S1: The following podcast contains explicit language. Welcome to Mom and dad are fighting Slate’s parenting podcast for Thursday, November 19. But my child is obsessed with a squash tradition.
S2: I’m Elizabeth New Camp. I write the Home School and Family Travel Blog, Dutch Dutch Goose. I’m the mom to three, little Henry eight, Oliver six and Teddy four.
S3: And I’m located in Navarre, Florida. And Jimmy Alemu, a writer contributor to Slate’s Parent Reading Parenting column and host of Slate. The Kids Are Asleep, late night chat show and mom tonight at 7:00. And we live in Los Angeles, California. And Dan is out this week taking care of. Children should see the girls only mom’s condition and hopefully we won’t run too wild. But today on the show, we’ve got a question from a mom about her child’s infatuation with body types.
S1: We’ll also be answering a question about a parent’s concern for their child who has found comfort in a fruit. As always, we have Triumph’s fails and recommendation. So, Djamila, what do you have for us this week?
S4: Well, I have once again, something that has not yet been categorized, but it is a we shall soon see. You can’t tell because for some reason, despite the fact that I bought my computer this summer, like literally computer, whenever the summer Mercury retrograde was my old computer died, I had to buy a new one like the next day. And the screen looks like I’m talking on a razor phone so you can’t quite see my hair. But last night, after a little bit of marijuana and some reading and just kind of doing my late night trying to get my life together, I’m sorting out the house, trying to do productive things moment. I look at my hair and I’m like, I can’t take it anymore. I had my hair right before the pandemic officially hit the U.S. I got my hair done for the last time. I got it. I like I got some highlights or whatever, kind of like deep like they kind of like half. I don’t even know what to call. I’m still not a hairdresser girl. Like, I wish I was in my head. I am, but I’m not. But like, we’re kind of like bleach half your hair and like leave your roots dark. So not quite ombre, but like he gave me some color and like my own, he gave me a trim. So my hair was still kind of short. And so he the stylist gave me some color to play with those bleach. So I was you know, I’ve been blue, I’ve been purple, have been rose gold and a bunch of different colors and of course, the bleached hair. But I’m also growing my hair out because I want to grow my hair long again, because I’ve been wearing it short for a few years now. Obviously, the bleached hair is the least healthy hair, which is why it was cool that he had left me a lot of dark hair, you know, new growth or whatever. And so my last color, I done a dark blue and then I put a black over it to try and go like fully black. And it just turned into something weird, like it’s fine. And most lights I just look like I have dark hair. But like, I went to the store the other day and this boy was trying to like, you know, the kids who are like selling raffle tickets or, you know, excuse me, not doing anything. They’re selling they’re soliciting donations for their basketball team. And it’s like, OK, I don’t know, the basketball team exists. And I’m partially skeptical about this because I caught some kids doing this for a team that I knew would not have them out there soliciting donations for anyway, as someone who usually gives people on the street my money, whenever they asked, I said no and I was walking away. One of his friends like your hair purple or something. And I was like, oh, shit. You know what? OK, like I’m sitting here thinking I’m looking like a hot girl. And some teenagers describe my hair as purple or something. And so obviously this isn’t right. And so last time I looked at it, I listened and I looked at the blue part and I was like, you have to go. And so I just cut the bleached part of my hair out. I gave myself a haircut. So it’s like one you can’t really see because of my crappy camera. And I have I have conditioner and it’s so it’s like curled up tighter, but I, like, cut my hair off. So was that a triumph? Farfalle? We don’t know.
S1: I guess you feel that it went like do you feel good about it?
S4: It does not look as bad as it could have. This isn’t the first time I’ve done it. And I did have, you know, even though I was completely sloppy and I hadn’t completely cut my hair all the way and I was just totally lost. I’m just looking for blue parts. And then, like, when I was done, I kind of looked and I was OK. I see where it’s a little uneven. Let me go back and try and fix that up. I could have looked at a YouTube video. I thought about this for a few days.
S1: I was like, you know, you could, like, go on YouTube and find a video like how to trim your split in. I thought maybe I just trim a little bit this time and then. No, last night I was just I just cut off all the bad part.
S5: So I feel like I could have been worse. The good thing is that my hair is short enough or has scarves and wigs to be worn very easily. So even if it does look crazy, I am protected in that way and people don’t usually see me any more or less designs. So I was going to say it.
S1: But Nyima is not here to give you some kind. We can’t receive a Nyima judgment. So she’s here.
S5: Actually, she’s not usually here on Tuesday mornings, which has a dentist appointment today, so we switch it up. So when I woke up this morning, you know, when she woke up this morning, I said, hey, look, you know, same thing different. She’s like, you cut your hair. I was so yeah she was like, oh OK. And that was pretty much it. So OK.
S1: I think that’s I mean, I feel like. Don’t you feel like if if it were terrible, Naima would say something that is sure.
S5: Her dad also went completely ball and he’d had dreadlocks for a few years. He cut all his hair off last week. So I think that she’s I think like my hair looks like something she’s seen before. She made me with this haircut like a professional version of it, but she’s seen me with short hair. Like, I think she’s more traumatized and kind of like grappling with that because it’s so drastic that I managed to kind of skate by like it’ll be a few months before she realizes, like, my. That’s really uneven, you know? Yeah. I’ve done a better job with it, but I did my absolute best. I guess the triumph is that it kept me from heeding the temptation to go get my hair cut, you know, because I know that everything is like things are getting bad in California. I feel like another shutdown is imminent, like businesses are starting to close again. And so I had a moment of like, well, you’re going to be in the house for a while. Just get your haircut, you know, like, yeah, feel better, you know, get a haircut. And I was like, no, like the hair. I’m not going to the hairdresser. Like, I’ve allowed myself a few other indulgences, like I’ve been going to the doctor again. That’s an indulgence. But, you know, I mean, like going to dermatology and things that maybe I could have put off, like, you’re not going to use that card for a haircut. So here we are.
S1: Well, I can I like he said, I wish I could get better and reassure you, but it looks fine from the Grammy. But it I notice no difference until you started talking about it. So I think you’re right. A triumph that you just like took care of it for sure. Oh. Oh. What about you, Elizabeth? So I have a facial, but it’s it’s it’s not hair related. But of a similar note, I we have been like trying to really minimize, you know, doctors visits and things like that. But Oliver has something weird going on with this foot and we basically just couldn’t avoid it. So we had a appointment yesterday to take him in to get it looked at and. Our doctor’s office is not very far from us and the doctor is so great, but as a result of her being so great, her she runs like hours behind. So we have, like, worked out a little system because we’re so close and because I have three children. So like pre pandemic, we were there a lot like the boys hurt themselves, do things that we just like call. And then she tells us like how late, you know, the Heather who works up front tells us how late she’s running and then we just pop over when our like room would be ready. So we did that yesterday in about four o’clock. We popped over there and they saw us right into our room. And I said to Oliver, like, Oliver, please, just let’s try not to touch anything. This is like really quick. We knew we needed a referral for his foot, but he needs to, like, have her look at it to give us the referral. So we go over there. I’m like, please, please, please don’t touch anything. They put us in this room. He’s like, really great city. You know, he’s sitting so nicely in the chair and we’re like sitting and we do the eye chart on the back, like just to play around. We end up sitting there for like an hour and I’m like begging him not to touch anything. And he just eventually crawls up onto the table that, like, has the one piece of paper and just like lays face down and he has to it’s like doll, OK, actually I’m going to I’m going to text you a picture here of it. He just like makes himself cozy. And I just was like, gross, we’re going to have to burn everything he has on. I am not like a germophobia. It just seems to me like the doctor’s office is the place in which, you know, like we have to go and we’re wearing masks. But the last time we can be in there and the windows don’t open all these things.
S5: You know, I understand. That’s pretty funny. I have I’ll send you a picture of Nyima had her seven year old checkup, name a seven and a half, but she had her seven year old checkup this weekend. And we also had to get cozy in the doctor’s office. But she was a little bit less comfortable. She didn’t lay out. You just wait until they changed the paper. I also started I carry like a pocket disinfectant spray that I bought at some store thinking it was hand sanitizer. And then one day I was like I was spraying my hands with hand sanitizer. But now, like, I spray it, wear it. Like I had to go to the doctor the other day and I sprayed the chair. You know, that’s so smart.
S1: Yeah. I mean, I had all the like, you know, the what the like hand wipes and things like that. But yes, I disinfect. It would have made things much, much better. I just I know the paper and they move the paper, but it seems like the guy’s right. I know the whole table. I know they clean it, but just the like I he looks so content though.
S5: He’s he was finally here. I can getting some rest something, something comfortable for me to lay lay my burdens down on.
S1: And if I had to be in an office with only one of the kids for an hour and I had nothing to do because I thought we would just walk in and get checked, Oliver would be who I picked. So he just kind of like laid there. And we chatted and it was lovely and got out, eventually got a referral and left, you know, so that we can go lay and other doctors. All right.
S5: So we can go do this again. Do you take pictures like I may have three kids so you probably don’t like I still take pictures of Nyima like every time we go to the doctor, just kind of have it is I think part of it is like she’s also gone to the same that even though it’s not the same doctor, in fact we never had one doctor. And I’m Tara. I’m Sabattini. I think I realized something about myself. I’m bad at my names because I don’t try to remember them. I hear them and I just say, OK.
S4: And then like I forget, I have to like, take a step, like, repeated to myself or something. Anyway, so I never remember the doctors names. We saw different doctors, but I was like one. I guess it’s like a I don’t know what to call it like it’s like a chain. She goes to try pediatrics, whatever, like every boogie kid in New York.
S5: She went to Tribecca Pediatrics and they have them in like every neighborhood and they have one in L.A. So the like the rooms look similar. So it’s also kind of like cool that even though it’s a different place than we would sometimes be in Manhattan, since I was in Brooklyn like that, it just kind of looked like, you know, tracking her little life. Do these doctors visit pictures?
S1: I do. Still I’m the same way I take pictures. I like when they, like, come up like, you know, on the memories are with Google Photos. Reminds me, I also find it’s good when, you know, people will say, like, if I’m filling out paperwork and it’s like, when’s the last time you took this kid to the doctor? I’m like, do your Google photos. When was I lost of the doctor? Because I don’t know. There’s too many of them. I you know, guys like one of you broke your arm, like who broke their arm? Let’s just look at Google Photos.
S5: That’s exactly the only way I remember when we went to the doctor, by the way.
S1: All right. Before we move on, it’s time to do the business in Slate. Plus, Djamila and I are reflecting on two new studies that were released showing how the pandemic is making mothers more frustrated with their kids and partners. Here’s a quick.
S5: Sneak peek of what you’ll hear if you have Slate, plus there are those moments where, you know, we’re really proud of ourselves, like, hey, I made a great breakfast, you know, while being on a conference call, or I helped my kids solve this complicated problem and got right back to work. And everything is fine.
S6: But there are these other times where your kid is looking for attention and affirmation from you that you’re either struggling to provide or can’t provide because you’re attempting to work from home, you know, or otherwise figuring out a way to support your family and take care of you guys through this thing.
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S1: All right. Onto our first listener question, it’s being read, as always, by the fabulous Shasha Lanard.
S8: Dear mom and dad are fighting. My six year old daughter is on a kick lately about bodies that are fat or skinny. I’m fat. I have been my whole life. I don’t mind her calling me fat, but I don’t want her walking around openly commenting on people’s bodies. We’ve had several talks where I’ve said some people think the word fat is mean, so you can use it around me, but please don’t use it around. Other people and bodies come in all different shapes and sizes and all of them are OK. And it’s not kind to comment on other people’s bodies. So please don’t do that. We’ve also had a conversation where she told me I don’t want to be a fat Grown-Up. And when I asked why, she said, because then I won’t be able to ride the zip line for context. There’s a zip line in her local playground that she wanted me to ride. And I declined because I wasn’t sure what the weight limit was. But apparently her dad, who weighs less than me but not by much, has ridden it. So now he’s skinny while I’m fat. Any other messaging I should be offering? Any books we should be reading about differing bodies. Did I fuck this up and do this to myself by openly referring to myself as fat? How can I remedy this? Thanks, fat mom.
S5: This is a topic I’ve been of how I say I guess on some level not avoiding grappling with and a really complicated way in my own life. So I have a history of eating disorders dating back till I was around middle school age, specifically bulimia, such a binge eating, which the two usually go hand in hand, obviously, and somebody dysmorphia. And so I realized for the first time the other day, I’m so afraid of my daughter having my own loathing of my body, you know what I mean? Hating her, having the relationship to her body, no matter what it looks like that I have or that I’ve had over the years, that it kind of leaves you, a lot of us, unclear as to how to have these conversations with our children. Right. And so I understand why. Letter writer chose to say, I’m fat, it’s cool for you to call me that like it’s whatever, it’s just a word that describes my body. It’s not a commentary on my personhood or the value of the beauty of my body. It’s just a statement of being. But I think you’re kind of at that, and I know my thoughts are and personal stuff is a little bit just kind of jumbled into what I’m thinking about your story right now, letter writer. But I guess I’m kind of stuck or I should say what comes to mind first. Aside from just kind of triggering that like food, you know, body trauma that so there’s a world we want to have and there’s a world we do have. And when we’re trying to raise children that are better than the kids we grew up with. Right. Better than the bullies, better than we are selves, sometimes it can be very hard between saying it should be totally fine to to call someone fat or skinny, you know, because those should not be value judgments, you know, or condemnations, and they shouldn’t be loaded words or, you know, could ostensibly just be terms that describe a body type. But I think that knowing that there is a value that is assigned to most often more often fat, you know, skinny is not always a compliment or a positive attribute in the eyes of many people, but it certainly is not as load’s as being fat is in our society. I think that that context which you have provided. Is important, and it’s something that you’re going to have to constantly engage with. But. You don’t want your child not wanting to be fat because people think it’s bad to be fat or because there’s a right that they don’t think that they are going to be able to write. You want your child to. I would imagine, love their body and treat it well no matter what it looks and feels like and part of modeling treating it well. Is to treat your body well. And so I wonder when you refer to your body is fat, is it? I’m fat and I love it, and it’s great or I’m fat and it’s no big deal, or is it? I’m fat and there’s no real editorializing on that, that’s just kind of leaving this gap for your child to kind of, you know, pick out these negative things, like either nasty things that they’ve heard people say or the very, you know, tell you what makes sense. I want to ride this ride. If weight is going to be a barrier, then I don’t want to be the weight that would prevent me from riding this ride. I think that there’s something more that you need to be giving your child when it comes to how you talk about bodies, you know, and so it’s not just saying I’m fine. It’s fine to be fat. It’s do you have pictures of fat bodies hanging up in your house, you know, and not just your own body? Do you have pictures from magazines right. To you? You know, point out people on television who look like you and appreciate that they look like you and you know, and point out people who don’t look like you or who look like your child, like what is this celebration of like not being anti fat is not being body positive. And I think that in your noble attempts at making sure that you know that it’s making fat, OK, I don’t think you’ve affirmed that. You know, I think you’ve made it beautiful. And that’s something I think that needs to happen as part of a celebration of just bodies in general so that we say all bodies are beautiful is not hypothetical. It’s not just, you know, my body is beautiful in spite of being fat. It’s you know, here’s what I like about myself. And, you know, here I like to wear this. I like the way that this makes me feel. And if, you know, I’m also not going to assume that your relationship to your body is a happy one just because you’re like, I’m fat eyes and that’s fine. But I think that in order to have a happy, healthy child with a happy, healthy body relationship, you want to model that. So whatever that looks like for you, I would suggest leaning into that a bit more and also, you know, encouraging your child to be mindful about food and fitness, because those are important things that people of all body types must do. You know, like I think showing videos or images of Lizzo who can, you know, who’s like an athlete in terms of what she does on stage, like playing an instrument and dancing and singing, like, you know, that that bodies can do a lot of things. And maybe you should find out for sure. You could have been wrong if your husband was able to ride this ride and you all are close the way. It sounds like there’s a good chance that maybe you were also able to ride it. And then why didn’t you want to find out? You know, like if you talk to your child about your size and have wanted to say, hey, it’s just no big deal, but don’t call other people that because it can hurt their feelings, why didn’t you find out? It was just a matter of I don’t feel like having to deal with what comes of that. Was it, you know, feeling uncomfortable at the possibility of being told that you can’t ride the ride? But I think that I think that also in making sure that you’re giving us good, loving, affirming message, as you do talk about the way that the world outside treats bodies and why that is and where that comes from. And that is not just a matter of fat and skinny that there’s a you know, there’s a European beauty standard. There’s, you know, standards around complexion and hair texture and the size of someone’s nose and of someone’s lips are. But, you know, and that these things are cruel and they don’t reflect the world that we actually live in. And I’m going to, you know, raise you to be above that. And I seek to be above that. I don’t always you know, sometimes I fall short. Sometimes I criticize my body. Sometimes I don’t love it. Sometimes I don’t feel good. Sometimes the stuff I hear gets to me and that’s fine because I’m human. But I want you know, your goal is to try and to be is at peace, as you can possibly be. But I’m also going to make you aware of the noise that’s going to attack your self-esteem so it doesn’t surprise you, you know, so that our house is not a utopia where, you know, big is beautiful and everything is fine. And then we go outside and I’m just shocked to learn that people feel differently. But I think that ultimately what seems to be missing is the celebration as opposed to like, oh, it’s fine, I’m fat like that. You that I think that you have to make a living in a body, living in your own body and loving it no matter what. Aspirational, not simply prescriptive. What do you think, Elizabeth?
S7: It’s I think that’s great. And I like you find this so difficult to talk about because I know very few women and I suspect also very few men who have not dealt with this body issue. And so, like, we all have notions of our body, I think, particularly in America, like nobody’s body is ever good enough. And that message is sent to us over and over again. And so no matter how like unless you are making a conscious effort to be like, this is the body that I have and this is the body that I get to carry around on this wonderful planet, I better learn to love it that having these conversations with your children, like, are just filled with all of that stuff that you’ve been carrying and have to kind of get rid of. And I find that incredibly difficult. And I, I read this and so much felt like it is more about this mom than about this child, because you can say all these things to kids, but so often they do what they do and not necessarily what we say to them. And maybe this is a case like so much of what you talked about, I think, is what needs to happen. Like let’s be celebrating this, surrounding yourself with media, with books, with things like that that are celebrating all different kinds of body types and specifically celebrating body types that are not like skinny because we get plenty of that. But how do we celebrate, like more realistic body types? There are some, like, wonderful books. There’s a book called Her Body Can. It’s a picture book. And it’s kind of about this like bigger girl doing all these amazing things like that. Her body can do all this stuff. And I we have that in our library. And I think it’s a fun one to, like, bring out and read just as a regular book. We talked about that so much when we were talking about, you know, race. Early on about having those books, even if that is not the situation that you’re facing, and I think this is another issue that even if your family happens to not have these issues, if we want to be in a place where all body types are celebrated, that means that we all have to do the work on body image and making sure that we are not calling ourselves fat or someone else fat.
S1: And I I kind of took the word where she says, like, well, you can call me fat or we can use that word, but let’s not use that. And kind of said like, well, do we if that’s something that you love and celebrate, I guess that’s fine. But I also just feel like it is a word that has so much with it that if you can just avoid using it even about yourself, like to say like you are not worthy of that, like you might feel like I need to eat healthier or I need to like, be better about my physical activity. Right. Or even like you wanted to go on the zip line. I feel like a better way to phrase that to your child would be like, well, I’m really not comfortable going on that because that’s the honesty. Like, you are not comfortable because you think you’re you’re too big. Right, or because you’re not sure of the weight limit. But maybe that doesn’t need to be this barrier to things. And really, you sort of talked about that like you’ve now presented this to your daughter as like this is a barrier to doing these things. And we don’t know that it’s a barrier to doing these things. Right. And it’s it’s certainly there. Even if this zip line had some kind of weight limit, like there are other zip lines, other places, that’s something you really wanted to do. So I think just saying, like, I’m not comfortable doing this or this isn’t really a place where adults are playing. Like there are all these other ways to reframe it for yourself so that your child sees you loving your body or at the very least, not hating on your body or not saying, I can’t do these things because of my body. I just think that even if it’s like fake it till you make it situation for you personally, if you can start editing that when it comes out. And I loved Mila that you talked about, like pointing out other bodies and pointing out that it’s like it’s OK to describe people as like, well, this person is bigger than you and I are. But, you know, bodies come in all shapes and sizes like it is. There’s nothing inherently wrong with the different shape of bodies. The problem is, like, I know The Little Mermaid is used a lot like the villain it was portrayed is portrayed as fat. And the heroine is this skinny little mermaid with no waist like we are. When you start to look at that, you can see that even if you are not assigning negativity to to the word fat like books in your house are and things that your child is seeing in the media. And certainly there are plenty of people out there who are also doing it as well. So I just think if you can be kinder to yourself and. I think the big thing is sort of saying it in terms of like if you’re worried about her when one of the concerns in the letter was that you’re worried about her going out and talking about other people’s bodies. And I guess we just always tell the kids, like one of the rules in our house is that we treat other people with respect and that is non-negotiable. I expect respect. That doesn’t mean not standing up for yourself. That doesn’t mean there are a lot of things that doesn’t mean. But I expect you to approach everybody with respect. And I think with that kind of umbrella, you can couch a lot of these conversations and just say, like, well, is calling out their body type. Is that respectful and is that something that needed to happen? Like, there’s plenty of reasons you need to describe someone, but are you doing that in a respectful way and in a way that conveys the information that you need? I also just want to say to our letter writer, like it’s never too late. Like you haven’t messed up anything. We just get so many letters were like, have I totally screwed this up?
S7: I always just want to be like, no, you can wake up tomorrow and do something different and just decide. Like, today is the day that I’m going to try to love my body and try to say something positive in front of my daughter about my own body. Like you’re probably saying lots of healthy things to her, but are you also looking in the mirror and saying, like, I’m so thankful for this body that let me take my child to the playground and I’m so thankful for this body that lets me do all these things that I get to do because this is the body that you have and you can certainly try to make it healthier, right. To like, eat better, not to be skinny, but eat better because you want your body to be to feel better.
S1: I think those are sort of the the way the conversation should be, should be couched or had like, am I making good choices for my body on the whole, I don’t know. Yeah.
S5: Quickly, I’ll just add like when you see like the example Elizabeth pointed out and The Little Mermaid that Ursula is is heavyset villain. Right. And that’s something that we’ve seen. And she’s also one of the darker characters. We often see bad people depicted as, you know, large, especially women and dark and that like pointing that out in real time. So that’s not saying that The Little Mermaid has to be canceled forever in your house. And if you’re not watching it anymore, but this is a movie that your child loves. That’s a great time to show like an example of something that it may change her relationship to some of the content she consumes. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s not a fun thing. It’s something I do constantly with my daughter. You know, we were watching a sitcom last night show called One on One from the late 90s, early 2000 sign ups that my daughter loves. I say our producer, Jasmine, nodding not to show that I was super into when it came on, but I’ve come to appreciate it through my daughter. But, you know, it bothered me that so often. Have you said characters, particularly women, you know, and male lead are the butt of jokes? You know, like short jokes. There’s fat jokes, like in the lead characters is very good looking tall guy who Daisy’s pretty hot, you know, traditionally attractive women. And I point out to my daughters, this woman who was really, you know, he messed with and broke her heart and she put on all this way. And he’s making these jokes about it despite the fact that, like, it’s his heartbreak break that, you know, changed her life around or whatever and made his her body undesirable to him. And she’s so desperate and she’s constantly eating. And this is a joke. And I you know, I couldn’t let my daughter just enjoy that and laugh at it. And I was like one, black women catch hell on this show sometimes. And to like, why is the heaviest girl in the group got to be the thirstiest? Like, why is she so dumpy, you know, so beautiful and playing her right. She’s a pretty woman. She looks like women, you know, like, you know, does this does it seem OK? And it takes them out of the fun of just watching a TV show or movie with mom and dad sometimes.
S1: But it’s important that they hear it, especially because that becomes the dialogue in their head. Like I feel the same way. Like why does this person being heavy set? Does this person being darker? Does this person being this have anything to do with the cruel thing that they have done or with the way that they are being treated? I think those are important things to put into their heads in watching TV and watching things and calling that out is such a good way to do that so that when you’re encountering people in the real world, you know, my hope is that those are the things that are coming into their head right. Like that, those snap judgments that you make, that you have that other voice saying like, well, why do I think that? Like, why am I automatically assuming that about this person? And is this physical characteristic that I see? Does that have anything to do with the judgment that I’m passing? So I think that’s great. I mean, yeah, but once you once you sort of are cued into it, it’s like, gosh, it’s everywhere. It’s everywhere. It’s literally everywhere. Can’t we be more creative? Come up with some other. There’s plenty of things people can do to create drama and to get jokes.
S5: Absolutely. And, you know, when those jokes take up a significant percentage of the humor in a show or movie, then maybe you need to not be watching it. Right. Like there’s also times where you have to make a decision and say, like, you know, is this offensive? You know, is this body shaming bigger than what value may be gleaned from us watching this movie? You know, like there should be consequences for filmmakers and storytellers for continuing to lay on those lazy stereotypes. And it’s one thing to be watching The Little Mermaid from nineteen ninety, you know, and to see those things. And another thing to watch, a new show that debuted last week. Now that we’ve had this dialogue publicly for many years in a way that folks weren’t having it in 1990 and to set some expectations for that and to choose content based on having healthy representations of diverse body types and people being treated well without regard to how they look.
S1: OK, good luck, listener. We hope that we gave you some things to think about and that you are able to be kinder to yourself, too. We we just want you to know that we are here cheering for you and for your daughter. So please let us know how it goes. If you have a question for us, email us at Mom and dad at Slate Dotcom or just post it to the Slate Parenting Facebook group. All right, onto our second listener question, it’s once again being read by the wonderful Shasha Lanard.
S8: Dear mom and dad are fighting my three year old, who has never taken to any sort of comfort object despite having 70000 blankets, stuffies, et cetera, has, as of today developed a deep emotional attachment to a Karbo squash. She was horrified by the idea that I intended to cook it for dinner. It had to accompany us to the park, hang out with us in our fourth, sit at the table for lunch. What the fuck do I do about this? Should I spirit it away tonight or just hope that the weird fixation resolves itself before the squash starts to ooze and decay? And why are children like this? Thanks squash parent I.
S1: This was posted on our Facebook group and I just one adore this child like I already am, like a budding, a budding squash lover like myself. And I do want to point out that this is actually some of our Facebook listeners knew this too. But there’s like a book that is exactly this called Oh gosh, what is the name of it? Oh, yes. There’s a book called Sophi Squash by Pat Vilo that is about a girl who falls in love with the squash. So at the very least, know that this is not abnormal, like there are other people out there, or at least some author imagined that this could happen to you. But I want to be alone. What would you do if I mean, did Nim ever take to something weird?
S4: She didn’t we didn’t have like I can’t remember what my object was, but I had a binky sort of situation at some point, I don’t know if it was actually a blanket, but there was a thing that was attached to NIU then, you know, there was like maybe a favorite doll. You know, there are moments where it’s like, I want to bring this doll most places. But she never, like, fixated on anything that any of your kids have, like a thing.
S1: Yeah. I mean, mine all have had really kind of like normal things. Henry had, like, a little monkey that he carried around. Oliver is that dog that is in the picture from the doctor’s office. But I mean, he takes he still takes that thing everywhere, like it is just his comfort object. And I think, honestly, Teddy took me as this comfort object. Like, he just is obsessed with being with me, I think, because he was the third. And I like, you know, any time he was crying little, I just, like, strapped him on in the baby carrier. So even now, it’s like he just needs to, like, feel me. He’ll take a piece of my clothing or something, which is weird, but we never had something that was going to rot.
S4: Yeah, that’s the problem. This would be so sweet if it weren’t going to rot. I don’t know.
S5: I’m like because there are this is not something that’s easily duplicated. Like you can’t yell out. Well, yeah, like they could keep or maybe keep replacing it. But like, this is not a squash I’m familiar with. I’m imagining that this is not something that you can just like. Can you get this once a week at the farmer’s market? Is that expensive?
S1: Yeah, I think it has seasons like I imagine we are in Caboolture squash, which is season, and also there’s it’s not like it’s a tomato or something, whereas like I could get you a stuffed tomato and hopefully.
S5: Yeah. Transfer over that.
S1: You could probably go on Etsy. I was. And get Konetzni and get a stuffed squash of some kind. I was thinking that maybe in a few days it’ll just go away. Like if they’ve never taken to something before, maybe this is just like a new so. So maybe you get away easy and and they just go and they just let it go.
S5: Maybe you could like get in an outfit and like a carrier and then like when it starts to smell bad, just be like, oh how about a baby doll and just like put a doll out.
S1: So I was thinking something we did when we moved from Colorado. And it was kind of the first move that Henry was old enough to remember is we we went to build a bear, but this concept would go with anything and had all his friends, like, write little notes. And then we stuffed them in the bear and so did up. But I was thinking, like, you could take a seat or two and say, OK, we’re going to put them in this bear. You don’t actually have to put them in there. But, you know, and like, you know, so it back up. But then in the book they plant the squash seeds. And so I was thinking that that would be fun. Like you could tell your child that this thing is going to eventually rot because that is going to happen. But it has the seeds and you could grow like a whole arsenal of Caboolture squash. And if you have any problems with that, you can go back to the episode where I describe how you can power your own squash. And you you it’s a twofer because you will also be teaching sex ed. So is true.
S5: I forgot about that. You did teach your kids have babies are born through pollinating, so.
S1: Yes, through pollinating squash. So, you know, not all, not all bad. I also there’s a book called Pumpkin Jack by Will Hubble and it’s about a rotting pumpkin. And I think that that might be a good if your child does not quite comprehend what rodding is going to look like. This is a wonderful book that sort of takes this pumpkin that these kids loved. And what you watch it rot? It’s illustrated. But I you know, I think when you tell a kid sometimes like this is going to rot or this is going to do that, like they don’t I don’t know that they can comprehend the disgusting mess until they say it is going to result until they see it.
S5: And the sight and smell could be dramatic. What you don’t want is there to be a forever distaste for squash because you let this go on a day or two longer than you should have. So when if this does continue and to the point of decay, like you want to stop right before, you know, when it starts to go soft, you need to stop destroying. And if you’re going to attempt to grow squash, which is a noble endeavor, I think I would be lying if I told you I felt up to it. But I also live in an apartment. Might be easier if you have a garden or something. And I also kill house plants. Maybe there is a way to squash plants, squash in an apartment. I just wouldn’t be the person to ask. So I don’t don’t let me in my apartment living discourage you because you probably can totally do it. Just ensure that you actually, you know, you can never guarantee that something is going to grow from a seed, of course, even with the best practices. But take the time to find out what goes into growing the squash and is it possible and the conditions under which you would have to have that. You don’t want there to be any disappointment. You don’t want this kid, you know, looking every day for a squash butling. That’s not going to be coming. You could also maybe I love the idea of creating some sort of pouch or something that either has the seeds in it for real. You know, if you can come up with something, smell proof or something that, you know, has the seeds in it, quote unquote, there’s also maybe cooking the seeds or toasting them like, you know, like you would pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds or something. And as long as your little one doesn’t study their own poop very closely, you can maybe say that if you eat the seedling, it’ll be with you forever.
S1: I like that and technically, you’re not wrong because you’re using those nutritional atoms and things.
S5: Absolutely. It’s pass or you it’s done its job and ultimately, no matter what, which Dan would certainly remind us if he were here, it’s going to rot. You’re the adult. Do not allow your child to carry around a soft, mushy, stinky thing or to keep one in their room. You do have to explain that vegetables. Right? You could probably try.
S4: The easiest thing is to start with first vegetables. Right. Squashes. Yeah. This will not last. You know, this cannot live forever. This is food.
S5: There’s a reason why the food that we have in the refrigerator now is not, for the most part, the food that we have in the refrigerator. Two months ago, three months ago, and that’s the refrigerator. So imagine if we’re living outside of the fridge. So it’s a good time to also talk about the life cycle of food. And really, the life cycle, the life cycle, right, if you really want to get ground, you could talk about you two hour squash just slowly riding.
S1: I mean, just we’re just going to roll it all up into one big life. Yes. All of what? Well, my only disappointment from those Facebook posts is that it included no pictures. We want pictures, please. I would like especially even if you don’t want them share, just send them to us. We want to see your your sweet little one with her Caboolture squash. There was some debate. Jasmine, our producer, was talking. If it is a vegetable or a fruit, she you know, because she is the diligent producer, that she has Googled it and said it was a fruit. But I was under actually the impression that squashes were vegetables, which is wrong.
S5: I think that’s because they’re not sweet. I wonder if that’s why we just assumed they were vegetables. I also I went to the cinema not too long ago because she asked about what a pumpkin was.
S4: And I was like, well, it’s it’s obviously it’s well, clearly that’s a vegetable. I can’t bite into it and just eat it and it feels like a vegetable.
S1: You should go, dear listener. Go, go, go, go.
S5: Whether you’re dealing with all types of stuff about this new member of your family and please come back to us and share.
S1: Yes. Well, we are so thankful for your question. Please send us a photo. We want a photo and let us know what you what you did. Not only are we wondering, I think all of the Facebook responders who commented that this post had just made their day, they also want to know what what did you end up doing as the squash is already rotting as we as we tackle this question? Now, if you have a question and apparently no question is too too strange, too small or too big. Send in your question or conundrum to mom and dad at Slate Dotcom. All right. Well, we are going to move on to the section of the podcast where we recommend things we like. So, Djamila, what do you have for us?
S5: So my recommendation, I typically try to come up with things that are affordable, if not free. Well, nothing’s more affordable than free, but low cost stuff. This one’s a little bit pricier than usual. So I apologize in advance. This is a big splurge for somebody who has been a good girl or boy or gender nonconforming person this year and deserves it. I realize that a number of the things that I did that I do like if a man did them. They would be considered like midlife crisis, their.
S9: And like.
S5: Like, if I looked at the past few years of, like tatoos, dalliances with guys, irresponsible purchases they might kind of like, I don’t know. I feel like I’m kind of the stereotypical, like, cool dad on some 90s sitcom, like going through it like I’m Uncle Jesse or something. But in that vein, I got my car wrapped last week. So I’ve mentioned, you know, the only Internet people. I’ve never posted a picture of my car, but I’ve only Machans podcast. So if anybody ever does me harm and my car is connected to it, just know. Came from Mom. Dad are fighting. I drive a twenty fourteen Mustang convertible so I don’t have a, you know, a brand new nor fancy car, but it’s a convertible so there’s an inherent coolness to it. And that’s also like the last year of the old body. So like I do not have like the cool cool convertible on the road by far. It’s not old enough to be super cool or new enough to be the cool. Right. It’s like not old enough to be the coolest nano right in the middle, but it’s fine because it’s convertible and I’m like, dude, your car is top come off. Probably not. Thus I went so it was Grey, which was not my favorite color, but it was, you know, I found a decent one and it was in my price range and I got it. And I’d play with the idea of getting it painted or rapped and for some months. And then finally I had a little money saved up. And it’s like college fund or like make my car like this kind of cool gold green color where, like, I sort of look like some sort of cool, I don’t know, character from a 70s movie. And it was phenomenal. And it’s my car has been such a source of entertainment during the pandemic because there’s really nothing that I can do besides going to Target or HomeGoods. She’s probably going to be taken away from us very soon, are just taking long drives, playing loud rap music. And so now I’ve got this cool colored car and I love it. So look into car wrapping. It is less expensive in most cases than getting your car painted or repainted. And in many instances, as long as there’s been a repainting to your car, which apparently had happened, which I didn’t know before I bought mine, that there had been some paint job done on the hood, you can oftentimes remove the wrap and go back to the original color. If you’ve got a car and you plan on having for a while, you can wrap it again in a couple of years. It’s so much fun. Like it’s like getting a new car, but not having to pay for a new car. So look into car wrapping and if you’re really talented, it might be something you could do yourself at home. You can buy the wraps online. I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. I would go to a professional. I think it’s a bit trickier than wallpaper, but it has been the joy in my life to have a green card. Like nobody has a green card and I have a green car.
S1: Are you just so happy every time you go to get it?
S5: No, I am. Every time I get in some, yes, the light is missing. I need a new tat, like I have the soft top or whatever. And so like I have the old kind of grayish sailcloth, soft top and it’s a little beat up. So I want to get a new one. And when I get that, I’m like, you cannot tell me anything at all.
S1: There you go. I love that. You all right? Well, my mind is going to be boring, but I also can’t afford, like, Christmas is canceled, like I can’t afford anything for the next two years. But now, if twenty if you deserve anything in twenty twenty, it’s to make like you’re one, you know, your purchase, be what you wanted it to be. It’s my one. I am the one thing that’s that’s the thing you did for yourself. I love this. I love that. Now it is, it is like your perfect color. I know it’s not perfect but you’re getting there but I love this. Well, I am recommending in honor of like upcoming holidays and also perhaps more school closures and kids being home, these fun schooling journals from thinking tree books, they come in like a variety of themes. And generally they are sort of like the kind of workbook that your kid is happy to sit down and do. But they’re practicing some school skills. And what I love about is that there’s so many that you can choose from so you can really find something that your kids like. We have a space and nature one right now, but they have like cooking and horses and unicorns and all this stuff. But the workbooks kind of trick your kids into honing some school skills.
S7: And so my six year old does this space book, and this is literally like what we bring on, like if we were going to drive to camping or when we’re at camping or even here when when they want to do quiet time, maybe they don’t want to read like this is a book that they’re happy to pick up and do. But it’ll say, like, fine, 20 words that have seven letters down and then have seven letters and write them down on the sheet of paper. And then they go around like asking, you know, calling grandma and asking for a word or looking in books for words essentially like creating their own little spelling list that they’ve learned about, which I love. And it has those like color, you know, do the math and color blocks in it. But in the theme that you’ve chosen, it has them like designing for the space when designing your own rocket and then. Right. You know, area an area to, like, write a. Little story about it or calculate its weight, like all of these things that my kids really enjoy doing and I can feel kind of like a pat on the back, you’re you’re doing some schoolwork, but especially as we get into these breaks. And if some of them I know some schools are like not going back after Thanksgiving, things like that. And you’re thinking like, how am I going to keep my kids occupied? I mean, this won’t be a like all afternoon thing, but it is certainly something that can buy you an hour here and there while you have the kids home.
S2: So again, those are fun schooling journals from thinking tree books and they are available on Amazon. And that’s it for our show. One more time. If you have a question, email us at mom and dad at Slate dot com or post it to the Slate Facebook group. Just search for Slate parenting. Also, if you haven’t already subscribe on your personal podcast app of choice, it helps us out and make sure that you won’t miss an episode. And while you’re there, write a review. It helps people find the show. Mom and Dad are Fighting is produced this week by Jasmine Ellis. For Jamilah Lemieux, I’m Elizabeth New Camp.
S7: Hello, Slate, plus, listeners, thank you so much for joining us. This may not come as a surprise to our moms out there, but two new studies released showing how the pandemic is making mothers more frustrated with their kids and partners. Let’s not pretend it’s fun how covid-19 related school and child care closures are damaging. Mothers well-being is a really great article and kind of summary of the research that they’ve been doing.
S1: But I think for most of us, at least for me, I didn’t do any research to tell me that the pandemic is worse for for women. So what are your thoughts, Djamila?
S6: Yeah, I who I think that we just have a different we tend to have, you know, married or single or cohabiting with a partner or not.
S5: I think we just have a different relationship to the work of caregiving than men tend to have often. Obviously, that’s not the case for every dad, every mom. And so when we’re not able to be our best parenting selves, which the pandemic makes it very hard to do, like there are those moments where, you know, we’re really proud of ourselves, like, hey, I made a great breakfast, you know, while being on a conference call, or I helped my kids solve this complicated problem and got right back to work. And everything is fine. But there are these other times where your kid is looking for attention and affirmation from you that you’re either struggling to provide or can’t provide because you’re attempting to work from home, you know, or otherwise figuring out a way to support your family and take care of you guys through this thing. It’s difficult as a working mom who used to travel a lot for work, there was already the guilt and frustration. I felt like something that came up in one of the studies. Right. That previous research found that most parents were hoping to spend more time with their children. So ostensibly, it stands to reason that there would be a positive impact to having a lot more time with your kids. But of course, that’s not always the case because it’s not the kind of time we’d wanted. We wanted time to be present with them. Right. Like that time, we didn’t want to just have our work lives and their school lives or our lives just squashed. You know, we didn’t want our entire existences to primarily take place in one building, you know, and for some folks in one room, I think of the dads. I know everybody is suffering. Like, I don’t know anybody who’s getting through this easily. You know, the dads I know that are engaged, you know, the dads I know are engaged dads who our hands on and either have shared custody are in the house. But I don’t think anybody is just feeling burned by how much more is expected of us than mothers who were shell. We were because we were doing so much to begin with. That’s why that’s that’s the short version of this rambling to say we were already burnt out and we’re doing time and a half for the same salary and like.
S1: So. I think crushed by the expectations that are there, too, for moms like there is so much that says this is what like being a mom should be. And I think the study actually said, like, increased time with children may also be particularly detrimental for mothers who hold themselves to the standards of intensive parenting. And I just feel like we’re all held to those standards. Like that is like I, I try to think that I’m a laid back, but I’m laid back in so many ways because I let the kids kind of be more free. But I definitely feel those to those pressures to be like they’re being homeschooled. So I need to make sure that I’m checking all these boxes so that no one ever thinks that I’m like schooling them in properly, you know, like all of those things that say, how are you being this mom? So it’s like on top of this all these things that have to get done, then also the pressures and and yes, people are like, oh, don’t worry about it. But at the same time, like, the kids are still getting graded. They still need to go to school or work demands are exactly the same. Like, yes, maybe, you know, here are there they’re slightly lesser or people understand. But it seems like in general, things have sort of gone back to needing to be as productive as we were pre pandemic. So I find that just really like crushing. But have you do you feel like you’re taking this out of Nyima?
S5: There are moments I’m sure there have been moments where, you know, I’ve been frustrated and I can think of a few. And I for the most part, I would say over this past however many months has been now I’m typically I say better in this period of time than I have been prior to covid walking away. When I feel the capacity to take things out on herself, I feel like I’m just going to say something or just like, you know, if I’m going to and when I explode on her, it’s not like a high, you know, but just like, you know, that moment where it’s like, oh, my gosh, you know, like if you would just listen, you know, something that is not productive or necessary. And there’s typically more about like what I’m dealing with than than what she’s done. I feel like lately I’ve been able to be like, you know, she’s not like that at all. You know, she’s like, how dare you, like, dismiss yourself from I just miss you, you know, like, yeah, how dare you step away from me. But but yeah, there are moments where I have to remind myself and even if she doesn’t see it, where I may just be feeling annoyed with her on the inside. Oh God. Again. Or like another meal, you know, like just things. I’m like, yeah, kids eat a lot. It’s not her fault that, like, you eat once a day, you know, and later that you could easily subsist off of like leftovers and like soda pop. Like she’s she’s a child. She could eat. I my patience is thin, you know, it’s thin, but I’m guarding it. What about you?
S4: Do you feel like you’re testier or quicker to anger?
S1: Yes. Hands down.
S7: Yes, I for me, it’s the loss of all of those moments I had for other care and I mean, like I used to be able to have an hour of gymnastics in an hour. And I understand, like all of this is that is like incredible that I that we were able to have that in our lives. But that was an hour that I could just, like, be on my phone with no one, because two of them were in gymnastics and the other one was on the iPad. And it was guilt free. Right. Or all of those like we did a lot of things with other homeschool families where they would be the kids would be out, you know, drawing something on the beach or whatever at the park. And I would be sitting with another mom asking how their day was like having that check in. And that’s not there. And it’s not the same over the felt like I have three kids running around the minute I get on the phone. They are all here like they are all in the room asking for things. So I can’t have the kind of conversation where, like, you know, everybody’s kind of keeping an eye on the kids. But we’re also able to check in and see how things are going and see each other’s kids. I think that it’s like I, I have lost that support network and so it feels very lonely. And as a result of that, like when I am sitting down to read something on the phone or do whatever it is that I feel like is very me time, and that is interrupted because, you know, they need something because they’re playing inside of they’re doing work.
S1: I feel very much like, do you not understand that this is the four minutes that I have asked to take for myself? You know, I also find that, like, the downtime I get now is like just the ability to do more things around the house. Like I use a lot of it to, like, tidy up or get ready for the next activity, because I don’t have as many things outside of the house.
S6: That is, I definitely find myself like times where there are other things, like it could be work, stuff that I need to do like that tidying up is like a distraction that I wish it led to, like my house being all the way unpacked and like, perfect and all that stuff. But I do find that’s not something I did before, like when I was feeling anxious or restless, I just kind of lead into this tidying thing that takes up. But I’m also constantly hiding because we’re always here. There’s always dishes. There’s always right. Yeah. Like, no, it’s super big time. And like the loss of like you say, like having that our name had just started gymnastics. So like I had just gotten that, you know, like you were just getting settled in there.
S1: Like essentially this was supposed to be kind of the start of your first, like, year and being settled.
S6: Yeah, like, exactly. We were you know, we were so new here and, you know, just kind of everything just went away. And so, like, my close is like if I were in New York, as crazy as things were, I know that by now, at the very least, I could have stood in front of my best friend’s house, you know, and talked to them. And like that. I’m not able to do that. Like it’s not the same as being on zone. And we’re not doing that as much as we you know, there’s ways we’re like everybody’s on some or we’re playing games and we’re doing virtual happy hours. And then there’s just kind of like weeks of like everyone’s just kind of like depressed or anxious or catching up on work or whatever, and then, you know, and stuff like that loss of like in addition to like the just kind of breaks.
S9: Because I get you know, I’m. Probably.
S5: Two, I don’t know, like I only have my child 50 percent of the time, and so I think there’s a part of like me that will always feel a sense of guilt over that, even though there’s nothing to be guilty about, like actually co parenting. But but that feels like I shouldn’t be tired. I shouldn’t feel, you know, these other things that other parents are feeling, but like it’s still tiring. It’s still exhausting. And like also, I guess the flip side of it is like, yeah, there are these positive moments where it’s like, you know, I’m spending more time with you. It’s three o’clock on a Tuesday. Normally you would be in class, but school’s already over. So we’re going to go, you know, we’re going to the dentist together, but like, we’re together at three o’clock on a Tuesday and usually I wouldn’t see you until six o’clock, right? Yeah.
S6: So that’s good. But I think that, like, the anxiety that’s created about like. What should I be able to provide for you in those moments? What should that feel like? What should the quality of that sound like if I’m not fully engaged? If I wanted to play with my phone for a minute or if you’d rather be playing with a device than talking to me, you know, then then are we using this time well enough?
S5: But I’m curious to hear from you, Elizabeth, because I know a big, big, big, big thing for me has been the loss of romance and kind of like I’ve struggled and maybe on an upside, I’ve kind of had to kind of come to terms with like. The last few years, I’ve been kind of playing the field and being like, you know, I’m open to selling, you know, I do want to sell down eventually I’m open. But like, I’m also open to other stuff and kind of being like, yeah, this would be a really good time to be in a serious relationship with somebody who cared about, you know, like this. This is and could trust kids like, you know, like even if they weren’t physically in the same part of the country, which would be, you know, difficult, like to kind of know somebody who had my back in that way right now is more appealing than ever. And I realize it is. You know, I think my next relationship step is like to just gone ahead and let one of these boys marry me. But I’ve also heard, you know, from folks I mean, I’m seeing a lot of very different experiences. And my friends and family circle is like there are people that are like nobody’s saying we’re more in love than ever, you know? But there are people that I have not heard that. But but I know people that are like, you know, despite how tired of each other we get, this is, you know, I would not want to be doing this with anyone else. Things are great. And then I you know, there are people who I can see that there’s some tension and frustration that’s blowing.
S1: So let’s get deep into civil marriage therapy right now.
S5: No, but in all seriousness, do you feel that I’m curious in terms of your stress levels and how this shutdown has impacted you all as parents and partners? Do you feel like your husband is carrying as much as you are?
S1: No, and I say that. I say that, like, I we I definitely fall into the camp of like I have married an amazing man who does so much around the house and with the kids and with it, but that almost it almost makes it worse because he’s he’s doing so much.
S7: But it is definitely, you know, not ever in terms of like the kids in the parenting to the level at which I’m that I’m doing. And I, I get stuck in this like, well, I don’t want to complain because he’s such a great husband, like, he is such a great husband. He’s such a great partner. I genuinely enjoy hanging out with him. And it feels like like, OK, well, if I had to be stuck with someone, this is a pretty great person to be stuck with. But he’s on a weird rotation where he’s like home for two weeks and then he goes to the office and then works pretty intensive hours and then comes home for two weeks. And they’re on that for a covid cycle to like keep the building because there’s air traffic controllers involved, like keep all of that kind of sterile when he is home. It is hard, like it is nice because he does a lot of the cooking. So he when he’s home, he cooks a big lunch while he’s on telecoms. We have our big meal at lunch, which is like just better suited for how my body likes to eat anyway. So that’s great. Have our big family time there. That also means like we’re not rushed with dinner and finishing times and all of that because I pack the kids lunch boxes and they just eat their dinner. But because he is home, it’s like very frustrating when I’m then frustrated with the kids are make a choice with the kids, like if they are all running around and I say, OK, well, just, I’m just putting on the TV so I can grab some control or letting them all do their iPads, he will come out of the office and be like, well, how long have they been on their iPads?
S1: You know, well, normally that would be just like the thing that we are doing. And there’s no one really to pass any judgment. Right. But now here he is essentially passing judgment.
S7: And I find that very frustrating, like, well, I don’t come into your office, you know, space in the house and say, like, well, what have you done today? Like, did you check off these boxes? And he’ll ask the kids, like at lunch, like, well, how much schooling did you get done or what did you do today? And so I find that we are robbing in that way. And also it feels like when he is engaging, like he has a break and he’s going to go for a run and maybe he’s like, well, I’ll take a kid. You know, he doesn’t want to take the child. That’s being the problem. Who would be the most helpful for me to take? And because it’s like, well, his you know, for Jeff and his Air Force, like getting his workout, how many times a week is part of his job? So he’s like, why can’t take the kid that would stop me from doing this. But of course, in the evening when I’m going for my walk, I always take the kid. That’s a problem to make it easier for him.
S1: And so kind of those those things definitely rub. And then I’m faced with his own guilt of like which is my own issue, like, oh, but he does all this stuff. So I, I find all of that bundle too with so much. This is kind of the bigger issue of the pandemic and everything that’s going on in the world.
S7: I’m very saddled to with trying not to equate Jeff with the way I feel right now about many men in the world and saying that is very difficult. Like I am reading stuff and I’m carrying and processing a lot of that. And to be able to say like, well, I understand you’re a white male, but, you know, to set him outside of that, because in so many ways he is.
S1: But he’s also like the only white male I’m coming in with somebody head of hair. Somebody’s got to hear it. Yeah. And I’m sure it’s not great to just be hearing like everyone like you is terrible. You make terrible choices, you know, just like. You’ve run our country into the ground like those sort of those sort of conversations are happening here, too, in this like and we’re all stuck in this house together. So I don’t know. It’s complicated, complicated.
S10: I don’t think any mother is having a good time right now.
S1: And no, I mean, this is not if I like you said at the beginning, if this is when I say I wanted more time with my family, what I wanted was more like more days that we could go camping, more days that we could go to the beach, more days, or we could just like sit around and no one was burdened with work. What I did not want was like, do all the things you normally did in this in this house.
S6: Absolutely. I will say one thing I haven’t done as much of during the pandemic that I did before, but I feel like it’s just kind of like. It’s erm I don’t know what to say. It’s not a get out of jail free card, but it’s like in my back pocket. I know that like you can just miss a school, a day of school. Right. Like we can just miss a day of life we can miss. Today is a life, you know, and it’s fine, it’s totally fine.
S5: And I think we’re just going to have to to do that at some point to say, like, OK, we had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon. So like today is just no school and we’re just going to have a day and, you know, I’m not going to work and look at emails, no devices. You know, we’re just going to be together and be present and have fun writing that time in is hard. You know, it seems like it should be so much easier now because there’s so much less it seems like there’s so much less expected of us. But yet we’re also trying to, like, raise children and earn a living and work like during something that is emotionally devastating. And we’re not even talking about all the other things that have happened in the country and in the world during this time. So it’s not a surprise that we’re feeling this way. I think it’s to be expected. But, hey, we’re doing the best we can, right, Elizabeth?
S1: We are doing the best we can. Can I ask one more thing to me? The article talked a lot about kind of the unique place to that single moms are. And I know you’re in like a wonderful co parenting relationship, which is great. But are you at the beginning of the pandemic, too? I think you talked a lot about the loneliness of it as well. Do you feel like you’re doing a better job at this point of meeting those like self care needs with friends? And I mean, you you know, you’ve a couple of times talked about I was able to like getting out hiking like these little moments. But do you are those turning out to be enough for that or are you finding that a real challenge?
S10: I’m not doing it as much as I should like there this moment, there’s this, like, flash point, kind of like, oh, you know, like I went to Big Bear, I went hiking and then, like, kind of nothing for a while. Yeah. But in general, I think I’m being good to myself. I’m meditating. I’m getting my house in order like I am trying to use time to be rested. I’ve kind of release myself from the burden of like, I’m not getting enough worked out. I’m not writing enough, I’m not creating enough content. Why haven’t I launched a blah, blah, blah? You know, all these other people are like, do all the pandemic things. Yeah, all the pandemic things. And I had to remind myself and also the people who have been working at full capacity since day one are going to burn out and like is going to have to be someone else’s turn to like do the work of keeping us informed and entertained and all that stuff. And, you know, right now I one day this thing will be over and we’ll have to kind of get back to normal and people are going to need to rest and recharge. And I think I’ve given myself a decent amount of rest and recharge time as much as I can access while. Yeah, being a single working mom. And then ultimately that’s been good for me.
S1: OK, that’s great. I yeah, I just I think that those it’s like it’s easy to count like all the other, the added burdens and tasks, but so much of the like looking out for ourselves and the price of loneliness and like how often did you speak to an adult. Those sort of things I I think are the lot, a lot of the reasons that people are feeling this additional stress and it’s so much harder to, like, pinpoint those so. Well, I’m sure hopefully listening to us, our thoughts, it’s been cathartic for you. And we haven’t driven you into some kind of deeper, deeper depression in the state of worrying about the pandemic. But that’s it for this week’s Slate plus segment. And we will see you next time.