MOOOOMMMM, Where’s My Stuffie!? Edition

Listen to this episode

S1: The following podcast contains explicit language. Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, May 13th, The Mom, where’s Mustafi edition? I’m Jamilah Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column, and Montu Nyima, who is eight. And we live in Los Angeles, California.

S2: I am a writer at Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family and the Out of Lyra, who’s 16, and Harper, who’s 13. And we live in Arlington, Virginia.

Advertisement

S3: And I’m Gabrielle Hawtin, guest hosting today with these lovely two. I’m based here in Los Angeles where I am a podcast producer and the co-host and executive producer of NATO podcast docu series about having a baby while black. I don’t have any kids of my own, but I’ve got a bunch of nieces and nephews. So I’m excited to sort of talk more about that with you all today.

S1: We are excited to have you with us to talk real and wow, we can, like, go meet for coffee now, because

S3: right now we should make that happen. That would be nice salutation.

S1: Sorry. Trying not to brag, trying not to brag, but listeners of the show know that I have been in in the House person for the better part of the last year and a half. So allow me this coffee with this wonderful woman who were so glad to have joining us today. We’ve got quite a show for you. We’re going to start off debating if a mom who is sick of searching for her kids lost stuff, can opt out of the search party or if she has to keep going. And then we’ve got some advice for a girl who’s feeling left out. Her bestie and her mom both go to therapy and now she wants to go to. Is that reason enough to go to therapy or is there perhaps something else going on on Slate? Plus, for you lucky subscribers, we’re going to be talking to Gabrielle about what it’s like to put together a show like Natal and tell stories about birth. When you aren’t a parent yourself. That’s what you get when you support the show, when you love us, love us. We love you a little bit extra and you get a little bit more show. But first for Gen Pop, we’ll start off with tryouts and fails. Dan, what do you have for us this week? Gen Pop.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: OK, Crowell’s plebeians. Here you go. Here’s your triumph or fail. I have a triumph this week. My triumph was, I guess, work related in that I was promoted this week on Harper softball team by the head coach and my assistant coaching duties for the first few weeks of games. My job was that I was the guy who hung out in the dugout and like I’d be like, Harper, you’re up, Bryn. You’re on deck, Abby. You’re in the hall. And then when the evening was over, I’d be like, OK, you’re in first base, you’re a shortstop. And I’d have to explain to them, like, which one is left field and which one is right field. And so then Steve, the head coach, would be the third base coach and Bryn’s dad was the first base coach. But Bryn is a pitcher and her dad is extremely focused on her pitching. When she’s pitching, he’s either, like, constantly calling out advice to her or he’s like walking away because he can’t he can’t watch anymore. I cannot blame him. It seems really stressful to have a kid who’s a pitcher because you’re always, like, so worried about how they’re feeling. And every single play is like agonizing. Every single moment you’re like, oh, God, is my kid going to feel good about this thing that just happened? Or so I think it’s very difficult to be the parent of a pitcher. And Brynn’s dad is like hyper focused on Brinn. So then when we’re at bat, he’s like, you know, debriefing Brinn about how the pitching wedge are giving her tips or talking to her about what she should try next Stenning. And he just really wants to be doing that, I think not coaching first base. So before the game is weekend, Steve pulled me aside and he’s like, hey, Dan, can you coach first? Now, Steve, our head coach is kind of like a miracle coach. We’ve been really glad to have harborer with him for many years now because he does know a lot about softball and he does teach them stuff. But also he is super chill and nice and he’s not a nightmare asshole like a lot of dad coaches are. I really like him and I want him to think I’m cool. So I went and I coach first and I like, talk to the players and gave them pep talks. Our players, when they when they reached first base. And at one point I looked over at Steve, a third base, and he was doing like a bunch of signs. I didn’t know what they meant. But then I remember that we only have one sign and it means to steal. So that I told the runner was a first to steal and she stole and it totally worked. And then Steve was like, thumbs up. And unlike in previous games, none of our players got doubled off of first on a pop out. So I feel like I crushed it. I crushed it. I think I was totally embarrassed by me and how excited I was. So that’s like a double triumph. But overall, I’m just very proud that. Somewhere out there, the head coach of my kid’s softball team thinks probably thinks I’m cool,

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I love this. This was, I don’t know, softball at all. So this was also like a good little refresher, I guess a little lesson, but sounds like you’re the cool dad, at least from this perspective.

S2: Don’t know. Obviously, the kids really, really connected.

S1: I’ve never wanted anyone to be a listener of this podcast more than I want the coach of your daughter’s softball team to secretly be a mom and dad listener and to hear I want him to think I’m cool.

S2: If he does, he definitely will demote me next week. But this kid couldn’t take the pressure out of school.

S1: Oh, that’s true. Yeah, that’s true. Or no. I just thought that perhaps his heart would be warmed by you seeking validation from the other stuff all day. Yeah. So that’s how I imagined fatherhood to be real. Do you do you have for us the triumph or fail this week?

Advertisement

S3: Yeah, I was thinking about I think just last weekend I was at my aunt’s house. We’re kind of starting to gather more a little bit outdoors with the family. And they’ve got two boys. One’s turning 14 soon. One’s 12, and they had their friends over. And we celebrate my son’s birthday. And she wanted to sort of watch a movie outside and we didn’t know what it was going to be. So, you know, we just show up. We’re excited to just have some social time or whatever. So I guess it’s a bit of a combination of a triumph and a fail. So we started by watching coming to America and everybody was super into it. The kids who I didn’t know have like a lot of thoughts about the new school. Right. And they’re like, we can’t watch that. It’s just less than, you know. So it’s like, well, you’re supposed to enjoy, like, the new fun stuff. And so then I guess my aunt changed her mind and said, hey, let’s actually go back to the 1970s and watch car wash. And I’m like, I don’t know, this is going to go over well with like a 14, 12 year old crew because they don’t know what’s happening. I barely know what’s happening. And I think I was right and we all were right. And shortly after maybe 20 minutes into the movie, we kind of just all gave up because the kids were like, what the hell is going on? But it was fun because I’m kind of in that in-between stage, you know, around family where I’m not like the kids, but also not like 50. So it’s a weird space to kind of see how this is not going to go over well with the kids. So I think we try and have a little bit of a triumph to introduce them. But it failed in the end.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I’ve never seen a car wash. But, you know, it’s it’s worse than it was worth it.

S3: Yeah. You got to watch at least one, two days ago.

S1: I want to see car wash. I’m curious about it. I’m also thinking, you know, that kind of you know, basically where the distance from the nineties that we were from the 70s when we were kids. Yeah. And so, like, you know, stuff that was just kind of like, whoa, that’s so different. They were so weird. Look how they were dressed as like,

S3: yeah, they dress. They had no clue about they knew some of them knew who Richard Pryor was. But it was just like a whole other language. And they mean the songs going

Advertisement

S2: to go right now is the equivalent of showing me a Charlie Chaplin movie.

S3: No, probably so.

S1: Not a Charlie Chaplin right after

S2: almost 50 years since car wash.

S1: Oh, my fucking God.

S3: What about you?

S1: I’m thinking about the 70s being fifty years ago, but I’m like, that’s one. OK, what about me? So I have a female. I ordered a dress for Nyima online. I can’t remember where I put the dress on her on Mother’s Day, even though we’re not like really doing too much outside. I want us to put on pretty dresses. So I have this cute kind of off the shoulder paisley number with some little cutouts on the side that I bought like at a African street festival, you know, so kind of bohemian looking frock that I would wear. And the stress the Nyima has, in my opinion, complements it well. Right. Like we are for once we’re built. We’re starting with me because usually when we’re matching outfits, often times start with Nyima and then go to my closet and see what do I have to go with whatever special piece she’s wearing. But it’s my day and I’m like, I have this dress that makes me feel huge, really comfortable. You know, it’s perfect for the weather. What do you have? The matches that. And so I go find it, she puts it on and she’s like, I look like I’m going to church. And she is horrified so we don’t go to church. She doesn’t have a problem with religion, but she does not identify, I guess, with the aesthetic that she identifies as a church girl. And so she says, I look like one of those Chibok girls. So for context, there is Gabrielle, maybe you can help me, but there’s some sort of utterance in the church around Shellback and, you know, like,

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: oh, yeah, I guess I’m to remove that church, too. I’m learning.

S1: Yeah. It’s like I feel I apologize to all my black Christian friends and listening to this, like, I hate you. I hate you. And I’m so sorry I’m not delivering this correctly, but it’s a shout. It’s it’s part of the shouting in church. Right. And she caught this maybe on black ish, probably like the grandma, some black grandma on TV said, oh, Shabak or something. The name has been saying it ever since. Evan have like, oh, chill like that. You’re going to control. And so she says, I look like one of the little Chibok girls, so she’s running around the house, al-Shabab. Thank you, Jesus. Oh, Lord. I’m like, Nima, it’s fine when we put on your little cool accessories, like, it’s totally, you know, and she was like, I look like you’re going to drop me off at the church school and leave me the church school. And now I realized she was trying to say Sunday school. She was like, you going drop me off at the church school and leave me for six hours by myself. I’m going to be sitting under a desk hiding because I don’t want to be there. And you’re going to be up on the beach living your best hot girl Summer.

Advertisement

S3: Wow. She really maybe knows you well, but she has an auntie. This is my perspective. This is like a complete triumph because it’s hilarious. But I’m sure as a mom, this is not how you were anticipating Sun going.

S1: It wasn’t. I expected it to go. The good thing is she had an upbeat attitude about it and maybe did I mean, the jokes are so funny. Anyway, I wish I knew of a church school where you could drop kids off for six hours on a Sunday and trust that they would be safe because I would probably be utilizing those services. But that is not a thing that I’ve ever done to name. I don’t let her. Have you think that I just drop her off in places because I never do. I don’t know of any places. Drop her up.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: Not that you wouldn’t.

S1: You don’t know him yet. I don’t know him yet. You know, Colbert probably really ruined the game because that was a brilliant idea someone should have had a long time ago weekend school weekend camp. But I did in my typically overindulgent way on my day, take her to a kid’s store to buy her new dress in. The kids store was closed, but she appreciated the gesture. And when she put on her cool, funky sunglasses and her little barrette, oh, she has barrettes as a black girl, one says black girls and the other one says Poppen. But the thing is, we couldn’t find Poppen, so just said Black girls and Siles like that. I get it because the dress is not Pappan kind of. I was outside. So anyway, yes, mommy tried. Mommy failed, but it wasn’t NamUs Day. It was my day or my yesterday, as I put it, that Mother’s Day was supposed to be my guest day. All right, let’s handle a little business. Hey you listner, why don’t you go on ahead and subscribe to the show? It’s free and you never have to worry about hunting down the latest episode. Subscribe wherever you listen to your favorite podcast, which, of course, is mom and dad are fighting. Subscribe now to keep up with everything in the Slate parenting universe. Sign up for our parenting newsletter. It’s a fun, funny story from Dan each week in your inbox and it gathers all of Slate’s great parenting content into one tidy place. Sign up a slate dot com backslash parenting email. OK, let’s get into our first listener question is being read, as always, by the lovely Shasha Leonhard.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: Dear mom and dad, as a parent, am I allowed to opt out of looking for things my kids lose? I hate looking for things. There is a spot for all my important things, like phone keys and headphones and chargers and sunglasses. I have developed a routine that results in each of these things, ending up in their designated spot reliably. This is life skill learned the hard way after losing way too many of these things. When something important is lost, it is always because I’ve been overworked, overstretched, overstressed. I turn into a no good, very bad, horrible version of myself because I think the experience triggers all my memories of shame, embarrassment and disaster caused by my undiagnosed ADHD lost item experiences. I get snappy, quickly, frustrated, manic and mean. I hate this version of myself, which is why I have worked hard to prevent this version of myself from coming out. I’ve minimalized. I’ve been married and I’ve built routines, but now I’m a parent and a spouse. And honestly, one of the things that has been the hardest adjustment is having a partner who doesn’t have places for things or respect mine. But we’re working on that. But the kid of a six year old kid with 732 plastic little pieces of crap that are really, really important and are never where they need to be, do I have to look for them? I hate looking for them. I hate who I become when I look for them. I’d say Cruella De Vil, but it’s probably much more like mean Judge Judy. But I am also the only person who ever seems able to find them. Can I just stop? Can I just be the mom who doesn’t look for the very important Lego or sparkly rock? Someone, please give me permission, please.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Dan, I have a feeling that you’re going to be the person to offer this permission.

S2: No, no, I will not give her permission. I will not. I’m sorry. This is a very familiar struggle to me. This is I’m basically this person. This is the story of my childhood and adolescence and young adulthood is constantly losing shit and walking out of the house, you know, without anything that I needed or not knowing where my keys were or, you know, losing my ID card for work or whatever. And I like this person generated a very specific, like set of hacks to basically make sure that the things I need are always where I need them to be in places where I’ll be able to see them. So I will be able to get them. And when they’re not in those places, it drives me crazy. And I get nervous and frustrated and upset with myself when I lose things and can’t find things. So I know where this person is coming from. But no, you can’t be the mom who doesn’t look, I don’t think part of being a parent is helping your child through the developmental steps that they’re having trouble with. Part of being a member of a family is helping each other through the things that are hard for them and your kid, just like you probably when you were your kid’s age, they have trouble keeping track of their things and so you can help them organize. You can help them find their own versions of the coping strategies that you’ve worked out for yourself, but when the time comes, inevitably that they lost their lunchbox and they have to go to school in five minutes, I’m afraid that you have to grit your teeth and like Don, the cloak of parental patience and help them find the fucking lunchbox without losing your shit. I just think you have to. What do you guys think?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S3: I definitely think so, especially at six years old. You know, like if it was 16, maybe that’s a little bit different of a conversation. But six years old. Yeah. Again, not not a parent, but I just think if I kind of think about my upbringing or how I am with my nieces and nephews, you got to give the little kids some grace. You know, they’re going to forget they’re going to mess up. They just need some more assistance. I totally agree, Dan, like figuring out ways that the little one can learn how to organize or keep track of their things better. Maybe there’s some, like, soft sort of like consequences, you know, like, oh, if you can’t find this and we’re not going to be able to do this, you know, something like maybe not like a severe punishment. But if we’re talking about a 16 year old, I think my I you know, my suggestions would be completely different. But, yeah, you know, God help the little one find their self.

S2: Djamila, what do you think?

S1: I 100 percent agree. Dan said you talk. This person is him. This person is also me, which is why I’m ordering a new copy of my driver’s license, because this conversation just reminded me I like literally was like, stop right now, handle right. So handle it. But yeah, this is part of the work of being a parent. This is part of the work of being a part of a family. As Dan said, I recognize that you’re triggered as you do. But at the same time, because this has been such a struggle for you, that is exactly why you should want to guide your child in a way so that they don’t struggle in the same way. And whether that’s a matter of finding peace in chaos, which some people genuinely do, or if that’s finding organizational systems that work better for them than perhaps the ones you were guided into using at that age, for your child to have a healthier relationship to their things and to misplacing them than you did should be an aspiration. So it’s one way of guaranteeing that it will be a better relationship is by neglecting to support them through it.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: How do you think this letter writer should handle what she sees herself turning into when these situations show up? Like what should she be doing about how she turns into being Judge Judy?

S3: Yeah, I was thinking about that, too. I was like, this is like a lot more than just like the kid not buying the Legos. You know, it’s like the parent kind of shifting into a version of themselves they don’t even like. So I agree. Maybe it’s kind of kind of a time to sort of check in, like, why am I responding this way? How can I kind of manage that in the moment? Because, again, it’s a six year old, but I think it’s some more work. Maybe this this mom or parent kind of wants to think about what they can do on their own because, yeah, it’s it’s a little serious, you know.

S1: Do you turn to me and Judge Judy at other times, like are other things that trigger it and like how far do you I mean, to me, Judge Judy is mean. So is this a meaner judge?

S2: Judy, that’s impression I got. It’s like Judge she turned up to.

S1: Yeah. So like my house. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. And it’s like, is this a version of yourself that you don’t like because it’s unpleasant or is it a version of yourself you don’t like. Because it’s out of control. Yeah. Or that it feels like you’re dead, you’re not able to control yourself or your anger or your feelings, I should say in that moment. I agree. I agree. I think this is a good time to check in. Otherwise time to think about what your coping mechanisms are for anger. Because if this triggers it, what happens when something actually really egregious happens like so beyond just losing things? Or if the item lost is a laptop,

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: that’s going to happen someday,

S1: you know what I mean? That happens with even responsible kids. I think you should consider getting some support with figuring out ways to to not go there in the first place and to talk yourself down when you get there. Yeah, I mean,

S2: it’s not too late for this undiagnosed ADHD to become diagnosed. That’s very true. And part of that can involve getting help that might, incidentally, assist you in responding more reasonably when something gets lost, either by your child or by you to help you avoid me. And Judge Judy, which it sounds like you really you would love that. I think that would make you a letter writer a lot happier if you didn’t turn into this person at the slightest hint of this triggering event from your life. It’s really hard as a parent to grit your teeth and not betray how annoyed you are to do the things that you have to do. Sometimes you’re not alone and struggling to do this letter writer. I do think that you recognize already that that that how difficult it is for you is not reasonable and you’re looking for a way to solve that. I just don’t think the way to solve it is just to not be the person who helps. The way to solve it is to address it and try to stop becoming that person when these things that always happen in every family happen.

S3: I’m also going to say, just taking a husar, you know, just like a deep breath, you know. And I at least for me, when I think about how my anxiety flares up or how small things trigger it, sometimes I just have to take a really deep breath or a few and just kind of think, OK, perspective. Is this super important or am I just really deep in my annoyance bag, you know, and usually it’s the latter. So which means I kind of have to take a pause, take a step away, take a walk outside and realize it’s not that deep. You know, it’s not that serious, you know. And so it’s also just like just some deep breaths could help. But I think some additional sort of digging into this could definitely be beneficial in the long run.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Yeah. And just one last thought on that. Maybe, you know, if you find yourself getting to that place the next time something is lost, check in and see is there something else going on? You know what I mean? Like, are you having this reaction every time something plays or are you having this reaction after a really bad day at work or having an argument with your partner? And then it comes out, kids are going to lose things frequently. So you will frequently have an opportunity to express some stuff that you’re just holding on to be your kid, losing some stuff. Does that make sense? It may not be the trigger. It may be the straw. So I hope that we were helpful. Please send us an update. We love updates. And if there’s anyone else listening who would like for us to consider their parenting challenges, please send us an email at Mom and dad at Slate. That com or you can do is this listener did and you can post it to the Slate’s Parenting Facebook group. Let’s move on to our second listener question, read once again by the lovely Shasha Lanard.

S4: Dear Mom and Dad, I go to therapy to treat mild anxiety. It’s really great. And I’m open about it with my family, including my 10 year old daughter. Her best friend also sees a therapist. Now, after her folks split up, my daughter said, I wish I could go to therapy a few times. She doesn’t seem to have any particular goal or purpose in mind. I think it honestly just seems fun to her. Or maybe she feels a bit left out. Any tips for navigating this topic with a kid, therapy would take time away from school and frankly be kind of spending. We could swing it if necessary. But, you know, I can find a lot of different ways to spend one hundred sixty dollars a month. I don’t really see a need, but I also don’t want to reinforce the idea that you have to wait until things get super bad before seeking support. I suggested that we start with her school psychologist if she feels she needs it. And she balked. What should I do?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Gabrielle, what do you think? Well, it’s

S3: so funny because I feel like I can relate to kind of maybe both of these kids. So when my parents split, I went to therapy as well for anxiety and whatnot. I was like maybe three or four. Don’t remember it. But just in conversation with my mom recently, it’s come up. But it didn’t last for too long, you know, could be a mix of reasons. Maybe it was like finance. Or maybe my mom was like, oh, she’s good. After this one or two visits, thinking about this parent, I probably find ways to kind of ask, like, what would you like to talk about? Maybe not with me or maybe just kind of give me some ideas, some clues, because maybe what the parent thinks is not that serious could be really troubling the little ones. I wonder if there’s ways if if she’s not ready or interested in seeing the school psychologist, I wonder. She doesn’t think it’s like as valid, you know, as real. I wonder if there’s ways to kind of like get some of these ideas out, whether it’s like writing it down or maybe she can tell it to another parent, another relative, and then the mom can kind of or the parent can then assess to see, is this really worth it? But one hundred six dollars a month is a lot of a lot of money if you’re really sort of weighing what other things can be sort of prioritized in the household. So it’s not something I think I would just be like send the kid to therapy right away, see how it goes for a few months, because that’s that’s real money right there. But I think it’s worth digging around, kind of continuing to ask questions or maybe even trying to figure out what is it about your friend’s experience that you’re really interested in to kind of see? Is it that they really want this like one on one time, or is it something else that’s really intriguing, her daughter? So I would say keep asking away, but be cautious about kind of like, you know, spending one hundred sixty dollars, if that’s really a serious consideration. I don’t know. What do you all think, though?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I for a long time, I had a real knee jerk bias against. Kids getting into therapy at all, which I recognize is now reasonable. I finally took a deep breath and I got over it and saw that it really benefited from my own actual kid. But I still don’t think it’s a step that you take lightly. I agree with the letter writer that you don’t want to reinforce the notion that things have to get super bad before you get help. I also do think you need evidence that things are at least a little bad before you step into this. So I don’t know that this is a road you need or want to start down with seemingly totally unbothered 10 year old and criminal. I’m interested whether you disagree with that, but assuming that what you decide is that you don’t want to start doing this. And I think gharial is right, that it’s worth probing and talking and asking a few more questions before you make that decision. You sort of then have two issues. The first is, well, how do you steer her off of it so that she’s not just constantly being like, what can I get therapy now? Can I get therapy now and then? Also, how do you make sure that she does feel heard and feel like she has an outlet for the feelings that she wants to express, whatever they are? And on that first question, just sort of how do you redirect this? I think I mean, one easy thing to start with is, you know, talk to her about the way that. Doctors work generally, and I don’t know if this metaphor works exactly, but you can at least start by saying, you know, you don’t go to the to a specialist, the hospital or a special doctor unless you really need to, unless your doctor tells you that it’s something that you’re that it’s something you need to do. And your pediatrician can maybe be a resource for this, you know, before your next appointment, you can talk to her about this need that your daughter has expressed and your pediatrician might be there to back you up and basically say, you know, as your doctor, I don’t think this is the right thing for you right now. And maybe you might be something that you want or need later in life. But I don’t think that you need it right now. And and leaning on that authority can often be a useful way to sort of redirect these questions that feel a little bit above our pay grade as parents sometimes. But I do think you could. In in your House Institute, some kind of formalized once a month or once every two weeks listening time where you snuggle in bed or you snuggle on a couch and she knows that she has the floor and she can just talk about whatever she wants. And, you know, you don’t have your phone. You’re not reading a book. You’re not watching TV. You’re not allowed to debate. You’re not even allowed to give advice. Your job is just to listen. And your kid may or may not like that. She may view that with the same scorn that she viewed the school psychologist or she might leap at that opportunity, as I think many kids would, and it might help her feel like she has a place in a time that is all hers, the way therapy appears to be all yours or appears to be all her friends, that’s their time. And this can be her time. But, you know, Jamila, you might totally disagree with me and think that that this is something that this child should do right now. What do you think?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I do totally disagree. I think, you know, I. I wish that everybody could get therapy. I wish I was just like part of health care and something that we all just had access to and just did. I think about it like an exterminator, right. You can have one come out. And do you know if you’re living somewhere that’s like prone to, like bugs or infested or rodents, like you can have someone come out once a month or every two months or however preventively or you can have someone come out once you’ve seen something, you know, and like this is one of those things where I’d rather invest in it before I see something. I’d also consider that the two most important female figures in her life are in therapy right now because of reasons. Right. Like her best friend is going through, her parents are splitting. So I don’t know if you and you know, I don’t know if you’re a married parent or if you were ever a married parent. But if, you know, if you are partnered and particularly if you’re partnered with your daughter’s other parent, might she wonder, could this happen to me? Right. Like there may be some anxiety and worry, just, you know, as a result of being in such close proximity to a divorced family, considering one that you would have maybe known for a long time, you have anxiety. Anxiety can be hereditary. It’s not always hereditary. But. But it can be. I think there’s any number of reasons why therapy would not be a bad idea for your daughter if you were able to make that happen, and I understand I mean, I’m not surprised that she wasn’t interested in the school psychologist. I think I went the same route with my parents when the therapy conversation first came up when I was a kid. And you’re just like, oh, you know, when you’re 10 years old, perhaps you’re thinking about being excused from class to go to the little green room. Right. And everyone knows that you’re going down there to talk about your problems. That might not be something that she’s interested in doing. And also in the same way that it’s like, oh, we’re going to order some pizza. Would you like lunchroom pizza? You know, school doesn’t have the best branding. Right. Like you think of the school psychologist as opposed to what you and her best you’re experiencing, it feels like she’s getting something less than

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: she’s getting the Kirkland brand instead of the.

S1: Exactly. She’s you know, she’s getting the generics. So, you know, find someone who’s reasonable, you know. You know, if you have insurance, perhaps go that route as opposed to. I know a lot of child therapies don’t take it. I know that from personal experience, you know, I wouldn’t make a tremendous investment in this at this point. But I think it’s worth making. You know, it could be you go once a month or every other month as opposed to, you know what I mean, like find something that works for you all where she’s getting the opportunity to perhaps share something that she doesn’t feel comfortable sharing with you or her best friend. Well, more importantly, with you. And if it’s not that, you know, you have somebody who’s letting you know that things seem to be OK. But I also would say I’ll wrap this up as somebody who has anxiety and who, you know, is raising a child who has anxiety, I knew to look for it in her seeing witnessing it in a child and now knowing that it’s something that I’ve lived with my entire life, that I didn’t have any sort of concept of until I was into my 30s. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with taking some preventative measures here. And you’d be better safe than sorry.

S2: So you’re in your model. I think the exterminator model is interesting, but I’m sure the health care version of it is. In your ideal world, a therapist isn’t the specialist you go to when you have a problem, a therapist is essentially like the pediatrician or a primary care doctor, you just see them regularly because that’s the thing that you should do to stay healthy.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Yes. And for her to I think your daughter should understand that, you know, and perhaps she does already that therapy. You know, I don’t think we should think of it as something that we only do when there’s an alarm. Right. Like, typically there’s a reason. It’s not usually the case. It’s like she’s getting to therapy because I’m not, you know, so I should just be in it. Right. Like, usually it’s like this thing has happened or I’m thinking about this thing that’s happened in the past or I know I have to deal with this thing has happened in the past. Something has brought me to this place. If the way we regarded it was just therapy, just the thing that you do. And like they you know, they help you process your feelings and survive the world that you that you live in. It’s a place where you go to feel your best self as opposed to, well, something was wrong with me. And that’s why I went,

S3: yeah, I think that’s a great point. I mean, I think of it still like that now, too, is someone who is in therapy even when. Right. Like, I may have periods where it’s like, oh, I really need to sort of talk to my therapist and shout out to you. Hopefully you listen to this. Right. But then there’s periods where I’m feeling really great. But I know you kind of want to kind of keep this regular schedule. Right. So you can kind of see on top of it. But also, I think to your point, it’s a good place for a sounding board. I mean, I don’t think I thought of this at 10 or even 15. Right. But I think just like kind of I could look back. I think it is kind of like a nice sort of check in that I think I wish was kind of still there and not like this long gap from like my parents split it three years old to, you know, like right before graduation, you know, senior year in college. So I think there could have been some kind of checkpoint’s in between that could have sort of been coupled with my pediatrician visits or my OBGYN visits when I got a little bit older. But just kind of making a bit more normal, I think just thinking of it as like a space where you can kind of share with like a neutral party, which I think sometimes is necessary and helpful to kind of processing what the hell is going on in life, you know, because it’s none of it makes sense most of the time. But I guess to your point, Dan, I would wonder if maybe the pediatrician could kind of serve as sort of like a quote unquote, psychologist, maybe the parent steps out the room for a little bit. I don’t know if that’s possible, but just kind of see what resources are already available and kind of see how you can kind of use those to kind of sense what’s really going on, what’s really needed. If kind of going.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Fullan, I want to tell my pediatrician

S3: I love my pediatrician. Dr. Cooper was the best.

S1: I remember them all being pleasant people. I didn’t have any problems with them. I liked them, but I would not have confided in my pediatrician because I I saw that as an extension of my parents. Much as you can see, the school psychologist is a you know what I mean? Like that that that you don’t imagine that this is somebody who’s going to be able to really walk you through some stuff. This is somebody that might be giving a report to your teacher, your principal or your parents.

S2: This is so interesting. And Djamila, you know, I I admire the way you view therapy. And I know a lot of people who view it the same way they who essentially feel like in an ideal world, everyone would be in therapy. Our occasional guest host, Isaac Butler, feels exactly the same way. And I said this to me many times, everyone should be in therapy. It’s the best thing I do, but I’m not there yet. I still really struggle with the idea of performing. Some kind of health care intervention on a kid who who, it seems to me very clearly just is interested in doing something because people she knows are doing it.

S1: They also just survived a global pandemic.

S3: Yeah, could be a good reason.

S1: I mean, everybody I think everybody gets an asterisk by their name right now. Like, if there was ever a time to be a little gratuitous with the therapy and after the past two years,

S3: it’s been rough. But I think it’s interesting. I think your honesty around it is like refreshing, you know, and like just like I’m not there yet. But you’re still open to kind of hearing different sort of point of view, because I feel like sometimes people can kind of just shut down at the conversation. But, you know, I think it’s worth exploring and letting it marinate a little bit and see how it kind of evolves over time.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: You know, yeah. I mean, I’ve moved on it, you know, I’ve moved on a lot already. And I it seems totally plausible that five years from now I’ll feel totally differently on this issue. And I’m curious where this letter writer will land, you know, as she is someone who is she says, has really benefited from therapy and loves it. So she may well be closer to your point of view, Djamila, and you may very well have persuaded her just like that, that, OK, it’s worth trying and seeing what comes of it and giving her daughter a chance to do this thing. I’d be very curious and I hope that she writes back and gives us an update.

S1: Absolutely good luck to you with sorting this out. One more reminder, if you have a parenting conundrum of your own that you would like for us to debate, we actually had a debate for once. We were so often on the same page, so often.

S2: All right.

S1: Or so often. All right. And today, Dan was not right.

S2: So the first time in my life.

S1: Please give us more opportunities to prove Dan wrong. Send us an email to mom and dad at Slate’s dot com or again, post to this late parenting Facebook group before we get out of here. Let’s do some recommendations. Gabrielle, what do you have for us?

S3: OK, it’s going to be maybe not at all what you’re expecting, but I really enjoyed this season of The Circle. It was just kind of high quality, like, did it really take a lot of brainpower but good kind of cleanish, like adult fun, you know, for a TV series. And so I enjoyed that, you know, whether it was late at night or the weekend, just kind of decompressing from work. But it was fun and like it just didn’t have to think a whole lot. You could just laugh and sit back. And I feel like it was like exactly what we needed kind of, you know, after this sort of one year mark. So my vote is for the circle on Netflix.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: Awesome. Dan, what do you have for us?

S2: I’m also recommending a TV show. We just finished Schitt’s Creek the other day with. Oh, and so we were looking for a new show and we started watching Girls Five ever.

S1: Hold on. Wait. I’m very excited about Girls five. I never got into that. Dan, you what? You finish. It’s crazy,

S2: right? So I have now watched Schitt’s Creek two times all the way through.

S1: And you, like, did this sound like are you in.

S2: I still like it. I like it just fine. But I, I would not describe myself as passionately involved with these characters, but watching it with my kids definitely made me like it even more. It is a terrific show that I like 90 percent as much as everyone else.

S3: I only hear great things about it. I’m going to have to actually sort of like dive in. Finally, thanks for it’s so

S1: something

S2: we got the whole thing on Slate about how you can skip season one.

S3: OK, that’s good to know,

S2: which is correct. OK, but so we finish. It’s great. The kids were totally in love with it, lived and died with that show. We need a new show as we started girls five of which is on Peacocke, which is like the the 75th streaming service that we now have to subscribe to. It’s an offshoot of NBC, I guess, but it five is about a a Spice Girls era girl group that twenty years later decides to reunite. While all the ladies in the group are in their 40s. It’s got Cerebus and busy. Phillips and Renee Elise Goldsberry, who you this might get your kids excited about the show. You can be like it’s got Angelica from Hamilton in it and it’s produced by Tina Fey. And it sort of has a little bit of that, like fizzy 30 Rock energy. It’s like a joke every second. And the characters are a little more absurd than real life, but it is very funny and sweet and the music is hilarious. We liked it a lot.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S4: I love that. I’m going to add that to my list as well.

S1: I know my daughter will be very excited about it because she is a Tina Fey stand clear.

S2: Your daughter daughters, Tina Fey standards. She doesn’t she hasn’t yet appeared on the show, though. She probably she will eventually. But she will definitely recognize, like, the rhythm of it as being a Tina Fey rhythm.

S1: Oh, we’re going to be starting that very soon. That’s to say you’re the second person to mention it in like three days. So that’s a sign I am recommending the I guess it’s pronounced Nuti system. Brahe it was served to me on an Instagram ad and you know, they know me so well where the best things are. So it’s in you you d I system that. Com the new system. They say it’s not a bra, it’s I guess the nuti system. So it’s this kind of trippy state TV.

S2: It’s HBO, but for real.

S1: Yes. So it’s this very flexible, super stretchy bralette style bra. So this is not your heavy coverage bra, but this is so great for sundresses and rompers and just the stuff that we’re wearing this time of year where you might not mind having a show, a visible strap, but you don’t necessarily want to have a whole bra situation showing and you can, like, just go look at the website and Instagram. You guys like like for Strap’s and like you can have them all going to one side to do a one shoulder situation. Like it’s just a very cool bra that lets you hide it in your summer clothes. And that is something that I struggle with because I can’t go braless. So while it. It’s not going to hold you up on high, you can wear any flirty, fun sun dress situation with this bra and hopefully be able to conceal it unless it’s strapless, in which case you would need a strapless bra. But the nudie system,

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: I just looked it up and their slogan is radical innovation for boobs.

S1: Yes, but we all have boobs are boobs,

S2: because I’m having this incredible flashback to the time that mom and dad are fighting. When I read the ad, yeah, Alice and I were recording in a studio and Alison had to leave the room because she was laughing too hard and we were catching in on audio and couldn’t get couldn’t get the take.

S1: That’s amazing. That’s amazing, because then they make you do like a as a dad brush having read. Wasn’t that like really. That’s right.

S2: And then that company we were up I assume. I’m sure that’s so much so they never needed to advertise with us again.

S1: Never know what. Wanted another ad again. Well brog companies if you are listening. I am. I love putting them on my Instagram and I will buy them and I will

S2: do the ad reads, not me.

S1: So that’s it for our show one last time. If you have a question that you’d like to hear debated on Mom and Dad are fighting, please email us at Mom and Dad. It’s like dot com or post it to the Slate Facebook parenting group. Mom and Dad, if writing is produced by Rosemarie Bellson or Gabrielle Horton and Dan and Jamilah Lemieux. All right, let’s keep going. Slate plus listeners, and again, thank you so much for your support. Gabrielle, you are the co-host of the podcast Knaidel. And for those who may not yet be familiar, it’s an amazing series about giving birth while black in the US. And your first season, you talk to parents as well as advocates, medical professionals and birth workers. And you’re part of this really great team of black women that you created the show with. Right. Including the incomparable Jupiter former mom and dad fighting producers

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: who left us and

S1: then realized that everyone who leaves. I could tell. I could

S3: tell

S1: so, so often the folks that are covering and thinking about and researching issues related to parenting our parents themselves. What’s unique about your show is that most of the team are not parents. So wanted to talk to you about what it’s like working inside of the parenting sphere without having that experience and how doing this sort of work has changed. Your thoughts around parenting?

S3: Oh, man, no. These are questions that our team gets often, especially when, you know, we’re meeting with sort of, you know, maybe like elders and like the Brooks-Baker community or folks who have been sort of the medical profession for a while. They see my coproducer, Martina and I on the call and they’re like, how old are you all? And it’s like, no, actually real like of age, more than of age. But folks are always interested in like, why are we interested in telling stories about birthing, about pregnancy and how do we kind of get involved? I think like most things, it was just something that came out of a personal experience for both of us. So, for instance, I think two years ago, a friend of mine was pregnant, had this glowing pregnancy healthy, just all the things right. Like I think I just saw like an Instagram post. And she was like hiking with her mom. And I could just see all the cute stuff. Right. And then days later found out that she had gone into labor two months early because she was suffering from pre-eclampsia. And so thinking about how these conditions oftentimes like disproportionately affect black birthing people, but other sort of folks of color, especially indigenous women and birthing parents, it was just something that was already top of mind for me. I remember reading Beyonce’s like folk cover story, I think in like twenty, seventeen or so and hearing about Serena Williams and then gold medalist Allyson Felix. And I just remember kind of hearing these over time, you know, and as someone who doesn’t have kids, someone who hasn’t given birth before, I think I like I didn’t file it away to the point I forgot it. But I got to come back to this because there’s clearly something here. I was working on other shows at the time, but I knew that I always wanted to work on something like this. So I joined with Martina, who also has a podcast company called You Have Me at Black. And we were just like, well, let’s figure out how we tell stories, because we’re hearing from our friends, even our own parents, about the struggles that kind of experience having giving birth to us. And Martina’s mom actually is on the podcast last season talking about losing a child. And so we had all these stories around us about people experiencing obviously some of those more, you know, not so joyful sort of moments and that sort of not so pleasant experiences, trying to get care from a doctor, from a hospital. We knew that like we were hearing, like the headlines. We knew that that was real. We knew that there was something a lot more to it than these individual stories. But we also knew there was a probably a lot more to celebrate as well. And there’s probably folks on the ground at different levels, you know, doing work to advocate. So we were just like, how about we just do all of it at once? And so last season was like what we call a gumbo pot. So you could hear about stories related to pregnancy laws here, about parents stories as they navigate it, postpartum mental health and in silence and trying to figure out how to access care and figure out what’s happening as the body is changing. But we also talk a lot about home births and childbirth, education classes and thinking about ways that partners can be involved in the process. And it was just a really beautiful experience, I think, for all of us on the team. Actually, none of us have kids of our own. Last season we have one parent, so she was always super helpful in keeping us grounded in that way. But I think it’s because we all know people in our community with people, we’re aunties ourselves, you know, or have sort of stepped in at some point along the road to sort of take care of and nurture and provide some kind of mothering touch to the little ones in our lives. So we haven’t kind of gone through the physical experience of like carrying a baby and delivering that baby. But I think we’re all sort of aware of what it could look like and what it should look like. And so that’s what the podcast kind of explores. It’s a little bit of a dream project to, you know, kind of trying to imagine what things could be like and what it should be like and how do we get there.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S2: There’s an old joke about reporters and journalists that, you know, you turn 30 to. And you have kids and all of a sudden you become a journalist who’s passionately interested in child care and and birth stories, and then the kids get to kindergarten, all of a sudden you are very invested in telling stories about education, the education system, guilty. Well, that was definitely true of me. I mean, before I had kids, I didn’t I mean, I didn’t write about any of that stuff. And it was only once I had kids that I started writing about it and start and, you know, started on this podcast. You know, I’m sure that you feel as though you sometimes have to defend yourself as a person who doesn’t have kids, yet has things to say about parenting in America and the culture of parenting in America. But I’m curious the ways in which you think, honestly, it’s beneficial to have someone who isn’t a parent, maybe isn’t yet a parent talking and thinking about these things, like why is it good for for someone like you to be investigating these issues?

S3: One, we’re all here. So, you know, somehow we are all connected to this idea, a notion of birthing because we’re here, we’re physically present and someone gave birth to us. So whether or not you choose to have kids right now or choose to sort of give birth, it’s thinking about what what care should look like when you’re not just trying to solely have a baby, but when you’re trying to get answers to questions or when you’re trying to figure out if you have pre-existing conditions and trying to get the support you need from the folks who were kind of put in place to kind of supposedly, you know, try to help guide you through these processes. So I think it’s something that we should all be invested in because it connects to all of us. Right. Is thinking about birthing the next generation, birthing your neighbors birth and your future nephews, nieces, birthing your own children. So I think just like anything, the more information you have, I think you’re always better off, right? Maybe sometimes it can be too much like a little sort of daunting. But to have more information going to something that is such a silence kind of conversation or kind of sometimes, ah, shame around it. Very hush hush, very like, oh, your body will know what to do. You’ll be fine. But there’s a lot of kind of emotional things are changing as you’re going through this journey. And you know, if you are someone who maybe even experiences like a pregnancy loss or maybe like abortion care or anything kind of along the side reproductive care spectrum, I think we’re speaking to that audience as well. For me, it’s been like, how can I be a better auntie, like a better friend to my girlfriends who are moms of new kids. So it’s like, how can you be a better person to support those who are going through it, even if it’s not your choice just yet? So it seems so obvious to me why it should be something we all care about and we’re trying to continue to push that narrative forward with this next season.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

S1: I don’t think I have anything to add that wouldn’t just be like a restatement of some of all the wonderful things that you just said, particularly about like people everyone was birthed. So like the fact that birthing only seems to belong to birthing people. Right. And like and maybe only for that immediate time following. Right. Because then you’re encouraged to get back into the workforce and forget what it did to your body and what it did to you. And and not to be particularly empathetic to other birthing people. Right. Because we just are not like we. And, you know, a big part of that is because birthing people are typically women and. Right. You know, you know how this world feels about women. But it’s I think it’s so beautiful that you all are doing this work, you know, in advance of or perhaps or some of you in lieu of giving birth to children, because those of us that are doing the work of caring for kids and who are actively seeking to get pregnant or are pregnant need, I think, support from the rest of the world that we just don’t get.

S3: Yeah, I think so, too. I mean, I think that’s becoming abundantly clear. So this coming season is all about black birthing and rural spaces. So we’ve been having completely different types of conversations with folks who were like, you know, from the Mississippi Delta to Hawaii to up in the Midwest and everywhere in between. And it’s been an interesting conversation thinking about how do non birthing people, like, physically support their partners or their loved ones, whether you’re like, you know, about favorite uncle or baby brother or just just thinking about how you can play a role even though you are not carrying that baby. Right. And then it’s also kind of I think in many ways we try to sort of challenge how we think about birthing and pregnancy. So even last season, like we had a trans dad on talking about their experience at the time of the birth, they hadn’t transitioned yet, but when we were recording with them, Micah is a black trans dad in Philadelphia. Right. And so thinking about how do we tell stories about queer and trans folks who oftentimes aren’t read as people who can give birth or or in some people who unfortunately feel maybe they shouldn’t give birth and we kind of challenge all of that to say no. Birthing looks a lot of different ways, and no matter how people show up when it’s time to sort of seek care, they deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. They deserve to have options. Right. And not just a choice that they have to make or else. So we really enjoy it, but we’re thinking a lot about how other people kind of build up this community around birthing people so that it’s not just on this one person to carry and deliver and parent and baby over 18 plus year. So we’re thinking a lot about kind of like that village almost. That’s kind of a part of that parent’s life from the very beginning. So it’s fun and we all really love it. We love it. It’s it’s great. I think we’re always just learning so much all the time. But it’s it’s constantly challenging all the things that you thought you knew or read about. And I find that to be really exciting.

S1: Thank you for joining us, Gabrielle, and thank you for the great work that you’re doing with NATO. We’ve got all the bits on how you can listen in the show notes until next time. Slate plus, thank you again for your support.