TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Episode 401: Depression! Aren’t We Glad It’s Okay to Talk About That Now? with John Moe

I’m not all right and that’s all right. Biz is joined by “Depression Professional” John Moe to discuss mental health, honest communication, and his new podcast Depresh Mode. Plus, Biz isn’t really alone.

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 401

Guests: John Moe

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—depression! Aren’t we glad that it’s okay to talk about that now? And we do talk about it, with John Moe, host of the new MaxFun podcast Depresh Mode. Plus, Biz isn’t really alone.

crosstalk

Biz and caller: Wooooo!

caller

Oh! So! I have a seven-month-old and for the first three months I was having terrible nightmares and I realized the other day—I haven’t had a terrible nightmare in a very long time! So that’s amazing! Downside? The babysitter we hired—just hired last week? Because we couldn’t find a daycare for a seven-month-old? Texted us last night that she wants more money. [Sighs.] Things and roundabouts. Love you! Bye!

biz

[Laughs.] What I like about this check-in is how I don’t know what’s happening. Which I think just is exactly what a check-in is supposed to be. You have a seven-month-old. I got that much. And that there was enough. That was enough for—I could’ve ended the call at “you have a seven-month-old.” You’re doing an amazing job. Good luck. Sorry. Yay! Seven months old. But then you were like, “I was having nightmares and now I’m not.” Now I—[Laughs.] I don’t know really when they started or why they ended, but I am very happy that you are not having those nightmares anymore. I, myself, sometimes get into a nightmare rut and it sucks! I’m so sorry and I’m so glad that you are not having them anymore. That is a good check-in. And then I appreciate your humor regarding [through laughter] nothing being easy, including your babysitter requesting more money. Had they started?! I’m confused. But that’s okay, ‘cause I know you’ll figure it out. Because you’re doing an amazing job! You are super awesome! And doing it! [Singing] You know who’s also doing it? All the essential workers! [Regular voice] I know everybody is so thrilled with vaccines. Pandemic over, everybody! Oh, wait, no? Is it not? Oh, it’s not over. Never will my appreciation be over. So here we go. Thank you, thank you, thank you medical workers. You know who you are. You know that you are in every facet of medical care. Be it data entry to cleaning and disinfecting stuff to nurses, RNs, EMTs, doctors—everybody! All—aah! You’re all doing it. You haven’t really been given a break in a year. And I just—I really appreciate your willingness to put others before you. It’s really remarkable! Thank you! I wanna say thank you to the teachers. I know a lot of schools are starting to open back up in places where they had not been open, and, y’know, even if you’ve had a chance to get vaccinated as a teacher I am sure there is still a lot of emotions surrounding how comfortable you feel; is it okay. I mean, you’ve gotta interact with so many all at once! And I just wanna say I appreciate your efforts and I see you. Thank you, mail service. Thank you, other delivery services. You guys have been keeping us alive, bringing us packages. [Laughs.] We don’t wanna go out. So I appreciate that. Everybody working at the grocery stores. Pharmacies. All of it. And speaking of pharmacies—let’s just jump right into thanking people for distributing vaccines. Thank you, all the people who made the vaccines. Thank you, thank you. Thank you for all the people who studied those vaccines to make sure that they were safe. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the people distributing those vaccines, whether you are a courier carrying vaccines to a hospital or a CVS? Good job! Whether you are the person who has to sit outside taking people’s names down as they come in to get the vaccine. Making sure that they had an appointment. Dealing with people who might be terrified. Thank you. Thank you if you’re working and volunteering—one of those, “We’re gonna drive through all the cones to get stuck in the shoulder” sort of—thank you. Somebody set up those cones! Thank you! And thank you to all the locations who have opened up to provide services distributing vaccines. Thank you. I got my first vaccine and I cannot tell you how much I appreciate everybody from the person I signed in with all the way to the last person I saw walking out the door, who was also the same person who signed me in. I—if I could have, I would’ve sat in all of their laps. Just hugging and thanking them. I think they maybe thought I had lost my mind. I am so very grateful for science and getting stuck. Here is to everyone getting stuck soon who is capable of getting stuck.

biz

Now. Let me tell you something even more exciting [through laughter] than a vaccine. This week, my children return to some form of in-person learning. Three days a week. Their days don’t always match. They aren’t always dropped off at the same place. Some days they’re home. Some days they’re not. But on Tuesday, they were both at school. At the same time, all day. And I… was… alone. Except I wasn’t. I walked in the house. Stefan was here. ‘Cause Stefan still works from home because his office is not open. And it’s gonna be this way for a really long time. And… I gotta tell ya—I just—I know that part of me was supposed to be really excited that Stefan and I were going to be alone for the first time in like a year. But I also really just didn’t wanna do fucking anything! I didn’t wanna talk to anybody. I didn’t wanna do anything. I didn’t wanna hear anybody. I didn’t wanna see anybody. I just… really, really needed to be alone and aware that being alone? For a little while? Might make me… enjoy being with somebody? [Laughs.] More? So that was… something. It was surprising. It didn’t fit with what everybody I think thought would—like, everybody’s like, “Oh, you and Stefan! You gonna be alone for the first time in forever! Wooo!” Right? [Laughs.] Yes! Yes, “woo!” But also, “Ahhh!” Just—just like a day? Of just… no one… being around me? That would take that. I mean, I would take it. Just for a day. Not forever. Just a day. That “not meeting the expectations that I feel were set by myself and others” that I’m supposed to be thoroughly excited and thrilled and ready to bounce right back into—[Laughs.] “we are partners! We’re in a relationship!” sort of emotional state—after a year of being with children 24 hours a day—was a surprise. Surprise. Maybe it’s a surprise to you. It was a surprise to me. And like those types of surprises, the ones that we don’t expect, I think that ties in nicely… to what we’re gonna talk about today. Which is mental health. And depression. Surprise! [Laughs.]

music

Banjo strums; cheerful banjo music continues through dialogue.

theresa

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

biz

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

theresa

Nothing we say constitutes professional parenting advice.

biz

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

theresa

Nothing said on this podcast about them implies otherwise. [Banjo music fades out.] [Biz and John repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss the weekly topic.]

biz

This week, we are talking with John Moe, who is the host and creator of Depresh Mode and the host and creator of the award-winning hit podcast The Hilarious World of Depression. And the author of the acclaimed book by the same name! His writing has appeared in numerous humor anthologies, as well as the New York Times Magazine, McSweeney’s, The Seattle Times, and many more publications. And he’s written plays! That have been performed on three continents! What?! He’s a longtime contributor and columnist for McSweeney’s. John has hosted nationally-distributed public radio programs such as Wits, Weekend America, and Marketplace Tech, and his radio work has been featured on numerous national radio programs! He lives in St. Paul! Oh my god! Welcome to the show—

crosstalk

Biz: John Moe! [Laughs.] John: Thank you!

john moe

Thank you! That was very—a well-written bio!

crosstalk

Biz: It was! It was! John: Nice work, yeah!

biz

I just—I found it.

john

I’ve also been—can I just also say, just as an extra here, that my work has also been translated into Slovakian.

biz

Oh! You’ve made it, John! You’ve made it!

john

I’ve made it. Yeah. Apparently there are other foreign-language editions coming? But the first off the press is Slovakian. Úžasný Svet Depresie. [Biz laughs.]

biz

That makes it sound fun! [Laughs.] You know it’s a humor book.

john

I’m big in Slovakia. It’s like in Singles where their band is big in Belgium? I’m big in Slovakia. [Biz laughs.]

biz

Well, before we find out how big you are in Slovakia, I would like to ask you what we ask all our guests, which is—who lives in your house?

john

So many. So many live in my house. There’s me, my wife—Jill Moe, and occasionally living here is our 20-year-old son—Charlie, who also goes to college, so he’s there a lot of the time. Hopefully. [Biz laughs.] Not being sent home to do it all in his bedroom. Also, my daughter Kate Moe, who is a high-school senior heading off to college in the fall. And then I have a 12-year-old daughter and I won’t reveal her name ‘cause she’s a minor and I’m not sure whether she wants me to do it or not. [Biz laughs.] We also have two dogs, Sally and Maisie, and two guinea pigs, Panda and The Cheat.

biz

You do have—you have like a full house! You win! Yahtzee!

john

So many to feed. So many to feed. [Laughs.]

biz

So many! But you’re also almost—almost done. A little. Right? I mean, you’re never “done.” But like… pretty soon, they’re not in the house. Maybe.

john

Well, and you’d think you’d be—you think you’d be really happy about your kids moving off on their own? And that’s exactly right.

crosstalk

Biz: Good! Good! John: I’m really happy. [Laughs.]

biz

‘Cause I’m counting on that? I am counting on that. [Laughs.]

john

I know. I know. I’m really looking forward to it. Yeah.

biz

Fingers—[cheers] Fingers crossed. Yeah. Are they all interested in—are they college-bound staying—the 12-year-old, eh. I got a 12-year-old. Y’know. They just wanna live in Japan as far away from us as possible. [John laughs.] And I’m like, “Alright! Let’s bring out the embarrassment machine! Here I come!” But the older two—college close? College far away?

john

College close for the oldest. He’s about 40 minutes away. And after combing the East Coast for all these places he wanted to go, he picked the place down the road. And then the 18-year-old is heading off to college in Washington State, to the same college that I went to! [Biz gasps.] A thousand years ago. Which has been a really interesting thing because I’m—Y’know. I wasn’t allowed to go on the tour because it was felt that I would just keep talking about my own experiences? Which is fair and probably accurate.

biz

It’s probably accurate. Right. [Laughs.]

john

And—but it’s—it’s a college called Whitman College. Very special place to me. It allowed me to kind of turn into who I wanted to be? And the fact that she’s going there has me—gets me very misty-eyed and very moved and she could tell when I start kind of saying, [with wavering voice] “I’m just really glad you’re going.” She’s like, “Oh, god, here it comes again. Nope.”

biz

Well here’s the—but here’s the horrible question. And that is—what if she doesn’t have the exact same experience that you had? I mean, she might find herself—‘cause that’s what you all do when you go to college. You find something. You find something. That’s for sure. But what if the experience is a different one than yours?

crosstalk

Biz: She won’t even tell you. Well, sure. [Laughs.] But— John: Well I’m kinda counting on it being different in a lot of ways.

john

She’s—I mean, I went—I went to college having done a ton of theater in high school. I was the ultimate drama nerd. And then all the other classes were just sort of like, “I also have to do this before I can return to the theatre for my next theatre thing.” And it was a theater department that just did tons and tons of actual productions so I was always there. And I don’t think she’s interested in it at all! She’s like, “No, I—I’m probably going to do either environmental studies or political science or psychology. Or combine all three.” I’m like—

biz

That’s not gonna get you anywhere! The theater gets you—you’ve gotta get a [in over-exaggerated British thespian voice] theater career! [Laughs.]

john

Yeah. So she’s—y’know, she’s, I think, way ahead of me. ‘Cause she’s actually interested in the academic work. So I think she’s gonna be okay.

biz

You have gone way off the range as a parent. I am so— [Laughs.]

john

I know! Well my wife is—got a degree in studio art. I have a degree in theater. And then our oldest almost majored in economics, which is how you rebel against artist parents. [Laughs.]

biz

That is—I know that we are not too far off. That is some Alex P. Keaton.

john

Alex P. Keaton, Biz, yeah.

biz

Style—yeah. That’s some rebellion. Yeah. My husband and I are both—we were sketch comedians in New York. That’s how we met. Theater. Art. He does theme park design now. I do this—whatever this is—and yeah. Our kids are like… wicked [through laughter] smart! I’m just like—I’m just so—I’m like, “Oh yeah. You guys—doesn’t anybody wanna let Mama live vicariously through them? Come on! Let’s go!” [Laughs.]

john

“Wait—you sure you don’t wanna go to the audition? No? Oh, you have anything else to do? Oh, okay. Well.” [Both laugh.]

biz

“You get in your room and do something creative right now!” Alright. Alright. Let’s—let’s stop enjoying ourselves.

john

Alright, then.

biz

You… are new to the MaxFun family, but not new to depression. [Laughs.]

john

Right. [Laughs.] I’m a veteran.

biz

Welcome to MaxFun! [Laughs.] Your next level of depression! But you’ve come to do this podcast, Depresh Mode. And I gotta tell ya—mental health? It turns out, pretty important. So I guess—what—give us the background. Tell us—tell us all about it. How did you wind up making depression so successful for yourself? [Laughs.]

john

Yeah. How did I make it big in chronic sadness? [Biz laughs.]

biz

Yes.

john

How did I get to be so good at depression that I went pro? Yeah.

biz

You are a depression expert! [Laughs.]

john

I got called up to the major leagues! [Laughs.] So—yeah! I had—I have a history of depression in my family. My parents were kids during WWII in Norway when the Nazis invaded? So there’s a lot of trauma stored up in there. Back then, there wasn’t a lot of New Age-y cognitive behavioral therapists for people in distress, but there was cigarettes and vodka. So that’s the path that my dad chose. So then I was—then, that’s—if you have an addictive personality, it’s hard to kick. So I grew up in a home with alcohol. My brother had the same trait and moved on to drugs. And there was a lot of not talking about things that were unpleasant or frightening. Y’know. And I don’t… I don’t blame my parents, because it’s the world they grew up in. You don’t—you can’t afford a weakness. You can’t afford another reason for somebody to… have you killed. Y’know. It’s what I hear from people now who live in rough neighborhoods. Like, “I can’t show one weakness that’s gonna put me in danger.” Right? So I grew up with kind of that specter, a little bit. And then when I started experiencing symptoms of depression I had no idea what they were. This happened in junior high school. Puberty. Rush of new hormones and chemicals going on and it got set off. And I hear that story from other people all the time. But I didn’t know what it was! I didn’t know why I was terrified all the time. I didn’t know why I would start crying for no reason and not be able to stop. I didn’t know why I could no longer concentrate on anything. But I knew it was terrible. And as far as I could tell, nobody else was experiencing this so I had to keep it quiet. And so I really kept it quiet and kinda stuffed it down and that’s actually where the theater end of it came in really handy. My parents were both, y’know, besides having lived through this stuff they were both actors. And I got that gene as well! [Biz laughs.] And I—y’know, I could throw myself into the theater and into all those sorts of extroverted things and I could put on a really good character as That Guy. And I was able to hide out there for a number of years. Y’know, into college and beyond. And I just sort of figured, “Well, if I ignore this and if I suppress this—if I can shove this down until—and not tell anybody about it—until I die, then I will win!”

biz

Yeah. Good plan. This is a good plan. [John laughs.] This is a—I’m pretty sure I read that particular book plan. Like, I think that was out in all of the stores at the time. Cram It Down Until You Die.

john

Yeah. Then you win.

biz

Then you win. Right. [Laughs.]

john

Then you win! And so it wasn’t until I started having a family, really, that it could no longer be suppressed. And I was in my thirties ‘cause I don’t catch onto things very quick? Like, every M. Night Shyamalan twist blows my mind.

crosstalk

Biz: You’re like, “What?! It’s the water?!” [Laughs.] John: Yeah. I never saw—[Laughs.]

john

I never saw it coming. And I look over at my wife and I’m like, “Did you—could you believe it?!” And she’s just shaking her head. [Biz laughs.] But I had a career. I was married. We owned a home. We started having kids. And the stress of it—and the importance of everything—and the inability to hide from it—meant that it started coming out. Like in stress and in sort of hiding from the rest of the world. I became really short-tempered but like, not—not violent, ever, but just like angry?

biz

No. Just angry. Just—yeah. I know.

john

Yeah. And my wife said, “Well, you know, why don’t you go see a doctor? ‘Cause I think this might be depression.” And I’m like, “Well, I’m not sad.” She’s like— [Biz laughs.] “No, that’s not how it works. That’s a different thing. This is a disorder. That’s an emotion.” And I said, “Well—[sighs.]” Then I said, “I don’t wanna bother the doctor. Don’t they have other people to see?” [Biz laughs.] Even though the whole job of a doctor is to see people!

biz

To please be bothered! Right.

john

Yeah. Yeah. [Biz laughs.] So that shot down #2. And then the third was, “it’s so expensive!” It was covered by our insurance and we had a $10 copay.

biz

Fuck you! [Laughs.]

john

Yeah! I’m like, “I don’t wanna lay down a Hamilton. I’m not worth a Hamilton!”

biz

Wow. Wow. Whew! Yeah.

john

Yeah. So I finally got in. Got diagnosed. It felt great. It was like… I was like, “How long have I had this?” And he said, “Well, when’s the first time you noticed it?” “I was about twelve.” “Okay. You’ve had it since you were twelve." [Biz laughs.] “But there are a lot of things we can do and we could form a plan.” So I became really interested in how this thing had secretly lived in my head for so long. And then a couple years after that, my brother died by suicide. Due to depression. That had never been diagnosed; that had never been treated. And that he thought was his fault. He didn’t even recognize it as an illness that he had; he thought he was just… weak. And if he had been stronger and tougher and braver that it would go away. And then when it didn’t, he thought it was all his fault. So honestly, like, it was literally at his service. We were standing there and I thought, “Okay. Let’s… let’s think about this. He never talked to anybody about this and he died from this illness.” Right? And then, “If he had talked to a therapist; a friend—if he had opened up to a friend about it; if he had opened up to somebody about it—it’s no guarantee he’d get better, but there’s a lot better chance.” So society, I thought, faces these two options: talk about it, have a chance to get better; not talk about it, surely get worse. Why the hell are we choosing the stupid option?

biz

Oh! Hello!

john

John: That’s just dumb! Biz: We get—

biz

We can’t have nice things, John Moe!

john

We can’t have nice things!

biz

We can’t have nice things! We always choose the worse option. [Laughs.]

john

And I’m a blabbermouth. Like, I was—I don’t know how I was in a Norwegian family. I always thought, were they swapped with an Italian baby or something? ‘Cause I’m demonstrative. [Biz laughs.] I—by that point I’m in radio. I have access to microphones. I can string a sentence together. I guess this is my life’s work! And then everybody has just been informed since then of like, “Okay, fine. I can’t save Rick. It’s too late. But maybe I can—y’know—help people to save other people.”

biz

Well, I think—the word that comes to mind for me the most with what you’re doing and what people are trying to do—I know that we’re trying to do it. And that is the word “normalize.” Right? Like, I… was raped my first year in college. I went to a lot of colleges. Probably shouldn’t have gone to begin with. [Laughs.] Talk about the tipping point for depression!

john

There ya go. Yeah.

biz

Maybe something’s been wrong for a while. [Laughs.] Let’s just rip it all off.

john

See those signposts. Sure.

biz

Yeah. Woo! But for me, my response… was… talking about it. Right? Because… the more I learned how normal that experience was? For women? The more I felt it shouldn’t be a secret. Right? And that people shouldn’t treat it as a secret. And the same goes with mental illness or—and depression. The same goes with suicide and the same goes with—one of the things we’ve discovered on this show over the last eight years is how much—I’m gonna say specifically women—have been told, “Oh, did you suffer an injury during childbirth? Well, it’s normal. You just live with it. Don’t tell anybody.” Right? Like, “Don’t tell anybody that you pee every time you sneeze.” Right? Like, “That’s just what you get.” Or that, y’know, they feel like if they’re struggling—that’s the biggest one—that you’re struggling with being a parent. It’s not fun. It’s really hard. You’re—y’know—but if you tell anybody, you’re bad. Like, you’ve done a bad job. And we did a whole series on postpartum depression being seen as, like… when you say “postpartum depression” people think “postpartum psychosis.” Like, they’re thinking the far end of the spectrum. If I say I’m depressed, they’re gonna think I’m gonna drive into the lake next week. You know what I mean? And so like… I know that as a result of learning that we try to talk about it. A lot. On all of those things on the show. And I think… like… the process of normalizing it is so important. ‘Cause people didn’t talk about depression even twenty years ago. Y’know. And now there’re multiple medications that you can, y’know, are available. That weren’t there. So… as your life’s work, y’know, how have you seen… the normalization of mental health needs develop?

john

Well, I get a lot of hope from—from, well, a variety of sources. I mean, one is that when I started to talk about this stuff I had already been broadcasting and writing for a long time. And the response was so huge on this topic. And I’m like, “Okay, either I became a much better writer—” [Biz laughs.] “Or there is a real hunger for this. People are sick of stuffing it away and they wanna do something about it.” I mean, it’s like littering in the ‘70s or drunk driving in the ‘80s. Like, we decided—we kinda got together and we’re like, “Okay, this is stupid. Let’s do something about this.” And so that’s been very inspirational for me. And then when I talk to young people—and I’ve talked to my kids’ teenaged friends—it is so without the baggage that, y’know, and it’s in all forms! It’s about depression. It’s about any kind of variation from the norm. I don’t see it as much. Like, y’know, “My friend Olivia is gay.” Like, I hear about this friend in junior high. And I’m like, “Wow. The gay people I know took until they were in their mid-twenties because of what was going on around them!”

biz

Oh my god, my child came home yesterday announcing that their class was the gayest class— [John laughs.] —in the history of their school. Everybody is something in that class of kids! And I’m like, “That’s cool.” [Laughs.]

john

Because it turns out they’re not buying into our constructs, which is probably a good thing— [Biz laughs.] —‘cause our constructs suck real bad.

biz

It’s just—yeah! They don’t help with our mental health. [Laughs.]

john

No. They don’t really help. And y’know, I—people ask me, like, “Okay, you talk about mental illness and you talk about people who are having these problems—doesn’t that turn into a giant bummer?” And it really doesn’t because there’s so many people doing such amazing things. Like something that turned my head around a while ago—I was talking with a friend who’s a therapist. And she’s written papers on the language around mental health. And so like… person-first conversation. Like, Jim isn’t “a schizophrenic”—Jim is “a person with schizophrenia.” He’s also left-handed and likes the Mets and, y’know, watches Hitchcock movies. This is one part of who Jim is. Jim isn’t defined by this thing that he deals with. And so that turned my thinking. And then she also talked about—even the word “stigma,” which she says is a cheat word when we really mean “discrimination.” [Biz “oooooh”s.] We say, “Oh, there’s a lot of stigma around mental health.”

biz

Damn.

john

And it goes easy on the people who are discriminating. Like, if you—y’know, if you have a stigma about somebody dealing with depression—no, you’re just judging them is all. You’re just discriminating against them, is all.

biz

You’re just assuming you know anything about them. Right.

john

Sorry, that’s— [Biz laughs.] —that’s bigotry. Y’know? Turns out you’re just a bigot! And so that’s really changed my thinking, too. I mean, when my oldest was diagnosed with being on the autism spectrum, he was 16. And the first thing he did was he texted his friend Alice and said, “Guess who has two thumbs and is on the spectrum?” [Biz laughs.] “This guy!” Y’know. And for him, it was never… it was always about, “Oh, that’s why I do those things.” It wasn’t like, “I’m ashamed that I kind of stumble in making eye contact in social situations.” It was like, “Oh. That’s why I do that. That’s good to know!” [Laughs.]

crosstalk

John: And that’s been his approach. Biz: Okay. I have to stop you right here, though.

biz

And point out what I see, which is—and again, why I love talking about this on a podcast in which we’re all parents—that is, look what you—that’s you! You did that. You and your wife did that. You made it so that your kids didn’t have a hang-up. Didn’t have a problem… looking for help? And then receiving help. And then being given the language to use when it comes to understanding themselves and helping others understand them. And, like, language… it’s so important. And I don’t think we give enough credit to the power that parents have when it comes to ending these sorts of… cultural ways we look at things. Whether it be mental health or race or—y’know, like, I mean—all of those start with somebody saying, “It’s okay to feel that way.” That’s—

john

I mean, we have—we… agreed with each other—my wife and I agreed with each other a long time ago that we’re gonna, y’know, parent with a lot of love, but also a lot of honesty. And so when the subject of sex came up, we’d be like, “Oh, here’s how sex works! Let me draw you some charts. [Laughs.]

biz

“Let me ruin it for you!” [Laughs.]

john

Yeah! And like, we’re gonna take away all the taboo and we’re just gonna… and there’s this golden zone before they realize, “Oh, wait. That’s how I got here. The two of you—oh no!”

biz

“Oh, yuck!” [Laughs.]

john

But we also were drafted into that by my brother’s death. So when my brother Rick died, our oldest was in kindergarten. And he had—y’know.

biz

Questions.

john

He knew who his uncle was and then he was dead. It was the first death he had encountered. And we said, “Okay. Here’s the deal with Rick, is that he had—he had a disease. He had an illness that affected his brain. And it was way worse than anyone realized. And so he wasn’t able to get the help he needed because it was so much worse than we thought and he died of it.” And that’s the truth. But it was told in a way that he could handle it. And so it’s always been kind of a subject going around of, y’know, that your mental health is no different than your dental health. Y’know? It’s—

biz

That’s clever, by the way.

john

We just talk about—I just came up with that.

crosstalk

Biz: Thank you. It’s really good. John: We just talked about—

john

It rhymes. We just talked about what’s going on! To the point where our youngest—our youngest is—so the first two are two years apart. The youngest is five years younger, so there’s a gap. And she said when she was kind of figuring out, like… “Oh, this is what dad’s job is to talk about now.” She said, “Well… will I get this thing? Will I get depression?” And I said, “Well, it’s on both sides of our family, but not everybody deals with it. So you may or may not.” She said, “Well what will I—what will I do—what will we do if I do get it?” And I said, “Oh, well we know what to look for. And then if you do get it, there are doctors we could take you to. Then there’s a bunch of different ways to treat it, and we’ll find the one that works best for you.” And she said, “Okay. Can we go watch the Powerpuff Girls now?”

biz

Right! [Laughs.] [John laughs.] Right! Yeah. That’s how—

john

And it was solved!

biz

Yeah! That’s how most of those—I had to learn the hard way that when I tried to explain more than was necessary? [John laughs.] Oh, I’d lost ‘em. But my oldest would be like, “Oh, is it a lecture in the car?” I was like, “Yes it is, sister! Back it up!” Yeah.

john

The commentary track no one wants. Here it comes.

biz

That’s right. “Alright. Let me tell you why that bumper sticker’s offensive.” [Laughs.] Alright. [Laughs.] [John laughs.] Language, when you say it, sounds very easy. And we see the awesome results. [Laughs.] However! Honesty can be scary. When we are looking at our precious little children who have appeared in our house. With big questions. There’s a fear. It’s throughout history. Fear has served as a great driver of misinformation and not—and lies. [Laughs.] And avoidance. And avoidance! And so… talk to me about that fear. Fix fear for me, John Moe. Thank you.

john

Um… [Biz laughs.] There’s a lot to be said for fear. It’s a—and for a lot of people it stays there for a long time. Like, anxiety is often rooted in something very practical. Of like… y’know… “Be on guard for every little threat because maybe there are threats all around you.” Y’know, if you’re in a rough home growing up, anxiety can get you out of the room before you get hurt. And with fear… a lot of people are afraid of mental illness because it is scary! It makes total sense to be scared of this stuff because it’s scary! It doesn’t show up on an x-ray. It doesn’t show up in a blood test. And here’s this thing that could just—is built into your head? That just wants to make you sad? What’s that all—like, it’s—and we don’t know all that much about it. We don’t know exactly how to get rid of it. So the fear is totally understandable. But… there’s a school of thought in therapy that I find sort of… resonates with this a little bit. Which is—okay. When something is scary, what do you do with it? You can run from it; you can fight or flight; you can—you can say, “Oh, that’s scary. I’m gonna overcome it!” But there’s a lot to be said for sitting in the fear for a minute. Like, “Oh, okay, that’s scary. I’m recognizing that this is scary. What is this doing to my body? What is this doing to my face? What is this doing to my thoughts?” And just live with it for a minute. And then let it move on. And so yes, talking about mental health with your kids is scary. They’re gonna have questions you don’t have the answers to. And… the phrase “I don’t know” is perfectly acceptable in those situations. [Biz laughs.] And maybe the kid will be scared of what mental health means, and maybe their vision of mental health has been affected by how it’s often portrayed in pop culture, which is, y’know—I always figured if I told anybody when I was young that I was having mental health problems I would be in a padded room in a straightjacket thinking I was Napoleon because my understanding was born of Bugs Bunny cartoons. And… y’know… but I think it’s an opportunity, too, to say, “Look, lots of people have mental illness. People—if you look at the grocery store, next time we’re in the grocery store, look at five people. Probably two of them are dealing with something at least.” And… but they’re dealing with it. They know the world they’re in. The vast, overwhelming majority of people with mental illnesses are not delusional. They’re not, y’know, they’re not living in a fantasy world. They’re right here among us and they’re just dealing with something!

biz

It’s a really good point and I think that’s the fact that it’s not something you can see… is what can catch so many people off guard.

john

Well and it’s what makes so many people disregard it, too. Like, y’know, “Oh, well you’re depressed? Have you tried going for a walk? It’s such a nice day!”

crosstalk

Biz: “Take a nap!” John: “There’s nothing to be depressed about!”

john

Which—we don’t say, “Oh, you have leukemia? How could you have leukemia on such a nice day?” [Biz laughs.] Well, I don’t want to! “Have you tried going for a walk? That’ll cure that leukemia right up.” [Both laugh.] “Look at all you have going for you! What do you have to have leukemia about? Y’know. Your life is great!” That’s the problem. [Laughs.]

biz

That’s—well that’s how that works. I’ll wrap up on something that you actually touched on earlier that I thought was kind of funny. And that was that talking about mental health and in particular depression would be super sad to listen to. But I’ve listened to a few of the new podcast—Depresh Mode—and it’s very funny! I particularly enjoyed your discussion about how we were all gonna come out on the other side of this pandemic. Which—let me tell you—has not been a joyride emotionally. Or mentally. For any of us. Talk about triggers! As a comedian and as… just… whoever I am as a person—despite all the years of therapy, I still can’t tell you—I think there’s so much humor and… like… [sighs]. Perspective? That can come from talking about depression? So talk to me about—[Laughs.] This—sell me on a podcast about depression, John Moe! Do it! [John laughs.] Right now! [Laughs.]

john

Well, it’s about—I mean, it’s about depression. It’s about anxiety. It’s about a lot of these regular obstacles that people face. And I’m spending a lot of time thinking about how the pandemic is gonna affect us. I was talking with Kelsey Darragh on this show. Like, are we going to be flapper crazy? Or hoarding pizza crust crazy? Like—

biz

I know it. Yeah. I—you went with “hoarding pizza crust crazy—"

crosstalk

Biz: And I was like, obviously. We’re obviously going that route. John: I’m a believer in the hoarding pizza crust. Yeah. Well—

john

And we’re—y’know, we’re traumatized. It’s a mass traumatization and people are gonna be affected in different ways, of course. But we talk with a variety of artists, comedians, and then actual mental health experts. So Dr. Ken Duckworth from National Alliance on Mental Illness said, “Okay. So have you been watching a movie during the pandemic and there’s a crowd scene and people are yelling and you get a little freaked out that they’re not wearing their masks? Even though you intellectually know it was filmed ten years ago!” [Biz laughs.] “Are you still having the—"

biz

The answer is yes! [Laughs.]

john

Okay. So that is one of many irrational reactions you’re going to have moving forward. Y’know? Like when people are standing too close. Long after nobody’s worried about COVID, you’re still gonna go [makes nervous noises] “It could come back!” Y’know, and that’s no different than your Depression-era grandparents hoarding bread and nickels. So we are gonna be kooks. We’re gonna be— [Biz laughs.]

biz

We’re “gonna” be? We’re already crazy. I remember talking to a new parent. They’d just had a baby, and they were guests on the show and they were talking about how whenever they put the mask on, the baby would get excited ‘cause they knew it meant they were going out? [John laughs.] And I was like, “Oh…”

john

It’s like dogs! [Laughs.]

biz

It was! It was like, “Here come the keys!” But I thought, “Oh. I wonder how that—"

crosstalk

Biz: “Like, what does that play out in on a baby?” Like—Right? It is! John: That’s hardwired—that—that, Biz, is hardwired for the rest of their life.

biz

I mean, my kids instinctively react—I was talking to Gabe beforehand and I said, “Will masks be like seatbelts?” When I grew up, seatbelts—it wasn’t until halfway through my teen years that seatbelts became something you had to wear. And my kids freak out if I put the car in reverse and they don’t have their—they’re like, “We’re not buckled!” And I’m like, “Oh my god, is it gonna be—"

john

You’re in the driveway!

biz

Right! “We’re in the driveway! You’re alright!” But the mask—y’know.

john

It’s gonna be one of those things. Here is a conversation that’s going to happen in the future. [Biz laughs.] So our kids—let’s pick—what, a ten-year-old. Let’s say a ten-year-old. Twenty years from now, they’re thirty. They have kids of their own. And then one morning their kid says, “I don’t feel like going to school. I don’t wanna go to school today. I’m just gonna stay home.” Then that kid who’s growing up right now, as a parent, will say, “You are going to school. I went through one entire year when I wasn’t allowed to go to school. You’re getting your butt into school!” [Laughs.]

biz

That’s right! “I’m a complete idiot because of that one year!” [Laughs.]

john

Yeah. “Everything—do you know what a pandemic is?!” And then the kid’s like, “I just wanna stay home and play videogames.” There’s this whole generation that is just not gonna put up with days off from school. [Laughs.] [Biz laughs.]

biz

I know! “We will go to this party and we will be the most social people. I’m sorry, introverts! When we come out of this—"

john

“You better hug every person you see at this party!”

biz

“You kiss your grandma!” [Laughs.]

john

“You kiss your grandma!” is coming back. It’s a big comeback.

biz

“Right on the mouth!” [John laughs.] Well, John, I appreciate so much you coming—not “by”—you Zooming over to join me on One Bad Mother. And welcome to the MaxFun family! I hope that everybody who listens to this show—guys, it’s a natural fit to go over and listen to Depresh Mode because it’s funny. It’s honest. And… it talks about mental health, which, y’know. The One Bad Mother community—whew! Do we love talking about mental health—

crosstalk

Biz: —and not being alone! John: Yeah! Does that every come up in your community?

biz

Does that ever come up? Turns out just walking through the world brings it up. Y’know. But I wanna encourage everybody to go listen and I’m just gonna say it, guys, ‘cause we know it’s coming. It’s around the corner. It’s lurking. MaxFun Drive. It’s lurking! It’s lurking! It’s lurking over there!

john

[Ominously] Here it comes!

biz

It’s coming! I’m just gonna say it. Just remember Depresh Mode in your thoughts when MaxFun Drive comes around ‘cause they’re new. And we were new once, too. So John? Thank you so much for joining us.

john

Biz, thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure.

biz

Oh, I love it. Let’s do this again!

john

Yay!

biz

[Through laughter] We can talk about raising children after living through your own trauma. And how relaxing that is. [Laughs.] Everybody, I’m gonna link you up to where you can find out more about John, the books, the writing, and the podcast. Goodbye, John Moe.

john

Bye.

music

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

music

Cheerful ukulele with whistling plays in background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by StoryWorth. Oh, let me tell you. If there has ever been a year to make the moms in your life feel loved and appreciated on Mother’s Day, it is this one. StoryWorth is an online service that helps your family share stories through thought-provoking questions about their memories and personal thoughts. And it’s such a great gift! It’s such an opportunity to ask the important people in your life questions you’ve always wanted to know, or to have them share stories that you’ve heard a million times but you’d like to have written down and recorded someplace to share with generations to come. Every week, StoryWorth emails your mom a different story prompt. Questions you’ve never thought to ask. Like, “What is some of the best advice your mother ever gave you?” I always like to ask things like, “Who is the first person you ever made out with?” [Laughs.] ‘Cause I want it weird in my family! After one year, StoryWorth will compile all of your mom’s stories, including photos, into a beautiful keepsake book that is shipped for free. Get started right away with no shipping required just by going to StoryWorth.com/badmother. You’ll get $10 off your first purchase! That’s StoryWorth.com/badmother for $10 off. [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

[Singing] Genius fail time! Which means that Theresaaaa is heeeeere! [Regular voice] Theresa?

theresa

Hey!

biz

Hi! I’m just gonna get right to it.

theresa

Okay.

biz

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

Okay. So over quote-unquote “spring break—” [Biz laughs.]

biz

[Shrieking] Spring Breaaak! [Laughs.] [Theresa groans.]

theresa

We went to the mountains for the first time in a year, and while we were there, Gracie found a pinecone that she named and made it her friend. She named it Chutney. And then actually all— [Biz laughs.] I know. And then all three of my kids—all three of my kids found their own—then found their own pinecone and they all had names. But Gracie was pretty attached to hers right away, and one morning—I think—oh, actually, it was the morning that we were going home. She went outside to play with Chutney and I guess she decided she would play—she was playing hide-and-go-seek with Chutney?

crosstalk

Biz: No. Wow. Theresa: Yeah!

theresa

And she threw—she said she closed her eyes—I didn’t see it happen. She said she closed her eyes— [Biz laughs.] —and threw Chutney down the mountain.

crosstalk

Biz: Yeah. That makes sense. ‘Cause you don’t wanna see where Chutney’s gonna hide. Theresa: To play hide-and-seek. But then—

theresa

—she was surprised—then she’s like, “Can I have permission to go down outside the normal boundary? Can I have permission to go down there to find Chutney? ‘Cause I think she might’ve fallen down there.” Chutney has she/her pronouns, in case you’re wondering. So she went to check on Chutney and was actually really surprised and disturbed to find that she could not find Chutney. And there were actually a lot of pinecones down the mountain. She could not find Chutney. And she was really distressed about this. And I was like, “Alright, I’ll come ‘find’ Chutney” and I’m using air-quotes ‘cause I was like, “Well, worst that can happen, I can like… they’re pretty much all the same. I can kind of find one—"

biz

There’s only one Chutney, Theresa!

theresa

So this is what I’m thinking to myself. [Biz laughs.] This is what I’m thinking to myself! So I’m like, “I’m gonna figure out a way to ‘find’ Chutney.” Y’know? But as I’m scaling the mountain—truly scaling the mountain—and she’s saying, “Thank you, Mommy, for helping me!” And she’s so worried. And then she says, “Just remember—Chutney has that little pink hairband on her. But it kind of went inside of her so you can’t really see it ‘cause I wrapped it around her but it’s tight so it kind of went inside her so you can’t really see? But she has that pink hairband. So that’s how you’ll know.” And I kind of stood there and I was already down the mountain. Like, partway down the mountain with my boots and my jacket and everything. And I was thinking to myself, “Oh.”

biz

Oh.

theresa

“I see. I’m not gonna be able to just ‘find’ a Chutney. I’m gonna have to really find Chutney.”

biz

I am crossing my fingers.

theresa

Guess what, guys?

biz

Please say it!

theresa

I fucking found Chutney!

biz

[Shouting] Yesssss! Yessss!

theresa

I fucking found her! [Biz laughs.] I don’t even—there’s no rhyme or reason to it. But I did.

biz

There was no strategy. You just—

theresa

No strategy. Just—

biz

Started picking up pinecones.

theresa

I felt like I had no choice at that point, so I looked for that fucking pinecone until I found it. And now I’m a hero. Like, really a hero. Like I’ve been thanked so many times for this even since coming home. So anyways.

biz

Wow!

theresa

Yeah.

biz

Theresa?

theresa

Mm-hm.

biz

That is amazing. That is amazing.

theresa

Thank you. Thanks.

biz

I thought you were gonna say you—I was like, “Please tell me you have a pink rubber ponytail holder in your bag. In your pocket.” ‘Cause that’s what I would’ve done! I would’ve been like, “I’m gonna take Chutney. I need to clean Chutney off first.” Right? Like—[Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] Chutney in the bathroom going [groaning with effort.] Anyway, very good job. Okay. Before [fake cheering] spring breaaak [regular voice] we knew that they would be—the kids would be returning to some sort of in-person learning when spring break was over. So I—we’ve been operating with like… a handful of masks since the pandemic started. Not a lot. Where are we going? And I was like, “You know what? I’m gonna go and get a ton of masks. I’m gonna go… and order—” Both kids get to pick out which masks they like the most. Right? And… then there’s no, “I’ve gotta go wash masks!” Or “We only have the one!” Right? Because—yuck! I don’t wanna do a mask load. Right? Like every other day? And I did it! Everybody—including myself—including myself!—because I was gonna be going in and out.

theresa

Yeah. You’re going in and out. Yep. So good.

biz

Taking people places. Yeah! We have an ample supply of masks.

theresa

That is such a good feeling.

biz

It was!

theresa

Good job.

biz

Thank you. I mean it’s no Chutney. [Theresa laughs.]

caller

Hi, One Bad Mother! I am calling with a genius moment! My almost-four-year-old son is perfectly capable of putting his shoes on, but he won’t do it because [in whiny voice] “It’s too hard!” [Regular voice] And he recently decided that he wanted to find out what our squirrel likes. There’s a squirrel in our backyard. So what I did was convinced him that if every day he puts his own shoes on to go outside, he could try bringing a different vegetable or fruit food for this squirrel and put it in our garden.

biz

That… is a genius!

theresa

It’s so good. I love these incentives that are actually learning experiences? [Biz laughs.] It’s amazing! It’s so good.

biz

It’s a really—it’s a level of genius that I know you’re not doing at me. “Here’s a quarter. Put on your shoes, kid.” [Theresa laughs.] Like—[Laughs.] “It’s ya job.” Like, I love this. I love this! You’re doing a good job!

theresa

Good job.

biz

Failures.

clip

[Dramatic orchestral music plays in the background.] Theresa: [In a voice akin to the Wicked Witch of the West] Fail. Fail. Fail. FAIL! [Timpani with foot pedal engaged for humorous effect.] Biz: [Calmly] You suck! [Biz and Theresa repeatedly affirm each other as they discuss their respective failures of the week.]

biz

Fail me, Theresa!

theresa

Okay. I have a failure from being up in the mountains. It is that I went to give my two younger kids a bath? And they were very excited about their bath. And as I was getting them ready for their bath my husband, Jesse, said, “You know that the bathtub’s broken, right?” And I said, “Oh. Well… it’s just one of the knobs to turn it on, right?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Oh. Yeah.” But then I thought, well couldn’t I just fill it up with the shower? ‘Cause there’s also like a—there’s like a separate bath filler-upper and a separate showerhead? So I said, “Well, couldn’t I fill it up with the shower?” And he said, “Oh, yeah. I guess that could work. Just use really hot water because by the time it fills up in the bottom it’ll cool off.” And I was like, “Okay. That should be fine.” So we’re filling it up. It’s taking forever to fill up. And I can’t figure it out! And I’m turning it on full blast and it’s hot water and it just takes forever, forever, forever. Until the point that there’s no more hot water! We’ve used all the hot water. So now it’s cold water coming out and there’s still only like… an inch or two of water in the bathtub?

biz

Oh my god.

theresa

And I’ve already got the kids getting in ‘cause we’ve been waiting for so long. But they’re not even like—they’re not even their bottom parts of their bodies are covered. And I turn off the water ‘cause it’s cold, and I’m like, “I don’t know! I don’t know, you guys!” And I listen and I can hear it draining. Like, the drain is also broken. The drain is broken.

biz

That’s more important.

theresa

So the drain is broken and the faucet is broken, so all that hot water—we just used a full tank— [Biz gasps.] —of hot water—

biz

Wow.

theresa

Just down the drain. And they’re freezing cold ‘cause we’re in the mountains and I’m trying to just really quick clean them and they’re so pissed.

biz

Oh yeah.

theresa

They’re livid. ‘Cause they’re—they’re having to quickly get clean in—and they’re cold? Rather than what they thought they were gonna do, which was play. In a nice warm bath. So there was a lot of screaming. A lot of misery. I felt terrible about using up all that water and just really stupid. And now that—whatever—needs to get fixed. So.

biz

Yeah. That—

crosstalk

Theresa: Yeah. Pretty horrific. Yeah. It sucked. Biz: —sucks. Bad.

biz

I’m really sorry. I… would like to blame everyone other than you.

theresa

Yeah. Thank you. Yeah.

biz

You’re welcome. But you’re still doing a horrible job.

theresa

Thank you.

biz

So. Again, as I mentioned last week, at the end of spring break—this week—my children were going back to school in some shape or form. And I believe much earlier in the season I predicted that that would, in fact, be a fail. I would fuck that up somehow because it was such a complicated schedule. Well, I did not fuck up getting the kids to where they needed to be when they needed to be. What I fucked up was all scheduled appointments that were unrelated to school that needed to take place— [Theresa groans.] —outside of the school. Like, right? Like—

theresa

Right. There’s that, too.

biz

Like, Kat still has this standing weekly appointment at 3:30! On a Tuesday! For months. For a year! For a year. And did we do that? No! We didn’t do that. As well as multiple other things like that. It’s like… ya can’t… do one thing well without it stripping you from success in other areas of your life.

theresa

It is so true. Yes.

biz

It’s true. Yeah. Thank you.

theresa

I am very sorry.

biz

[Singing] Prophecyyyy!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi! This is a fail. I called a few days ago with a genius that was celebrating the plans I had made for Valentine’s Day. Which included an overnight sitter and a hotel room. So we could go look at four different walls without our children. Well, fast-forward to today. Two days before Valentine’s Day. And our daughter has a fever of 102. [Laughs.] She’s fine. I’m sure she’s fine. But all our plans are cancelled. So that is a fail that I celebrated prematurely. Eh. Maybe next year. [Laughs.] Thanks! Bye.

biz

Woo, that’s rough. That’s rough!

theresa

It is rough.

biz

It’s rough! We all know that kids get sick at the most inopportune times. I think… if you have anything planned, be it a doctor’s appointment—something you have to do—or a very important work moment? Or something personal, like a hair appointment. Or a night out with your partner. Right? Somebody’s getting sick! [Makes garbled noises.] Inevitably! And then you’re torn between feeling like, “That sucks.” Because it’s not your kid’s fault they got sick. Right? That’s not anybody’s fault. That’s just how bodies work. But… it sucks! Because you thought you were gonna get to do something nice!

crosstalk

Biz: And you don’t! You don’t! Theresa: It really sucks. Yeah. Yeah.

biz

You don’t get to do anything nice! Well, you are doing a horrible job… I dunno… planning.

crosstalk

Biz: God, stop planning. Theresa: Counting your chickens.

biz

Counting those damn chickens. Those chickens are the worst! They’re everywhere!

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

Inspirational keyboard music plays in background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by HelloFresh! HelloFresh delivers high-quality, pre-portioned ingredients sourced directly from growers and delivered from the farm to your front door in under a week. Contact free, of course! And as a parent, sometimes I am just tired of making dinner. I’m tired of thinking what everybody might wanna eat. I’m tired of trying to assemble it. I’m tired of trying to make sure I have the right ingredients. I… have used HelloFresh, and… I love it! The recipes that Hello Fresh offers features a range of flavors, cuisines, and ingredients so that you’ll never get bored. And you can try something new every week! Go to HelloFresh.com/badmother12 and use the code “Badmother12” for 12 free meals! Including free shipping. That’s HelloFresh.com/badmother12 and code “Badmother12” for 12 free meals! [Music ends.]

promo

Music: Faint, suspenseful violin music in background. Justin McElroy: We’re the hosts of My Brother, My Brother and Me, and now—nearly ten years into our podcast—the secret can be revealed. All the clues are in place. And the world’s greatest treasure hunt can now begin. Griffin McElroy: Embedded in each episode of My Brother, My Brother and Me is a micro-clue that will lead you to 14 precious gemstones, all around this big, beautiful blue world of ours. Travis McElroy: So start combing through the episodes—eh, let’s say—starting at episode 101 on. Griffin: Yeah, the early episodes are pretty problematic, so there’s no clues in those episodes. Travis: No. No, not at all. Griffin: The better ones—the good ones? Clues ahoy. Justin McElroy: Listen to every episode repeatedly in sequence. Laugh if you must, but mainly, get all the great clues. My Brother, My Brother and Me: it’s an advice show, kind of, but a treasure hunt, mainly. Anywhere you find podcasts or treasure maps, My Brother, My Brother and Me—the hunt is on!

promo

Music: Mid-tempo electronic music with heavy beat plays in background. Speaker 1: MaxFun Drive 2021 is coming! It’ll be May 3rd to May 14th. To get in the spirit, we asked folks like you to let us know what Maximum Fun and our shows mean to them. [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 1: Y’know, the Maximum Fun network is really important to me because it is not just a collection of podcasts. But it is a lifestyle and a value system. [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 2: The podcasts frequently and deftly float between meaningful and irreverent, in one moment drawing attention to social issues and in another making dick jokes about Klingons. It shouldn’t work, but it does! And I have to believe it’s because MaxFun’s podcasts are, at their core, thoughtful and kind and human during a time that has often felt cold and isolated. [Answering machine beeps.] Caller 3: So keep being great and doing what you do! Speaker 1: MaxFun Drive will be May 3rd to May 14th, 2021. And you won’t wanna miss it. Brilliant eps, Drive-exclusive gifts, and maybe some surprises! Wanna directly support the hosts of the show we just jumped into? Come back May 3rd for MaxFun Drive. [Music fades out.]

biz

Well? It’s time… to do our last thing with the lovely Theresa. And I’m so glad that Theresa is here to do it with us. And that is… listen to a mom have a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Ugh. This is a rant. Why do mornings have to be so damn hard? Like… [sighs.] I just had to walk away because I can’t—I’m so tired of saying things and trying to stay on a schedule— [Biz laughs.] —and the kids not doing anything that I need and not getting help! At all! In the mornings. Because someone needs to get ready for an hour and a half instead of helping me parent our children. And it’s just sometimes I can handle it. Sometimes it’s great and then sometimes, like right now, it’s just… impossible! And I’m tired of impossible mornings. Anyway. [Sighs.] Thank you for letting me rant. Thank you for this amazing podcast. You’re all doing a great job. And today I had to walk away, so… then I continued to do an okay job. Thanks.

biz

Oh, no, no. You are doing a great job walking away. And you are doing a great job getting through it ‘cause you gotta walk back. Y’know? [Laughs.] Morning still has to complete itself. And I know you went back in and you got it done and the thing is, is you are doing it every day! Every day! That’s the—that’s the thing that is so—

theresa

That’s the kicker.

biz

It’s the kicker, isn’t it? Ya doing it—every day! There’s no break from mornings. Mornings are going to happen with all—and you’re right. One of my favorite things that you said was, “Saying things. I’m tired of saying things." Like—[Laughs.]

theresa

Saying things. It is so—we all know what you mean. We all know. What that means.

biz

Oh yeah. You gotta say so many things. Alllll day. And I—[Laughs.] I am sure that your partner steps in in other ways, but this also reminded me about toothbrushing? Our caller—or our guest, Martha? From the very beginning of this show. Talking about the—being so tired and just watching her husband brush his teeth. And her thinking, “How nice for you!” [Laughs.] “That you’ve got time to brush your teeth.” [Laughs.]

theresa

Yeah. [Laughs.] It’s so good.

biz

It’s so good ‘cause it’s so hard, right? It’s just—it’s so hard! And everything looks like so out of whack and out of proportion and I… you’re—here’s the thing. We’re here to validate you. Yes, saying things—it’s hard. Mornings are, in fact, impossible. And… what you didn’t mention but we all know is true is that you’ve done it a million times and it’s not gonna end and that also is not good news. [Laughs.] [Theresa laughs.] It doesn’t help. That doesn’t help. But here’s the thing—you’re doing an amazing job?

theresa

Mm-hm.

biz

And we see you.

theresa

We really do.

biz

I mean, eyeballs… all over you.

theresa

Yeah. In every—the fact that any mornings are going great? Is amazing? And all of those can be celebrated.

biz

Yeah. I agree. I agree. Yeah.

theresa

Like, you really did something if you did a morning. Yeah.

biz

It’s like finding a Chutney. That’s what I’m gonna call it now. “Finding a Chutney.” “You’ve found a Chutney!” [Theresa laughs.] Theresa?

theresa

Yeah.

biz

I… as always, am so glad to see you. And so in awe of the wonderful job you do as a parent. And I am gonna cling to that Chutney story forever. Because that— [Theresa laughs.] —was some truly amazing parenting.

theresa

Thank you.

biz

Good.

theresa

Sometimes it goes well.

biz

Yeah! Sometimes it goes well! Sometimes you pull a Chutneyyyy! [Theresa laughs.] This is—maybe that should be—next year’ll be “The Year of Pulling Chutneys.” [Theresa laughs.] Yeah? Is that a thing? That’ll make for a weird—[Laughs.] A weird One Bad Mother pin.

theresa

People will definitely not know what that means? But I think— [Biz laughs.] —if we can—[Laughs.]

biz

Just say it! Over and over! Oh, yeah.

theresa

Say it a lot? Or maybe we’ll just think it over. A little more.

biz

Yeah. Sure. Whatever. Doesn’t matter. [Theresa laughs.] It’s no pulling a Chutney. Theresa, thank you, as always. You’re doing a great job.

theresa

Thank you. Thank you. So are you, Biz.

biz

Thank you, and I will talk to you next week.

crosstalk

Biz and Theresa: Byeee!

biz

What did we learn today, guys? I’ll tell ya what we learned. We have learned the classic lesson! Talking about stuff is good. Okay? Whether that be mental health. Whether that be, y’know, things that we struggle with as parents. As women. At work. Whatever it is, it’s not actually your fault. Most of those things aren’t, like, something you did or you have control over. But what we do have control over is talking more about it. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned doing this show, is that we are not even remotely alone. There has yet to be an experience somebody has shared that I haven’t already heard or hear down the road. Because… we’re not… alone. We’re not the only ones. Talking about mental health with the people in your life is incredibly important. Seeking treatment and support if you are struggling is incredibly important. And it’s incredibly freeing. And it’s a good job. And it’s self-care. And you deserve it? You deserve it! I think there’s this myth of, “Well today was a good day, so all done!” [Laughs.] “All better!” [Laughs.] Like… and then it just—we just prolong it. Then its like a week of, “Ughhh!” And then, “All better! It’s fine!” I think that’s a… a myth. That’s a lie we’re telling ourselves. It’s—we’re not weak. We’re not failures. We’re not doing a bad job. We’re not bad parents. We’re not bad siblings. We’re not bad children. We’re not bad friends. Just because we suffer from depression or anxiety or any of the other mental illnesses that many of us walk around with daily. So… go get yaself some help! You deserve it! We will make sure that we link you to resources, as well as one of our favorite places in the world—the Suicide Hotline. They are so amazing and so ready to help. Everybody, you’re doing a really great job. This is not easy. Pandemic? Not over. Pandemic? Long-lasting effects. [Laughs.] If things are starting to reopen in your community, including schools, it’s okay if it’s super fucking overwhelming. This week, for me, was super emotionally exhausting? Even though all I was doing was like leaving the house and taking my kids to school and picking them up. It just—because it was once normal and now it feels very foreign but it’s supposed to feel normal and that creates a really weird emotional soup. So, y’know. I just want you to know that all those feelings are valid. It’s still not an easy time to make choices. And… you are doing a remarkable, remarkable job. And I will talk to you next week. Byeeee!

music

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

biz

We’d like to thank MaxFun; our producer, Gabe Mara; 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.

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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