S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, September 17th, the Pandemic Friends Edition. I’m Ben. I’m a writer for Slate and the author of the book How to Be a Family of the Dad of Laura Harper, who’s 13. And we all live in Arlington, Virginia.
S3: Hi, I’m Jamilah Lemieux, a writer contributor to Slate’s Care and Feeding Parenting column, host of The Kids Are Asleep, Late Night Chat Show and Mom to Nyima, who is seven. And we live in Los Angeles, California.
S4: I’m Elizabeth, New Hampshire. I write the Home School and Family Travel blog that I’m the mom to three little Henry eight, Oliver six and Teddy three. And my home is in Navarre, Florida. But I am currently in my closet in my childhood home in Atlanta, having evacuated from Hurricane Charley.
S2: We’re going to get a full hurricane update from Elizabeth. Tribes’ fails. However, we can say that as of right now, she is not underwater. That’s a great triumph in and of itself. Today on the show, we’ve got a question about how to handle a grandmother’s obvious alcoholism with regards to your kids. We also have a follow up question from our show we did last November about parents making friends during the pandemic. As always, will have triumphs.
S5: We’ll have fails, we’ll have recommendations, we’ll have business, we’ll have ads. We’ll have all the stuff we always have. But let’s start with triumphs and fails. Jarmila, do you have a Trimper fail this week?
S6: Well, I’ll say this week’s fail is a recurrent one. I’ve come to recognize that I obsess over things like when I have a new project or something I’m working on, like around the house, I get tunnel vision and I don’t think I realize just about myself and maybe this is something I’m developing or I’ve developed as an adult. But as I’ve mentioned before, we’re moving the end of the month. So I’m getting every room in the place painted and there’s a lot of walls. It’s a two bedroom apartment. It can only be one so big. But there’s the way it’s set up. There’s just a lot of different walls, which leaves space for excellent walls and wallpaper. And I have come to realize that I’m spending hours a day looking at wallpaper and paint. It is all I want to do. I spent my whole weekend at Home Depot. I just bought four cans of paint yesterday. That’s not nearly all that I need. But I finally was able to commit to two colors that are going to either be the ceiling in my room and the walls. It’s a part of my room or for part of the living room. But either way, the challenge to fail is that I could have wallpapered and painted this place myself three times by now with the amount of time that I’ve spent on every single wallpaper and paint selling website. I can’t help it.
S7: Do you enjoy looking at them? I do, but I wanted to be done.
S8: I just want to make a decision because I, like, enjoy that process of moving, like thinking about the House and how I want to set up. It’s almost like the anticipation of it is its own excitement.
S6: It is it’s part of the you know, it’s one of the best parts to the foreplay folks.
S7: Yes, exactly. So I think it’s OK to, like, enjoy it because it is fun.
S6: I suppose there’s no housewarming party that I need to hurry up and get ready for.
S5: That’s super interesting about the tunnel vision, like that kind of hyper focus is really familiar to anyone who has or who has a kid with ADHD, the typical symptoms that you always think about are that you have trouble focusing, but it also often manifests itself in like this wild super focus on things that really, really interest you. So many people I know, adults and kids with ADHD or without who have that ability to like hyperfocus are really torn about it. Like in some ways it can be so useful. Yeah, like when you have I’m sure that when you were preparing for the kids are asleep, I’m sure it was unbelievably useful to be able to just like for three days, I’m doing nothing but getting super ready for this thing. But then other times you feel like, well, what I mean is there are other things in the world managing that I think can be a real challenge for people.
S6: Yes. And I do have ADHD and was not diagnosed until adulthood names. Dad was diagnosed while I was pregnant and came to me like it was a very dramatic rubia. You know, like I have to tell you something, it might impact the baby. And I’m like, are you kidding me?
S7: You know, like one thing.
S6: And then I was diagnosed about a year later. He chose not to medicate. And I have we see the signs and Nyima, we’re working on a plan for how we can you know, we’ve implemented some stuff already. But it’s interesting because, like, you don’t get to choose what you’re going to laser focus on. So yes, in theory that would be great if it was OK. I’m doing this show, I’ve got three days, let me prepare. But I’m doing wallpaper. So you don’t know. You don’t like sometimes it’s so and sometimes it’s like the wallpaper. So it’s like, oh yeah, I got to get to the show. But first let me finish the wallpaper.
S5: With teenagers, sometimes the hyper focus is just on grudges against your parents. I was making a couple of days.
S6: I was very good at it. Yeah.
S5: Elizabeth, how about you try and prevail?
S8: So my triumph is successfully evacuating the family last minute after telling my children that we would never have to evacuate. Last minute moving to Florida, especially Henry, with all his anxiety, was like so focused on hurricanes. We’ve lived a lot of places with a lot of different kinds of natural disasters. We’ve evacuated from fires in Colorado before. But he was so worried about kind of the path of destruction of a hurricane. And I kept saying like, well, the advantage of a hurricane is, you know, that it’s coming. There’s this cone. If we’re in the cone, we’ll get out. So Sally formed over the weekend and was supposed to go to Louisiana. Navarre was way outside of the cone. In fact, yesterday we did our typical when a tropical storm passes by, I take the kids to the beach and we get to see these like ten foot waves and walk. It’s super cool. We go get snow cones at snowballs and we can watch the waves actually from the beach, from across the sound. It’s very fun.
S5: It’s great that you already have a tropical storm tradition with global warming.
S9: We’ve been through many of them in our short time here. Yesterday was just like this tropical storm is coming. We’re going to get a bunch of rain.
S8: We’re totally fine. You know, the kids are totally great. We get home, we’re like about to make dinner and the buzzing goes off on all our phones. I don’t know if any of you have experienced the, like, alerts on your phones, but everything’s going off. The Alexi’s going off that we have now. Navar has now been placed inside the cone of uncertainty, which is anywhere in that cone is where the eye of the storm could come. And with this particular storm, the eye is like huge. It went at that point all the way from Louisiana to past us. And then we watch the storm kind of as the evening went on, like TEQ just to the east. So the cone was kind of shrinking with Navarre still in the middle. And the problem is, if you don’t make a decision, you can’t get out like that. You can get to a point at which there’s just too much rain or too much water. We live on the water side of the highway already today. Like two of the bridges out have been closed due to high winds. And so last night, Jeff, of course, has to make his decision based on military stuff. So I had said I want to leave. And the problem was like now I’m looking at driving through the night in the rain with the kids. We don’t really know what the storm is doing. I put the kids, everybody to sleep in our room because we weren’t sure we have a split floor plan. I don’t want them like across the House. And I just said, like, OK, I’m going to pack the house and like in take all the stuff into the car. And then in the morning I’ll make a decision because the Hurricane Center gives us updates of the cone at 5:00 and 11:00. So we wake up this morning and things are still ticking. So the kids get up. And I got up at 4:00 to see the alert because we’re on Central. And so when they got up about five thirty, it was like we’re leaving, you know, and they’re all like, but you said we’d never have to leave in a panic. And we had told them, like, we’re thinking about going. And of course, to complicate all this is covid like where normally this would have been like people evacuate, like to Disney, like we’re going to go on a little trip, kids, you know, we would have gone to a national park or it would have been like a surprise trip. But instead, we’re really limited about where we can go. My parents, of course, were happy to have us up in Atlanta, although the storm’s coming here. My sister is actually here because my dad has just had knee surgery. So just kind of this, like, very. Complicated decision. The other thing is that Floridians like want to stay like they’re like we’re staying through this. And I guess I just have the mindset of like I have five people to keep alive. Like, that is a lot. Something happens. So we just got in a car this morning very early and drove up to Atlanta. Kind of know, looking back, it’s still raining there a ton. There was so much standing water. It was sounds side parks are all covered with water. So I feel good that we’re just kind of like out of the way or one less thing to worry about or cause trouble. And the kids were just like the minute I just said, like, we have to go, we’re totally fine. Our house is probably fine. But as we’re pulling away from the house, all of us like Goodbye House.
S7: It was so nice of you to house us. And I was like, well, hopefully we’ll see it again.
S8: And of course, I asked them all to like, gather a couple things. You know, we have had the talk like when we leave our house, it’s possible that we could come back and the things things wouldn’t be here. But we hope that’s not the case. And they we have like an emergency binder, all that kind of stuff. They grabbed, like, all of their stuffed animals. So we pulled up to my parents and just like stuffed animal after stuffed animal getting out of the house. Because this morning I just was like, if it fits in the van. Sure. So anyway, we’re safe here for now. We’re hoping it’s just kind of a major rain event. But I think more than likely it’ll be like a couple of days without power and possibly getting cut off from the city and with three little kids. It’s just like if you have an emergency, you know, somebody falls or somebody has some kind of problem. You’ve taken a small problem, made it a huge problem. So I’m glad we’re out of the way for now. Not going to be part of the problem. I’m happy to take the ego bus that I did not stay for, you know, not even a hurricane or whatever that means.
S5: I mean, whatever anyone who gives you hassle for that is, obviously I’m looking at the Navarre, Florida, precipitation predictions for today on Weather Underground and it’s really great. It’s like for this half an hour, they predict point zero seven inches for this half an hour, they point out seven inches for this two hour period. They predict three point three inches of rain.
S8: We’re supposed to get like up to 20 inches and a five foot storm surge which had already overtaken. If you look up like Pensacola, the beach is just completely already taken up. The Navarre Beach webcam is awesome. You can see the 10 foot waves hitting the pier. It’s amazing. So but I’m glad to not be part of that.
S5: Good work, great triumph. I’m going to deliver a response to last week’s fail we recorded last week right after the first day of school, which had been a total disaster. And the response is that the past few days, online school has gone pretty OK. They both, I think, still wish that they were in school and not doing it on laptops. But the technology has been working on both of their computers. The assignments that they’re doing seem worthwhile. The teachers are obviously working incredibly hard to keep them engaged during class and to come up with good work for them to do during the asynchronous time. They’re measuring well how much the work needs to be. The goal, I think, for this remote learning time is just not to have that much out of school homework. And they’re doing a good job with that. Even P.E. is going well. I looked in Harper’s room this morning and she was on the floor doing push ups on. All the kids on the screen were also all doing push ups. They’re all doing the presidential physical fitness test. So that cracked me up. That still exists. Yeah.
S8: Oh, every year they do it, they have replaced some items with other I sit and read still there does that.
S5: I believe a cinereach is still a thing. Yes. They don’t have pull ups anymore like they did when I was a kid. Pull ups are prized. I mean, I am glad they’re gone because every year I averaged zero point five presidential physical fitness test. You know, I complain about schools a lot on this podcast, so it’s definitely worth sending a shout out when things are going well and when the teachers are clearly working their balls off to make this as good as they possibly can. And my kids are doing a good job. So I think that’s a triumph all around me, not my triumph. I didn’t do shit, but everyone else had a huge, great job, everyone else.
S10: All right, before we move on, let’s talk some business. Tune in tonight, Thursday, September 17th, to Djamila Slate Live show the kids are asleep. She’ll be joined by progressive political strategist Kiara Basanti. Hotton, there will be a lot of fun. Don’t miss it. They’re going to talk the election. They’re going to talk parenting during an election, parenting during our current health scape everything. Tune in at 10:00 p.m. Eastern, 7:00 p.m. Pacific. We’ll have links to Slate’s YouTube, our Facebook page and our show notes. You can also find previous episodes of The Kids are Asleep on Slate’s YouTube page. It’s a amazing show. Djamila is a natural talk show host watcher. Now before Fox snaps her up and gives her Joan Rivers old slot to keep up with all of Slate’s parenting content and all of our parenting shows, sign up for the Slate parenting newsletter. It’s a personal email from my keyboard to your inbox every single week. Last week I sent a very important message about the classic cinematic achievement top secret. Plus, it’s the best place to be notified about. Ask a teacher, Karen feeding the kids are asleep. And yes, every new episode of Mom and Dad are fighting. So sign up at Slate Dotcom Slash Parenting Email for late parenting newsletter. And if you’re looking for even more parenting advice, you can join our parenting group on Facebook. It’s very active, full of very helpful and nice people. And if you aren’t helpful or nice, we kick you out. So just search for Slate parenting on Facebook. You’ll find a lot there. Time for our first listener question.
S5: As always, it’s being read by Sasha Lanard.
S11: Dear mom and dad are fighting. Please help. I have a fairly good relationship with my mom and my four and a half year old has a great one with her as well. That is in the limited capacity that my husband and I allow. My mom has helped us with childcare since my daughter was an infant and watches her a few afternoons a month, they have a blast together and my daughter enjoys the days that they have. The issues that my mom is an alcoholic, before my daughter was born, my husband and I talked to her and my dad about it, we said that we wanted my mom to be a part of our child’s life, but that there would be times where she wouldn’t be able to watch her. For example, due to my mom’s addiction, neither one of us will talk to her after five p.m. as she is likely drunk or on her way. This is a daily occurrence that she almost never alters. My mom is only watched her during the day, and we clearly told her that under no circumstances is she to have a drink while she’s watching our child. Everything has been good thus far since my dad has retired. My parents plan on traveling and would like to take my daughter and my oldest niece with them on a road trip for a week or so. My husband and I are adamantly against this. I do not feel that my mom would be able to go over a week without drinking. This is further complicated as my daughter does spend the night with my in-laws on a monthly basis. She has her own room there and has stayed with them for up to a week when my husband and I have gone out of town. The question is, how do we talk to my daughter about why she is unable to spend the night with my parents or go with them on a trip when she eventually asks. I would like for my daughter to maintain the good relationship that she has with my mom, but I don’t want to expose her to my mom’s drinking problem. Also, I feel that I will have to explain to my mom and dad that we would prefer for them to not mention this idea in front of my daughter. Again, how should we raise this with them? I do love my mom a lot, but realize that I cannot communicate with her well when it comes to this issue. I’ve tried in the past and it has not gone well. My mom did seek help and attended a rehab facility not long before my daughter was born, but has since returned to her addiction. This is a very hard subject for me as I have realized I cannot change her and will likely never be able to no matter what I say.
S6: No, you don’t send your child on this trip. You are aware of this issue that your mother has. You and your husband have spoke to her. You’ve spoken to your father. You have made it so that she is still a part of your child’s life and everything has gone fine. But you know that outside of the ability of you and your husband to monitor her, you don’t know what’s going to happen with your mother and drinking. And you say that you don’t talk to her after five p.m. on a regular day. So if they’re taking a road trip, right. If they’re doing something, you know, that’s essentially a social activity or for fun, it stands to reason that they’re probably going to be stopping at restaurants or relaxing in the evening in front of the TV.
S12: And your mother is going to be indulging if there had never been a conversation about this and this was the moment in which you had to finally confront this problem with your mother, I think this would be a lot more challenging. And I do anticipate this will be challenging. And I’m sorry that you’re going to have to have this conversation with your mother, but I think you already know what is the right thing to do here. And the fact that your in-laws are able to do overnight stays with your child has nothing to do with your mother’s ability to be trusted, to be a sober mind and thought while she is a caregiver for your child.
S8: Yeah, I totally agree that it’s completely OK to have different boundaries for different sets of parents. And I thought a little bit about how to talk to your daughter about this because she is young. But I think because it’s part of your family dynamic that you do need to at least start introducing the concept of like your mother being an alcoholic and explaining, I think, in a very gentle way what that means and sort of saying, you know, that it’s a disease and that she’s unwell, but that she’s not a bad person. And I think kids so often take their cues on how to treat people from us. So as long as your behavior towards your mother is still kind, it is OK to say, like, you get to spend this time with her. But we also have these boundaries because she is unwell. I think the groundwork needs to be laid and there is a way to do that again by still saying we love her and we get to hang out with her. And these are the ways in which we can have a positive relationship with her just by modeling that right. Like your four year old trusts you in a lot of ways to make those decisions. But I just always think that as they get older and ask more questions, I want to have had the groundwork laid. And I think there will be more questions like talking about alcohol, particularly when there’s abuse in the family, I think is really important. So even though it’s uncomfortable, I think you can have these conversations with your daughter and have them frequently, but in a way that is not like a lecture on drinking. And that is more about just like your relationship with your mom and why there are these boundaries. And again, not in like a luxury way, just in again, expressing that she’s unwell, expressing that she suffers from alcoholism. And, you know, we can have these positive experiences, but she’s not in a place where you can stay overnight with her. And, you know, your in-laws are in a place where you can stay overnight. I think it’s OK. Like we set boundaries like that for your kids all the time. And you don’t necessarily tell them, like, why they can go play with. This friend, but they can’t necessarily play with this friend or you go to this friend’s house. To me, this is no different than that. We make decisions based on our children’s safety. We try to explain to them in a very minimal way that they can understand, especially at this age. But I don’t think it needs to be this huge conversation.
S5: This is interesting. I don’t know that I would dive right into the alcoholism conversation with a four and a half year old quite yet for a couple of reasons. And I agree with you that in general, transparency, you know, with age appropriate levels of explanation are often the way to go. But there’s a couple of things that give me a slight pause. And it may be at the end that I that I come around or that you listener will come around to the idea that that, in fact, is what you should do right now. The first thing I notice is that the kid hasn’t asked anything about this yet. The mom is worried that the kid will ask something because her mom is starting to make noise about wanting to do things that under no circumstances she is going to allow her daughter to do with her mom correctly so, as Jimmy and Elizabeth have noted. But the kid isn’t asking about it yet. I think it’s pretty likely that for at least the next year or two, if no one is bringing up the disparity in staying overnight at one grandparents house and not staying overnight at the other grandparents house, I just don’t think the daughter is ever going to ask about it. And that isn’t necessarily a reason to avoid the truth. But the other thing that I’m not clear on yet is how is grandma going to respond or react if her alcoholism becomes a topic of conversation between this mom and her daughter. And now that can’t always be what drives your decisions. But this is clearly a really charged issue in this family. And there’s no way that you could bring this up to four and a half year old and have her, not the next time she sees her grandmother say basically all mom and I talked about your disease, where you drink, and it makes it so that I can’t stay over a night. And I could definitely see a scenario in which that would blow up into like a family relationship ending disaster. So before you have this conversation with your child, which it may be that you decide now is the time you want to have it, it’s at least worth thinking through what the ramifications of that will be in your relationship with your mom. You say that it has been very, very hard for you to talk about this with your mom, and I believe it. I have alcoholics in my family who I’m very, very close to, and it’s always been hard to talk through these things for me as well. And I worry that doing this, what your mother will view as a kind of end run around her might cause things to blow up if you haven’t done the kind of very difficult groundwork that you might need to do. And that groundwork has to do with that conversation that you acknowledge you’re going to have to have with your mom and dad about how they’re like floating these things that they want to do with their granddaughter that they already know from your conversations with them that you can allow. And in a case like that, I really want to know what you to think. I feel like you have to really lay down the law, like you have to make it clear that this is the way it is and you don’t want to have to be having like a disappointed, angry, upset four and a half year old who’s having the things she can’t do called attention to her all the time. And if you ask these grandparents to not be floating this stuff with her, they’ve got to abide by that. But what do you guys think about that?
S8: Well, Dan, I kind of see the fight as coming because I think that’s why I thought, like, they’re going to fight about this trip or offering this. But I agree that if, like, the conversation has to be had with your parents to say you have to stop asking this because we’re going to say no and it’s not fair to our child. Right, right. Like when the child comes running back saying, I want to do this, I’m going to have to explain this, and that conversation has to be had. I just think there’s like they’ve been existing in this lovely little moment and bubble where this works and that just barely. Just barely. And it’s coming to an end. And so I think you need to be prepared to have all of these discussions at once.
S5: Yeah, I would maybe have the fight with Mom for sure. Yeah, yeah.
S12: I kind of took that to be what Elizabeth meant, that this is coming. And so it is better to be prepared for the inevitability of having to explain to your child because it is possible even in this within this year. You know, like my daughter took notes, like she was very clear on how her interactions with one set of grandparents was different from another. Why do I spend you know, why do we go to Chicago more often than we go here? Why do I see this person more? And I see that person, especially if there’s any sort of tension or trust me, like if this is an issue that has impacted your family to the point where you won’t call your mother after five o’clock in the evening, which is pretty early, there’s a good chance that your child has picked up on something. You know, that there’s some hint that something’s not right between her grandmother and you all. So I again, I agree with that. And, of course, like, you’re not front loading this information or just volunteering it before the kid ask her before something has come up. But you have to be prepared for how you discuss these things. I hope perhaps that because this trip, maybe it’s a big deal, maybe it’s something that means a lot to your parents, something they really want to do.
S6: You know, I’m curious if they’re anticipating a yes, if they’re asking almost as a formality because they know that you’re going to say no. But I hope for you all that.
S12: Hearing perhaps yet again that you’re not willing to allow your child to do this with them or that there is something that is going to be denied your mother because of her drinking, that this can be the beginning of a wake up moment and hopefully put your family on the path toward some real healing and treatment for your mother.
S5: Yeah, I don’t think that you should use access to your child as a cudgel, but I don’t think you should underestimate the possible power of access to your child as an incentive.
S8: This is a natural consequence. Like we talk a lot about teaching our kids with natural consequences, like the same thing applies here. I was thinking, too, like, is there some way to keep the relationship with your mom that you can come up with something else to offer in place of the trip? And I don’t know what that would look like for you, but can you all go do an overnight or do some kind of camping trip in which you’re also there? You’re doing something together during the day, but you have separate activities at night? Like, I think that a lot of times when you’re offering a no in these situations that you think are going to blow up, if you can come up with a yes to give like we’re uncomfortable with this. But I was thinking that maybe we could do this so you could have your time. Like, I don’t know what that would look like because I don’t know what the parameters of, you know, it sounds like anything in the evening or anything with a drink, but maybe a, you know, can you do a one night in which you are in control of your daughter or you are there? I don’t know. But I think being able to offer that and have something available when you do have to have this conversation with your mom can lessen the blow and maybe lessen like the hurt that she’s going to feel.
S5: That’s a really fucking good idea, and I would add to that that especially if it’s a trip with like maybe just a one night overnight or two night overnight with you and maybe your husband and the kids and your mom and your dad. And if that goes really well, I think that’s a further incentive for your mom to see. This is the kind of shit you are missing out on. Yeah. Because of what is going on with you right now. Did either of you think it was really weird that we didn’t hear anything about what her dad thinks about all this?
S6: So that was literally just going to say, where’s dad? And it’s like, what does he do? Was she so I mean, like. Is he just the old school dad who’s not going to really do much with the kids anyway? Because I’m like there’s a whole other adult in the picture who’s not being discussed.
S9: It’s also possible the relationship has grown such that he’s like an enabler, you know, like he’s a silent enabler. But I agree, like, your dad should definitely be a part of this conversation.
S8: And I know a lot of times, like for me, when having to deal with one member of our extended family, the other, like their partner, can often be a valuable tool to, like, give them a heads up. This is the conversation we need to have. How can we do this in a way that doesn’t hurt her or that hurts her the least or that gets our point across. Right. So I don’t know if that’s available to you, but yeah, I also thought, like, OK, so does he. He’s just like, OK, cool.
S5: There’s a sibling in the picture too, right. Because there’s a niece who wants who’s been invited on these trips. Yeah. I want to know what that sibling thinks and if that sibling is setting the same rules that you are. And if not, that’s a whole other issue. But in general, I think we all are in agreement that. You have to have a conversation with your mom and your dad, and I think that conversation maybe is going to be bigger and tougher than just please stop saying these things in front of our daughter. It’s really hard to have the bigger conversation that you need to have, but I think we all would really urge you to do that. All right. Well, good luck, letter writer, to you and your family. We would love to hear a follow up if you’re comfortable sending us a note about how things are going and what these conversations look like when they happen. Hey, if you’re listening to us and thinking, you know what, these people might have a solution to my problem, or at least I want to hear them argue about it, send it your problem our way. E-mail us at mom and dad at Slate Dotcom. We need questions to do the show. We really would love to help you if you send us your question. All right, let’s move on to our second question once again, it’s being read by the inimitable Lanard.
S11: Hey, mom and dad, I stumbled onto a past episode with a wonderful segment in response to a listener letter about how to meet other parents and make friends, it was a phenomenal list of recommendations and included some reminders that I really needed to hear right now. But it was from last November. Prie covid. Could you talk through how to meet parent friends in this crazy covid world, it’s so hard, one, we can’t see anyone’s faces in public to so many casual public gathering places like playgrounds are closed or may not be safe. And three, approaching people in public is actually a physically threatening activity. We have active in social twin boys aged two and a half who were really just starting to get out into the world when covid hit and we were sequestered at home. We also don’t have a lot of existing friends with kids our age and our social circle. While we’re very lucky that the kids have been able to start attending a preschool this fall. Parents aren’t allowed to congregate there and pick up. Drop off is a heavily facilitated health screening activity. Please don’t get me wrong. I’m grateful for these essential health and safety precautions, but I’m desperately aching for some social connection in the parenting world. Thank you all.
S9: So I actually think my advice is very similar to the advice I gave pre pandemic, which is, well, just rerun. That whole says re-erect, go back and listen to that segment. You have to be bold like you need friends. You are going to have to put in the work and put yourself out there. And you don’t need a perfect match. You need some starter friends. And that’s OK. So you don’t have to find your perfect bestie. You need someone that you can text and say, my child is doing this or what’s going on in school or this homework is terrible. You need someone who will, you know, meet you out at a park or go for a walk on a headset, like whatever the social distancing, getting together looks like that’s what you need. Just someone that is like there are plenty of friends in your life that you make that are good enough friends. I like to call those friends of the road like they’re not going to be around forever. But I think going out there in this time and saying, like, I need this perfect person is really difficult. And I thought of a couple ways that you could maybe go about this. The first is to lean on your old friends, like if nothing else. Right now, technology has really made it accessible to lean on some of your old friends. So setting up phone dates with them, going on walks when you’re on the phone with them. I know this has been a moment for me to be able to reconnect with a lot of the friends we’ve made and a lot of places because I’m just not seeing my kind of casual acquaintances here. I’m not calling up those people that I just met at home school things and kind of checked my boxes pre pandemic’s. So instead I’m texting with old friends, having phone dates and mom’s nights online and things with old friends. I think in terms of making new friends, you’re at this school. You, I think, really need to ask the teacher for a roster, see if there’s a Facebook group. If there isn’t these, ask for them and put them together. And that’s what I’m talking about, being bold. You’re not the only one that needs these friends. So get that kind of group together, get the email addresses and suggest that you have a game night of these parents. And if only one other person shows up, that’s OK. You’re only looking for one or two people. The other suggestion is that if you can meet one person and then have them, you know, bring someone else to a game night online or to a socially distanced, you know, mom’s only picnic or whatever you want to do, then that will expand your group and who you know, those are kind of my starter tips that you guys have some suggestions as well.
S6: This is something that I’m struggling with, too. I’m still relatively new in town and didn’t really get a chance to connect with a lot of the folks that I knew in the area before covid shut everything down. I’ve made one new friend since I’ve been here. I’ve been doing much of what Elizabeth was describing, which is reconnecting with the friends that I had from before. I lived here via Zoom and Facebook and having happy hours with my girlfriends that way and talking to friends from college and folks that I hadn’t spoken to. Like one of the best moments I’ve had during this time was like an epic, literally. I think folks started in like four o’clock in the afternoon. I didn’t get on till five and we stayed on till like two or three in the morning. And it was like a rotating group of folks I went to college with, you know, and we just talked for hours and hours. I hadn’t seen some of these people since I was twenty one years old. If you have not concentrated any efforts around those sort of connections with people that are not physically in your space, who you love to talk to, that you should really think about making that a big part of your social outreach at this point, only because it is so difficult to meet people face to face. And this the life that you have right now is not necessarily the one that you’re going to have when, you know, hopefully the world reopens in a reasonable amount of time. So it may be the case that you and this person and like what Elizabeth said, this doesn’t have to be your perfect best friend. It could be that, you know, you connect with somebody from your kid’s class right now and you go hang out a little bit. And when things resume, it turns out that you are completely opposite schedules and you all aren’t really seeing each other too much. Right. You just need them for your bubble right now. And that’s fine. But I think that there is something to be said for connections that already exists, having more to talk about than just small talk, really being able to, you know, speak about how you’re feeling, about everything that’s going on and missing people and, you know, just stuff that can be, I think, a little bit challenging when you’re trying to. Also, plant the seeds for a brand new friendship to be emotionally vulnerable or really open up about something or for somebody to open up to, you can be kind of different when you don’t know each other terribly well. I would also add, you know, there’s Meetup and other platforms that are designed for meeting people. I am not going to be the one to advise you to really focus on trying to hang out with people in person, particularly people that you don’t know at this point. But that is an option. I also would say look to social distance events that are going on in your community. Like there’s a mall in my area that had a movie night last week. There were very limited seats because each family got their own little seating area and it was distance. And so there wasn’t a ton of interaction with other people. But you might bump into a family that, you know, from the school or, you know, a neighbor that you hadn’t really had a chance to speak to and now you’re seeing them out on Main Street or whatever. Finally, I would say Internet hangouts, you know, I mean, finding people who have your interests in Facebook, parenting groups, you can join this late parenting group to talk to a whole lot of folks that are going through what you’re going through right now. You can connect with folks on Twitter and Instagram. I just think that I would pivot away from how do I establish our family in this community right now and make our outdoor friends and instead focus on who’s going to make us feel OK while we’re in the house and getting the right stuff for your kids school and setting up some virtual playdates, I think is a brilliant idea.
S5: I think that’s the most important thing right now. I think that all of these various online or distance solutions can really help you, the adult, but they’re not going to do much for your two and a half year olds that school needs to be facilitating. And if they’re not facilitating, you need to take the initiative. You need to be the parent who’s doing that. You know, you have a little bit of an advantage here. I know you don’t feel like you have one, but you do, which is that your kids are in this preschool and so they are already in rooms with kids their age. And so it is not insane to try to organize an outdoor play day like there’s no additional risk really associated with an outdoor play date with one of those kids. And while that playdate is happening, you, the parents can be out there on headsets, are separated with masks or whatever it is that makes you feel comfortable. But that’s a real option for you in a way that it isn’t necessarily an option for other people who are in tighter bubbles and might be more loath to expand those bubbles at all. Your bubbles already a little bigger maybe than you feel comfortable than it being, but that’s just the way it is. And so take advantage of that fact. I really like Jamila’s idea of finding out what is going on in your community in addition to drive ins and other things like that. Music together and other music classes are a lot of them are doing outdoor classes now, socially, dist., outdoor classes. That’s a great way to meet parents of kids exactly your age. They’ll be six feet away from you, but your kids will be doing similar adorable things and you can yell at them from that distance and get a phone number. I want to push back against one thing in this letter, which is that I honestly think at this point striking up a conversation with a person at a music class or a drive in or wherever, if you’re a safe distance away, I don’t think at this point that’s going to be viewed as a dangerous act. I don’t think most people are going to view it that way. I think, in fact, most normal people will be so fucking happy to have anyone new to talk to that I think you might have a better hit rate on just like cold talking to people in fall twenty twenty than you would have had in fall. Twenty nineteen. I think people just really need friends. You’re not the only one who really needs friends. People are desperate for engagement. And so that’s why you shouldn’t be afraid to be thirsty. As Elizabeth said, you’ve just got to go for it. It means that sometimes there’s going to be occasional rejection that sucks. But honest to God, there has never been a time in American parenting history where people will be more accepting of the idea that someone needs social interaction from them than right now. So strike while the iron is hot and just start talking to people and see how it goes.
S8: Even those of us who are like, we’re not new in a place or not whatever, like everyone’s social circle has just shrunk either because of choices that everyone is making, has separated people that were otherwise hanging out and together. I know for me, like so much of my social bucket was full of like home school things we went to do that aren’t happening. And so even though I have like a bunch of friends, like I don’t see anybody, so having those friends, you know, being able to make them at places where you’re doing stuff that’s comfortable. And that’s why I think, like Dan said, you have this advantage of being at school or finding a social distance activity where everyone is there and participating in the same thing. No one is going to think that you talking to them at a thing you both agreed to go to is is wrong. Like they’re there for the same reasons, right?
S10: They signed up because they’re also desperate.
S7: Yes. Yeah.
S9: I mean, that’s that’s, you know, for as much as these things for kids like we do them for kids, but we also do them for parents. And I think that can be true if you’re in some kind of an online activity, asking the teacher, like, can we do some kind of parents meet up or some kind of time for parents? I think you will find that other parents are there. You have to just go after it. You can’t wait for someone to talk to you. You’re going to have to talk to someone or email someone or send out a blast email for are there any other parents looking to, you know, get together, either socially distanced in person or online or, you know, organizing something? If it’s not being organized, organize it yourself.
S5: Yeah. Yeah. All right. Thank you, listener. We know you can do it. We know you’ll find some friends. We know you’ll find some playmates for those two boys who I assume are driving you up the fucking wall. Let us know how it goes. We want to hear all about it. And listeners, if you want us to help you send in your questions, send in your conundrum, send it to mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or post it in the slate parenting. Facebook channel, we also find stuff there and answer it on the show. All right, let’s move on to some recommendations. The part of the show where we, quote unquote, recommend things that we like for you, the listeners. Elizabeth, what are you recommending today?
S8: So I am recommending a show for little kids on Netflix called Alpha Blocks. And I’m recommending it because we have just the hurricane and everything. I’ve needed some like sat them in front of the TV and claim it’s education time. And this cartoon definitely fits that bill. It teaches letter sounds and letter combinations. And I love that they like spell out words. It’s really great for building literacy skills. I don’t really mind having it on. My kids love it. The early episodes are all individual letter sounds. The later episodes are all like word couplets, like letter couplets that spell words at supercute. When they form a word, it comes to life. The kids love it. So Alpha blocks on Netflix, you can set your kids down for a little bit and feel like I just taught them some language arts.
S5: Great. Good job, Djamila, what do you have?
S7: I haven’t really engaged with anything but wallpaper as a late and I haven’t had any of it installed yet.
S6: I can’t say or hung any of it yet. I can’t tell you if what I’ve selected works well or not. And I think I may have already recommended Society Six in the past. I’m going to recommend it again along with another website. So Society six is a really cool platform where artists can upload their work and have it printed to various products like home decor items, stationery, so pillows, wallpaper, et cetera, et cetera. I found some really, really beautiful things that I get lots of compliments on because I sent pictures of my stuff to people because nobody’s actually been able to come to my house. So society thinks that. And also spoon flour, which is the same set up. There’s some really like I’m so excited about the wallpaper that I’ve ordered from there. I can’t wait to see it, but just all types of really cool things, including fabric. Some people make their own wallpaper out of fabric, which is the thing I wanted to do. But the person who’s hanging my wallpaper says it’s too much work and never. So we’re not going to get to do that. But they’ve got bedding, they’ve got decor items. It’s super cool. They’ve got a spotlight on black designers right now. So check out sunflower dot com and society six, the number six that come.
S5: Those are both great recommendations. But I want to back up. That’s been our recommendation. That is, in fact, the site where I found the totally amazing, beautiful wallpaper that she bought for our bathroom as the first of her 1000 crazy quarantine projects. The really great patterns there.
S8: I am also a huge fan of open fire for their fabric. I get most of my quilting fabric and stuff there and stuff for the kids, clothing and things, because you can get like design stuff. Yeah, yeah.
S5: There you go. Wow, it’s beautiful. I just got a whole ad for free. Great job. I am going to recommend a show for older kids, maybe even a little older than my kids, but we’re watching it with them anyway, which is crazy ex-girlfriend. It is on Netflix. All the seasons are on Netflix. Those of you who have not watched the show before, it is a musical comedy about a high powered attorney who leaves New York and moves to a shitty town in the middle of nowhere, California, like three hours from the beach for no really good reason. Other than that she met her ex-boyfriend who said he was moving there. It’s very, very funny. The songs are very, very good. They range from really great parodies of contemporary pop and hip hop to perfect grade, a musical theater, songs, all of them written by the series A Star, as well as Adam Schlesinger, the great songwriter and guitarist for Fountains of Wayne, who passed away earlier this year from covid. It’s a really great show. Very funny. My kids, who are 13 and 15, love it. We have at times been like, oh, maybe, maybe this wasn’t the best choice. You know, it’s like when I had not seen the show before, but I had seen it. And we’re generally pretty tolerant about stuff like that. You know, show them shows with plenty of sex that they just don’t watch because they don’t want to see that or so if they don’t quite understand. But at one point I was like, oh yeah, it’s totally appropriate. I mean, there’s like one song about period sex. And I was like, what? Excuse me, that’s just a song just about period sex. No problem. I’ll just explain to Harper what period sex if I need to.
S6: Hey, I’m still explaining period sex to some of my adult friends.
S7: So they find out now.
S5: Right. I was like, well what does the song explain it then? Maybe we won’t have to explain it. She’s like, no, unfortunately the song doesn’t explain it, but the show is hilarious and the music is great. They really love the characters. They’re also just starting to come to terms with the idea of a show where actually none of the characters are like redeemed or maybe even redeemable. So I guess maybe they’ll be ready for Seinfeld in a couple of years. It’s been a real hit at our house. And I think that people with teenagers, especially older teenagers, especially ones who love music and or musical theater, would really get into the show. It’s on Netflix. All right. And that is our show.
S13: One more time. Send us a question. Email us at Hamidaddin Slate. Dotcom posted to the Facebook group The Search for sleep parenting. Mom and Dad are fighting us, produced by Rosemarie Bellson and Mealamu Smith New Camp by Dan Coates. Thanks for listening.
S10: Hello, Slate. Plus listeners, thank you so much for being members of Slate.
S5: Plus, we really appreciate the support that you give the magazine that I write for the Djamila writes for that we all podcast for the Elizabeth writes for for all the journalism that we do, but particularly for the stupid articles that I write. I particularly thank you. We couldn’t do the show and we couldn’t make Slate without you. So today, we’re going to talk about a piece in The New York Times and more broadly about factions and parenting social media groups, obviously not to say parenting Facebook group or no one would ever be mean to anyone else for any reason. But the fact that everyone is now faced with a bunch of really hard choices about school, well, not everyone, but many people are facing a lot of hard choices about school has led to some pretty rampant parent shaming. And of course, where there’s parent shaming, there’s always more moms shaming. So we’ll link to the article in the show notes. But Elizabeth, can you maybe just start out by giving us a little summary of what the article is talking about and and maybe whether you’ve seen any of this from people other than the Floridians who are going to shame you for fleeing a tropical storm?
S9: Yeah, so she discusses kind of pre covid mom shaming and how it was largely easy to avoid by saying, like you do, you all do me like it’s all good. But now, like each mom decision and she does say like she’s only talking about moms because moms are handling most of the extra work caused by covid. So the schooling, the at home stuff, each decision that we make. So like schooling, what activities you’re doing. And then as you advocate for that, that’s shaming someone else’s choice. So any action you do at this point produces shame against other moms. And then she suggests that some of that is based on the shamers own insecurities, which of course, we all have right now. And that mom shaming inherently implies choice. And most of us don’t really have a choice in the current situation. So we’re blaming each other instead of trying to help each other. I found this like to resonate so much because I find this even with my closest friends, and she uses this friendship that’s like very close friendship, kind of as the anchor for the story. And I identified with that so much because the people that I sort of started this pandemic with, we’ve made different choices and that has driven a wedge. But the wedge is like it’s not there emotionally. Like the very good friend that I have now has our kids back in school. And because they’re in this small school, like they’re playing basketball and they’re doing all these sports and everything, and that has effectively made it impossible for us to hang out as families like we used to. And instead, now I have had to say, like, well, we can’t hang out with you. And it takes a lot of effort. To then make that not be, but I judge you for your choice, because we are making different choices and I am making different choices because I have a different set of beliefs about what the system is, but also because, like, my family situation is different, right. We’re all making these these choices a little bit by choice, but also because of what we’ve been dealt. And so how her and I like I still need her emotionally and we still text about things. But every once in a while it will she will mention something and I will retort and realize that that probably came across super Jaji like will you chose baseball or you chose basketball. Of course, this is going to happen. And she does the same thing to me. And so how do we, like, avoid that at this time when we when we meet each other more than ever, you know, having gone different paths, we end up just feeling like we’re pushing people apart? I don’t know. I just I find it to be kind of like this very cruel topping on top of everything else that is happening.
S5: Djamila, are you seeing this happen to you?
S6: It’s not and to be fair, I’m in a unique position where I get to mom shame people once a week. I’m here, I’m fighting, and I do. And I have probably taken more questions than anyone about, you know, social distancing. And so-and-so wants to do this thing. And I don’t feel comfortable or, you know, I’m out hanging out. It’s not a big deal. Right. I’m always the one who’s like, no, you know, get in the house or you’re absolutely right. Your husband’s wrong. Your kids shouldn’t be in school. It’s very hard to shame me. I have created a bubble for myself in a way, not a contained bubble, but just I’ve always felt like I’ve been on an island of sorts and a lot of ways. So it’s not that I don’t get and I certainly can be insecure and approval seeking and all that stuff. But as it relates to my parenting in particular, I rarely submit it to the group for to any group for consideration, despite, I guess doing a lot of it publicly. I don’t know. And I get to to be fair, we have neighbors not physically in school. She couldn’t be if she wanted to like her school is fully remote. We haven’t been placed in a position where I had to get a babysitter or a caregiver or, you know, we haven’t taken a big family vacation or anything that would really lead to that kind of shaming. But in general, I think I’m somewhat immune to it because I’ve just established that like. Not just that you do you attitude, but also like nobody’s dealing with what I’m doing with nobody, you know, everyone and I don’t mean that like my circumstances are uniquely challenging or easy or any of that, but just that they are mine. And so I’m only interested in other folks parenting experiences insofar as I can be supportive and helpful. I can learn something if I see danger, if I feel a need to comment, because I’m just deeply concerned that there’s a potentially bad outcome. And it would be wrong for me to hold my tongue. But other than that, I also roll with people that are like minded. So, you know, I have a couple of friends who’ve had to send their very small children back to school because of work. And I apply no judgment to that because I don’t know 100 percent what I know a lot about their circumstances. These are some of my closest friends, but I can’t say I know the ins and outs of their days to make a case for them where having a, you know, a two year old around would work, you know, for their ability to care for their family and make a living. And I think Elizabeth made a really great point with. So much of parent shaming or mom shaming is about the idea of choices, you’re making a poor choice, but we’re in a moment where a lot of us have, you know, little if no choice in the matter in terms of how we’re operating right now. So I think there’s certainly a lot of tension between various hyper privileged moms that are, oh, we’re doing the full time nanny route versus, you know, we’re sending them back to school because those are people that did have choices, you know, or to the perception is that they have choices. Right, because perhaps you can’t afford that lifestyle if you have to engage with your child during the day. Is the challenge that a lot of us are facing with like I can be on my moral high horse right now and say, like, well, I wouldn’t send my child to school, I’m not sending her to school. But not only is there school not open, I wouldn’t say I’m doing a great job of balancing all of my responsibilities there days or I’m just like, I’m too sad and depressed or I’ve got to we’re just going to play Barbie right now. You know, I’m going to be behind on this deadline. I’m going to be behind on this work or I need to cancel a doctor’s appointment or something. That was important because right now I have to parent and it is what it is.
S5: It struck me reading this piece that there’s sort of two different vibes being talked about here. And the first one is, is the one that you described, Elizabeth, with your close friend, the one that the author of the piece, Rosemary Counter, writes about as sort of the core of the story, which is friends who have differences related to the to the coronavirus specifically and about how they’re treating school, having that drive a wedge between them.
S1: And the second is. You know, Brandos on the Internet, mom shaming you in the comments section or in a Facebook group or whatever, the really different and that second one is hurts and and can give rise to hair trigger responses because that’s what the Internet was made for, essentially. But it’s also really easy to avoid if you want to. And when it happens, I think for many people it can be easy to brush off because, you know, Theranos, so fuck them, fuck what they think about me and my choices or the choices that I didn’t even have because circumstances are so shitty, just fuck them. The first one is different and harder for a bunch of reasons because they’re our friends and we care about them and we respect their opinion, presumably, and have for many years. And beyond that, we think they should respect ours. And when those opinions differ in regular life, pre covid life, maybe that leads to an interesting discussion or even an argument. It seems like in this context, it leads to these heightened, very charged, you know, sort of near knockdown, drag out brawls or passive aggressive sniping that we fail to disguise very well. And that feels really hurtful coming from someone that’s close to us. But this kind of disagreement is in the best friendships, part of what people prize about those kinds of friendships when things are working well. And just as those friends can hurt us way more than Randle’s on the Internet, can we also take seriously their opinions and their decisions in a way that we dealt with Brandos on the Internet? And so. Thinking about those interactions as not mom shaming, but as concern from a friend, which manifests itself sometimes in hurtful ways, because as the article says, as Elizabeth says, we are all imperfect human beings riddled with insecurities. And parenting is probably the thing that creates the most insecurities of all. And at least normal people, the people I know who are totally secure in their parenting are the real weirdos. So that manifests itself in hurtful ways. But. To the extent that you can get past the ways that the message is delivered and start to think about what those differences between you and your friend mean about what you can offer each other in the relationship, how you can support each other in the relationship, and the ways that the relationship might have to shift during these times as Elizabeth Years had to shift with your friend, who you just can’t see in the same way. I think the more healthy it is and the less you conflate these kinds of disagreements with randoms yelling at you on the Internet, the better, because the truly two very, very different things.
S9: I agree that they’re two different things. I just. Feel like in this moment, I don’t have a lot of extra like bandwidth for this, like I need my friends to be there and they are there, even this friend, I want to say like is there and we are constantly saying things like this, like trying to build up her choice. Like, I understand why this is a good choice for you. Right. And she says the same thing to me. But in that real friendship, you end up saying things that in this moment are hurtful, even in being supportive, because like, we are all trying to justify these decisions. And I agree with you, like the mom shaming that is happening on the Internet is fundamentally different. And yes, you can write it off. And I, I still just feel like how do you have energy for that right now? I don’t know what to do, but I don’t know. But. In these friendships like it, it just feels like.
S5: So much, it’s like always an undercurrent, everything that’s going on between you two and you can’t just log off, right? At least you don’t want to.
S9: Rose-Marie concludes the article by saying, like, in many ways we’re closer and and we need each other more. And that’s exactly how I feel. Mm hmm. And, you know, I deal with it by just like we just shift the conversation. And we definitely have an understanding that, like, we love each other and we’re affirming each other. And like, I can hear these things, but maybe I need to not be giving advice on her quandaries and maybe I need to not come to her with my quandaries about, like our social isolation or how do I get my kids out or doing these things. Maybe she is the person I can’t bitch to about that. I need to find a different friend that’s in a in a more similar place in those ways. Like I said, it feels so cruel on top of everything else to have this judgment added, even when it’s unintended.
S6: Then I’d be curious to hear your response to this. But the level to which how we perform as mothers is seen as like a measure of our. Capabilities and our worth as human beings in ways that few other roles have that sort of weight, I don’t think that fathers do right. You know, you may think about like, OK, if a father loses his job and the family loses their home and the inability, quote unquote, to be a protector provider. Right like that, there’s certainly still a lot of pressure, I would imagine, to put on men as it relates to that. But like just the the smallest decisions for mothers, right? It’s not just is this child alive or they fed, they clothed or they sheltered is you know, did I pack a lunch table instead of making a fresh sandwich? Did I cook it all or did I order a pizza? How much screen time do they have?
S1: Yeah, Randall’s never weigh in on that stuff with dads unless it’s to say you went out with your child to a restaurant. Look at you.
S6: Look at you idiots like that, son. It took me a long time to get over the difference in how I felt. People looked at my little one when her dad would carry her in her Baby Bjorn type thing, you know, versus me. Sure. People said we were cute, you know, sometimes. And but it was to be expected. I was doing this just simply the sight of a man carrying a baby would just be. Oh, yeah. Like. You know, and so right now, I think that the last thing that mothers deserve is to have to shoulder the additional anxiety and stress that comes from feeling like their every decision during a time in which they’re trying to figure out how to stay sane and keep themselves afloat. I think the invisible mom shamer in our heads, though, is more dangerous than the ones on the Internet or, you know, our best days who are having a difference of opinion with. I think that there’s so much of it that we do internally that oftentimes we don’t need someone else to jump in because we’ve already destroyed our parenting skills internally. And we are very clear how mediocre we are.
S5: I mean, they’re obviously related, like the internal alarm shamer is. They’re partially for, you know, reasons you’ll never understand. But also they’re because of the like, constant blow-by-blow judgment that you’ve received every second you’ve dealt with your child since since the day the child was conceived. Basically, the fact that that is just another struggle added on top of all the other stuff that’s going on during the pandemic, that we’ve managed to find a way to weaponize this on multiple fronts towards moms, even more than toward everyone else is, of course, insane and horrible. And there’s obviously no real solution to it other than for all of us to do our damndest to be as kind as we possibly can and support those in our lives who are feeling this on multiple fronts. And maybe I should stop, like, bragging about how great I am for taking my kid out for a burger, but I probably won’t.
S9: You know, my favorite travel advice, people used to ask me what to do and the baby screams on the plane. And I always said, give them to their dad. You know, they will you will receive ample assistance from the flight attendant and every granny on the plane just hand them over. Yeah.
S6: It’s not like I had to intervene because a man confronted a woman about a crying baby on an Amtrak train once, you know, and she was obviously so flustered and so beyond, like, you know, it’s not like she just handed that baby to that guy. I feel like this man was Dumesny might have thrown the baby out of the window. But it’s true. Like we the level to which folks show up and help a dad out when they see him struggling or just simply cheer and him being present at all is. And by present, I mean like engaging with the child as opposed to just being this all knowing, all important figure that we somehow had a very few expectations of while putting everything on moms to get no respect.
S5: Like the piece is called Mom shaming is running rampant during the pandemic. From The New York Times by Rosemary Counter. It’s a good piece. We’ll post a link on the show notes. And you know, as a longtime veteran of the mom shaming wars, not as a recipient, obviously, of moms shaming, but as a an occasional mom shamer myself in my official podcast host, we love to hear from you, Slate plus members. If you have seen this in your personal relationships, if you’ve seen it, I mean, obviously you’ve seen it on the Internet and you probably don’t even need to tell us about that. But this vibe of how it affects your interpersonal relationships with friends is really interesting to me, and I think it might be worth weighing in on again. So let us know if this is something that you’re experiencing and if we if it’s something we all talk about more. And thank you, as always for being members. We really appreciate all that you do. We will never shame you for your membership to Slate. Plus, we’ll only build you up, never tear you down. Thanks. We’ll talk to you next week.
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