TRANSCRIPT One Bad Mother Episode 416: I Guess Kids Really Can Change Everything, with Chris Gethard

Better learn how to work that coffee maker. Comedian Chris Gethard sits down with Biz to do the hard math: What is the Amount of Yelling per Child ratio? Plus, Biz goes for the gold.

Podcast: One Bad Mother

Episode number: 416

Guests: Chris Gethard

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

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

biz

This week on One Bad Mother—I guess kids really can change everything! We talk to standup Chris Gethard about his new special, Half My Life. Plus, Biz goes for the gold.

crosstalk

Biz and caller: Wooooo! Caller: Hey! Biz: Woo? Hey!

caller

This is a check-in. I am not the maid! But I just heard Biz’s recorded voice telling me I’m doing a good job. And I needed that. After a three-day weekend with no daycare, I’m home with my girl. With no daycare. Because she puked in the car on the way to daycare. Actually, in the parking lot. Hold in. She puked in the parking lot. Because she gets carsick and I just stripped her naked in the parking lot during a thunderstorm, put my shirt on her—took my shirt—one of my shirts off, put it on her, walked her to the door and said, “She puked, but it’s definitely carsickness. Can she come in?” [Biz laughs.] And they said, “No!” So I asked, “Can I borrow a towel?” And they said, “No.” And then… the teacher says, “Let me check with the director.” And she said, “No! Take her home and monitor her for COVID symptoms.” [Biz laughs.] And then after a few—oh, here’s the kicker! Here’s the kicker. She said—and I quote—“This never happens when her father drops her off.”

biz

Ohhhhhhh! [Laughs.] God damn!

caller

And I completely understand where that sentence came from. In the brain. Somebody trying to figure out what’s going on with a mom and a kid and patterns and blah, but oh my god. Oh my god. I just bawled all the way home. And now I’m home. With a toddler. And the great news is that she feels great. [Biz laughs.] And I am full of rage. And so I thought I would check in, ‘cause I thought that would be a good place to put it. And now I got an email about how they can’t take a kid who’s puked unless there’s another explanation for it. And then my brain exploded. Because apparently I was speaking nothing. No words were coming out of my mouth. [Biz laughs.] I’m not a reliable narrator. Y’know. Oh, I love the show. I love you guys. Thank you so much. Bye.

biz

The—[Laughs.] First of all, you’re doing an amazing job. Second, I really love the little bow on this of, “I guess I am not an accurate voice. I cannot tell you what’s happening to my child. I’m not your number-one resource to go to when it comes to my child’s patterns or behavior.” [Laughs.] You’re right. I should just be dismissed. And you know that email came out because of you. So way to trigger that. This is such, like… there’s so many things happening here, but I kinda actually… wanna look at like… the chaos of a kid puking in your car. Raiden—formerly known as Katy Belle, currently known as Raiden—[Laughs.] Used to be so carsick all the time. We lived in Brooklyn so we never were in cars and then suddenly we were in cars and that kid puked all the time. All the time! [Laughs.] And that is exactly what you’re doing. Like, you have to pull over. You have to get all of that off of the child. I have put my child in my clothes, like, at least four times in my life. Stripping off some kind of shirt to put on the child. Because the car seat is full of puke! Like, what are you supposed to do? And you’re standing there and you’re trying to clean it all up but you know you’re putting your kid back in a seat that still has some puke in it for a while. I actually used to have a towel—I know I shared this on the show a million years ago. But I used to have a towel with parts cut out to fit into the car seat? So that when my child puked—because my child was going to puke—I could just pick the whole towel up. And this is also when kids start puking in your car or car seats, this is also the time when you begin to ask a question you hadn’t really asked before, which is—how do you wash a car seat? [Laughs.] Like, we all know you can get the fabric and stuff off, but the buckles? How you do that? How do you do that? I don’t know. I don’t know. I’ve removed ‘em. But then I’m like, “Do I put these in the wash? Do I hose ‘em off? Do I just—do I just throw it all away and call it a day and never put my child in a car again?” Probably. You are doing an amazing job. And you are not alone in the grand puking in a car, how do you fix this, oh god it’s in the middle—the middle of a preschool parking lot is just… wow. Mwah. Cherry on top. Speaking of cherries on top—that sounds delicious. Thank you for asking if I would like a cherry on top of my treat. I would. Thank-you’s! It’s time to be thankful.

music

Heavy electric guitar and driving percussion overlaid with “Ohh, oh-oh, oh-oh” and “Hey-ey-ey-ey-ey-ey” lyrics.

biz

I hope you guys are enjoying our little thanking theme music. I am. I am. I’m gonna thank Gabe for finding it for us. Thank you, Gabe. Pandemic—is it on? It is up? It is on? It’s like a Jennifer and Brad—like, a Bennifer relationship. Is there a pandemic? Is there not? Is it the Delta? Is it not? It is. It is. There’s still a pandemic. And there’s a horrible variant going around. And—bad news everybody—even if you’re vaccinated, the Delta variant—if you get it—even if you don’t get sick? You are still contagious. Which is why they’re asking people to, even if vaccinated, to continue to wear masks. Because there are a lot of us who have kids that are not able to be vaccinated. Because of their age. So thank you, first off, to all of you who are continuing to wear your masks. And thank you for getting vaccinated. Thank you to everybody in the medical profession. Thank you to everybody giving vaccines. Making vaccines. Studying vaccines. Thank you to everybody [through laughter] who continues with all this knowledge to still go out to their jobs that allow us to function somehow. Transportation workers. Those of you who are working in pharmacies and grocery stores and shops. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Thank you to all of you who are volunteering with food banks! And with distributing vaccines. And with going door-to-door to try and spread correct, fact-based information. Thank you. I see you. Teachers? [Singing] Duh-duh, duh-duh-duh-duh! [Regular voice] It’s here! For some of you. For some of you school’s starting in like a week. Or two weeks. You’ve got this. As always, there are a million other people we should thank. But I gotta move on ‘cause I have a little story to share before we get into our guest.

biz

Mom rage. [Laughs.] Or really parenting rage. Can really just… surprise you. What I have gotten very good at is displacing my rage. It no longer is like… at the kids. Or at Stefan. Or at a stranger on the street. So as many of you know, I did a lot of traveling recently to help my parents move. I’ve come home. Guess what? Kids are still here. [Laughs.] There’s still work. There’s still driving. And I just… I was a little full, as my therapist would say. A little full. And on Sunday night all I wanted to do was sit with my husband and watch women’s gymnastics as part of the Olympics. So I thought, “Well this is gonna be easy.” We’ve got like a movie screen sort of thing set up in our shitty-ass garage? [Laughs.] It is exactly what you think it looks like. And we have made it so we hooked up a Roku to it so we can watch, y’know, Disney+ or whatever. So I was like—I know what to do! I’ve seen the advertisements. I’m gonna get Peacock. Because that’s the home of the Olympics! Is what they say. Apparently, it is not. Apparently, you don’t get NBC on Peacock. You don’t get live event coverage. You get live recap coverage. Live “we’re just sitting here talking about what happened today but without actually seeing an event.” Then they also do replays. But because it’s time differences and stuff, it’s like a two-day difference before I can watch the replays! I don’t even understand it. My anger—my anger at this got so, so, so great. I was so angry. Like, even Stefan was just like, “None of that’s helpful.” To me. Right? Which is Stefan’s very kind way of being like, “You’re about to ruin the entire evening.” [Laughs.] I just sat there and steamed. Like a hot pile of steaming… Olympic coverage. Anyway, [frustrated and lost for words]. This doesn’t tie in at all. To anything we’re gonna talk about today. Except that parenting—surprise! It makes you have all the feelings. Sometimes the ones you want. Lots of times the ones you don’t. We are going to be talking to Chris Gethard—comedian, stand-up—about his new special Half My Life, as well as what life is like now that he’s a parent.

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

biz

This week we are talking to Chris Gethard, who is a comedian and podcaster from New Jersey. His new special, Half My Life, is out now from Comedy Dynamics and you can see him on the road this summer and fall during his America’s Loosest Cannon Tour. [Laughs.] He also hosts the podcasts Beautiful Anonymous and New Jersey is the World. Welcome, Chris!

chris gethard

Hi! [Biz laughs.] It’s great to be here. Hello. That is a description of me and things I do. Yes.

biz

That was in a nice, neat little paragraph. Everything else will not be true that we talk about. ‘Cause it wasn’t in that paragraph. [Laughs.]

chris

Mm-hm. Mm-hm. From here, no guarantees.

biz

Perfect. Before we get into the comedy, the touring, the kid—all that kinda good stuff—who lives in your house?

chris

My wife, Hallie, and my son Cal, and myself. And that’s it! It’s just the three of us.

biz

No pets? No wandering four-legged—

chris

No pets yet. My wife had a cat when we first got together but the cat since has sadly passed away. She was a really crazy cat. And I’ve never been a dog person, myself? But we have a son and he’s probably gonna be an only child so I think… [Biz laughs.] I’m like, coming to grips with the fact that at some point we’ll probably have to get a dog? And people get mad at me when I say I’m not a dog person, but I just… I just have never grown up with ‘em.

biz

I’m a cat person. And also it follows logically that only child equals dog. I mean, how else will they know how to share?

chris

Well my wife loves dogs, and then— [Biz laughs.] I also think, too, ‘cause—y’know, we had our son and we moved out to New Jersey. We bought our house before the pandemic. We didn’t flee the city because of the pandemic. But I was pretty burnt out, so we moved kinda out into the woods. There’s sections of New Jersey where I think a lot of New Yorkers land and a lot of artists land? We moved further out than that. [Biz laughs.] So then there is also a part of me that’s like, alright. If he’s gonna go traipsing through the woods, maybe he can get some badass dog. ‘Cause I was raise din the eighties where they taught you, like, “Oh, if you go in the woods someone’s gonna jump out from under a tarp and kill you.” Yeah. Kidnap you. So maybe he should have an attack dog. And then my wife is like, “You’re a crazy person. We don’t need a vicious attack dog.”

biz

No. It’s called prepared, not paranoid. That’s—as a child of the ‘80s. Y’know. I get it.

chris

Yeah. it is one of those things, though, where I go, “Oh, yeah, that would be a nice thing to—” When you have your first child, I’ve been thinking so hard about… [Biz laughs.] You start to realize all these things about how you were raised. I think a lot of people of my generation agree that being raised in the ‘80s up through the mid-‘90s is pretty warped. All the stranger danger and Satanic Panic stuff.

biz

My mother really liked, like, Die Hard and those movies. And so a lot of my life lessons were me walking through the kitchen, passing the den, and my mother yelling things like, “Don’t shoot them once, baby! Shoot them ‘til they’re dead! Shoot them ‘til the gun is empty!” Or dropping us off at the mall, being like, “Remember, they can come up behind you and stick you with a syringe and then say, ‘Oh, my daughter’s fainted!’ and carry you away.” And I’m like, “Thanks. Pick me up at nine. I’ll be at Spencer’s.” [Laughs.]

chris

Talk about malls. The whole thing of—like, after you got your license as a teenager of like, “Okay, when you get in your car you gotta really check the backseat because sometimes people hide in the backseat, crouched down.” Or like—

biz

They can also hide under your car and slit your tendons.

chris

And cut your Achilles—they cut your Achilles heel with a box cutter.

biz

With a knife! That’s right!

chris

But, “Okay, have fun!” Right? And “If you need me, we’ll just do this thing. You have a collect call from ‘Mom it’s Chris come pick me up! I’m at [inaudible].”

biz

My Achilles tendon! [Laughs.]

chris

Yeah. “Mom, please. A man dressed as a clown threw me in a van!” “You have a collect call.” “There was a razor in the apple!” [Biz laughs.]

biz

“Oh my god, this bubblegum! Ow!” Okay. That is just a beautiful segue into pre-/post-kid [through laughter] life. At the beginning of your special, you talk about feelings and how you were pretty sure you had had all the feelings. That there were no more feelings to be had. Like, yeah. You’re like forty. Done. And then you got a kid in your house and it was like, “Oh. There are more feelings.” And it’s not just the feelings, I think. I think that there are so many… you could just fill in the blank for feelings. “I’m pretty sure I’ve done all that. I’m pretty sure I know how I’m gonna react to that. I have expectations. I have a checklist. It’s good.” And then that’s not even a little how that works out. Talk to me about pre-/post-! Pre-/post-!

chris

Pre-baby and post-baby, you mean?

biz

Yeah, yeah! The feelings. The feels or the expectations.

chris

I never—I mean, it’s such—it’s one of those questions that I feel like—like, if anybody’s listening who’s not a parent, they’re not gonna give a shit anyway.

crosstalk

Biz: Oh, no one cares. Chris: And the parents are like—

chris

There’s no way for you to verbally explain this. Right? There is no verbal explanation. But yeah. It’s— [Biz laughs.] There’s just like… I guess—I don’t know. It’s not a funny answer, but the real answer is I’ll never, ever forget standing in the hospital within thirty hours of my son being born and my parents came to visit—which, by the way, that should be outlawed. And that’s not on them. I actually wanted them to be there and then I realized, no, this should just be a thing that no one should visit a hospital after. It’s never good. [Biz laughs.] It’s never good. You wanna be sleeping.

biz

“Why are you holding him like that?” [Laughs.]

chris

You just—if you have time to talk to a human being, you could be asleep. So. [Biz laughs.] But that being said, I did have this really beautiful moment where I was standing and my son was in his bassinet to my left side, and my dad was to my right side. And my dad is like, great. Like a fantastic man I admire. But he’s never really been emotional. We come from very repressed Irish Catholic, like… nobody says, “I love you” in my family. Like, it’s, um… and I remember like… kinda glancing to my left and seeing my kid sleeping there. And glancing to my right and seeing my dad. And just like, being hit with two distinct things that I’ll never forget. Which is like, one—and I would never say this to my dad because my dad and I are not these people. But I remember realizing, like… “Holy shit. Have you felt this way about me this whole time?” [Biz laughs.] Like… ‘cause I’m feeling this new thing about this kid. And have you been feeling this about me for… let’s count. 38? I was 38. Almost 39. Almost four decades! Have you been feeling this thing I didn’t know about towards me? But then even more so I remember just realizing like, “Oh. There’s just way more to it than me.” Like, before I had a kid I was the hero of this journey. Like, it was this Joseph Campbell thing. Where it was about me and what can I accomplish and what can I discover and what are the scenes that make up this movie that is my life that I’m currently living in the main character of. And then my son comes along and instantly I just go, “Oh, well that DNA has been rewired.” [Biz laughs.] I’m a point on the line. This is a relay race. And… my grandfather passed the baton to my dad and I never met my great-grandfather. And this goes back to like the beginning of life on Earth. Is that people have been passing the baton and now I pass it to this kid. And just like, every… how would I say it? The whole idea of having an ego or needing an ego went away. And needing to prove anything to anybody went away. It’s not about me.

biz

Okay. I wanna tap into that for a second. I wanna ask you something about this. Because I do wonder… and your experience is obviously unique to you versus all the other parents out there having their own experiences. But that is a very powerful idea. And—of this being a point and goodbye to ego. As a male parent—as the dad—it’s almost as if all men have been trained to be Irish Catholic and never say anything. And the dad experience gets very overlooked. And very sort of negated and brushed off. “Oh, they’re dads. They just get to keep doing their career!” Or “They’re babysitting.” So… how have you, like… found yourself walking through the world as not only a parent but as A Dad, that we have no control over being called “Dad,” “Mom,” whatever. Those are the names we’re given. Yeah. I mean—

chris

It’s a great question! It’s one of those things I get to think about now, right? And that’s like… I wish there were simple clear answers.

biz

There aren’t. [Laughs.]

chris

But I can tell you that I think my life was defined in many ways by self-consciousness most of my life? And questioning and feeling bad about myself. Like, those sadly were big parts of things. But I can tell you that in the role of dad is… I have discovered this joyous way of like the least self-conscious I’ve ever been as a human.

biz

[Laughs.] That’s great.

chris

Because it’s like I know what the job is, to a degree. It’s like, I don’t know at all what any of it is. I have no idea what it is. But I am… these broad strokes that I am here as his second-in-command, effectively. As the dad of this kid. I can focus up on that. And also like… I was someone who—I have some OCD stuff. Like, I was never able to leave my house before showering. That thought would—I would stop at the door. I would not be able to do it. And now it’s just like, y’know, I’ll wander out and I’ll have a conversation with any—do I need to go to a public place and have—oh, I’m having a conversation with some super hot, well-put-together humans, and I have bags under my eyes. [Biz laughs.] And I look down and realize, like, there is still some of his vomit on my shirt and my socks don’t match and… I just don’t care. I just don’t care. And that—like, that, I feel like, is this massive gift he gave to me. Because— [Biz laughs.] —I never lived a life where I felt free from judgment. My own or that of others. Whether real or invented in my mind. And now I’m just like, “Yeah.”

biz

Fuck that.

chris

“Okay. Yeah.” There’s—okay. There’s a hunk of banana on my thigh? Okay. What were we talking about? I don’t care.

biz

I just ate that. I ate it and whatever that kid just came out of his mouth it was just easier for me to eat it. Than to find a trash can. And I did it. And like… whatever.

chris

Yeah. Like, I’m… in one sense it’s like, I’m just kinda gross and I’m tired. [Biz laughs.] And that’s the reality of it. But then in another sense it’s also like, he’s given me this freedom to just be like, “I don’t care.” It’s probably part of why, y’know, you have all these insecurities about the dad bod and my hairline. I’ve never had a good hairline and it’s really starting to go now? [Biz laughs.] And then I sit there and go, “Oh, but there’s also something to be said for like… yeah, those things can happen now because who cares. Like, at this—I got a lot more to worry about than my hairline. Like, keeping this human—"

biz

Alive.

crosstalk

Chris: Alive and happy and—yeah. Biz: Keeping their hair going. Longer. Yeah. Yeah.

chris

And let alone as an entertainer. Let alone as a comedian who just—talk about ego! That whole job is ego!

biz

The whole job is ego. The whole job is… one of the things we talk about on the show is—especially with—well, I guess it doesn’t really matter how old the kid is in your house. But everything you do feels like being judged. And then there’s a self-judgment. Right? Of like, “I’m gonna go ahead and pre-assume some judgment before I even go out.” And then what’s even more disappointing is discovering that no one actually does, as you said, give a shit about whatever. But we live in that self-reflective, “I’m fucking this up!” And I think as a comedian where you’re going on stage all the time and putting stuff out there that people may or may not like or respond to or make a judgment call on—that I guess what I’m about to say I can go ahead and contradict. Because as a comedian, the assumption that you’re on all the time is not true. Or that you’re approaching everything like a joke or like whatever. Isn’t true. But the nuts and bolts of being a comedian involves a lot of travel and things like that and I guess… I know some people who do it great. Like, they had kids and they figured it out and they’re like, directors. [Laughs.] And they’re on tour and they’re totally—and I’m like, “That’s great. I couldn’t make it happen.” Right? I couldn’t figure that out. But you are a traveling—this is not like you stopped doing standup ten years ago and you’re trying to figure it out. You were touring this whole documentary, your special, is you touring with a five-month-old at home.

crosstalk

Chris: Yeah. It’s like you get to go back out on the road. Yeah. Biz: Like, what was that like?

chris

It’s… [Biz laughs.] Well there’s a bunch of aspects. It’s like, one—one, the first thing that jumps out… is… the guilt that comes with leaving.

biz

Yeah. I was gonna say.

chris

‘Cause that first—that first—I mean, he’s almost two-and-a-half now and it’s still so hard. So hard. Leaving and knowing, “Well, now my wife ‘round the clock—let alone during the pandemic when you eliminate babysitters and playdates and daycare centers—” So there’s a lotta guilt that comes with leaving. There’s certainly I must admit—and there’s probably going to be— [Biz laughs.] —some of the spouses who aren’t the traveling one—

crosstalk

Chris: —are going to hate me for saying this. Biz: No, say it! Say it.

chris

But like… to go stay in a hotel and wake up that first morning of my own volition? I’m like, “I think I’m just gonna go get breakfast somewhere.”

biz

“I’m just gonna go do whatever!”

chris

I think I’m gonna have another human make— [Biz laughs.] —breakfast and then they took the plate away and they cleaned the plate and then I leave? That was like—

biz

It’s hot. [Laughs.]

chris

Like, nirvana. Y’know? Like… beyond physical bliss.

biz

Well what sucks is that during those—especially the first year—it is—y’know, it would’ve been great if somebody would’ve just said—before the kid came—“Go ahead and start talking about resentment now.” [Laughs.] ‘Cause that is gonna be—define your first year. And I wish my husband and I had had that discussion. We had not. And so we have it a lot now. But that—now it’s like a joke if one of us is traveling. And has the hotel. And we’re like, “You actually deserve this hotel room. Please go and enjoy it.” But at the same time, it is just like… it’s so nice! But here’s the crazy thing—when I was traveling and my first was really young? I would be like, “Thank you, Jesus. I am in a hotel. I am so happy to be alone and quiet. Oh god! I just saw a kid! [Sobs.] I wish my child was here!”

crosstalk

Chris: Yeah. I have that, too! I have that, too. Biz: And I’m like, what is that about? I don’t want my kid here! Yeah.

chris

Yeah. It also is—y’know. The pandemic was such a silver lining ‘cause I got to be home so much. With our son. I was there for his first steps and so many words that he said for the first times. And like watching a kid cobble together a thought? Like, trying to tell you a story for the first time? I’m like, this is magic! And I would’ve missed so much of that! [Biz laughs.] But—so there’s definitely times, too, where I’m like—and these are cities that I love! But where I’m like, I used to be able to say, like, “Yeah, I’m gonna go do a standup show in wherever. It’s Syracuse, New York and I’m gonna go and tear it down and everybody’s gonna have a good time and I’m gonna make my money doing my art” and all this stuff. And then you’re performing in Syracuse in February the first year after I had my kid where I go, “It’s nice to be away, I guess. But also he’s home doing stuff and I kinda wanna be there.” So it’s actually another gift he’s given me, where I’ve realized, like… and this is gonna sound very Hallmark card.

biz

Okay. Do it.

chris

But I’m like, “Okay, if I’m gonna do this…” [Biz laughs.] “I gotta be making some special shit. I better be writing the best jokes of my life.”

biz

It better be worth it. Right? This notion…

chris

Yeah. Whatever good things people have said about me? People who like stuff I’ve done in the past? I better sit here and go, “Am I gonna be able to make stuff as good as that or better? And if not, find something else to do where I can hang out with this kid more!” Because… it’s a very blessed life and there are far too many explorations of the idea of a comedian’s life being hard? I don’t know that it’s—it’s not an easy life, but it’s not hard. Like it’s not— [Biz laughs.] And you could do so many other things. So I don’t wanna buy into that. But I’m like—

biz

But it’s a lot of travel. It’s—I remember the first time when we were still in Brooklyn being like, y’know, being asked to go out and do a nighttime show or something. And being like, “No. 9 o’clock? Are you kidding me?” [Laughs.]

chris

I do sets once a week now. I’ll do sets once a week and maybe do one or two. Yeah.

biz

But if you don’t do them, you’re not gonna be—it’s like so hard to get up and do it again. It’s really—

chris

And you can’t justify asking another human being to pay to see you when you wanna go on the road to make your mortgage.

biz

Yeah. I don’t dismiss the life of a standup. But it’s—

chris

I’m not claiming it’s easy, but it’s also a choice. And it’s cushy. But yeah. I’m like—

biz

Oh yeah, so cushy. [Laughs.]

chris

[Inaudible.] Well when it goes well, it is! Right? And also—

biz

No. When it goes well, it is. True.

chris

And it is—even on its hardest day—it’s tough, ‘cause the hardest days have been miserable for me. But then I look back at some and I go, and I was still out at three in the morning, at a diner, eating fries with my other comedian friends and we were all bitching and moaning about how it doesn’t go well and then I slept ‘til eleven the next day. There’s some—even at its hardest, there’s some perks to that. I better write good—

biz

Good stuff!

chris

—shit. Or else I should be home. [Biz laughs.] And I gotta write at doing two, maybe three, sets a week. When I used to feel lazy—I was like, I kinda felt like for comedians at my level I was the one who was—you see some of the people in New York in particular getting out there. Doing four sets a night.

biz

Three shows a night? Yeah.

chris

Yeah. Three shows a night, five nights a week. And I’m going, “Man, I’ll do… two sets a night at most.” I like to go out maybe three nights a week and let stuff really germinate. That was just kinda my writing style. And I felt lazy then. I felt like I was getting away with it then. Now I’m like, “Eh. I can come in Sunday—” [Biz laughs.] “And I can’t—I have to—” It’s like, “I can’t leave my house until after my son is asleep and I have to be back.”

biz

That’s right! [Laughs.]

chris

“I have to be back in New Jersey by one so I can do sets from 9:15 to 11:20. If you have them.”

biz

Yeah. It’s just easier to not leave until after they’re asleep? So if you guys could work that out. One of—my cohost, Theresa, who’s taking some time off right now—one of our first One Bad Mother live shows, she had just had her third child. And I was like—

chris

Wow.

biz

We’re gonna need a fridge for breastmilk. [Laughs.] Like, we were like, how hardcore and rock’n’roll are we that we need a fridge for breastmilk? And they were like, “No problem. But you can’t have babies there ‘cause you have to be 21 or older.” And we were like… “For fucking real? Well then in that case don’t come into the dressing room.” [Laughs.] “There’s gonna be a baby.” Women were like pumping in the audience and I was just like—

chris

I love it!

biz

“Yesss! This is it!” [Laughs.]

chris

I love it!

biz

Isn’t that the best?

chris

Oh, on that topic—you wanna talk about resentment and guilt about leaving? I’m gonna say a sentence that will strike terror into the hearts of any parents who have been through it—my kid rejected the bottle. [Biz gasps.] He wouldn’t take the bottle.

biz

Oh. My second wouldn’t take a bottle, either.

chris

Nightmare.

biz

And it’s—that’s a nightmare.

crosstalk

Chris: Nightmare. And leaving my wife during that stretch? Biz: Yeah. That’s a nightmare.

chris

To go on the road?

biz

It’s a lot of crying.

chris

I felt so bad.

biz

Did ya at least like bring—I remember there was one point where I said to Stefan—who had to travel a lot for work? I finally just said, “Look. This is an obnoxious thing to say and this is not a person that I was at one point in my life. But I’m gonna need you to bring me some stuff. I’m gonna need you to go on my Amazon Wishlist. Find me something nice. Get me a good puzzle. I’m gonna need more than just… your emotional support right now. I— [Laughs.] I need a little extra.” Like—and he was like, “Done!”

chris

Yeah. [Biz laughs.] Our has been less stuff and more logistics? Moving to Jersey… well, he was past the bottle nonsense by then. In the city it was so crazy ‘cause it would be—y’know, ‘cause for anybody who doesn’t know, the first few months if you put something in their mouth they’re gonna start trying to drink whatever’s in there. That’s the instinct. And they call it the sucking reflex. And then after a certain point that goes away and the baby has to choose. And then some babies—like my baby—are just like, “Nope. I want it from the tap. Where’s the boob? Bring me the boob. I want it from the source.” Artisanal, organic, farm-to-table. Boob-to-table.

biz

Boob-to-table. Teat-to-table.

chris

Teat-to-table. Yes. And I—y’know, it’s that thing where it’s like well now there’s this two-and-a-half to three-hour loop that you can’t escape where he has to be with you at all times. So ours was less stuff and more logistics. It almost felt like a NASCAR pit crew of like, “Okay. You’re done feeding him.” And I remember times where it would literally be like, “There’s a friend of yours in the neighborhood outside a restaurant. I’m gonna text her as you are wrapping up to put your name on the list, and then you are gonna run down there and you’re gonna actually get dinner with a friend and not worry about this baby.” Knowing that we have two-and-a-half hours. Maybe three if he’s good. [Biz laughs.] Before he needs to eat again. And you go, “That’s insane. It’s an insane way to live.”

biz

See, but that is the crux of the “no one gives a shit.” Like the story you have just shared with me—you can’t share that and expect people to be like, “Wow. Good job.” Though that’s exactly the thing that—I need to be like, let me tell you. That’s fucking good job! Setting that shit up like that!

crosstalk

Biz: Because that’s the only way you’re—oh, sure! We all do! Well, those times we are judging you. Chris: I fucking have so many more times than I got it right. Fucked up so bad. And a lot was happening.

biz

We are judging hard. Somebody’s got a list somewhere, Chris, and they’re keeping track of that time you forgot a sock. And somebody—[Laughs.]

chris

There’s some that I feel—some where I go, “Okay. Find me the couple that didn’t have fights in the first year of their first baby being born as they figured that kid out.” [Biz laughs.] And some of them I look back and I laugh. And some of them I look back and I go, “Well that—how was I to know?” [Biz laughs.] But I remember some that were just so heartbreaking in how dense I am? Like, I remember—I’ve never been a coffee drinker? I just never took to coffee. And I remember once my wife just looking at me and just going like, “Hey.” And I was—and I remember standing in our kitchen. She was in our living room. And I remember the look on her face. And I was like, “What’s up?” And she’s like, “You don’t drink coffee. Just learn how to work the fucking coffee machine so you can make me coffee.”

crosstalk

Biz: [Through laughter] Good job! [Applauds.] Chris: And it was like—

chris

Just this—but this moment of just… pure… defeat on her end and me just going, “Yeah. I shoulda. What a simple, dumb thing that takes five minutes out of her day when she doesn’t have five minutes to spare.” [Biz laughs.] It’s not even hard.

biz

Yeah. But that’s good. That’s like… if people can figure out the coffee stuff like that? Then the rest of it—like, you could figure out the bigger stuff. I remember Stefan used to make me lunch. I’d be feeding. And he’d make me lunch. And he’d put it down and then he’d put my drink down. But it was always out of reach. Like—[Laughs.] I was like, “Hey. I just—this is beautiful! You have made the most beautiful sandwich. But if I could reach it, like… that would—” He’s like, “Aaaah!” Right? Like, “Ohhh.”

chris

You’ll love this. And in the off chance she ever hears this, we loved her. When our son—when there were all the nursing issues and the bottle issues combined with taking, y’know, figuring out how breastfeeding works, we found out there was a postpartum doula who lived a block away from us at the time.

biz

Nice.

chris

And went, “Oh my god.” And now that’s expensive and, y’know, we had to say, “Okay, how often can we afford this? And be able—” For like, I think a month or two it was like maybe once a week, twice a week if it’s really bad. Spend the money. Get a ton—and I do remember she was amazing. And having somebody there who already knew how to just wrap up a baby and have it hang off her in one of those things and it would sleep on her and then… and people—again, like, the things parents know. And this is not so me and my wife can go see a movie. It’s so I can like… finally answer work emails. And then my wife’s running laundry back and forth. It’s like you’re paying someone to buy you time so you can do other shit that sucks. Like, that’s—

crosstalk

Chris: [Inaudible.] Biz: That sucks.

chris

But I do remember the one thing the doula did that was baffled. Baffling, rather. [Biz laughs.] Was she—I remember at one point she said, y’know, “I prepare food and I can prepare a bunch of food for you guys.” And we were like, “Oh my god, that’s amazing.” And she did make a bunch of hardboiled eggs. And I remember feeling like, “If there’s one food… that, like…” [Biz laughs.] It’s impossible to get the egg out while holding a baby. [Biz laughs.] If you drop those shards on the floor it could kill the baby. If the baby eats those. I was like, “We gotta… I feel like—at doula school they should say ‘Peel the eggs.’” Pre-peel these eggs.

biz

[Laughs.] There ya guys go. It spins!

chris

That was the one that I was like, “Oh my god. This seems like… this seems like the least…” [Biz laughs.]

biz

Alright. Here’s a totally random question. You were part of the documentary, the Class Action Park.

chris

Yes I was!

biz

Yeah. Okay. Lot of fun. Horrible. Dangerous. Decapitations. The whole nine yards. If you aren’t familiar—people who are listening—just, y’know, google it. You know how to do that now. I guess this question is more about like… pre-kids, I made lots of choices. That my parents never knew about. That even now they’re like, “I don’t—we don’t need to know.” I did things. Tried things. Jumped off things. Y’know. Whatever. Drove things. It doesn’t matter. Threw things. That was a really—once you did that, I knew I should never do that again. And I have always been a big proponent of, “That’s good for kids!” [Laughs.] And then I had two kids who really are more thinkers than doers. Like, they don’t—they’re not that kid that’s like tearing through the playground. They’re very carefully—[Laughs.] And I’m like, “Dammit!” So two—two-and-a-half—that is still in major fall-down, all the time, like, zone. It’s also like daredevil age, even if they’re not good at being a daredevil. Like, given things like Action Park and your own past and such, I guess the question is will you ever let your child out of the house? [Laughs.]

chris

Yeah. I’m gonna have to. He’s a daredevil. He’s a daredevil. Oh, yeah. He’s got—he’s already had his first stitches. He’s got a nice scar right now, right in-between his two eyebrows.

biz

No hair will grow.

chris

I think it looks real cute. He gets self-conscious about it so I try not to harp on it. But yeah. He runs. He jumps. We—the town we live in, there’s a lake that people swim in? And he runs and jumps off the dock. And my wife noticed that there’s other—he’s two! He just turned two in April and he runs with his floaties and he’ll jump off the dock!

biz

Wow.

chris

My wife is the swimmer in the family and she has to be like, “You have to wait ‘til I’m out there.”

biz

‘Til in the water! [Laughs.]

chris

Yeah. And he’s wild. And my wife has noticed there’s other kids who are older who now jump off the dock because… [Biz laughs.] —the game has been changed. ‘Cause you can’t be scared of a thing a two-year-old’s doing. So he’s wild. And like I said, we live in this neighborhood that’s, like I said, kind of in the woods! It’s a very hard-to-describe thing. If you get to the end of my block and make a left or a right, you’re in the woods. We’re kind of in the west edge of the suburbs? And there’s another family here that has a kid who’s—I think—six months older than my son? And they’re already too little crazy people. And then when they get together they are… the craziness just amplifies. And I already told these other parents, “Feel free to liberally yell at my son. Absolutely yell at my child as if he was your own.” [Biz laughs.] “Don’t even apologize.” I’ve already said to—like, I’ve become friends with his dad and it’s already like, we have to start already trying to figure out where they’re gonna be burying the thirty-packs in the woods when they get to high school. Like, we can already see that they’re gonna be two little troublemaking psychos.

biz

Yeah. Nice. [Laughs.]

chris

So yeah. I’m excited to let him leave the house and see what trouble he gets up to? But I can already tell that my son is—he is not the thinker. He is not the quiet, contemplative. [Biz laughs.] He is charging headfirst. Let’s get dinged up.

biz

See, there are pros and cons to both of those types of kids. [Laughs.] Y’know. Whether you have the runner or the biter or the… crier. We’re team crier. The overthinker. We’re also team overthinker. Plusses and minuses. ‘Cause there are times—I’ll tell ya, there are times I am envious—this is the other parenting thing, of the parent grass-is-greener moment? Where you’re like, “I really love my children. God, I wish they would just jump off of that thing!” Y’know? And it’s like, “I’m such a jerk for thinking that! ‘Cause I know that what that person’s doing hates—like, they’re stressed out about it or they can’t stand it or whatever.” It’s not like—[Laughs.] I remember people would come over to my house and they’d be like, “That baby… is so sweet.” My second, who cried for five years. They would be like, “That baby is so sweet.” ‘Cause he would never be crying. And then I describe it as like a haunted house. The moment they left, the walls would start bleeding. And I would feel like I was the crazy person. Right? So yeah. No. That—tell me.

chris

Well I have a—one of my dear friends in this world, he actually just had—they just had their third baby last weekend. And their oldest, he’s like the sweetest kid and he’s smart beyond, y’know, he’s like—top of the charts smart. And we’ll hang out and they’ve seen, y’know— [Biz laughs.] —my friend said to me at one point, he’s like, “I wish, like… sometimes I wish I had—” My son wants to wrestle. If you tell him let’s wrestle, he’ll dive-bomb onto ya and try to start hurting you and you have to grab him and swing him around and he loves it. [Biz laughs.] And my buddy was like, “I wish I had— Like, there’s some like… is very much nervous about rules? Like, always asks permission for every little thing and Cal just like jumps off stuff. And like you’re yelling at him but I kinda wish—” And I was like, “But I wish I had a kid who would like… if you ask him to clean up he’d actually do it. And if it’s time to read books that that isn’t met with like… just a meltdown.” Y’know? So the grass is always greener and I’ve learned that, too. It’s one of those things where it makes me realize, like, I think back to my friend saying that to me. ‘Cause I’m like, on the days when my son is driving my crazy I go, “Oh. There’s a lot of joy in this too. There’s a lot of joy in this too.” But yeah. It’s… he’s not one to slow down. [Biz laughs.] Ever.

biz

This is why we encourage people to remember when you see the two-year-old running at top speed and no adult around, it’s not because the adult is not paying attention to their child. They just can’t keep up, man. That’s it. They’ll get there. Help ‘em out. Keep an eye on him as that kid tears off. Y’know, like… no judgment. [Laughs.]

chris

Oh. I retroactively feel very bad. Any thought I ever had of, “Oh, here’s how I would handle that.” Oh yeah, is that how I would’ve fucking handled it? No, I wouldn’t have. I just had another friend of mine—one of our neighbors just yesterday—they have three kids. And—

biz

That’s a lot of kids.

chris

—our yards butt up against each other, which is so nice as the parent of an only child to know there’s three kids next door and they all like each other.

biz

Just toss ‘em over the fence!

chris

Yeah! And my neighbor was like, “I feel like I’m the one in the neighborhood who’s always yelling at my kids.” I’m like, “No. We’re all always yelling—you’re not yelling at your kids more than any other parent would be yelling at your kids for the way they behave, y’know?” [Biz laughs.] Some of the parents of the nerdier, quieter kids aren’t yelling ‘cause their kids are nerdy and quiet. But your kids are—

biz

They’re doing something else. [Laughs.]

chris

Yeah. That’s where they’re at. They always wanna be running around and jumping and they’re hellraisers and it’s awesome and hilarious and yet it means…

biz

More yelling.

chris

But—and it sounds like one of those things that feels like I’m—I feel like I’m like—it sounds insulting, but I’m like, “No, I would yell at your kids as much as you yell at your kids and I don’t feel like that’s a mean thing to say to a fellow parent.” Of like, oh yeah.

biz

Well and it’s not—you’re not saying, “I’m gonna take your kid and tell them to sit the fuck down, you idiot.” That’s not—it’s the, “No! I’m gonna need you to stop biting the cat’s tail.” Or “I’m gonna need you to not—matches are outside tool, not an inside toy.” I think we have to give each other credit for… being people who… will see what limits your kids have. Right? Like, our kids—even though they’re nice thinkers, we can say to them, “Hey. I said the grill is on. Do not—[claps authoritatively.] You need to back it up or you’re gonna burn your hand! What are you doing?” And I said that to another kid once who I’d said, like, three times, “Don’t—the grill is on so don’t pay near the grill.” And he was like, three or four? “The grill is on. Don’t play near the grill.” “Okay. [Claps authoritatively.] Ya gotta back it up! The grill is hot. You’re gonna get hurt.” And the kid just like… looks at me. And then immediately starts crying. And I didn’t think I had like… said it in a tone that was mean. It was just more than. Y’know and I immediately went to the parents and I was like, “Dude, I’m so sorry. Now I know, I’ll address it differently?” But like, y’know, we just step in it. That happens. But ya gotta talk it out!

chris

I think so. And in my neighbor’s situation, too, I was pretty happy to be [inaudible] when she’s like, “I feel like I’m getting a reputation for being the mom who yells.” It felt good to look at her and be like, “No, you’re not crazy. And you’re not out of line. Having three kids is a lot to manage. I have one kid and I yell just as much as you do. So you’re maybe in some ways doing three times as better as I am, because—” [Biz laughs.] “I feel like I yell as much as you at one! So you’re not nuts. You’re not nuts.”

biz

You’re not nuts and you’re not alone. It can feel very easy to be the only one who’s doing X, Y, and Z. And that is not at all true. [Laughs.]

chris

No. No. It’s—can I ask you your advice on something? ‘Cause you’ve mentioned you have—

biz

God, we don’t give advice! But if you ask for advice I’ll give you advice.

chris

Well just—or can I piggyback off of something you said?

biz

Yes.

chris

Because we talked about recklessness. And… kind of like, do you embrace that; do you correct it. And then yelling at kids for the grill stuff. My son just—when he got these stitches I mentioned, it’s like the first thing that I’ve seen it make him, A, self-conscious when people talk about the scar, and B, he’ll sometimes now get scared of stuff that he didn’t used to get scared of. And I sit here and I go, on some level I understand that that’s learning and that’s a good thing. And on another level I feel like I’m seeing the end—

biz

His spirit get crushed?

chris

Yes. Yes! [Biz laughs.]

biz

The crushed spirits? [Laughs.]

chris

Yes.

biz

Yeah. That sucks. I don’t know—there is no quote-unquote “advice” besides, y’know. Letting him know you’re there? Y’know? Like with mine I’m like—I mean, my kids, they fall once they don’t ever wanna do it again. And I have to actually push to, “Let’s try it again. Let’s just try, like, one more time.” Right? And then sometimes they won’t accept the pushing at all. I don’t know. It just sucks. I mean, I think the real point is—I don’t know what’s gonna happen with your kid. But it sucks for you to have to witness that. And again, that’s that layer of “no one gives a shit, but we all are experiencing that.” So no one’s gonna write a whole book on that, but like that experience of, “Oh, you were this bright—and now you’re—you’re not as bright or this happened or—” Like, I—I hate it. It’s a really shitty part of parenting. So there ya go. You’re welcome. [Laughs.]

chris

It’s breaking my heart. We’re in the middle of it right now.

biz

It’s horrible! Yeah.

chris

It’s breaking my heart.

biz

I know! Well you could—maybe you could direct it in a different way. Or maybe just with their friends, sometimes the hardest lesson for me was like, oh yeah. I learned more things sometimes being out at school or camp or with friends or in a backyard. I mean, they’re two-and-a-half. You still have to keep an eye on him, you know what I mean? But like, sometimes… something I wouldn’t wanna try, I tried again because I easily follow people. [Laughs.]

chris

So peer pressure.

biz

Alright. [Laughs.] Peer pressure. The beauty of peer pressure. Chris, thank you so much for joining us! This was really fun.

chris

Oh, it was cathartic for—I didn’t expect to be able to vent about all this!

biz

This show is all about this. [Laughs.] We came up with the show in New York when I used to be cool and I’d had a kid and I was like, “Oh, shit. I just lost all coolness.” Like, “I need something that I wouldn’t be embarrassed to have on a subway.” You know what I mean? Y’know, you can’t read a parenting book on the subway! People are like, “Fuck you!” And they kick you and it’s horrible. “You’re a mom? Go to hell!” So like—[Laughs.] So this is—

chris

“Carry your own stroller or take the piss-ridden elevator.”

biz

Yeah. [Laughs.] I know! “Well you shouldn’t have had a fucking baby.” Right? Like—[Laughs.] I just am like, “Aah! I just want coffee!” So this is—this is where to come. For all of those emotional purging needs. Everybody needs to go check out Chris’s special, Half My Life. It’s out now! It’s out now!

chris

It’s there for the taking!

biz

Yeah! It’s there for the taking. And it’s very enjoyable. Also, Chris? You and your wife are doing a really good job! This is really hard—

crosstalk

Chris: Oh, that’s nice! Biz: —and you guys are doing a great fucking job!

chris

I’m gonna tell her you said that! Thank you!

crosstalk

Biz: I will—yeah! We’ll send her a t-shirt! [Laughs.] Thank you. Chris: Same to you! Same to you! Thanks!

biz

Absolutely. And hopefully maybe one day we’ll get to talk again.

chris

I would love that!

crosstalk

Biz: Alright! Have a good one! Chris: I’ll let you know where his spirit’s at.

chris

If it’s rekindled— [Biz laughs.] —or still being crushed!

biz

Yeah, please! We should check in on the spirit. Like have a little tally chart.

chris

4% of the light was back in his eyes today! [Biz laughs.]

biz

It’s like the height marks on the door panel, but it’s the spirit crushing level. Oh yeah. That’s the way to go. That’s the real markers. Alright. We’ll talk soon. 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 Billie, home of the award-winning razor. Think about how much you spent the last time you bought razors. [Laughs.] Give or take a pandemic or two. Why do the razors cost so much more than men’s? Just because they’re pink? Probably! Billie set out to be the best razor out there for women, at half the price you’d expect. No pink tax. No visit to the drugstore. Billie’s starter kit comes with their award-winning razor, two precision five-blade refill cartridges, and a magnetic holder which is one of my favorite things. Next to the razor, which is amazing. Allure even called them “the smoothest shave ever.” Well ha, ha, Allure! I think I said that first! Smoothest shave ever! Don’t suffer another second paying a pink tax for a bad shave. Go to MyBillie.com/mother to get the best razor you will ever own while supporting this show. Billie is half the price of other razors, plus free shipping always. Just go to MyBillie.com/mother. Spelled MyB-I-L-L-I-E.com/mother. That’s MyBillie.com/mother. [Music fades out.]

theresa

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

biz

Genius fail time, everybody. Before we get started, if everybody could just look around and see if maybe Theresa’s trapped under a piece of your furniture or stuck to some granola in the back of your car? And just let us know? Kevin Maher, our guest last week, made a very funny joke about “Where’s Theresa?” As our special code for different sponsors. [Laughs.] Well I’ll tell you where Theresa is. Theresa is doing the hard work with their family. And I miss you, Theresa, but I love you and you are doing an amazing job. So. Genius me, 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

Okay. Everybody? I’ve been bouncing around a lot recently because of travel or just camp things or suddenly Stefan’s back in an office. Schedules are changing. Yada, yada, yada. And so my commitment to walking at least three times a week is not so good. So… I—again—I got out and I have done it twice this week. The big three miles around the Rose Bowl. It always makes me feel better and it is such a… y’know, put your oxygen mask on first before you can help anybody else sort of move? And over all these years of doing this show and listening to all of you, I think I might finally accept that I should, in fact, put myself first occasionally. So walking? Check!

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, I’m calling with a genius! Like most other parents, we’ve all been home since March of last year, which means that I’ve been eating almost every meal with my children for about a year and a half and there’s a lot of talking and there’s never any quiet, but this pats week I told them that our library is doing a challenge where if you read a certain number of minutes you get these little prizes. And they were so excited, so they asked if they could read while we have breakfast and lunch. And I was like, “Yes. Yes, you can.” So now at breakfast and lunch everyone reads. I read the news and they read their books and it is quiet. And it is something that I have desperately needed since last year. And that’s my genius! I’m getting my kids to read more and they’re not talking as much and it’s just— [Biz laughs.] What more could you ask for this summer, right? Thanks! You guys are doing a great job. Bye!

biz

You are a genius. I… the quiet? Especially after this year? I… am with you. Just quiet! I just—don’t we all just want some quiet? [Laughs.] And the fact that you used your library—woo, woo! Libraryyy! And encouraged your kids to read to get prizes is genius. And I also encourage you to—in the future—come up with your own challenges where you can give your—I did this last summer when my library was not open for summer reading. I did a summer reading program—that sounds like it’s more complicated than it was. It wasn’t. I just bought a bunch of garbage and then every time they read five books, they got some garbage. So a lot of reading. So good, good 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

Fail me, me. Oh! This is definitely one of those ones that I wish Theresa was here to talk me down. And remind me that everything I’m about to say is not true. So… Ellis is, y’know, as Ellis gets older they definitely gain more and more control over their very big feelings. [Laughs.] ‘K? And that is good. And sometimes I can get spoiled when we’re in one of our really big growth periods where there’s a lot of control over the emotions. Nothing is that upsetting. And then… we fall back. We hit a [makes unpleasant sound] spurt and everything is like the worst. For example, if I were to remind Ellis that it’s our movie night—now this is a good reminder! This is exciting! We’re gonna have a movie night together! Ellis begins to yell, “I didn’t know! Why didn’t anybody tell me?!” And gets really upset. “Ellis, just let’s take some breaths. Let’s calm down. Let’s do some breathing.” Blah, blah, blah. “I can’t do those things! It’s out of my controllll!” Okay. I—this is who Ellis is and I love Ellis. More than anything in the world. And I love all the feelings. I can’t sometimes help feeling like it is somehow my fault—like, back in those early days where I just tiptoed around stuff, y’know, because I just couldn’t take it? I couldn’t take another meltdown or the yelling or the—I couldn’t take it. So we did a lot of tiptoeing. Let’s not prompt an issue that might arise. And now we’re a little older. We gotta learn to roll with things a little bit more. And yeah. I somehow—every time Ellis can’t roll with something, I internally beat myself up. Hoo…ray. And the fail is I know that [makes whining noises], but y’know. I’ve got—I’ve got feelings, too. Surprise.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] Hi, One Bad Mother. I’m calling with a fail. I—my kids had their annual check-up on Friday and the doctor said, “Oh, they’re both a little constipated. And you should incorporate some prunes into their diet.” So it didn’t seem like a big deal and I went to the store the next day and I got a big thing of prunes and brought ‘em home and that afternoon my kids tore into them. And they were—yeah. Eating them like candy. [Biz laughs.] And, um… I saw that and I said, “Okay, I should take them off the prunes.” Meanwhile, we were getting ready to go to my work party. A post-COVID kind of work party. And so we proceed to get in the car. And on the way there, my kids were like—both of ‘em—“Oh, I really need to go to the bathroom.” I said, “Well let’s wait until we get to the party.” So needless to say the whole first part of the party we were in and out of the bathroom. And it was really… weird. [Biz laughs.] And I just—in hindsight, I’m like, “I can’t believe I really gave my kids—or let my kids eat a ton of prunes right before a party!” And we haven’t been to a party in like a year and a half! Anyways. Total fail. Thanks for a great show. You guys have got me through this pandemic and through all the parts in life and you guys are great. Alright. Bye.

biz

You’re doing a good job. I know I’m not supposed to say that right now. But you are. And now let’s dig into your fail. Okay. [Laughs.] This is—this… is like a—I don’t know. Bugs Bunny type of setup. Y’know. “Okay, we have some prunes.” “Alright. [Makes eating noises.][Laughs.] “Now it’s time for—” More like an I Love Lucy. I am sorry. This is an I Love Lucy scenario. We have eaten these prunes to help get things going. Oops, I forgot we had a party we had to go to. I actually think there’s a genius hidden in here. I certainly don’t wanna go to parties right now. I hate that we’re saying “post-pandemic.” The pandemic is still here. We’re just going out again. I haven’t spoken to… many people in many, many months. And the idea of a variety of people—all being in one place, and it being the type of party in which I would bring my children—this sounds like a hard party. And I think that—[Laughs.] No constipation pun meant. But what’s great is you got to actually avoid large parts of this party. By having to be with your children. So… score? Eh. I don’t know. You’re right. You failed trying to help unclog your children. So. There you—there you go. Also, your kids eat prunes?! How did you do that? You’re doing a horrible job.

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

Mellow synth music plays in background.

biz

One Bad Mother is supported in part by Dipsea. Dipsea is an audio app full of short, sexy stories designed to turn you on. Well I’ll have two, please, Dipsea! [Laughs.] I have made it quite clear that I have enjoyed the Dipsea app. As a parent, it can be very hard to find time to have a little escape. Or to find ways to get yourself in the mood and feeling special. And a little self-pleasure never hurt anybody. What I love about the Dipsea audio story features? Is that you can select, like, “How hot do you want it?” I don’t want it that steamy. “Do you want a little of this, or a little of that?” [Laughs.] You get to choose what level, how steamy, what the gist of the story is gonna be. And then it’ll make other recommendations. And I will say—I started off enjoying one thing and then I found I enjoyed lots of things. See? I’m still a person! [Laughs.] Okay. For listeners of the show, Dipsea is offering an extended 30-day free trial when you go to DipseaStories.com/badmother. That’s 30 days of full access for free when you go to D-I-P-S-E-A-Stories.com/badmother. DipseaStories.com/badmother. [Music fades out.]

promo

Music: Upbeat, brassy music. Annabelle Gurwitch: Hi! I’m Annabelle Gurwitch. Laura House: And I’m Laura House. Annabelle: And we’re the hosts of Tiny Victories. Caller 1: My tiny victory is that I sewed that button back on the day after it broke. Annabelle: We talk about that little thing that you did that’s a big deal to you but nobody else cares. Did you get that Guggenheim Genius Award? Laura: We don’t wanna hear from you! Annabelle: We want little, bitty, tiny victories! Caller 2: My tiny victory is a tattoo that I added onto this past weekend. Laura: Let’s talk about it! Caller 3: My victory is that I’m one year cancer free. But my tiny victory is that I took all of the cushions off the couch, pounded them out, put them back, and it looks so great. Laura: So, if you’re like us and you wanna celebrate the tiny achievements of ordinary people, listen to Tiny Victories. Annabelle: It’s on every Monday on MaximumFun. [Music fades out.]

promo

Music: Upbeat, sci-fi sounding music plays. Dan McCoy: Hey! I’m Dan McCoy. Stuart Wellington: I’m Stuart Wellington. Elliott Kalan: And I’m Elliott Kalan. Together, we are The Flop House. Dan: A podcast where we watch a bad movie and then talk about it! Elliott: Movies like—Space Hobos! Into the Outer Reaches of the Unknown and the Things That we Don’t Know: The Movie, and also—Who’s That Grandma? Stuart: Zazzle-Zippers! Breakdown 2 and Backhanded Compliment. Dan: Elvis is a Policeman! Elliott: Baby Crocodile and the Happy Twins! Dan: Leftover Potatoes? Stuart: Station Wagon 3. Elliott: Herbie Goes to Hell. Dan: New episodes available every other Saturday! Elliott: Available at MaximumFun.org or wherever you get your podcasts. Dan, Elliott, and Stuart: [In unison] Byeee!

biz

Alright, everybody. Let’s… settle in… and listen to a mom have a breakdown.

caller

[Answering machine beeps.] This is a breakdown. [Sniffles.] My two-and-a-half-year-old stopped sleeping naps overnight, pretty much. A month ago? And I am… 23 weeks pregnant. Constantly uncomfortable and in pain and he just doesn’t sleep anymore. And if he does it’s in my bed and he has to be touching me and he puts his feet on me and he kicks me and last night I woke up to a kick right to the face. And tonight bedtime took almost an hour and a half. And it ended with both of us screaming and crying. [Sighs.] And I hate that he fell asleep like that. I just feel like the worst. I just had to tell somebody. I know my husband won’t understand ‘cause it’s easy for him. [Cries.] But it’s been really hard for me. And I feel awful.

biz

First of all, you’re doing a really good job. I understand and I hear… the awful feelings. But I wanna emphasize that you are not alone. I… way back in the beginning of this show, we did an episode on mom rage. This sort of… thing that we’re not supposed to talk about, but when you’re—when you’re not getting regular sleep and when everything is very disrupted, and you can’t actually control if your kid’s going to sleep or not despite everybody making you feel like you’re supposed to be able to get your kid to sleep? Like, y’know, suddenly sleep cycles are changing and those are just like a fraction of the stresses that are on you. I, myself, have found myself—I can remember. I can remember Ellis not going to—Ellis never napped and it took a lot to get them to go to bed. And I remember trying to get them to nap. And it was like, such an exhausting exercise. And I was getting madder and madder and madder. And I remember, like, hitting the wall with my hand? And then being like, really upset that I even put that energy into the room? And then I felt bad like, “Why… why would I even get to this place? I’m supposed to be a mom. I’m supposed to like… apparently have this limitless well of patience and… ability to give my children whatever it is they need the moment they need it.” And that is a lesson that I am still working to learn. And [sighs.] Y’know… it doesn’t bother your husband? Well your husband’s not 23 weeks pregnant! Y’know? Like… not pregnant, it bothers me. I—ugh. This assumption that we’re supposed to want—I mean, of course I love hugging my children. Of course I love snuggling with my children. But this assumption that… I think especially moms or other primary caregivers are supposed to just be able to absorb all the physical touch that is… presented to them. And love it. Is really a dangerous narrative. Y’know. Every morning, my youngest comes and gets in bed with me and… it’s very sweet. But there are a lotta mornings I just want that extra ten minutes? And y’know it’s such a physical touch. So kids’ bodies, they’re still learning control over them and you’re getting kicked. Even them trying to reposition themselves in your lap can pinch something. Can pinch—and it’s summer, so if you’re in shorts I’m so sorry. Things get pinched. Arms get pinched. Getting kicked in the face. Getting kneed in the face.

biz

It is amazing—again—that we—more people aren’t going out for milk! And y’know, just not coming back for a couple of days. So I want you to know that you really are doing a remarkable job. No, you don’t have to enjoy this. Yes, you can, in fact, really hate it. And… it doesn’t make you less of a parent. And I know that it feels bad—that it feels like your child went to sleep with that. I’ve done that. So… I have been so overwhelmed that I’m crying and yelling and they’re crying and yelling and you just have to step out of the room and they go to sleep. And I—it doesn’t feel good! But it really isn’t going to, y’know, scar them for the rest of their lives. And that’s really good news. You get to save that for their middle school years and embarrassing them. Okay? You are… amazing. And you’re not alone. In fact, none of us are alone. [Laughs.] At all. All of us feel impacted by the effects of having kids in our houses. Whether the kid has been in your house for days? Just a few days? Or possibly… really, really long time! Like maybe eighteen years! Maybe longer! Regardless, the number of times we discover that our life’s greatly impacted and affected by having these kids in our houses? Is still a real thing. It still surprises me every time I think, “I’ve done all that.” It’s like we were talking about with Chris. Every time you think, “I’ve had all the feelings. There will be no more feelings. This is it. I’ve had them all! So I’m ready for having the same experience over and over again. Oh my god, I didn’t! There’s a new feeling!” Or, “I really thought I had this and turns out that children are unpredictable. And that I’m not the same person I was before I had kids. And some days I hate that and some days I’m okay with it.” And that is the story for so many of us. So… know that you are doing a remarkable job. And I will talk to you next week. Bye!

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.

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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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