TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Ep. 375: Parents Might Be Feeling Stressed with Lucy Rimalower

Biz ponders the effects of the pandemic on parent’s stress. Hmmm…how to tell? All that crying in the bathroom may be a sign. We talk to therapist Lucy Rimalower about the mental health crisis facing parents. Plus Biz goes outside and Theresa stops by for a genius and fail.

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 375

Guests: Lucy Rimalower

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—is it normal to feel stressed during a pandemic? [Laughs.] We talk to therapist Lucy Rimalower about the mental health crisis parents face. Plus, Biz finally gets outside.

crosstalk

Biz and caller: Wooo!

caller

No one gives a shit but my toddler, but he just pooped on the toilet! And we’re potty training! And it’s great! And so much easier to clean up when it’s not mushed in the diaper! And—[sighs]. I’m just doing a good job, and so are you. Thanks! Bye.

biz

You are doing a good job! I always like when [through laughter] I like it when people clarify what they’re talking about? I like that you clarified “my toddler pooped on the toilet and we are potty training. Like it— [Laughs.] Like, I mean, it would still be thrilling if you weren’t potty training and magically your child just wandered over and was like, “I’m gonna need a minute. I need a magazine.” Like, “I’ll be in here with my phone.” So I think that is amazing. And you are right. No one cares. We care. I mean, you can’t go to the store and be like, “Can I have a quick high-five? My kid did this on their own.” ‘Cause everyone would be like, “Gross.” Or “What?” or “Ew! Women!” Like— [Laughs.] It could be a variety of responses. I think you’re doing an amazing job and I’m really glad that that is going well for you! Thank you for checking in with that. Speaking of doing a good job, it’s time! Seven months—you know what’s coming! Boop boop ba boop! Thank you, thank you, essential workers. [Laughs.] It is time for all the thank-you’s. I’m gonna keep ‘em kinda short this week because I think I have spent a lot of time expressing all the different ways people are essential in helping us get through this really weird time. Again, whether you are in the medical profession—and that really, really includes the people who keep those places clean and running and paperwork—I mean, just all of it. To everybody at the grocery stores to the farmers getting it—I mean, it really is unbelievable and I really appreciate it. But we are getting close to an election and I just want to shout out that voters are incredibly essential. I don’t know how I can express that more. Voting… is essential! It is one of our essential rights as an American. [Laughs.] And it is really essential this year that everybody’s voice is heard. So I wanna thank you if you have registered; I wanna thank you if you are finding a way to vote early. If you have made your voting plan. Thank you. Thank you. I have filled out my ballot! [Singing] And I’m walking it down to my box today. There’s a box in a park. [Laughs.] [Regular voice] I’m gonna go cram my justice into a box. So thank you, thank you. And thank you to all the people who volunteer as poll workers, and to the postal service! Thank you for helping make this happen. You deserve all the funds.

biz

And all of you are doing a good job. Because this is all still happening. Nothing’s actually changed. We are still here. There are still kids in our houses. [Laughs.] There are still sometimes partners in our house. That’s a lot. Sometimes there are pets in the house. I don’t know about you guys, but I haven’t gotten any new space in my house. In fact, it feels like the space is closing in. [Laughs.] Is getting smaller and smaller. But we had a cooling break in Pasadena/Los Angeles area, and it was not a hundred million degrees and the air was suddenly breathable again and I got outside—I just—yesterday I went outside and I just forgot how nice being outside was? And like just sitting in the cool air and not like catching on, like, fire? And the kids went outside, and then they just started playing outside? Like, with water and shovels like together and like digging a hole and ruining stuff and I was like, “Go for it.” And I just was like, “Oh god, outside is such a gift!” [Laughs.] It’s such a gift. It’s—and it reminded me of when Katy Belle was a baby and she wasn’t always happy. And I definitely didn’t know what I was doing. And I was inside with the baby all day and that just wasn’t—bleh, bleh. Bleh. Not all of us are naturally inclined [through laughter] to feeling great being at home with a baby all day. But I used to put her in the stroller and we would—and it felt like a weird realization, like [gasps] I can put her in the stroller and we can go to the park! Like, that felt—because your brain goes crazy and you don’t—you just think, “No, I have to sit here forever.” And we would go out and it was such a change of pace. It was so stress-relieving. I still have to remind myself to do that? So anyway. I’m just checking in to say—I went outside. It was really nice. It was really nice, guys. [Laughs.] I’m really thankful for outside. It has helped with my anxiety and stress. Which I think will tie in nicely to what we are going to talk about today, with our guest therapist Lucy Rimalower about the mental health crisis parents are currently facing.

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

biz

This week, we are talking to Lucy Rimalower. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist in practice in Los Angeles. Lucy’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, Kveller, and Sex Education. She consults for film and television on a wide range of subjects, including mental health, parenting, and portrayals of LGBT youth. [Singing] Welcome, Lucy! [Laughs.]

lucy rimalower

Thank you, Biz! So happy to be here with you today in this fine, crazy world we’re living in.

biz

I am so excited to have you here, and I wanna get in very soon to one of your recent articles in the New York Times. But before we do that, I would like to ask you—who lives in your house?

lucy

Well, I live with my lovely husband, who is full of creativity and pandemic ingenuity. And we have a four-year-old child who is currently into geography and Les Misérables. Great combination.

biz

That’s a good one!

lucy

And I have three pandemic chickens because that is the pandemic weird that we went with in my household.

biz

I gotta say congratulations on that particular pandemic weird!

lucy

Thank you. Thank you.

crosstalk

Biz: Chickens? That’s amazing. That is—did it— Lucy: They’re awesome.

biz

Did it start, like, right away when it was like, “I need to plant a Victory Garden and raise chickens for sustenance!” Or was it more like, “Oh my god. It’s been five months. We’re in… ehh, let’s get chickens! Because I lost my mind!”

lucy

I mean, the losing of my mind and Victory Garden happened so quickly.

crosstalk

Lucy: It was like a month in and I was like, “Let’s get real weird real fast.” Biz: Oh, it happened like this. Yeah. [Laughs.]

lucy

Let’s just get into some chickens right now. What are we gonna wait this out for?

biz

I need—where are all my homesteading books? [Laughs.]

lucy

Totally. “Let’s be preppers. Let’s get into prepping. Let’s do this thing. I want eggs.” And I never liked birds. I am now a totally like weird bird person. It’s just, y’know. Big changes over here.

biz

Like all birds?

lucy

Naw.

biz

Or just like, chicken?

lucy

Just chicken birds. Just chickens.

biz

Just chicken birds? Chickens—they’re a delight.

lucy

They’re interesting creatures. I mean, someone should—hopefully someone is writing the ultimate pandemic chicken book because there’s a lot to learn about ourselves through our chickens. [Biz laughs.]

biz

I now only wanna know who else has gotten pandemic weird animals in their house. This is like my new—this is all I wanna know. This is the only data I’m mining right now, guys. How are you guys doing?

lucy

Y’know?

biz

I mean, besides the chickens. [Laughs.]

lucy

Besides the chickens. We are what I’d like to say a lot of folks are saying, is “pandemic good.” Y’know? We are—

biz

Oh, that’s nice.

lucy

We are grateful to have food on our table. We are grateful to be able to continue working. We are so lucky in that capacity and I will tell you that I, y’know, a lot of people have to bullshit their way through Zooms on work—for work all day and I am lucky ‘cause I get to be in it with people who are really feeling what’s going on right now and get to be honest and candid about how hard this is.

biz

Yeah. I like calling it “pandemic good”? We’ve been saying a lot recently that like, “fine” is the new “everything’s falling apart.” [Laughs.] If you ask, “Hey, how’s it going?” And they’re like, “Fine,” that means they’re like one step away from losing their mind. Maybe getting five chickens and not three chickens. Right? [Lucy laughs.] I like “pandemic good,” but you know what? I think that actually is gonna segue us nicely into talking about mental health and parenting. Because—[sighs]. Sort of two things to lead into this. One, before the pandemic, I would say that… the stress and mental health issues that parents were facing remained fairly invisible. Just simply because—well, you go home and you’re in your house. And no one really wants to hear about kids out in the world and, y’know, you don’t have to find a place for them really. I mean, no one—we as a nation don’t care about what’s happening [through laughter] with your kids while you’re at work ‘cause they’re in school or daycare or with a grandparent. Right? And you come home or maybe you’re home all day and it’s very isolating. And… if you say that there is something wrong, it can make people think you are talking about a really far end of the spectrum. That you are in danger and your family’s in danger and it’s—you’re postpartum psychosis, I think, is what it’s called. As opposed to just postpartum. And so like… we were already all kinda lurking about there. [Laughs.] And then the pandemic hit and like all resources were gone! Like… it’s all gone. Bye-bye! It’s like not there. And now we’re isolated for real. And I know that for me, I had spent the last, like, seven years since my second child was born really working in therapy. To figure out boundaries and ways to work in self-care and just being a self and, y’know, we kind of are like, “Self care?” [Blows raspberries.] Whatever. Like, but it’s such a general term. And then all of that work went away. Or—as my therapist says—the work is still there.

crosstalk

Biz: You just can’t access it. Lucy: It’s just not available. Right.

biz

It’s just not available to you. So you were recently interviewed in an article in the New York Times regarding how the pandemic is causing a mental health crisis for parents.

lucy

Yes.

biz

Ta-daaaa!

lucy

Ta-da. I was so, first of all, thrilled that the New York Times was giving coverage to this. Because as you mentioned, Biz, one of the things historically is major separation between—y’know, parenting sphere and work sphere and never the twain shall meet. And that we are somehow always holding the other just at bay. And I think what’s happened, especially for working parents, during the pandemic is that’s become impossible. There is no separation. And the stress of all of those—literally, knocking down your door at any moment—is so overwhelming that I don’t think we have any option but to be transparent in this moment. And… the biggest stressors that I’m certainly seeing with the populations I’m working with are twofold. One, isolation. Y’know? As you said beautifully, our resources have been stripped away. The break that we got of sending our kids to school so that we could go to our own jobs, y’know, god forbid take care of ourselves for a minute, do all this stuff to keep all our ships running, has really been watered down. And the isolation of doing that without our friends, without our communities, is really intense and really overwhelming and a big invitation for both depression and anxiety. And the other part of that is the uncertainty!

biz

Yeah.

lucy

You know? Like, when is this thing gonna be over? Like, the iterative promises starting back in June where we were like, “Alright, it doesn’t look like school’s gonna open up—” [Biz laughs.] “—before the end of the school year. But like, summer camp’s gonna be so awesome, you guys!” [Biz laughs.] And then it wasn’t. And then it was like, “Well, September. Can’t wait. September, it’s going to be awesome.” And then it was January and then all of a sudden it was like, “Well, we’re hoping summer 2021.” What?! And the uncertainty of how to—y’know—every decision feels so fraught and I think parents are really, really weighed down by the pressure to make decisions when there’s no parenting guidebook for, y’know, next to your bed when you were pregnant was not Parenting in the Pandemic. Didn’t exist.

biz

You’re right. They leave out a lot of important stuff in those books.

lucy

[Through laughter] They do.

biz

But the decision thing, I think, is interesting because it’s not just that there’s no guidance. I’m not sure that there are any decisions that are like— [Laughs.] like, I haven’t seen anybody say, “Well, I’ve made this decision and it was super easy and I’m not thinking twice about it.” Right? [Lucy laughs.] Like, because I think… again, another sort of stigma related to parenting is… judging. Right? So like, every decision a parent makes already feels like you should apologize before you say it. Like, “Uh, I—I’m not gonna leave my child alone crying at night.” Right? Like—but you know. I mean, it’s like—I mean, I will if I have to. Right? Like, or… yeah. Like, there’s already a sense of… self-judgment. And the sense that others are judging. I—this can’t be helping that.

lucy

No, it’s exacerbating that. And part of that is—like you said—none of us makes a decision right now and then it’s like, “Ooh, we’re absolved of the uncertainty of it.” Y’know? It’s like the uncertainty continues on. I, for example, made the decision to send my child back to preschool. Let me tell you, that was an invitation for judgment from a lot of folks. And y’know, everyone is navigating this differently and deciding what’s best for their families. And even making that decision doesn’t mean I’m done worrying about it. Y’know. Welcome to parenting.

biz

No! And it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t change again! Right? And that’s what—I think—goes back to the uncertainty factor. Right? Like, “I’ve made a decision. I’ve come to peace with it.” [Laughs.] “I’m either telling people or not. Whatever it is.” And then three days later, everything gets shut down or some other new thing comes up that you have to then reevaluate. I have to imagine that sense of having to constantly be reevaluating in the unknown is exhausting.

lucy

It’s exhausting and it’s honestly what we try to move people away from? You know—

crosstalk

Lucy: I’m a big fan of mindfulness— Biz: Oh yeah! Tell me about that! [Laughs.]

lucy

And it’s like, “Hey, all that rumination about decisions? You’re mulling it over again and again in your brain. Let’s just work on being present and noticing the thoughts.” And it’s like, “No, no, no. I actually have to ruminate because I actually have new information. I actually have to make a new decision. Again. I know I just made one last week!” [Biz laughs.] And what’s different about this that I feel like—to your point about the stakes being, y’know, so intense right now, is alright. Last year when I was like, “I don’t know! It wasn’t organic! Is this gonna be a problem?” Now I’m like, “Oh my god, is he gonna get COVID from this?” It’s so scary that all of these decisions do deserve some healthy respect and thought. But finding that balance of letting yourself off the hook from making decisions when there actually aren’t any to be made in this moment?

crosstalk

Biz: That’s it. Right. Lucy: That’s what we’re sort of after here.

biz

But I feel like that’s a hard place to get to. Because all the baggage we brought into this pandemic—it didn’t go away. With the pandemic. Like, it’s all still there with us! And then when you add the isolation, it’s like— [Laughs.] Baggage, isolation, judgment, uncertainty stew. Just like a big, nasty stew!

lucy

And we’re gonna take away all the tools that you would’ve used to cope with it! So—

biz

Yeah! There’s no—you— [Laughs.] No spoons for this stew! [Lucy laughs.] We’re going, like, medieval, just sloshing it around, trying not to make a mess. Eating with your hands. By the way, my youngest just eats with his hands and I don’t care ‘cause he’ll never see people again. [Laughs.]

lucy

It’s right. It’s the right thing to do. It’s the right thing to do.

biz

I’m just like, whatever. Alright. What else are you seeing in your work that—because I feel like lots of times, parents and especially women will tend to not realize that what they’re experiencing may not be normal? Or may actually require attention and care. Right? Like— [Laughs.] And a lot of times it’s like—yeah.

lucy

Like, another problem with being so isolated as we are is that we don’t have the reflective surfaces that help us figure out that—y’know, even if you’re not a person who’s like in a bunch of text chains or whatever, alright. You bump into someone at drop-off who’s like, “Hey. You’re looking—you don’t look like yourself this week. Everything okay?” Or, y’know. “Hey!” Or those—or whatever the regular frequent contacts with the world are shut down, so it’s harder to notice. And I will tell you the question that is stunning me week in, week out? I shouldn’t be so stunned by it at this point, but I am. Is people going, “Am I the only one who feels this way?”

biz

Yeah. But that’s like—that’s been—since we started doing this show and we are certainly not the first to have discovered this, either, but that question of… y’know… “I must be the only one. Everybody else is able to handle this.” Whatever this is in that particular situation? Y’know, yeah! And I feel like… there’s something about—kids, I think, isolate you. Boom. In your house. No matter what. However a kid got in your house— [Lucy laughs.] —there’s gonna be a sense of isolation with them there. You can’t just go wherever you want, any time you want. And then there’s location. Like, I have had my kids in—while living in very populated cities. But then I go and listen to somebody as opposed to only thinking about things from my perspective, which would be a lot easier, thank you very much. [Lucy laughs.] And you realize, some people are like physically isolated. Based on where they live and the communities that they’re in. And then you really feel like “Maybe I’m the only one.” And if the images you’re getting from Facebook and TV are telling you something else? Yeah. That’s also a gross stew.

lucy

I mean, and unfortunately we are all so reliant on social media right now. And look—social media is offering us something right now that we need. That—I mean, I wasn’t around in the 1918 plague, but like… as things stand now— [Biz laughs.] —it’s nice to be able to get the news so readily but it’s a double-edged sword! I go on Instagram and it’s like, “Yeah! Lots of my friends are sharing their views and please go vote and go do this and go do that” and then it’s also, “Wait—why are all these people on vacation? Are these people not living in the world that I’m living in?” [Biz laughs.] I don’t understand!

crosstalk

Lucy: What is this party?! Totally! Right! Right! Biz: I know! I’m like, “How did you get a COVID bunker at the beach? What is that?” [Laughs.]

lucy

And it becomes—for folks—a real sense of isolation. They get on there to feel connection and instead they feel like, “Here I am sitting alone and I’m the only one still taking this seriously and keeping my kids buttoned up.” And the other thing that’s adding to isolation is the political climate is so painful right now. And I… the geographical distance for a lot of families is nothing compared to the political distance. Where, okay, y’know, usually I’d love to call my mom and dad up and chat with them about what I’m feeling, the state of the world, and that’s not a call that’s gonna bring me comfort or connection. So there’s just all these ways that we are splintered, and that leaves parents really vulnerable. Who have to then turn around and show up and be the strong, supportive, non-anxious presence for their kids.

biz

Yeah. I’ve discovered those horrible discovery that my kids totally, like, what my mood is? Where I am? Very unfairly— [Laughs.] Affects them. Like—

crosstalk

Lucy: Yeah. Bummer. Big bummer. Biz: If I am having a grumpy day—

biz

—they’re—I shouldn’t be surprised when they have grumpy reactions back. Even if I’m not vocalizing it. Like, it’s just the energy? That’s a real bummer. And I don’t like it. Uh— [Laughs.] [Lucy laughs.] List of things I’m not enjoying. Okay. Then what?

lucy

Like, what you just said is—and this is where I get to be wildly, wildly unpopular— [Biz laughs.]

crosstalk

Lucy: But I think there’s— Biz: It’s okay!

biz

Because I almost closed my computer on my therapist last week. [Lucy laughs.] I said, “I don’t like that information!”

crosstalk

Lucy: They deserved it! They deserved it. Close that computer. You tell ‘em. Therapists are not people! Biz: That’s right! Stop—

lucy

We plug in at night. Just remember that. Just remember that.

biz

Stop giving me insight!

lucy

We don’t know. We don’t know. But you being in a bummer of a mood is actually a really useful tool for your kids, too. I know! I know. I’m the worst. [Biz dissents loudly.]

crosstalk

Biz: That’s gonna make me have to learn something more! Ugh! Lucy: Ugh! She’s a therapist! She’s so annoying! Blech.

lucy

But being able to say to your kid—and I don’t remember even what it was about. It was hardly the biggest thing that he’d been bugging me about. But I let my kid have it the other day. I was like, “Blag! I need a minute! Blahhh!” [Biz laughs.] And then I said to him, “Y’know, I’m really sorry. I was really cranky this morning. And I’m cranky. You’re cranky.” And the value of making it okay, right now, to—look. We wanna give our kids a sense of safety with all the uncertainty, and I think all of us have gotten pretty good at this in the last six months of being able to say, “I don’t know what’s going on out there, but I’m here. We’re keeping it together here. I’m gonna keep you safe. I’m gonna keep up on what I need to do to keep your world moving and our life together and our family together.” But there’s still room to be like, “I’m having a bad day. This is weird. This is not the world we set out for. Y’know. I can’t wait ‘til things open up more and we’re gonna keep figuring out how to be creative in that together.” And one of the things that’s really hard—speaking of being in a bad mood—is like… what—when do you get your break? As a parent?

biz

See, that’s where I wanna go next and why I’m like, “Stop telling me this positive, sort of, spin on this! Because—” [Lucy blows raspberry.] Under the best of normal circumstances, I think you can either be full or you can be empty. However you wanna describe it. Some people want their bucket empty. I am, “My bucket is too full and I tip.” Right? Like— [Laughs.] See? I go to therapy.

lucy

Love it.

biz

But it’s the—usually you have some sort of space to make room. So that you can be there a little better in those situations. But what I think I hear and see and experience—and I know what you’re about to talk to us about—is this sense of—there’s really nothing left. And every time you think there’s nothing left, there’s even less of that. So… and you can’t slap a “self-care” on that. Right? You can’t be like, “Just go give yourself some self-care” because… that’s not a… that’s really not an option, I feel like, for a lot of us. Y’know. If you’ve got kids in your house? They need stuff, man!

lucy

All the time!

biz

They need a lot of stuff! Ugh! So… so tell me. Tell me.

lucy

The number one thing that I put out—and again, this isn’t a fun thing. I’m not gonna say fun things. [Biz laughs, blows raspberry.] I know. The chickens was as fun as it gets. It’s all downhill from there.

biz

The chickens were as fun—

lucy

That’s as fun as it gets. But the one thing that I really put to people is—take one minute. And everybody has one minute. Everybody has one minute.

crosstalk

Biz: No. I don’t. [Laughs.] I don’t. I’m special. Yeah. [Laughs.] Lucy: And check—check—right. [Laughs.] Well, believe me. I get the pushback. I get the pushback.

lucy

But finding that one minute to check in on yourself. And say—I’m saying, we don’t have our usual reflective surfaces. We don’t have that person, the coworker at the water cooler, who’s gonna say to us, “Y’know, your shirt’s on backwards. Are you alright?” [Biz laughs.] We don’t have that! So finding the moment to say, “How am I today? You know what? I’m not feeling great today.” And using that as an invitation to scrape the resin of your own time and say— [Biz laughs.] “I need to—you know what I need to do? I need to blow off this paperwork I was about to do. I need to call a friend. Or I need to just text with a friend for a few minutes and feel human connection.” Or “I need to do—” I have a client who told me she does 90-second planks. I was like, “Dang! That’s impressive!” And she’s—I know!

biz

That is impressive!

lucy

I know! But it makes her feel like for 90 seconds she’s paying attention to her own experience and taking care of herself? So go pop on a YouTube video. They have every second—just go—five-minute yoga video. And I got a lot of flack from that. People are like, “Really? The world is on fire and you’re telling us to go do yoga?” [Biz laughs.] Yes I am! Yes! I am!

biz

World’s gonna be on fire either way, guys.

lucy

World’s gonna be on fire. We gotta make it to the other side! [Biz laughs.] We gotta make it to the other side and we gotta keep our kids going. And finding that five minutes where you pay attention to yourself. You pay attention to your own breath. You connect with someone. God forbid you have a nice conversation. If you’re lucky to have a partner you’re in with, stop and check in on your partner. Tell your partner how you are. This does not have to be a long two-hour candlelit dinner. It’s not gonna be that. It’s not gonna be that right now. But finding what is realistic for you, today, right now—not you a year ago. Not, like, whatever—y’know, there’s that idea if you go back to January 1st when you were like, “Oh my god, I’m gonna get in great shape this year and I’m gonna be an amazing parent and I’m gonna like get a promotion at work!” [Biz laughs.] Like, push all of that stuff aside. What for you, right now, is gonna help you feel taken care of? That’s what I have to say.

biz

I think it would be helpful to hear what maybe you’ve experienced people wish you would say? So that we can kinda come to grips with that not being the answer? Does that make sense?

lucy

Yeah. I mean—[sighs.] I think what people—y’know, and people are thankfully not asking me this necessarily. They wanna know this. “When is this gonna be over? When am I gonna get my old life back?” And… I don’t think—I don’t know. It’s kind of—this is going to change, but we are not gonna be unchanged. And that’s the part that, I think, the sooner we are like on board for that? And accepting that? I think the better off we will be?

biz

Yeah. I think there’s a theme appearing here of forgiveness? Or grace?

lucy

That’s a nice word.

biz

To offer that to yourself and others? And I don’t wanna confuse that with excuses. Right? But like, I want—you’re right. We’re not the same as we once were. And what felt really important then—like, if I don’t have this email out or add these 15 things or whatever it is—I should instead re-look at that as, “What’s necessary?” [Laughs.] What’s really important for my energy, and not feel the guilt or the self-judgment when it comes to that. Because I think social media, y’know, that can really mess it all up. When you’re looking for connection at the same time a revolution is happening. Right? And it’s—you need both. To be active in that, you need the—to let other things go. So I guess—how do we handle— [Laughs.] “Fix guilt for me!”

crosstalk

Biz: Can you fix anxiety, guilt, and self-judgment? That’d be great! Great. [Laughs.] Lucy: Done! Yesss! Got it. All over it. All over it.

lucy

There’s this idea—and I’m, y’know, just borrowing shamelessly from Zen Buddhism. These are not my ideas. These are very, very, very old ideas. But the idea—the distinction between pain and suffering. Right? When you stub your toe and you’re like, “Ohhhh! That hurt! Ow! My toe! It hurts! It hurts! It hurts! It hurts! It hurts!”—pain. Versus, “I stubbed my toe. Why am I such an idiot? I always leave my chair out and then I step over it. I bet you Biz never leaves her chair out. I bet her place is really neat and organized. Look at her Instagram photos. Everything looks so gorgeous. I’m a mess. I’m the worst. I’m terrible. No—I have no business being a parent. What’s wrong with me?” That’s suffering. That’s a story that we’re creating around our own pain? That—A—not necessarily grounded in reality at all. And certainly not necessary to just honor—ow, my toe hurts. My toe hurts. I’m gonna get some ice; I’m gonna take care of myself. I am going to be much more likely to get back to the things that mean something to me? If I stick with the pain rather than letting myself into the suffering. And letting yourself off the hook for guilt? Letting yourself say, “Y’know? Things are not going as I planned, but I still—” [Biz laughs.] “—feel largely connected to what I care about?” Which maybe that’s like social justice; taking care of my kids; like, you know what? He ate 50 jellybeans and a bowl of Goldfish today? Fine. We know tomorrow we’ll find the apples and the carrots and great. Y’know? Like… that stuff. Like, giving yourself permission to just let go the expectations you held of yourself a year ago? That is really a gift to give yourself right now. And I mean this in a way that’s—I’m gonna say this carefully, ‘cause I don’t want this to become another back-door way to guilt—but checking in with your— [Biz laughs.] Which it will!

crosstalk

Lucy: Mom guilt is great at that especially. Parent guilt, right? Uh-huh! Biz: I’m sure! Oh, I can guarantee you. Yep!

lucy

I see where I can use that against myself! Fantastic!

biz

Let me get my notebook!

lucy

Right? Exactly. But to be able to say, like, “What are my values here? The pandemic has turned us all upside-down. What’s important to me? Note it’s important to me to take care of my kids, my family. It’s important to me to stay connected to the world and keep fighting for things I care about.” Boom! That’s enough, kids! It’s a pandemic! And if there’s—

biz

That’s only two things. I should have, like—

crosstalk

Lucy: 30 right. Right? Write the Great American Novel. Biz: —15 more things. Like— [Laughs.]

lucy

Like, I don’t know. Get six-pack abs.

biz

But I have all this free time! I’m home! I should be able to like repaint the whole house! [Laughs.]

lucy

Totally. Totally. I just—it’s like—yeah. You forget, though, two of your burners are burning for the pandemic right now? So even—

crosstalk

Biz: Mm, that’s a good point. Lucy: —there are people who do have more time right now? Great!

lucy

But the psychic energy—and I feel like such a hippie saying that—but like the psychic energy that’s going into the world being on fire and what’s happening in our country politically, environmentally, etcetera? Like, that is low-key taking up so much of our energy. We have to shift expectations for ourself.

biz

Well. Thank you. I found all of that—

lucy

Are you all better now, right?

biz

I’m all better. I feel all better. I feel— [Laughs.]

lucy

Dark!

biz

—all better! All better! All better now. Uh, no. I don’t actually feel all better. But I don’t feel alone. And I don’t feel like I’m the only one going crazy. Which, y’know, I’m lucky that I know that that’s not the case ‘cause we have a Hotline and people leave us calls. [Lucy laughs.] So I know—whew! Whew. There’s so much that we are not alone in, guys.

lucy

No. Not alone.

biz

I appreciate you coming on to talk to us. ‘Cause again, I think the really big takeaway is—yeah. No. Things aren’t okay. And if you don’t feel okay, that’s probably okay. [Laughs.]

lucy

And I will throw in another side, just because this is backdoor gate two, if I may. Which is—if you happen to find yourself in a moment where you feel okay, or you feel good for a second—

biz

What?

lucy

I know. Radical. Radical.

biz

Alright. Alright. Lay it on me.

lucy

Enjoy it. [Biz laughs, applauds.] I literally watch clients going, “I felt okay this week. There must be something terrible about to happen.” Or “I feel good this week. I should feel bad about feeling good.” It’s like, just take that minute. Enjoy it. I promise you, the other shoe will come around! You’re right about that! [Biz laughs.] But let that be on its own time! Enjoy the moment! If you have a moment where your kid is happy for a second and you just feel like for one second okay, enjoy it.

biz

Yeah. No. I’m with you on that. Here’s to enjoying more.

lucy

Enjoying more. Cheers. Cheers.

biz

Thank you so much for joining us.

lucy

Thank you.

biz

I really appreciate it. I needed to hear that. [Laughs.]

lucy

I’m so glad. Thanks for having me. It was really nice to be with you. I appreciate all that you guys do on the show. It’s wonderful.

music

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

music

Laid-back guitar plays in the background.

biz

It has been challenging. [Laughs.] For students to transition from being in a classroom for seven hours a day to learning from home. Varsity Tutors delivers free, live enrichment classes taught by experts that make learning fun. Varsity Tutors has hundreds of free online classes in which your child’s educational experience—Katy Belle wants to learn Japanese, guys. And I am not even remotely qualified to teach her that. And so she has [through laughter] been taking Japanese classes and she loves it! Whether it’s a class taught by an astronaut, musician, or wildlife expert, there are fascinating subjects for everyone. They offer one-on-one tutoring, self-study tools, learning pods, and homeschooling resources. Varsity Tutors has a 4.9 out of 5 satisfaction rating.

theresa

To reserve your spot in a free class, go to VarsityTutors.com/badmother. That’s VarsityTutors.com/badmother. Give your child the confidence and keys to success today at VarsityTutors.com/badmother. [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. [Gasps.] Theresa?! 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 Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective genius moments of the week.]

theresa

Recently I did a—I made a photo order. It’s one of those companies that like makes cute things out of your photos? For Gracie and her best friend, who—they don’t go to the same school anymore and obviously because of COVID we don’t really get to see each other very much anymore. But this friend has really like stood by her for years now. Through many hard times and is just a really special friend. So I was willing to drop money on this and made a very cute photo accordion book, one for each of them, of pictures of them from the past few years. It’s just like six or seven pictures for each kid. And it turned out really great and the girls really loved them and… Frankie, my three-year-old, immediately wanted one for him. And his favorite friend at school, who we’ll call “Mary.” [Biz laughs.] And he was so serious about it in this way that was like really sweet. And he’s like—we don’t really know their family. Like, we’re not really like, y’know, third kid. Preschool. COVID. I don’t see the kids? [Biz laughs.] I don’t know their names. I don’t know the families.

biz

Yeah. Maybe they’re in school. Maybe they’re not. Who knows! Yeah.

theresa

But like— [Laughs.] But truly like, truly this has been a friend of his since he started at this preschool more than a year ago. And that’s a real friendship. And he wanted an accordion book for himself and Mary. And I was like—at first I was like, well we can—yeah. And I was like, I don’t even have a picture of this kid. I don’t—let alone, like, many pictures of this kid with my kid. [Biz laughs.] To make a book, y’know? And plus I just like didn’t wanna spend the money. But he really like stuck to it and I wasn’t willing to say no about it? So I was just kind of like, “OH, I don’t know. We’ll see.” Blah, blah, blah. And so he just came to the point where he just… took it upon himself to ask Jesse to draw a picture of his friend to make this book. And all of a sudden I was like, “Oh, well yeah. We can totally do this.” And so Jesse was totally [through laughter] game for it and sketched this kid who he barely knows— [Biz laughs.] —but did like a nice, caring job with it. And then I acted like it was 100% as good as the one that I ordered from this fancy company and I drew a picture of Frankie on the back. I didn’t even use a real photo. I just drew a picture of him on the back. And we folded it up like an accordion, the way the accordion book is from the website. And I wrote their names on the front just like we had for Gracie and her friend, and… bam. Now he has one. And he is 100% satisfied.

biz

Well, you’re doing an amazing job!

theresa

Thanks, Biz.

biz

Our… garbage disposal… just started having water pour out of the bottom of it. Came with the house. [Laughs.] It’s an old, crappy, disgusting, stinky garbage disposal. And so you know what I did? I replaced it myself. I… went and I got a new garbage disposal and by “went” I mean I went online and I ordered the right one. Did a little research, which is really the genius. It wasn’t like the sink issue where—the faucet issue where I got the wrong faucet altogether and never returned it and now it just sits, like, far away and not being used. Just serving as a reminder. [Theresa laughs.] But got it and did it and I did—

theresa

You’re amazing!

biz

I did plumbing and electrical work, guys! It was one of those things where I was like, I really think I could do this. And I did this!

theresa

And you could! Yeah!

biz

I could! And again—my children see me doing it. And I love it. You know I love these kind of problem-solving things.

theresa

Of course! Of course!

biz

And yes. So my genius is I put in a bigger, better, quieter, not-disgusting garbage disposal. It can apparently grind up chicken bones. [Laughs.]

theresa

You are—you’re truly inspiring. And amazing.

biz

Thank you!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, Biz and Theresa! Long-time listener, first-time donor, and I’m calling with a genius. A woooo! My son is almost one year old and my biggest challenge is getting food in his face. He still eats like a tiny baby and has no initiative to eat by himself. So I am cooking in the kitchen, cleaning out the fridge, find, like, a cupcake in there so I stick it in front of him. Go back to doing my thing. Turn around? It’s in his hand, in his face, and into his tummy. So I think that’s pretty genius. Y’know. Say what you like about the actual nutritional content, but, y’know, feeding himself for the first time with a little bit of help. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.] I call that a genius. Alright. Bye, guys! Love your show.

biz

First off, thank you for being a new time donor. [Laughs.] Thank you, thank you, thank you.

theresa

Thank you!

biz

But really, the most important thing here is this major success in the self-feeding arena. And yeah! A cupcake! I’m actually just more interested in the random cupcake in your fridge. [Laughs.]

theresa

That is interesting. I find that interesting as well. I feel like this is cake parenting. This is like baby’s first cake parenting. Y’know?

biz

Mama’s first cake parenting, as well!

theresa

Mama’s first cake parenting. Yeah.

biz

Mama’s—you are right, Theresa. Way to identify cake parenting. Yes. Cake? Solution for all things. Right? Can’t—baby not gonna sleep? Get it cake. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Baby won’t feed himself? Give him cake. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yep.

biz

Baby won’t finish her homework? Give her cake. [Laughs.] Baby married wrong? Give her cake. [Both laugh. Someone applauds.] 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 I’ve talked before on the show about how I’m not like the biggest Halloween person. Never said I was anti-Halloween. Never. It’s just like not my… like, more of a Christmas person. Right?

biz

Right. You don’t like the spooky things.

theresa

I don’t like the spooky things. But that’s kind of changed now. Because—actually—you have helped me get more enjoyment out of spooky things, Biz. And Gracie, my nine-year-old, loves spooky things. And so between the two of you, I’ve kind of like— [Biz laughs.] —it’s kind of like coming along. I’m growing in my enjoyment of the spooky things. And right now, really, we have nothing going for us? But Halloween. Looking forward to Halloween is like all we have in our family. Like, we’re just holding on by a thread and the thread is, “Halloween is in three weeks!” Or whatever. [Biz laughs.] So I’ve been actually collecting here and there some decorations. And like planning to do more decorations this year and more festivities because, again, we don’t have anything in our lives except Halloween. So that’s been really fun. But my fail is, like, I forget that… I don’t live in a family where people can just let things be decorated and then enjoy that? Like, the decorations have to get destroyed or just taken down over and over again for no reason at all? [Biz laughs.] I can’t—like, why? Why should I—okay, it’s on the floor. Should I put it back up? Did you not want it up? Did you—I got these, like, little cheap little foam headstones that say silly things, like, “Boo!” and like, I can’t remember what they say.

biz

Yeah. Whatever. Halloween stuff.

theresa

Halloween stuff! [Biz laughs.] And we’ve been spending more time in the backyard and I’d set them up, painstakingly, to look like a graveyard, which I think is like amazing and I was so proud of myself and I’m like, I’m really showing up for this. Like, a graveyard? Come on! Like, that’s not basic. That’s like—

biz

Old Theresa would never have done that.

theresa

Old Theresa would never have done that. Exactly.

biz

I mean, this is a big deal!

theresa

It is a big deal! So I was really proud of it. I have set up that graveyard now like four different times? [Biz laughs.] And again—no rhyme or reason to it—somebody has to shoot it with the rubber bow and arrow. Somebody has to just kick it over. Somebody has to…. Like… I don’t know. I don’t even know! But—and it’s not a surprise. This is why it’s a fail. ‘Cause it’s like—yes! Yes, of course they would. Because it’s fun or they want to kick it or whatever. They’re not like looking for it to look cool and nice right now. And it’s like way too early for that anyways! It’s not like we’re having the party today. I mean, not that we’re having a party. But like… [Biz laughs.]

biz

Oh, is there a party? [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah. I mean, the five of us will—yeah. And the dogs. It will be great.

biz

There’s five of you. It’s a party. [Laughs.]

theresa

Okay. So anyways, I finally gave in like earlier this week and just like picked up the headstones and like stacked them on the side of the house. In a pile. Because I was like, “I can’t continue to just look at this crap laying all over the place and just like making me feel sad and like there’s more cleanup for me to do.”

biz

I am really sorry about this fail.

theresa

I know. Thank you.

biz

Mainly because—I get why it’s the fail, right? Like, I totally understand the emotional sense of failure in this? … But on a personal note, that super sucks. And I’m really sorry, because… I’m just so pleased that you set up a spooky graveyard. You could take those tombstones and write, like, super passive aggressive things on it? [Theresa laughs.] Like, “Here lies mama!” Right? “Here lies my self-care!” [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Just like a total parent graveyard. “My identity. Rest In Peace!”

crosstalk

Biz: And put those back up. Theresa: “Pre-COVID hopes and dreams.” [Both laugh.]

biz

“Routine.” I’m really sorry.

theresa

It’s okay. Thanks.

biz

Yeah. Yeah. No. It’s okay. I… put in a garbage disposal and it worked, everybody! The failure is not that it worked. The failure is that… it was a three hardware store trip to finish it off. Because it was a, “I bet the tool I have at home will cut to resize the pipe that I need to—” No. Okay. “I’ll just run up and get the shaped pipes that I know I need.” Got ‘em. They are not the right size. By like—I mean, a millimeter. Right? But that, apparently, is really important when you’re trying to contain water and waste. Then I have to go back. I mean, the third time I went with like pictures and actually talked to somebody? So I am learning. And that is good. But I was like… a broken shell of a person? By the time I was done installing [through laughter] the garbage disposal? And… I was done with trips to the hardware store. And then, y’know, I polished it off with watching the debate. I mean, it was like a whole… day… of stuff. [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah. That kind of takes the joy out of that achievement.

biz

It took the joy a little. But like, eh.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Eh.

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Come to peace with never getting it right.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hey, One Bad Mother! I’m calling with a fail. I currently am sitting in a parking lot in Wisconsin, which is unusual because I live in Chicago? And— [Biz laughs.] —the idea was that my three-and-a-half-year-old was really cranky so we thought, “Hey, let’s take her on driving nap and just hop on the highway and see how far we go until—it takes for her to calm down and go to sleep.” But obviously that didn’t work. [Laughs.] And everything’s just so overwhelming ‘cause we don’t live near family and we’ve just been parenting a three-and-a-half-year-old through a pandemic all by ourselves and we thought we could just get her to rest for a couple of hours ‘cause she really needed it. And it turns out we ended up going on an interstate car nap that did not achieve its primary goal of a nap. So anyways, at the very least, y’know, we pulled into a gas station. I’m making my husband go on a beer run to get cheese curds and Spotted Cow. Shoutout to Spotted Cow beer. [Biz laughs.] And I guess we’re just going to drive the 70 miles back to Chicago now! With a fully-awake three-and-a-half-year-old who’s been listening to me leave this message. Okay. Bye. You’re doing a great job.

biz

I… love you?

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I’m real sorry about that one. That’s a—

theresa

I’ve been there. That’s a scary place to be ‘cause when you resort to the car nap, if you have a kid who—I know Ellis was not a car napper, but if you resorted—

biz

Didn’t mean I didn’t drive for hours. Didn’t mean I didn’t go out and try to make him a kid.

theresa

You still do. Yeah.

biz

Yeah.

theresa

But I feel like if you have a kid who naps in the car pretty reliably and you are resorting to the car nap? You just don’t even really take into account the possibility that the kid won’t actually fall asleep, but then sometimes that happens. And then what? Then what?

biz

Yeah. Do you just keep driving?

theresa

Yeah.

crosstalk

Biz: Like, forever? Like, ‘til the highway ends? I know! [Laughs.] You’re like, “Did we go anywhere?” Theresa: Yeah. Like the turning around and going home is so weird at that point. And then—

theresa

Yeah. [Biz laughs.] Yeah.

biz

Way to take advantage of being in Wisconsin and getting the cheese curds. That was a good use of your six-hour drive. [Theresa laughs.] Wow. You’re doing a very bad job. [Laughs.]

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 the background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Sweaty Betty.

theresa

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biz

Can I say how much I like the pockets? It’s not like there’s one pocket. There are a few pockets. And also, they are high-waisted? And that is very comfortable for my pandemic lifestyle. [Both laugh at length.] Now through November 1st, get 20% off your entire purchase when you visit SweatyBetty.com/mother and enter “mother” at checkout. Spelled S-W-E-A-T-Y-B-E-T-T-Y.com/mother and enter “mother” at checkout. [Music fades.]

promo

Music: Fun, cheerful music. Kirk Hamilton: Video games! Jason Schreier: Video games! Maddy Myers: Video games! You like 'em? Jason: Maybe you wish you had more time for them? Kirk: Maybe you wanna know the best ones to play? Jason: Maybe you wanna know what happens to Mario when he dies? [Kirk chuckles.] Maddy: In that case, you should check out Triple Click! It's a podcast about video games. Jason: A podcast about video games?! But I don't have time for that! Kirk: Sure you do. Once a week, kick back as three video game experts give you everything from critical takes on the hottest new releases— Jason: —to scoops, interviews, and explanations about how video games work— Maddy: —to fascinating and sometimes weird stories about the games we love. Kirk: Triple Click is hosted by me, Kirk Hamilton. Jason: Me, Jason Schreier. Maddy: And me, Maddy Myers. Kirk: You can find Triple Click wherever you get your podcasts, and listen at MaximumFun.org. Maddy: Bye! [Music finishes.]

promo

Music: Dramatic organ/piano music. [Background noise throughout: a howling wolf and cawing crow. April speaks in a sinister voice.] April Wolfe: Hello there, ghouls and gals. It is I, April Wolfe. I'm here to take you through the twisty, sca-a-a-ry, heart-pounding world of genre cinema on the exhilarating program known as Switchblade Sisters. [Sinister echo on the title.] The concept is simple: I invite a female filmmaker on each week, and we discuss their favorite genre film. Listen in closely to hear past guests, like The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, Winter's Bone director Debra Granik, and so many others every Thursday on MaximumFun.org. Tune in! If you dare... [Thunder booms, something growls over April as she cackles evilly, and then all sound abruptly cuts.] April: [Rapidly] It's actually a very thought-provoking show that deeply explores the craft and philosophy behind the filmmaking process while also examining film through the lens of the female gaze. So, like, you should listen. [Same sinister echo effect] Switchblade Sisters!

biz

We’re back! And… I always love getting a chance to chat with Theresa. Almost as much as I love listening to a mom have a breakdown!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Wooo! This is a rant. That woo was a little misleading, but. [Biz laughs.] I’m putting my almost-three-year-old to bed and for the last year, every time we put him to bed, it takes over an hour to get him to stay in his bed. And it is just the most frustrating thing ‘cause we have tried everything. And I don’t know what to do, so I’m hoping that three is gonna be a miracle year and he’s just gonna begin sleeping in his bed on his own all through the night. ‘Cause that would be just wonderful. Even though I don’t feel like it, I think I’m doing a great job. And so is everybody else. Thank you. Bye.

biz

You are doing a really, really good job. I just feel like it’s so underrated, the sleep stuff. I mean, I don’t mean just the like babies waking up, like, all the time. I mean the… I had all the books. We’ve had the experts on. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t’ spend an hour. It doesn’t mean that Theresa didn’t sit on the floor for like years—

crosstalk

Theresa: I still do! Yeah! Yeah! Biz: In a room! You still do!

biz

Yeah! So I’m gonna let you say something even more about this. Right? Like—

theresa

No, I know. I think—yeah. I’m right there with you. There are so many things—people always say, like, when you have kids, “Oh, you don’t have to sleep anymore.” But there’s like so many parts to that? It’s not just less sleep overall. Which it is! Also. [Biz laughs.] But there’s just so many aspects to this and so many different ways that a child can need extra support to get a good night’s sleep. And it’s truly exhausting. And especially when it comes at the end of the day. Because we don’t have anything left at that time of day. We’re ready to relax and sometimes we just feel like we don’t get to. And especially when… y’know… when your kid just doesn’t even wanna be in their bed. That’s… I just—I’ve really been there. I really just… I really see you? And I… you’re not alone. And you will get through it. But it’s so hard.

biz

Yeah. It’s impossible. And I’m really sorry. You are doing a good job.

theresa

Yeah. You are.

biz

Theresa? You’re also doing a very good job. You really are doing a great job!

theresa

Thank you, Biz!

biz

I love those fucking tombstones.

theresa

Thank you.

biz

I think that is such a good job.

theresa

Thank you, Biz.

biz

Yes. I think maybe you could have fun just hiding them in the house now to freak your children out. Right? They wake up and there’s a tombstone at the foot of their bed!

crosstalk

Biz: You’re doomed! Theresa: Or at the head of their bed.

biz

At the head of their bed! That’s right! See? I’m here for you. You’re doing a really good job.

theresa

Biz, thank you. So… are you.

biz

Thank you. And I can’t wait to see you next week!

theresa

Yep! See you next week. Bye.

biz

Well, guys? I sense a theme in this week’s show. And that them is—you are not alone in any of it. And I really want to emphasize that. Maybe your kid just like took a poop in a public place. And you think, “I am the only person whose kid has ever done this.” And I’ll say, “Nope. I watched a kid go behind a tree several years ago. And just [through laughter] take a poop!” And I get calls about that. So… you’re not alone. Did you drive somewhere and not buckle the kid in the seat? Yeah. Oh, that’s a big guilt one. That’s one that makes us all feel like we’re the worst people on the planet. Uh… it’s happening all the time, guys. And guess what? Everybody was okay and you’ll probably be even better at remembering next time. But I think what that speaks to… is this idea that we’re supposed to be… like… that we’re supposed to have this space? This mental space? All the time? That, y’know, “How could you forget to buckle your child in the seat?!” Well, look. You were probably putting the kid in. Maybe you have more kids and like those kids are like beating the crap out of each other. Or taking a poop behind a tree. Who knows! Right? You’re on the way to the grocery store. Do you have the keys? “Oh my god! I don’t have my keys again! Goddamn!” “Do I have my mask? I don’t know. Where are the masks?” Right? Like—ugh! And they’re all talking! At you! At the same time! There’s not a lot of space, but we’re told that that’s all supposed to be very natural to us. To have that space. And then when we fuck up or we feel bad or we feel like we are the worst or… whatever, that we’re the only ones. And we really, really aren’t. I really appreciated talking to our guest, y’know, I—[sighs]. It’s the same way I feel after leaving all of my therapy sessions, where I don’t always leave knowing what steps I’m supposed to take? Like, what’s coming out of my sessions? Like, what’s coming out of all this great insight? But I think there’s value in hearing it every week. Every day. Every month. Just this message that… you deserve space, no matter how small that space is. You do deserve it. And it will help the other things that are around you.

biz

You are all doing an incredible job. Again, maybe you got kids that you’ve been able to get back into school. Good fucking job. That doesn’t mean suddenly your life is the easiest life on the planet. ‘K? That didn’t make everything better. You have your kids at home. Like— [Laughs.] Like I do. That’s a lot of noise! Even though they’re occupied, I don’t have anywhere to go from the noise. That’s still something that’s impactful. And it also doesn’t mean that you aren’t having really great days. So just know that I see you. You are very visible. You’re not alone. You are doing a good 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.]

music

A cheerful ukulele chord.

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MaximumFun.org.

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Comedy and culture.

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Artist owned—

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—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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