Thursday, May 31, 2012

Things I've learned from thirtysomething

1. No matter what shizz has gone down during the day that may or may not necessitate immediate discussion, try to offer a smile and a kiss to your husband - coupled, if possible, with a sense of calm (sincere or manufactured) - when he walks in the door. Now I know on the surface that it smacks of something out of a 1950's Good Housekeeping guide for beginner wives, but I think it can make a huge difference. Think for a second of the last time you met up with your girlfriend. Did you walk into her house and follow the chaotic sounds of armageddon until you found her, crouched frantically over one mess or another, barely acknowledging your presence except to huffily ask you why you didn't bring the empty recycling bin in when you must have walked right by it in the driveway? I thought not. Let's all try to treat our husbands more like our girlfriends. At least in the general sense of not treating them like crap, m'kay?

2. Get some more friends. While we have lots of distant friends - a product of our nomadic lifestyle of the last several years - we haven't yet formed many close relationships in Ottawa. We have some great neighbours, who also happen to have young children, and who might very well become the kind of folks we want to wrestle with on the couch at midnight and relive our majorette days while our kids sleep upstairs. (Somehow it didn't seem as sordid as it sounds when it played out on the show.) But more effort will definitely have to be made if we want to cultivate that kind of bonding, and relationship cultivation is generally not high on the list at the end of a long day of arguing with a preschooler, performing healing miracles at work and feigning calm serenity for my husband. Making friends is tiring. But frankly, sometimes I wouldn't mind another wrestling partner. Plus, you know the great thing about friends with kids? Babysitting trade-offs!

3. One day my kids will treat me the way I treat my parents. There is one episode early on in the series in which Hope's parents come to stay with them, and Hope is continually aggravated by her mother's every move, acting rather bitchily throughout and eventually losing her schmidt completely. I kept trying to figure out who we're supposed to sympathize with, because I definitely sympathized with Hope's mother even though Hope is usually the one we feel sympathetic to. Parents, both the biological and the "out-law" variety - for the most part...after all, nutjobs come in every denomination - are lovely people to have around when kids are small, and their intentions can almost always be described as honourable, geared toward - at best - making your wee ones happy, and - at worst - getting your wee ones to love them the best. They're really not trying to exact revenge or send some thinly veiled message about your failure as a parent. So lighten up.

4. Focus on life two minutes at a time. Michael goes off the deep end in one episode while under a tremendous amount of pressure to come up with a great advertising idea, finding inspiration in the Home Shopping Channel. Each product featured was only available for two minutes, and if you didn't act on it, it was gone. And if you spent the next two minutes worrying about what you missed, you would miss the next thing too. So he figured that the important thing to do was to focus on the present, and not spend time thinking about the past or worrying about the future. As long as we have the present, we will be okay. Of course, he goes on to crack up further, produce a lousy idea and get fired, but I think the message is still sound.

5. Shoulder pads were truly ridiculous. As were high-waisted pleated pants and/or men with big hair. Slouch socks? Okay, I still love the slouch socks. Particularly when they match my sweater.

I haven't even finished the first season, and look at all of this wisdom. thirtysomething is genius.

1 comment:

  1. I've never watched Thirtysomething, but I totally agree with your first paragraph. Some days I am the calm, welcoming woman I aspire to be. Some not so much.
    Typically something like this happens in the 15 minutes before K walks in the door:
    - Two or more dogwalkers stop to chat on the street in front of our house, sending our dog into a barking frenzy. (Surely you can hear and see our dog going ape-shit, so please go torture someone else's family!) Nothing like a barking Spaniel to fray the nerves of a hungry woman and child.
    - In response to a simple request such as, "time to wash your hands for supper," said child will throw himself to the floor in a dramatic howl of protest.
    - Handwashing will be further delayed by biological needs requiring parental assistance, just as the oven timer beeps and beeps and beeps and beeps.
    - Just when his hands are washed and mine are finally slipping into the oven mitts, my little one will slip off the ottoman or some similar mishap. The sort of minor mishap that he would be too busy to notice in other circumstances but, just before supper, provokes wailing and hot tears.
    - Extended hugs and kisses will make it all better, just moments before DH walks in the door, greeted by a panting dog, an excited child, and me rushing past him to pull an over-cooked meal out of the oven and get started on that salad...
    I'm starting to understand why some people set the table mid-afternoon.