TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Ep. 374: What Will It Take to Slay the Motherhood Myth with Lyz Lenz

Biz talks with Lyz Lenz about her new book, Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women. We get all riled up this week and for good reason. It turns out that as women, we are still not being given agency over our own bodies. We talk about cultural myths and how those influence how women’s bodies are viewed, specifically pregnant women and mothers. Plus, Biz could get used to Theresa stopping by! 

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 374

Guests: Lyz Lenz

Transcript

biz ellis

Hi. I’m Biz.

theresa thorn

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—what will it take to slay the motherhood myth? We talk to Lyz Lenz about her new book, Belabored. Plus, Biz could get used to Theresa stopping bye!

crosstalk

Biz and caller: Wooo!

caller

Thank you for your show, and for your community. I want to thank all of One Bad Mother and the One Bad Mother online community that has been bringing me such joy and strength over the past six… and a half months? I also wanted to give a—compliment your local librarian! Our library, once they’ve reopened—y’know, they reopened slowly with, y’know, you could call and request; but they also did something called grab bags. Where you’d tell them what you like; you tell them what you don’t like; you tell them what you’ve read; you tell them what you’re looking for, and they curate a bag of five books for you to pick up, y’know, contactless pickup. And I did that—wonderful! Like, super wonderful. So today I went to the library. Picked up just a regular book that I had ordered and I was a few minutes early, before they opened, so I decided to grab a coffee from the coffee shop next door and while I was there I decided to get a gift card to give to my local librarian. Because they are doing such a great job in this pandemic. Y’know. Helping to, y’know, keep our minds working. Keep our kids engaged. They’ll help—one thing that they’ll do, especially for those of us who have kids who are readers [inaudible] stuck in a rut of the same books, and they’ll help branch the kids out beyond what we can find on their own. So I just wanted to tell all the librarians out there that you guys are doing such a great job. So thank you all. And Biz, thank you. Theresa, thank you for taking your time with your family. In turn for all the joy you have given us over the years. So that’s that! Alright. Have a great day.

biz

Oh my god, I love you! [Laughs.] This is… this is so nice! Thank you for checking in and wooing with me. And what a great check-in. Because you’re taking care of yourself by using the library, as well as getting yourself a coffee ‘cause you were there early, and I am with you on the “wooing and thanking librarians.” And what a nice idea, just to grab a gift card while you were already treating yourself to a cup of coffee! I think that is such a nice thing! I— [Laughs.] Yay! Thank you for sharing that check-in. I’m just gonna take that and go right into thank-you’s and I will start with librarians. I agree. I love that your library is doing these sort of curated grab bags. I think that is a delight. We just recently got books from our library with our contactless pickup. [Laughs.] And of course, both kids just read all their books the same day. And I was like, “We need to set up some sort of like 24-hour, like, space ‘em out, can we just return ‘em right away.” They’re not challenging books that the children are [through laughter] picking out. And that’s okay. As long as we’re reading. So thank you to all the librarians and all the creativity that you are bringing to making it work for your communities. [Singing] Thank you to all essential workers. You are the best! [Regular voice] And there’s just not one type of essential worker. Every day—I’ve been saying it for months—every day it becomes more and more apparent that—is that there are a lot of essential workers out there doing all types of work that is essential to keeping us all… healthy. And moving. And running. And working. So… thank you for healthcare workers. You know who I’m talking to! All of you! Regardless of what you do in the healthcare industry. Thank you. [Laughs.] Thank you to teachers. Teachers? Oh my god. It is so much on you right now. I mean, just the fact that—in many cases—you are seeing inside our unorganized, sometimes-unhelpful houses. That’s a lot that you have to bear witness to, on top of helping kids of different ages navigate what they need. Y’know. I mean, every day I hear a kid in the class who doesn’t have the worksheet or doesn’t have their supplies. Or—y’know, just wants to talk about nothing in the middle of class. Or is having an emotional meltdown! That would be coming from this house. Y’know. Ellis is… expressive. And I think there’s a whole new level of feeling it over a Zoom rather than in your classroom? And I just really appreciate you teachers, principals, school nurses—all of you. All of you are doing amazing. And congratulations to those who have returned to in-person learning. I hope that it is going well. Thank you to all those who are making that as safe as possible for families. If you are still remote learning, thank you for keeping us remotely learning. You are amazing.

biz

Guys? [Singing] Do-do, do-do-doot-doot! Election is coming! Big, special thank you to—all the poll workers; and for voting—you and you! Thank you! [Regular voice] Go out there! Vote early if you can. Make sure you—there are so many resources on everything you could possibly need to know about voting right now. You cannot, like, blink without finding it. And if you’re totally lost you can even just go to Stephen Colbert. ‘Cause he has created an entire website about voting in your state. So you don’t even have to like figure it out for your own local government if you don’t want to. [Laughs.] Stephen Colbert will help you. Isn’t life funny? [Singing] So… thank you for being essential! Your vote… is essential. Now I am going to say what else is essential, and that is—Theresa. She is so essential to me. And I’m so glad that she is stopping by again later today to do some genius and fails and rants. That makes me very happy. And otherwise, I’m… exhausted. [Laughs.] Oh my god! This week was one of those weeks where my brain says, [in exhausted voice] “I can’t believe we’re doing this again.” [Laughs.] Like, “I cannot believe it. This is not believable. Why are we doing this again?” It is… [regular voice] It is crazy town. Somebody recently did a article on parents needing help and it was very nice. They did a shoutout to One Bad Mother in it. But like, the bottom line was—do not come to a parent and say, “You need self-care.” You need to come to a parent and say, “How can I help you?” Everybody should be treating all parents and each other as if it is the first six weeks that a kid entered your house. We are all tired. And… stretched to the max. You are all doing an amazing job. We’ll just kick this show off with that. Because you are. And this is really hard, and as we have talked about a lot recently, it is particularly falling disproportionately on mothers in the house. And I think that that is going to lead us into what we’re gonna talk about today with our guest, Lyz Lenz, and her new book called Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women.

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

biz

This week, we are talking to Lyz Lenz, who is the author of God Land and a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette and contributing writer for the Columbia Journalism Review. Her work has also appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Huffington Post, and Pacific Standard, among other publications. Her newest book is Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women. Welcome, Lyz! Woo!

lyz lenz

Thank you so much for having me on! I am so honored to be on one of my favorite podcasts. That got me through the post-birth period of my second child, so.

biz

Second children are something! [Laughs.]

lyz

They… will… mess you… up.

biz

Oh, I had a whole therapy session today. [Laughs.] Just— [Lyz laughs.] —dedicated to number two. But. We are not gonna derail into that. We are gonna start with—who lives in your house?

lyz

The people and beings that live in my home are a little dog named Jolene.

crosstalk

Lyz: A cat—Jolene. Yes. Biz: Oh, Jolene! Jolene! Jolene!

lyz

She’s our pandemic puppy who honestly we should’ve gotten a long time ago. Lean into the pandemic, I say. And then a cat, Waffles. And then I have an older girl who’s nine and a boy who is seven.

biz

Wow! We have similarly aged children. But as always, who cares? Let’s talk about Jolene and Waffles. [Laughs.]

lyz

Yes! So, Jolene is my third baby. Because I—y’know, I don’t know if you’ve experienced this, that I really had a hard time like—well—like, after the second, I knew it was enough. But I also just really wanted another baby like a crazy person?

biz

Oh, that happens.

lyz

And I would like talk to my therapist and I would be like, “Is this normal for like people who are getting divorced to want another baby?” [Biz laughs.] And she’s like, “No. That’s not normal at all! Don’t do that! Don’t!” By the way. And so when I decided to get a puppy—like, a friend was adopting a dog. It was like, “There’s one left in the litter!” And I was like, “Oh, I should think about this.” But then I remembered, I’m the only adult in this house? And I can do whatever I want, and I don’t have to think about it? I can just get a puppy if I feel like a puppy? [Biz laughs.] And so I like immediately messaged her and was like, “Be right over to get that puppy!” And then I was gonna give this puppy all the baby hopes that I had in reserve. And that’s when I realized I needed to go talk to my therapist for a second. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

biz

Alright. I am going to set everybody up for this book, your new book, that we’re going to discuss. Hannah brought it to me—before I even describe it, Hannah brought it over to my house and socially distanced, y’know, threw it at me. And I opened it and started looking through it and I was like, “Oh, boy!” And Hannah goes, “I love—” I said, “Thank you for bringing this book.” And she said, “I love bringing you something I know is gonna get you all riled up.” [Laughs.] [Lyz laughs.] And I was like—“Oh, ho hoo! Yay!” So for those of you who were not on my porch that day, Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women—this is a book in which you explore the cult of motherhood; the lack of trust in women to regulate their own bodies; and losing your identity as a Self and instead of being seen as only a vessel. I’m right there with you. You dedicate this book to your children, who, quote, “Ripped up my vulva on their way into the world.” And I knew we would be friends. I would like to just… start with… getting into this book! How did you—take us through… ‘cause you share a lot in this book about your own personal experiences, and I think they play a really big part into your journey into writing this book? So if you are willing, I mean, you put it in a book so too late! [Lyz laughs.] Can you talk to us about what led to this book?

lyz

Right. So in about—it was like… 2016… ish— [Biz laughs.] —so prior to the election. I had sold a book on religion in the Midwest. And because—my one good take of 2016 was, “Hm. Something’s going on with religion in America. Maybe we should talk about it.” And around that time I had also been trying to sell this other book that was about, like, modes of womanhood. And so I grew up, like… fundamentalist Evangelical. Wearing jean skirts in Texas. And my family is not that anymore. That book was supposed to be, like, of a journey of womanhood or whatever. [Biz laughs.] But nobody wanted it. And I had—

biz

Keep your jean skirts to yourself, Lyz! [Laughs.]

lyz

Yeah! They were like—I had an editor say—well, the religious editors were like, “This isn’t holy enough,” and then the more secular—it’s not really secular, but, y’know, the non-religious publishers.

biz

Yeah. The others. [Laughs.]

lyz

The others were like, “Nobody cares about religion.” Dun dun dunnn! Ominous music. But I did have an editor—because at the time I was writing this series for Jezebel about, like, weird myths and how—what they reveal about what we think about mothers and the female body. And she was like, “So I can’t sell this book to my team, but I want this book. I want this to be a motherhood book.” And so she and I worked together. We put together this proposal and it sold in the early days of 2017?

biz

I bet. [Laughs.]

lyz

And I had two books, then, to write. One on religion in America and the other on motherhood in America. I didn’t realize both were going to be failing institutions— [Biz sighs.] —in 2020. But in the process of writing both books, my marriage fell apart. I had been married to a Republican who turned into a Trump supporter. And that—y’know, it’s kinda killer.

biz

Yeah. That is a relationship killer, especially if you are surrounding yourself with such heady and thought-provoking topics as religion in America and women’s bodies and myths about women in America. That could be hard to find some common ground. [Laughs.]

lyz

Well, we talk a lot about common ground in America, but I really just don’t think there’s compromise to be found on the rights and humanity of people. You either agree people are human and have human rights, or you don’t. And that’s just not something I’m willing to be flexible on. [Biz laughs.]

biz

What?! You don’t have like—there’s not a yoga move for that? [Laughs.]

lyz

No! Talk about the intolerant left, but like—sorry, it’s 2020! I don’t think we should be debating a human’s basic humanity. It’s time to move on.

biz

Okay! Just like your marriage—time to move on! Let’s move it on! [Laughs.] [Lyz laughs.]

lyz

Well, it happens! It’s a thing. It happens in America. We should normalize it. I was once crying to a very beautiful young person who offends me with her beauty and talent just by existing, but I was like saying to her, I was like, “And now I’m like a, y’know, late-30s single mother living in the Midwest.” Y’know, like, that’s not—

lyz

And she goes, “All that means in 2020? Is that you have lived a life.” And I was like, “Well, that’s a spin. So.”

biz

Thank you. Thank you, beautiful angel, for telling me that. [Laughs.] 

lyz

I know. God. So then when I sat down to write this book, my whole world had—the premise that I had kinda based this book on had completely exploded. And I wasn’t the same person. I wasn’t the same mother I was. Y’know. I had gone from being a married, white, Midwest upper-middle-class midwestern mom of two children—a boy and a girl— [Biz laughs.] —and then I was like, a single mom. Having my parents help me buy groceries. And it was very different. And I think—so I actually went back to the editor and I was like, “I don’t know if I can write this.” And she was like, ”Just sit down and write it. Please stop.” And so we reworked the outline and then I did. I sat down and I wrote it and it was written—like most motherhood things—between 10PM and 2AM? Because then—y’know, I was like working full time and trying to make money and then at night I’d write this book. Y’know, after I put the kids to bed. And so that’s kind of how this book came to be. So yeah. I did put a lot of that in there because I thought that that was—I always feel like people should know where the author’s coming from? And so I really just wanted to be transparent and say, y’know, when we talk about—the story of parenthood is a story of a body. It’s a fleshy story, and it’s a complicated story. And so I just wanted to be very transparent about, y’know, my fleshy, lived reality. Because I don’t think we do anyone a service, y’know, by like, hiding it? Or pretending it’s otherwise.

biz

But that’s what all the stories are.

lyz

Oh, right. Yeah.

biz

So let’s jump in to some of that. So… you talk about power. A lot in the book. Especially as it relates to—duh-duh-duh-duh!—our reproductive systems. You mention several matriarchal societies in some historical African countries, and you contrast that with our European patriarchal societies. Specifically around women’s virginity and women’s bodies. I—[sighs.] Let’s just talk about some of those differences.

lyz

Well, I think the interesting thing that I had discovered while reading this—and please, no sociologists get mad at me. I’m not trying to do your job for you. [Biz laughs.] But that I had discovered—y’know, that it’s not—it wasn’t that rare. Right? To have matriarchies. And in fact, before like the actual origins of reproduction were really understood, it was just a matriarchy because the mother’s the only one you can really tell where the baby came from. [Biz laughs.] And—‘cause it’s literally—

crosstalk

Biz: I know! It’s like literally— Lyz: I should explain this for your audience if they don’t know.

lyz

It comes out of your vaginal canal? So that’s kinda obvious.

biz

That’s right. Not your nose. Uh—

lyz

Right. Not your nose.

biz

Yeah. Yeah. And it surprisingly has very little to do with witchcraft.

lyz

Mm. Shocking.

biz

Yeah. But anyway. Continue.

lyz

Also—yes. Also a fact. And so, y’know, so that’s—like, that’s, y’know, how power was. ‘Cause it lay in reproduction and the continuing of the species and it wasn’t that uncommon, but, y’know, that whole like capitalist grab to seize the means of production, I think, was like—it hit upon male vulnerabilities, especially when you’re talking about Western European society where we had this like hierarchical structure with the Roman Catholic Church? Y’know, that controlled everything. And so we’re coming out of the Dark Ages, y’know, with the rise of the Church. And there was like this concerted effort to control birth. And so birth was seen for so many centuries as this kind of like magical mystical thing and that women just kind of did it and then were kind of like, “Cool. We’ll just sit in the corner.” And then controlling the rights of birth became controlling the means of birth became controlling purity. Because it’s really a racial construct. Like, that whole idea of virginity is truly just about, y’know, trying to make sure that the quote-unquote “right DNA” goes into the lady’s body. Right? IT’s racism! And so, y’know, it comes—now I’m just ranting—but then, y’know, and then if you—but if you can see the origins clearly, it makes a lot more sense when you’re trying to untangle yourself from it now. In 2020. Right? And so many people are stuck there. Stuck here still. I mean, our society is still stuck here. Right now we’re having this conversation around this Supreme Court nominee who opposes birth control! Opposes abortion. Is herself, y’know, a deeply religious person who’s had many children—which is not in and of itself a disqualifying aspect, because, y’know, the world is full of religious people. God bless us all. But the—but how you exert that control and when it comes at a cost to another person’s rights and autonomy, that’s when it’s a problem.

biz

Okay. I wanna—you said “untangle” and I wanna talk about that. I wanna… let’s talk about how… as somebody who just got through—going through all the history—take us through how that can help us with the untangling.

lyz

So I think the best example of the untangling that we can do in a short way so we’re not talking about this for 47 hours, is when we talk about pain. And pain in childbirth. So for the longest time, y’know, because of—and we’re talking very Western here, just to be specific—because we’re talking about America. I couldn’t talk about other countries. That’s not my lane. [Biz laughs.] For the longest time, pain was a woman’s just punishment. Because of Genesis! And so—and literally doctors believed that. They’re like, “You’re in pain? Good. You deserve it. You’re a woman.” Like, “Shoulda thought about that before you ate off the tree!” And the woman’s just like lying there in a pool of blood being like, “I didn’t eat anything!” [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] “I’m just a little lady!” Like—

crosstalk

Lyz: “I just want help!” Biz: “I’m just a little lady.” [Laughs.]

lyz

Right? And so—that’s not—I mean, it wasn’t that long ago that this was like a overriding mythology that governed how we did medicine. And, y’know, in fact, even in the early days of American history, doctors were experimenting on enslaved women with no pain medicine. Even the little that had been invented by then. Because—one, there was the mythology about blackness being, y’know, somehow they don’t—there’s no pain. Which is obviously horrible. And—but then also double that down on the mythology of a woman. Well, not only do you not experience pain, but if you do you deserve it. And so… and so then enter in twilight sleep. Which—all these, like, wealthy, white, early feminists were like, “Hell yeah! Twilight sleep! Like, let’s knock ourselves out.” [Biz laughs.] “We’ll wake up. There will be a baby.” And it was billed as like the rejection of the curse. Which—y’know, when I was writing that chapter on pain, I was like, “Yeah! It is!” Like, ‘cause I did the epidurals. I love them. I wish I had an epidural right now. I wanted them. [Biz laughs.] And there’s also some problems with that. ‘Cause it’s not ever that easy. Right? But I—what I thought the narrative was gonna be was like, medicine as liberation. But no, no, no, no! No, no, no, no. Because this is where it gets more complex, is because—so sure. If you’re a rich white woman, and you can go to a hospital and get some twilight sleep, that’s great. Maybe. If your husband’s not an asshole and then, y’know, doesn’t like use it to give you a forced hysterectomy or whatever. But that’s how it ended up becoming used, was like, then twilight sleep were—that medicine was used to then give women of color; women who were deemed mentally unstable, mentally unfit—which could’ve literally been anything.

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah. That could literally have been opinions. Lyz: Coulda just been, like, you are a lesbian.

lyz

Right! Yes. Right. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] Oh, lord.

biz

I know! She crazy. She needs to be rested. Rest her. She needs to rest. [Lyz laughs.] Her mind is thinking! That’s gonna make her crazy!

lyz

She read two books! She’s outta control!

biz

She read two books. She’s unfit to mother.

lyz

Unfit. Sluts—yes. And then that tool of liberation became a tool of oppression. And we see that so often with… white feminism. [Makes “screeching to stop” sound.] Err! If we don’t understand the history. We don’t understand how this is being used. And we just only care about our own selves? And our own liberation? And we’re not interested in using it as a means for full liberation. But then, y’know, and then there was like—there was that pushback in the ‘70s to be like, “Maybe medicine is actually kind of bad? Maybe it’s actually kind of hurting women? Let’s go back to natural childbirth—” “Natural childbirth,” as we all know, is a terrible way of saying it. But we’re just using it.

biz

Terrible way of saying it and full of shit. But anyway. Go ahead. [Laughs.]

lyz

It’s—yes. That’s our footnote. But then it was—because for so many years, midwives in America had been indigenous women; had been black women; had been immigrants. And then all of a sudden, now midwives are coming out? Well, it’s a white lady thing now! [Biz laughs.] So it’s— [Laughs.] It’s just—it’s so complicated and so complex. And I wanted to make sure that that was all in there so we could see that, y’know, as we move forward as a society and push for systemic change—and I hope we do—that we’re making sure that that change is happening with the understanding of our history. And, y’know, and it’s looking at that change as change for all.

biz

All. I want to now— [Laughs.] Talk about tropes. [Laughs.] These are always my favorite from my old women’s studies days. Let’s talk about all the different ways we like to tell women they are supposed to be.

lyz

Mm. It’s so fun right now, I think. [Biz laughs.] In this America. Because there’s so many ways we can trap you. Right? Like—

biz

You’re trapped! [Laughs.]

lyz

Yeah. If you choose—one of my favorite quotes in the book came from an interview I did with Alyssa Mastromonaco who’s lovely and wonderful and worked in the Obama White House. And she—I was talking to her about her book and about her decision not to have children, which she talks very honestly about. And she was just like—and I was telling her, “Like, I identify with a lot of the things you’re saying.” And she goes, “Well, that’s the great thing! In America, you’re fucked either way!” [Biz laughs.] It’s like, don’t wanna have kids? You’re screwed. You do have kids? You’re screwed. So okay. So here’s—so we wanna talk about some tropes. Love them. [Biz laughs.] So right. So there’s the—y’know, there’s the like—perfect—like, you could be the perfect, blonde-curled mom. Instagram mom. Or my favorite is the rejection of her? “No, I’m the horrible mom—but look at me! I will show you my— [through laughter] I will show you my cellulite! But it’s filtered.” [Biz laughs.] Filtered.

biz

It’s still filtered! Right.

lyz

It’s still filtered! And it’s hashtagged part of an ad campaign. And it’s like, “God. I love it. The ingenuity. Women are beautiful. Humans are beautiful.” And so those are the tropes. Right? You can—or, y’know, then you choose—or not choose them. Sometimes it’s not a choice. For some reason, whatever—however life shapes out for you, maybe children are not the right fit for your space. Your life. And then you don’t have those? Well then you’re shallow, selfish, and self-absorbed, as that great essay collection that came out a few years ago talks about. So you—you know. And then as a mother or a human being who is parenting, y’know, should you choose to—I don’t know—have a job. Then you’re also selfish. Y’know. Which I think we’re seeing a lot in the pandemic. It’s like, “Oh, really? You’re not gonna—you don’t wanna sit and do Zoom school every day? Oh, then get—y’know, like, oh, you actually wanna do your job? Selfish. Selfish.”

biz

Yeah. No. Right now it is—it is… kind of too bright, the spotlight that is on it right now. Yeah. [Laughs.]

lyz

Oh, and I just saw a study about how many women have dropped out of the workforce.

biz

Yeah. This is—we—just today on NPR, they were—somebody had just come out with a study that was like, one in four working mothers have or are planning to stop working. Like, that’s… that’s so… many.

lyz

Yes. And way fewer men, by the way. And that’s the other thing that’s getting me really bad? This is not a trope. I’m just gonna veer a little bit. But like— [Biz laughs.] —they’ll be like, “Oh, it’s a choice.” Like we have a choice! It’s not really a choice! If you set up a society so there’s no paid parental leave; so there’s no childcare; and—but oh, but you cannot live unless you have a two-income household. And oh, oh, oh, oh—now you have to do Zoom school? But there’s no help, because you can’t get your parents sick because the parents are the last remaining help here and they’re like, “Please! We’re old and we wanna be retired.” [Biz laughs.] And you can’t afford anybody, and if you’re not a monster you don’t really want anybody in your house anyway ‘cause you don’t want them to get the COVID. And then it’s like—oh. So then the women who are like, “Well, I just chose to drop out.” You’re like, “You didn’t choose!” [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

biz

There’s no choice! No one—

lyz

And then—I mean, I know this isn’t everybody. I know this isn’t everybody. But you’re husband’s in the other room with the door locked while you’re sobbing trying to do kindergarten math? That is not a choice!

biz

Yes. Oh. Yes. Are you in my house? [Laughs.]

lyz

Sorry. I took your thing and I made it about my thing.

crosstalk

Lyz: Did you like how I did that? Biz: That’s nice. I like that. [Both laugh.]

biz

Very good. Way to adapt. [Both laugh.] Oh my gosh! Lyz! We didn’t talk about half the things that I was gonna ask you about, but we’ve been talking a lot about just fun stuff in general. So I think we’re gonna have to have you back. Guys? I am going to tell you—again—the book is Belabored: A Vindication of the Rights of Pregnant Women. Lyz Lenz. We’re gonna link everybody up to where they can get a copy. And yeah. Lyz, we’ll have you back on to keep talking about this stuff ‘cause it’s fun. And you’re a delight. And…

lyz

As are you!

biz

Thank you for writing this! And Hannah, thanks for giving it to me so I could get all riled up. [Laughs.]

lyz

Thank you, Hannah, for riling up women everywhere! [Both laugh.]

music

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

music

Laid-back guitar music plays in the background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Desserted. A small business taking gifting up a notch—or more like thirty notches!—with custom dessert boxes that change lives.

theresa

These boxes are so adorable. They come with hand-doodled cards. They say “doodled,” but it’s actual artwork. It’s beautiful. And they’re so personalized. They make you feel so special. And along with those hand-doodled notes are the tastiest desserts on the planet. And they have gluten-free options, which I really appreciate. So these boxes are great for birthdays or anniversaries; just because; a care package—so nice during everything that we’re going through right now. New for September, Desserted just launched a new dessert box subscription service—literally desserts on your doorstep with a new, super-fun theme each month. October’s theme is Chocolate. [Biz laughs.]

biz

For 25% off, go to Desserted.co/badmother. That’s 20% off at D-E-S-S-E-R-T-E-D.C-O/badmother. [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. Oh, who is that? Who’s here! [Gasps] Genius me, Theresa!

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 Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective genius moments of the week.]

theresa

[Laughs.] Okay! [Biz laughs.] Hi, everyone. I have a real straightforward genius this week. Nothing special has happened by my own doing, but I did clean the fridge.

biz

Whoa.

theresa

I mean, I really cleaned the fridge. For the first time in—like, since things became crazy. And it was so bad. And I cleaned it so intensively. Like, I mean, I took out every part of everything and like washed it in the sink?

crosstalk

Theresa: Like, that kind of thing? Biz: Oh, yeah!

theresa

Like, all the shelves came out. The drawer—like, everything. Cleaned out the whole thing. Put all the food back in like section—y’know, I did it all in sections so that I wouldn’t lose anything. And we got some little organizers—two for the—basically, our fridge is way too small for a family of five? And now that like everybody’s been at home all the time? [Biz laughs.] It’s just become really, really unsustainable. But like the place where it fits in our house, like, you couldn’t fit a bigger fridge there? So like we can’t get a bigger fridge. We’re just stuck with this fridge. And so now it’s clean. And it’s more organized. So we’re actually kinda able to see what’s in there, and plus I just like feel good every time I open the door ‘cause I feel like I’m a real person. [Biz laughs.] With a real fridge and real food. And I know how to clean things.

biz

Yeah! Those are four excellent things.

theresa

Thanks.

biz

Guys? That’s actually really good.

theresa

Oh, thanks.

biz

‘Cause fridges get disgusting.

theresa

They really do.

biz

They get—

theresa

Oh yeah.

biz

There’s some horrible things that happen inside refrigerators.

theresa

We had had spills that people hadn’t taken responsibility for? That we had just let… go of? For a time? In there?

biz

Yeah.

theresa

Yeah. All kinds of things.

biz

The nice thing about a refrigerator is you can just close the door on that.

theresa

That’s right! Yep!

biz

And not have to think about it until the next time, and by then you’ve put something in front of it.

theresa

You have—and also you’re hungry, so you’re busy dealing with like preparing food. So you’re not—

biz

Exactly. You are amazing. That is a very good genius.

theresa

Thank you. Thanks, Biz.

biz

So last week was not my favorite week I’ve had. [Laughs.]

theresa

Mm. Mm-hm.

biz

It was a hard week. There was hard news. There were children that—eh, aren’t thriving in a pandemic situation. There was—eh, y’know, eh, it’s just on top of everything. And you know and everything’s just a big shit cake.

theresa

Everything is so much more of a big shit cake than ever before. So.

biz

Yeah! So like, each time it’s like a little extra—maybe it needs more sprinkles of garbage? I don’t know. Maybe? So… [Laughs.] Enjoy that cake parenting image. Anyway. In the middle of Ellis standing in my face and screaming at the absolute top of his lungs about something—but it was just all directed at me—he was so angry and yelling and I started crying and then I thought of beautiful flowers. And the next day, I left the house and went to, like, a garden center. Right? I didn’t have time to go to like a forest. There are no forests near me that are green. They all are on fire.

crosstalk

Theresa: Yes. I was gonna say, we have forests nearby. It’s not the one you wanna be in. Yeah. Biz: Like, there’s no—forests. They’re just burning. [Laughs.] Nope!

biz

I just needed to be around nature, so I went to the garden center. And that was really nice ‘cause everything’s, like, so beautifully tended at a garden center. Right? And—

theresa

Are you talking about like a place where you buy flowers?

biz

Yeah! Like a—

theresa

Yeah! Like a nursery!

biz

Yeah! Like a nursery!

theresa

Yeah.

biz

And I went and I went like first thing in the morning so no one was there, and I bought plants and pretty flowers that are not seasonally appropriate right now? [Theresa laughs.] And it’s like 105 degree so it’s—nothing can live right now. But I just—watering them and keeping them in the shade until later, I can dig a hole and put them in it. And so I thought that that was a really good way to refocus some energy.

theresa

So good! That’s a—that’s like a self-care move that I feel like we have never explored.

biz

No! Going to—yeah. It’s like going to the international aisle in the grocery store when you like just really need to feel like you’re somewhere else. [Both laugh.]

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah. I love it. Good job. Biz: Thank you. Thank you! Thank you.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, Biz and Theresa! I’m calling with a genius. I have a four-year-old and a five-month-old baby, and the five-month-old had been waking up consistently at 5AM, hungry and with a huge poop in his diaper for several days in a row. So I would change his diaper before feeding him and he would be super noisy and crying and he would wake up my four-year-old, who would then wake up my husband and no one would go back to sleep. We’d all be up at five and tired the whole day. And that happened for several days in a row and I would try feeding him first, then changing the poopy diaper, but he would still get upset with the diaper change and cry and make noise and everyone would wake up super early for the day. So the other day I had this stroke of genius. He woke up hungry. He had a huge poop. And I started to change his diaper, and he started crying, and I just decided to see if logistically I could reach down and breastfeed him while changing his diaper? [Biz laughs.] And I did it! I actually breastfed my baby while changing his diaper. It was on the changing table. Breastfed him while changing his diaper. He was quiet. He was eating. He was happy. And afterwards I moved to a chair and finished feeding him and the real amazing part was he fell back asleep, so I put him back to bed. And my four-year-old and my husband stayed asleep and I got to get back in bed [through laughter] until my alarm went off. It was the best feeling. And I think I’ve pulled a muscle in my shoulder— [Biz laughs. Theresa joins in.] —but it was so worth it. I think it was the only genius I’ve had over the past seven months or so. So I had to call and share. Thanks. I love the show. You’re all doing a wonderful job. Bye.

theresa

Yeah. I mean, you can put ice on the shoulder when you get back in bed! [Biz laughs.] And celebrate with some ice on the shoulder! I wish that you guys could have seen the shimmy that Biz was doing—

crosstalk

Theresa: —during this call? ‘Cause it’s just so appropriate. Biz: Yeah. I was doing the, like, “I’m just gonna—" Yeah!

theresa

It’s just this celebratory… shimmy.

biz

Put a boob in it! [Laughs.] Just put a boob in it, guys! Like, ‘cause you know. You’re over the table. And you know there’s like a moment you gotta get the boob out unless you just have really are—like, you have a kid that has to eat all the time so you just—fuck shirts.

theresa

Right.

biz

And you just—that—you gotta lower it. Get it in. While—

theresa

They’re five months old. They can kind of help you but not really?

biz

Not a lot. And so you’re gonna be in a position, and in the dark, probably. [Laughs.] And you’re changing the diaper. I gotta tell ya—that is 100% not something that you share with anyone. [Theresa laughs.] Like, without—like, you don’t call your mom or you dad and you’re like, “Guess what I did?!” And you don’t like—you tell your partner, maybe? But like you don’t go to like a dinner party or like coffee with your friends. Like, even… even telling other, like, mom friends you might have might feel…

crosstalk

Theresa: Depending. Depending. Biz: —weird? It just depends?

biz

That’s how you know who your real mom friends are! We are your real mom friends, because we—that is, like, next level.

theresa

And I love how you were so swiftly rewarded. To like the fullest extent possible. Like, not only did you— [Biz laughs.] —solve the problem of waking up the other family members, your baby went back to sleep and so did you! I mean, c’mon.

crosstalk

Biz: Oh god, it’s—we love reward for our actions. Theresa: It’s too good. Yes. Yes.

biz

You’re doing an amazing job. 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 and Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective failures of the week.]

biz

Fail me, Theresa.

theresa

So… [Sighs.] I guess—whatever. But— [Biz laughs.] —I—so I can’t remember if I talked about on this show that a few months ago, Jesse and I moved our bed and like bedroom stuff down to like the basement area? And gave Gracie our bedroom? Like, the quote-unquote “master suite” or whatever? [Biz laughs.] Because—as people who’ve been listening to this show for a really long time know—Gracie, our nine-year-old used to share a room with her two younger siblings. That got really crowded, and she decided to move herself out and had moved under the staircase— [Biz laughs.] —and had created a bedroom for herself there. Which we helped her with and tried to make really nice. But y’know, eventually it’s not a bedroom. And there’s no door to close and there’s like very little space down there and no privacy and… the time just came where we were like, “This kid needs her own room.” And we were able to move our bed down to the basement. So we basically switched places with Gracie. And because that has happened during, like, the pandemic—and when our lives are totally crazy—it’s that thing where you kind of just feel like when you have a new baby or like what I imagine it’s like when you’re like a medical resident and you’re never home? Like, you’re just—I’m just never in my new space. Like, I’m just never there. I don’t—I like—I show up there to sleep and I show up there to like grab clothes hurriedly and run to the shower or whatever. And so I keep putting—my hamper is in a new place, and I keep putting my clothes at the end of the day into this hamper, and completely forgetting that it’s there. [Biz laughs.] Like, it’s only a place where I put my clothes. I’ve never pulled laundry out to do. From there. Like, I just put the clothes there when I’m tired; it’s the end of the night; and then when I’m doing laundry, I’m doing laundry from like other hampers in the house. Like, the kids’ hampers and whatever. [Biz laughs.] But, y’know, the kitchen laundry. And so a couple days ago, I’m like standing there looking at my—like, where I keep my clothes. My clean clothes. And I’m looking—I’m like, “Where’s all my stuff? Like, why—we’ve been doing laundry! Like, why don’t I have any of the shirts that I like to wear? Like, where are my shorts? Where—I know—like—come on!” And then I was like, “Oh, I haven’t done laundry from my laundry. In like a really long time.” And I looked in the hamper and it was totally full. With all my—all the stuff that I like to wear!

biz

All your favorite things! Yeah! Yeah. Wow. Yeah. I like this idea of always doing laundry. Never stop.

crosstalk

Theresa: Oh, yeah. Never stopping. Always. Laundry shark. Biz: Always doing laundry. But it—not—

biz

But it not having anything to do with you or your laundry.

theresa

Oh yeah! And me not even noticing that!

biz

But—yeah! That’s just it! You just don’t even notice anymore! Because it’s just always laundry. Yeah. Laundry shark. Laundry shark! [Theresa laughs.] Yeah. That’s right. Yeah. No. That is—that is—way to not take care of yourself even a little. Not even—

crosstalk

Biz: Not even acknowledge— Theresa: Bare minimum. Yep.

biz

—that you even live there. Wow. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] I continue to break things. First of all—special shoutout to Theresa, who gave Stefan her favorite bourbon glass.

theresa

Yeah.

crosstalk

Biz: And it—Stefan was so touched— Theresa: Was it okay for him? Oh, okay. Good.

biz

And absolutely adores it.

theresa

Oh good!

biz

And we are—he is a very happy person. So thank you. That was such a nice, nice gift. Thank you.

theresa

Oh, good. I’m glad.

biz

So I broke it. No, I’m just kidding. [Both laugh enthusiastically.] Nope! Ellis was having his remote learning. And I was going to eat some food. I was gonna eat… this yogurt that comes from Trader Joe’s that’s lemon flavored that’s delicious. It’s really for children, but whatever. [Theresa laughs.] And I was gonna put some granola in it. And it’s a treat because we don’t ever go to Trader Joe’s anymore ‘cause we limit our going-out to shopping experiences. Anyhoo. Little treat. I take it out of its container and I put it in a bowl. Put all my yummy granola in it! “I’m gonna have—” It’s like eating pudding. It’s so full of sugar. And Ellis needed help finding something so I’m walking to him. I come into view—‘cause we have a divider that sits behind him so that the class doesn’t watch me exist? I come around the divider, and the bowl of yogurt just flies from my hand. And it hits the corner of his desk and the door. And this is a full… bowl… of lemon… yogurt. And it breaks. It goes all over the door. It goes all over the floor. It goes all over the side of his desk—luckily not on him or his desk—and Ellis’s first question is, “Are you gonna tell anybody that you did that?” [Theresa laughs.] And I was like, “Yeah. I am.” “Is this like your one mistake for the day?” ‘Cause we always talk about, like, it’s okay to make mistakes? Everybody makes mistakes? And he’s like, “Is this your big mistake for the day?” [Theresa laughs.] And I was like, “Yes, Ellis, it is.” “So this is your big mistake for the—” And he wouldn’t stop saying “mistake” over and over and over again, next to me as I’m trying to clean up fucking yogurt in front of like a bunch of first and second graders? I just…

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I just wanted my yogurt. And now my eight-bowl set of wedding china—

crosstalk

Theresa: Oh no! Ohhh! I’m so sorry. No, but still… Biz: It’s down to seven. It’s down to seven! Guys? Our wedding china’s also our everyday china. But like—still.

biz

It’s—we’re down—we can only now have seven people over when we’re allowed to see people. So. [Theresa laughs.] Not seven. Technically it would be three people. We can have no gatherings of more than three. Sorry, Theresa. You guys can’t come over. [Laughs.]

theresa

That’s right. Yeah.

biz

And celebrate food—

crosstalk

Biz: —because we only have—oh! Okay. Yeah. Whichever one you want out of the house. Theresa: Maybe we can send a representative. From our family. Yeah. Yeah.

biz

I hope it’s you. Can come over and eat out of our bowls. [Laughs.]

theresa

Okay. I’m very sorry, though. That really sucks.

crosstalk

Biz: It does suck! Theresa: Especially what was in the bowl.

theresa

Like, it’s not just the breaking of the bowl? Like, cleaning yogurt is the worst and also that was supposed to be your—you probably didn’t eat, then.

crosstalk

Theresa: That was your chance to eat. So—no, no, I know you didn’t eat that. Biz: Oh, I did not eat it. No. No, I did not eat it.

theresa

But like, then you probably didn’t even eat again until like two hours later or something.

crosstalk

Theresa: But you—you used your chance. Yeah. Biz: No. I made a worse choice. Yeah.

biz

I was trying to make a good choice and then I just replaced it with like candy. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Oh anyway.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, I’m calling with a fail. And this phone call was sparked by the newest episode that you guys have put out. Bad timing, I suppose, in this household. I am actually the primary breadwinner in our home. And I’m fortunate enough to be able to do most of my work from home? And then my husband is the primary caregiver for our toddler. And—but we still have that dynamic of like… he goes to mom first. And so what that means is that when I’m—y’know, in the back room trying to work and I hear all the parenting that’s happening? And then I’m like itching to do the parenting because it’s such a bad habit? And anyway. The fail is that I—how did my husband say it? I parented over his shoulder? Or I backseat parented. And I kinda lost it a little bit listening ‘cause he didn’t wanna go outside with the toddler. And it—I—y’know. After prefacing it, I’m realizing that it’s really because I don’t wanna be working from home in a pandemic and I just wish I could go outside and play? But I should probably not let that urge ruin, y’know, my husband’s parenting mojo. So anyway. I suck— [Biz laughs.] —at sitting in a back room and working from home, apparently. Blech. Pandemics are stupid.

biz

That is actually the fail in all this? Is having to sit in a back room…

theresa

It’s the worst of all worlds. You don’t get a break. And you still have to work. You don’t get to have the fun part with your kids. You don’t—it’s—this actually is making me think of our rant from last week, actually.

crosstalk

Biz: This is. Yeah. I think this is what inspired her. Yeah. Theresa: With—with the woman whose like woman is always there. Yeah.

theresa

Because it’s like… none of us—we’ve been dealing with this in our house, too, in different ways. Just because even if you’re not quote-unquote “on,” there—everybody’s there! There’s no… it’s so hard to compartmentalize and step away. We’re all just here all the time.

biz

I like that you [through laughter] refer to it as—“It’s just a bad habit.” Parenting! It’s just a really horrible, bad habit.

crosstalk

Theresa: I can’t stop parenting! Yeah! [Laughs.] Biz: I can’t stop wanting to—stop wanting to get involved with my children! It’s horrible! [Laughs.]

biz

Yeah. Well. That’s what you get. For being in a room in your house. That is truly unacceptable. Wanting to respond to your family. [Both laugh.]

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

Cheerful ukulele with whistling plays in background.

theresa

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Billie.

biz

In the middle of a pandemic where every day can feel the same, it’s fun to spice it up and pretend like we’re people in the world again and shave! [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Meet Billie. You guys know Billie. We’ve been talking about Billie. They recreated everyday essentials by delivering premium razors and high-performing body care to you. No pink tax. No visit to the drugstore. You can get their starter kit at MyBillie.com for just $9, which includes their award-winning razor, two refill blades and—my favorite part!—the magnetic holder that keeps your razor safe and dry in-between uses. Guys? I cannot express enough how thrilling it is to just reach up and take my razor off its little holder and like, do the things. Do my shaving business. And then stick it back on. Plus it keeps it out of reach of little hands who want to be just like mommy! [Theresa laughs.]

theresa

Get started by going to MyBillie.com/mother to get the best razor you will ever own. The best part? The starter kit is just $9, plus free shipping always. Go to MyBillie.com/mother. Spelled MyB-I-L-L-I-E.com/mother. [Music fades out.]

promo

[Cheering crowd.] Danielle Radford: Mmmacho man, to the top rope! [Thump!] Danielle: The flying elbow! The cover! [Crowd cheering swells.] Speaker 2: [Distant; impact on each word] One! Two! Three! [Ding ding ding!] Danielle:: We've got a new champion! Music: Excited, sweeping music. Lindsey Kelk: We're here with Macho Man Randy Savage after his big win to become the new world champion! What are you gonna do now, Mach?! Hal Lublin: [Randy Savage impression] I'm gonna go listen to the newest episode of the Tights and Fights podcast, oh yeah! Lindsey: Tell us more about this podcast! Hal: [Continuing impression] It's the podcast of power, too sweet to be sour! Funky like a monkey! Woke discussions, man! And jokes about wrestlers' fashion choices, myself excluded! Yeahh! Lindsey: I can't wait to listen! Hal: [Continuing impression] Neither can I! You can find it Saturdays on Maximum Fun! Oh yeahhh! Dig it! [Music fades out.]

promo

Music: Tense sci-fi music. [Announcer narrates in voiceover intercut with dialogue from the show. Dialogue is slightly fuzzy, as if being heard through a speaker.] Announcer: Strange planets, curious technology, and a fantastic vision of the distant future. Featuring Martin Starr. Martin Starr: So we're going on day 14. Shuttle still hasn't come. Announcer: Aparna Nancherla. Aparna Nancherla: [Cheerful and electronic] The security system provides you with emotional security! You do the rest! Announcer: Echo Kellum. Echo Kellum: Can you disconnect me, or not? Announcer: Hari Kondabolu. Hari Kondabolu: I'm staying. Announcer: From Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Geoffrey McGivern. Geoffrey McGivern: Could you play Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Want to Have Fun"? Announcer: It's The Outer Reach: Stories from Beyond. Announcer 2: Now available for free at MaximumFun.org, or anywhere you listen. [Music fades out.]

biz

[Singing] I could get used to Theresaaa… coming in and talking with meeee. [Theresa laughs.] It’s so nice to see Theresaaaa! [Regular voice] And now we’re lucky enough to have her stick around for a mom having a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hey, One Bad Mother! This is a rant. I realized this week that I think the thing that was making me most crazy during everyone being home time is the constant interruptions. I think that my brain cannot function smoothly when I’m constantly being interrupted. And it’s whether my kids are—even when they’re not at home. They call me during the day for help with school. When they are here [through laughter] they call me during the day if I’m downstairs and they’re upstairs or whatever? [Biz laughs.] And I just can’t predict. I can’t plan. I can’t have a schedule in my mind of how my day is gonna go. And then today, like, during our lunch break, even, I had [through laughter] picked up several pieces of trash off the floor and as I’m walking to the trash can to throw them away, my high schooler is talking to me about a project that they’re doing at school. And all of a sudden my nine-year-old grabs me and is like, “Mom, my leg! Hold me! Hold me! My leg hurts!” And I have a handful of trash and I’m just standing there with this handful of trash and I’m like, “I can’t even walk to the trashcan without being interrupted. I literally am now a human trash can because I am holding this trash with one hand and holding my child with the other and my high schooler’s still talking.” And I snapped at them. And I’m like, “I can’t talk to you about this project right now because your sister’s leg is more important.” [Biz laughs.] “And then I have to go to the trashcan. And then I will talk to you about your project.” And I’m just losing my mind. Yesterday I was going crazy also at lunchtime and I decided to meditate to clear my head from all the interruptions. And guess what I discovered when I finished meditating? My cat had peed on my bed. [Biz and Theresa laugh.] So even she is interrupting me. I’m losing my fricking mind. Thank you for this show. I love you guys. You’re doing a great job. Bye.

theresa

Yes.

biz

I—okay. Here—I am a human trash can! But—that is so good. But I also really like the priority order thing that came out of your mouth where you’re like, “You’re gonna have to wait. Your—"

crosstalk

Theresa: And you explained it! You explained it! “Your sister’s leg is more important than your school project.” Biz: “—sibling’s leg—” Yeah. Your—is more—

theresa

“I’ve already sorted this out in my head and I’m gonna explain why you’re second.”

biz

Yeah! But not just that that’s more important? “Then I have to throw away this trash.” [Laughs.]

theresa

[Through laughter] Yeah. Right.

biz

Then I have to throw away this trash, and then I will listen to your project. Yeah. Noise, noise, noise, noise, noise, noise! Like the Grinch who stole Christmas!

theresa

The Grinch, yeah.

biz

It is! I just wanna take all their bobbabaloos and bippitybops and throw ‘em over the mountain is what I wanna do! There’ll be no interrupting in Whoville today! [Theresa laughs.] Yeah.

theresa

They’d find a way.

biz

They would. Like, [singing] Yahooo yaahwaay! [Laughs.]

theresa

Do you--I’m curious, Biz. Do you do the thing of like, as you’re being interrupted—so say you’re like—what—you’re doing what this caller was doing. And you’re like walking across and you’re throwing something away. And somebody’s [whining voice] “Mom, can I have a—bleh, bleh, bleh” and you’re walking away from them but you just want so badly to complete this one task before going back. So like do you do the thing of like, “I’m just—” like, narrating yourself? “I’m just gonna do this and then I’m gonna do this and then I’m gonna—then I’m gonna hear what you—” Like, do you like talk through that?

biz

The narrating!

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah. The narrating. It kinda— Biz: Is there a—is there a—

biz

Is there another option? [Laughs.]

theresa

Well, so I’ve been trying to do less. I’ve been trying to do less talking overall. I’ve been trying to do silent communications. Whenever possible. [Biz laughs.] Like— [Laughs.] Oh my god, so good.

crosstalk

Biz: Sorry. I just did a bunch of obscene finger gestures. Yeah. It’s my silent communication. Theresa: She’s giving me the little finger. It’s so good. It’s so good. So-

theresa

I do. I give myself that silent communication like privately. But I—like, I’ll just look and make eye contact, give a thumbs up, show them what I have in my hand— [Biz laughs.] —and then like—or—or I’ll just pretend like I’m not doing something else. And just let it come. Let it come. ‘Cause my kids do the thing where they both—or all three of them—will sometimes talk to me at the exact same time? And they don’t necessarily notice that their sibling is right there also talking to me? So sometimes I just nod for everyone and I take turns looking around at everyone and letting it all come at me? Just letting it come. Because it doesn’t matter sometimes. Sometimes they just need to say a thing. So, “Mm-hm! Yep! Yes to that! Yes to that. I am with you guys! Yup! All of it. Cool.”

biz

Wow. I’m gonna try that. Sometimes I do it but not on purpose. It’s more of like a broken internal spirit where I’m like— [Laughs.] Just wandering, not saying anything? [Theresa laughs.] And they’re like, “La, la, la, la, la, la, la” and I’m just like—maybe… maybe… maybe they’ll just stop talking. [Theresa laughs.] But of course in this house it’s just an invitation—is there more silence to fill?

crosstalk

Biz: Let me fill that silence with more! Theresa: Yeah! Yeah! I’ve got more to say! Yeah.

biz

Yeah. No. Listen. You are correct. There—it is too much interruption. It is too much coming at you. All the time. You have identified a real critical piece of information, and that is—no. There’s not a single thing you can do in your house that will not be interrupted. In fact, I think that should be a challenge for all of us. Let’s keep a list going of things that did not get interrupted. During the day. And then maybe we can discover whatever it is and then only do that!

theresa

Right!

biz

Right? Like, whatever that is.

theresa

Or maybe we can like get scientific and figure out if there’s like a time of day—

biz

Ohhh!

theresa

Where we’re most likely to be able to do things without interruption and then we can put all the stuff we really wanna do into that time of day.

biz

Yeah. And I think to make sure that we are able to give all our attention to this scientific endeavor—

theresa

Uh-huh.

biz

We should stop doing all other things. Like meals. Helping. Helping. Helping [through laughter] people in our house. Any of it! Just stop. Mama’s doing a scientific experiment.

theresa

That can’t be interrupted! [Laughs.]

biz

It cannot be interrupted. Which—yeah. Let’s see. It’s like the Quiet Game. “Let’s play the Quiet Game!” [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] You’re doing a wonderful job. Let me interrupt your day right now and tell you what a wonderful job you are doing. Theresa? You are also doing a wonderful job. And I will say it again—that it is so nice to have you here for genius, fails, and rants. It’s a real pleasure to see you.

theresa

Thanks, Biz. I am loving this. Loving everything about it. I’m so happy to be here. Thank you for all that you’re doing, and I will look forward to seeing you next week.

biz

Oh. I’ll—I’ll be here. Behind this divider. [Both laugh.] [Singing] That was so nice to see Theresaaa! Now we’re going to wrap up and order pizzaaaa. Because I don’t wanna fucking cook anything tonight! [Regular voice] Guys, what did we learn today? You know what? I was having—I will tell you. I… perhaps it has gone unnoticed. [Laughs.] But definitely the topics and the guests and the discussions we’ve been having on this show have definitely had a—we’ve always—guys, we all—One Bad Mother has always been a feminist show. I will say that while we always try to balance the different topics and guests that we have on, I have been completely comfortable having people on to talk about [through laughter] the rights and the issues surrounding rights when it comes to women, regardless of color in this country. I was having a talk with a friend the other day, and she was just expressing some, like, anger stuff. And I could tell that it wasn’t something she was comfortable saying—y’know, it’s the old, like, “Ohh… I married a great guy, but, y’know, there’s still these moments where he’ll say stuff and I get so angry and now I’m gonna apologize for my anger” and I just was like, “How about we don’t apologize? For the anger.” How about we instead say that from the beginning of time—and if you wanna say that the beginning of time was in the very Garden of Eden—then from the beginning of time, women have been sold a shitty story. And that is important to know. Because it ties in and is connected with the shitty treatment of people of color. Of people suffering religious persecution. Of people—I mean, like, it’s all—it’s all layers. It’s all tied together. And it’s like the biggest knot of like jewelry, y’know, that you pull out of some drawer. It’s made up of several different pieces. Like, necklaces. And maybe like an earring and a bracelet, but it’s all in one big knot, and you gotta—to get it all straightened out, you have to slowly peel apart. Find where one begins. Find where another one is crossed over it. Find where another one has somehow made a knot—how is that even possible when no one touched it?! And like, really begin to unravel it.

biz

And… I think given the pandemic and the unbalanced nature of work in our country; of family responsibility in our country; in how we label and identify… women and their value based on their reproductive organs and even within that, the labels and, y’know, assumptions we make when we then add class, race, religion, and economics. It—we are tangled up in this big ball and we have to pull this apart. And I am just gonna say—you know what? Anger is okay with me, guys. Anger is okay with me. And I look forward to having more of these discussions with, y’know, people who have been able to start pulling at that chain. I guess my point is, don't feel bad if you're feeling pissed right now. ‘K? We also learned that it is always nice to have Theresa and her wonderful voice on this show. We have also learned that you guys are all doing an incredible job! It’s—like… it is so difficult… to watch how this pandemic and this sheltering-in-place has impacted our kids? It’s hard to watch them not have the interaction with other kids. To be able to just get out to the park and like hit a ball if they need to. To find ways to express their own frustration and sometimes they are too young to even say they need to express it. It’s really hard as a person with kids in your house right now. I’ll just say it. And it is also hard on us. So… this is—it’s not normal. It’s not natural. This is not how we work as people. So I see you. If your kids have returned to in-class learning? Good job. I see you. I see you with all the, like… baggage that comes with that right now? And all the stress that can come with that? And all the relief that can come with that, and how that’s just a big gross sandwich. And for people who’ve got school-aged kids that are remote learning? I see you too! ‘Cause it’s like looking in a mirror. And those of you who have children who are too young to go to school? Oh my god. I see the shit out of you. You are al doing a great job. And we will talk to you next week! Byeee!

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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