Monday, February 25, 2013

The Bad Kind of Funny

I watched "Parental Discretion", Nickmom's fairly new (at least to me) comedy hour for Moms the other night. A perfectly primped fashionista Mom, Stephanie Wilder-Taylor told well timed self depreciating jokes and had Moms in the audience laughing and nodding with relief. I eased into the safety of being a messy, distracted and often frazzled Mom. It's okay. She gets me. Someone else out there is as lazy a Mom as I fear I might be.
The guest Moms are admitting to being such BAD MOMS. That gives me relief. The laughter that pours out of me feels like finding the match to the last sock in cushions of the coach. I can barely scrape by and be okay. My kids will live. The Gods of Parenting won't come down and smite me.

But then they had the skit on "Super Mom". Although she looked like the opposite of me, a blond preppy Mom in a crisp collared shirt with a shelf behind her loaded with Pinterest type perfect crafts and immaculate house....I suddenly realized almost every word out of her mouth could have been mine. She bragged about her numerous kids, their achievements and scout activities, her roles of leadership and how she was writing a book about parenting....
The crowd was laughing hilariously. She was the butt of the jokes.
I was the butt of the jokes.

Since that night I have to admit my perspective on this blog and and my intentions of my parenting book are deeply questioned. In addition to the weight of being the laughable mom, the un-cool Mom, the mom that people do not connect with because people think she is trying so hard to connect with others by being important, by being a contribution...
In addition to all of that...I suddenly occurred to myself as an self absorbed, arrogant, know-it-all, Pain-in-the-Ass. I questioned whether all my friends really like me. Having a party for my fortieth seems like a bad idea. Is that what people think of me? Self doubt gobbled at my confidence like Cookie Monster on cookies.
My dreams and goals went sour too. My intentions to write a parenting book seemed tainted with sticky black oil and my book seemed to begin to sink into the depths of a sea of normalcy.

It's normal, you see... according to this show, to not like your kids.
It is, in fact, cool and funny to not like your kids.

It's normal and hilarious, according to this show, to be an alcoholic because you can't stand your kids.

It's not only normal, according to this show, but totally justified and Can I get a Hell Yeah! to lock yourself in your room, eat tiny bits of left over chocolate like starving rat while the kids scream and practically kill each other.

It's normal, according to this show, knee-slapping funny and COOL to make fun of Moms who love their kids, don't drink, are inspired by their kids and write about them and actually want to spend time with them.

Can you tell I am sad?
A little defensive and pissed off?

Listen there are moments, sometimes even hours, when I can't stand my kids and can relate to wanting to drink or lock myself away...but isn't an entire show devoted to a slew of self depreciating survival jokes that make a mockery out of people who actually make a difference for their kids just the opposite of what feminism ever intended?
It's not empowering to women. It says "It's ok to live in squalor, drink because you "have to", hate yourself and your kids and make fun of anyone who doesn't". It's basically an advertisement for Zoloft. It diminishes what women are capable of and lowers the hopes of Moms everywhere.

I so want to make this show just bad and wrong and bad and wrong even if I did laugh at at a couple times. But even when I feel the every essence of who I am and what I stand for is being mocked, I am committed to still doing what I do....find inspiration and be creative in any situation.

Perhaps the silver lining in a show which laughs at, lowers the hopes of, and diminishes women might actually in some strange way, leave the viewers feeling better, bigger and confirmed in their survival tactic of parenting.I could even see how, from this show, Moms would be left with, "I am not THAT bad." Like how after reading "The Glass Castle" I felt like a Gold Star Parent.

Maybe after they get that they can survive it, they will begin to enjoy it, and maybe after they really enjoy it they will begin to create something new, shift their perspective and be present to the incredible miracle our children are and the awesome responsibility and joy it is to be their Mom.

It may not be funny to be inspired by my kids...but when I am inspired by my kids I can create a lot more funny with the people who REALLY matter. My kids.
I'll take knock knock jokes with them over self depreciating Moms any day.
Thanks Nick Mom, for confirming my commitment to being that very "funny" Super Mom.

Zen Honeycutt