And… that’s… what we really need. [Chloe laughs.] Right now. So.

chloe

Agreed. Agreed. Yeah.

biz

So thank you so much for joining us.

chloe

Well, thank you! And this conversation made me feel more seen, so thank you for that.

biz

Oh, good! Oh, I see the shit out of you right now! [Both laugh.] Alright!

crosstalk

Biz: Well stay safe! You too. Bye. Chloe: Alright. Have a good one. You too. Take care.

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: Slow, suspenseful, sci-fi-style synth music—like something one might find in a 1980s sci-fi show. Speaker 1: Strange planets. Curious technology. And a fantastic vision of the distant future. Featuring Martin Star. Martin Starr: So we’re going on Day 14. Shuttle still hasn’t come. Speaker 1: Aparna Nancherla. Aparna Nancherla: The security system provides you with emotional security. You do the rest! Speaker 1: Echo Kellum. Echo Kellum: Can you disconnect me, or not? Speaker 1: Hari Kondabolu. Hari Kondabolu: I’m staying. Speaker 1: From Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Geoffrey McGivern! Geoffrey McGivern: Could you play Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Want To Have Fun”? Speaker 1: It’s… The Outer Reach! Stories… from beyond. Speaker 2: Now available for free at MaximumFun.org or anywhere you listen. [Music wraps up.]

promo

Music: Fun, upbeat music. [Speakers 1 and 2 talk over each other and fade out as Jesse Thorn starts a voiceover.] Speaker 1: I can't hear myself, but I'm assuming that— Speaker 2: Are you plugged in? Is your headset plugged in headphones? Jesse Thorn: These are real podcast listeners. Not actors! [Speakers 1 and 2 continue speaking over each other briefly.] Speaker 3: Hey, thanks for coming! Here's a list of descriptors. What would you choose to describe the perfect podcast? Speaker 1: I mean, "vulgarity." Speaker 2: "Dumb." Definitely "dumb." Speaker 1: And like... uh, right here. This one. "Meritless." Speaker 3: What if I told you there was a podcast that did have all of that? Speaker 1: [Gasps.] Speaker 2: No! Speaker 3: Jordan, Jesse, Go! ...And it's free! Speakers 1 & 2: [Astonished] Jordan, Jesse, Go!? [A round of applause in the background.] Speaker 1: Jordan, Jesse, Go! Jesse: Jordan, Jesse, Go! A real podcast. [Music ends.]

biz

Oh my god. I love… talking to Chloe! It’s like… she… says all the things that I feel. Speaking… of saying all the things that I feel. [Laughs.] Let’s listen to a mom have a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] I’m just calling to rant. I’m on week four of homeschooling. And I have a seven-year-old, a five-year-old, and a three-year-old and a husband who… is an essential worker. So he’s out working. Nothing too crazy with the frontlines, but… I tried so hard today. I tried to make fucking slime with them. It was a disaster. Everyone’s screamed and cried and it stuck everywhere. Okay. Fine. We watched some TV. They did some learning things. I snuggled them. I read them books. Now I’m trying to do an art project with them and everyone is fucking mad about it! So I suggested we take a break. And they can’t take the break! They can’t let it go! And my seven-year-old’s following me around asking me to help him. I said I tried. He was like, when did you try? When did you try? And I said—I tried when I fucking did the art project with you. I’ve never done this before. I just tried. I need a break. And here comes the five-year-old. Thanks. You’re doing a good job.

biz

[Deep breath.] Okay. [Drea laughs.] First of all—you are doing… a really. Good. Job. One of my favorite parts—it’s weird to say I have a favorite part about, uh, moms having breakdowns. But it—one of my favorite parts was where you just started right at the beginning: I tried really hard today. And I could—I could—this might have to be a topic for a future show. I tried really hard today. And that’s what we’re all trying to do! Is just, like, try really hard—and it—‘cause everybody’s like, [mocking voice] be present! Be present in the day! [Laughs.] [Regular voice] It’s just like—one step! And so… you are… and you’re rewarded… with screaming and crying. And this—this goes right to the heart of the fallacy of like… fucking Instagram and Facebook and Pottery Barn catalogs and some of those movies and TV shows. You only see the perfect cookies. After they’re done being made. No one posts pictures of the kids crying during the science experiment with the balloon and the shaving cream. No one sees the, like… 30 minutes it takes to set that shit up. For the five minutes of, like… art. And—that still gets met with, like, resentment and anger! And then the, like, hour of having to clean all that shit back up! Like, it’s… it’s—and there’s—and I think—I think—if I may—uh, being home… [Drea laughs.] —all the time, and being responsible for the emotional, educational, and many other “—al” well-beings of these little people in our house—is… when they start screaming and yelling… during the fun thing that you planned. You really can feel kicked in the boob. Right? Like— [Drea laughs.] —you could just kicked—whatever—whatever part of your body you don’t wanna be kicked in—I’ve recently been kicked a lot in the boob by Ellis. And he is just way too big to be crawling on me. But there we go. Regression is fun. Uh, maybe in the nuts. Maybe in the knee. Maybe just right in the face. That’s a good place. You’re getting kicked there uh, and—yeah! Like, how are you supposed to walk away from that? I—

drea

Yeah. I—this is so hard because I hear this and—again—as, um, a mom ally and not a mom? I am also someone who, um… I’m a daughter? I don’t know if I—I included that in my bio!

biz

I—I’m gonna assume that—

drea

Oh, sure, sure! [Biz laughs.] But I have these very acute memories of my mother, especially when I became a nightmare pre-teen, teenager. The most regular thing she would say when she was disappointed or upset with me was saying how I was ungrateful. And I think that that is something that parents feel so acutely? And I hear her in the idea of putting this whole thing together—I’m already like, oh, you just did 15 more things than I did today. You made slime? I don’t even know what that entails— [Biz laughs.] —let alone googling it and getting the crap for it and setting up—dealing with three humans? No, forget it. But that—that you’re met with… um… when did you try? Oh, no.

biz

Yeah. And then this all cycles back to some sort of guilt that I haven’t been doing enough in letting my children figure things out on their own. So again—

drea

Fun!

biz

—full circle. You… are doing… a really good job.

drea

Such a good job!

biz

Drea? What have we learned today? We have learned… that… uh… to find the most realistic versions of motherhood. Find it in action movies. [Biz laughs.]

drea

[Laughs.] An unexpected education for us! Yes.

biz

Yeah! I think—that and… treat mothers like, uh, the individuals and selves and fully-developed people that they are? Or once were.

drea

Yes. [Biz laughs.] Yes! Yes. They contain multitudes! I also think the power of recognizing a character going through a struggle you relate to? Is not a small one? I think the idea of seeing yourself in a story is huge? And… I think, uh, forgiving yourself for embracing stories through the screen. Is key! I really do.

biz

Yes. I would rather—there are days, for sure—that I—we are so screened out with the Zooms and the learning and… y’know. Some days you’re learning math online on a website. Some days you’re printing things out. Like, all the screen time that goes in to learning from home makes you not ever wanna be on a screen again. Maybe we should just nix that screen time— [Drea laughs.] —and only watch movies, like, all day. Like, a bigger screen just feels— [Laughs.] Feels like a more valid screen? I’m gonna let that be one of my takeaways from the day. Everybody? You are doing… a remarkable job. This is… a… just a… remarkably fucked up and confusing time. On top of… all the other stuff. I—I mean, like, you still—there’s still work! Or maybe there’s not work right now! And those are really stressful. Uh, there are possibly kids in your house. That is incredibly stressful. Everybody is making it work the way it works best and tomorrow, you might realize it didn’t and you wanna try something else. We all get to keep trying new stuff. You’re doing a remarkable job. We see the shit out of you. And… uh, let’s go out and see the shit out of each other? Right now? And… you are remarkable. Drea? Thank you so much for joining me today. This was absolutely amazing and I will—when—100% have you back on to just talk feminist movies with me.

drea

I would love to!

biz

Uh, ‘cause that could just be a lot of fun and we all need to not—to like, have something else to focus on. And—me on a soapbox is a lot of fun. Uh— [Drea laughs.] And— [Laughs.] Everybody should go check out Who Shot Ya? Thank you also for being an ally. [Drea laughs.] And you are doing—you are doing a very good job.

drea

Thank you, Biz! I had so much fun here. Um, I got to talk about helping my friend’s kid with Romeo and Juliet, which is all I’ve really wanted to talk about for weeks now. [Biz laughs.] And it’s—no one else has asked! So this was a great thing for me. I would like to say—I love this show. I love the energy of it. I love all moms. Swearing in their heads. [Biz laughs.] Cursing their hearts out as they stare at a small, angry child dealing with their slime. So good job to them. Great job to you, Biz. [Biz laughs.] You’re keeping it going!

biz

We’re here!

drea

You’re doing it!

crosstalk

Biz: We’re doing it! Drea: You’re getting it done!

drea

Day by day! One day at a time!

biz

That’s right. And we’re gonna do it again next week, guys! Come hell or high water! We will talk to you next week.

crosstalk

Biz and Drea: Byeeeee!

music

“Mama Blues” by Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans. Strumming acoustic guitar with harmonica and lyrics. I got the lowdown momma blues Got 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 MaxFun; 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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