The emotions of parenting can feel completely out of control sometimes. Whether it's love, joy ... or, occasionally, rage. Susan Perabo writes about them in her essay, which is read by Ellie Kemper ("Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt").
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
Modern love the pod cast supported by produced by the island at W B. You are faster. Oh, the from the New York Times and WB where Boston? This is modern. The stories of love loss and redemption. I'm your host, Magna, Chakrabarti, the parenting, can really do a number on you. The outsized emotions that come loving and protecting a tiny person can be so overwhelming. You look at yourself occasionally and think who is this person soon?
Para BO writes about one of those moments in her essay when mothers bullied back, it's read by Ellie Kemper, who stars in unbreakable, Kimmy Schmidt on Netflix the once I threw a playground ball at the head of a boy who was repeatedly dunking. My young son underwater. Before I threw the ball. I shouted at him to stop, but he continued. I was at the other end of the pool, maybe a six second swim away. but my five year old son was gasping and pleading and the fastest way to make. My point was to throw the ball. I played college baseball. I have a pretty good arm, I nailed the older boy in the back of the head and he cried out spun around furiously to face me. I'm pretty sure,
wasn't expecting to see a mom in an unflattering swimsuit. Here I was despite these. Awkward silence on the pool deck family members of both boys sat forward in their lounge chairs. no shame or regret. I felt triumphant. I felt in power If I'd had another ball with an arms reach, I might well have thrown it too, for emphasis. A year or so later my son was the victim of teasing at school, Was garden, variety name, calling thing extraordinary, just your generic first grade formation with cruelty, but when the teacher informed me of it, I went internally ballistic. I son was a bit gloomy, though clearly not traumatized. When I asked him about it, he waved me off
seeming more troubled by my concern than by the incident itself, but of course I was in we and thoroughly unhinged a switch flipped, and suddenly I was that crazy woman in the pool again. But where was my the playground ball, and how was I supposed to protect my son when I was absent from the scene of the crime census among family and friends was that I was overreacting. Had I really not anticipated that my child might be picked on every so often That dunking and name calling or part of the package that kids might occasionally be. You know, jocks. Of course I had anticipated this. What I had not anticipated,
I had in fact, been utterly unable to anticipate was how those things would make me feel. This was not the first time that the intense emotions of motherhood had taken me by surprise. For the first, several years of my son's life, I had been regularly
tarnished by moments of unbridled joy moments. So, unlike anything, I had known that each time I experienced one his hand curling closed around my index finger his light up sneakers flashing at the end of the dark driveway his bat. Finally, connecting with the ball on the wobbly t, I felt I was starting life over stepping out of one life and into another as a brand new person. Now, in the wake of the bullying, I was feeling like a brand new person again, unfortunately, that brand new person was a lunatic, but I didn't want to physically harm my son's bullies. I just wanted to crush their spirits. I wanted them to feel tiny and powerless and stupid. I wanted them to cry sniveling tears in front of a crowd of jeering joyful classmates walking. My
hug late at night, my conniving obscured by the neighborhood shadows. I concocted and dismissed dozens of outlandish plans each with the approximate sophistication of a fifth grade, Halloween prank the main problem was that I simply couldn't figure out the logistics of my vigil. Auntie is so, if only I could be in a position to publicly humiliate the bullies only I had the kind of job that would make that possible. If I were a barber, I could give them terrible haircuts, setting them up as prime targets for other bullies. If I were a I could shake chili powder over their hamburgers, causing gagging and drooling, possibly even vomiting. The last I was a college professor short of mocking the cliched nature of their bullying. For I
seriously. Is that the best you got punk my prospects for retribution or slim. I also understood, even in my addled state, that to intervene might cause my son added humiliation. If I openly retaliated, I could be feeding the boys a buffet of delicious irresistible material, if the target on my son's back would be seen from space baby needs his mom to fight his battles. The thought enraged me even further. Not only was my maternal protection undesired. It was also now a legitimate liability. Going down this rabbit hall and ignore
during the intense satisfaction I got from these little revenge fantasies against seven year olds got me thinking about the parameters of acceptable maternal behaviour. Surely I was not the first mother to have these thoughts, but I couldn't recall many instances of people discussing this kind of rage openly, not actual mothers and not fictional mothers, It struck me that as enlightened as we are about some of the grey areas of human nature, other grey areas seem inherently off limits. We are uncomfortable with mothers who are not easily definable with good mothers who, sometimes think bad thoughts, and even do bad things in the movies. If a mother is going to be and then we want her to be really bad Texas
cheerleader mom dad Joan Crawford Wire, hanger bad. Otherwise we prefer fictional mothers to be gently flawed and efficiently. Redeemable we want their mistakes to be caused by misunderstandings. Their short is the result of a lack of confidence like bringing store, bought cookies to the potluck and trying to them off as home, baked infection, wackiness. Are you above all in the flawed mother, because pain caused by Wacky mother is not real pain. It's amusing, sitcom pain and as such, does not last beyond the episode and leaves scars on its victims. I think that Essentially, the same is true in real life. We are uncomfortable with mothers, thinking horrible things, even under horrible circumstances. We don't want them to be cruel unless the cruelties directed
some one who clearly deserves it. We are unnerved by maternal ugliness and malice and selfishness that can't be entirely justified or even worse, satisfying we resolved. We don't want mothers to throw balls children's heads, but we especially dont want mothers to want to throw a second ball for punishment after the threat is poor. Asked my maternal instinct to protect my child in that swimming pool is forgivable. My maternal instinct for vengeance is not at all, except this. My children, my son and his younger sister love. the story of me in the pool they want to hear it again and again, relishing even the smallest details. What sounded the bomb make when it hit the boys head for work? How far did it ricochet ten, maybe twelve, Did the boy ever tried to dunk anyone again,
not on my watch. They laugh, they slapped me high fives, they say you're crazy, but they say Compliment like wildly overreacting is a good thing, so maybe it's just a hypothetical mother that we prefer to see exhibiting sound judgment and proper behavior Maybe it's the idea of the good mother we hold in high regard, but in actuality and the unflattering swimsuit of our own realities. We at least as children, are happy to have a mother who loves us so much. She will behave like a loser,
tick on our behalf, my personal lust for revenge against those first great bullies didn't last long, at least not at that fever pitch life and parenthood quickly got more complicated because that's what life and parenthood do, as is the case with all of our children. The threats, my son, faced as a tween and teenage boy were nearly impossible to a tribute to any particular individuals and name calling became the least of my worries, even dumping. Now ten years past seems almost quaint the thing the dunk, our kids, now or impervious to balls? No matter how true our aim? In retrospect, it was lovely to have those obvious villains, the specific names to curse those clear bulls, eyes, the dangers now are ones that lurk in the shadows shaped shiftless, moving targets. I have no satisfying fantasies of defeating them
My son is now friends with his old tormentors at fifteen. Call each other all sorts of terrible things? They are all bullies and they are all bullied in no time they will be men in a year. They'll be driving cars for now, though, they still need me, I tried them to the movies. I pick them up from school in the rain we get markets at the Starbucks drive through the pretty good kids, all of them, and the fact that I once wanted to make them cry makes me feel a little guilty, but not bad guilty. That's Ellie, Kemper, Rita
using parables essay when mothers bully back years Ellie. I love so many things about this essay. I think it's funny and touching and insightful and wise. I am a mother of an almost to Europe, and he is the sweetest boy on the planet, not that I'm biased and when Ever I see some little twerp grab a sand pail from him at the sandbox or not accept a toy truck that he's offering them I want to take the little boy or little girl who is not being as nice to him, and I want to check that little boy or girl over the playground fence. So I do connect to the field. In and the desire for vengeance in this essay. I am not proud of it, but it exists and that's why I love it thanks again to Ellie for reading this week's essay you can see her in unbreakable, Kimmy Schmidt, on Netflix, which is
just has been nominated for an Emmy for best comedy will catch up with Susan after the break. The. I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see that you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry it may have happened again. Today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my dad. It was the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it.
J C K p o jack, Jackpot panic yeah nice. I'm same as earth's sky, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at N Y Times dot com, slash games. We asked Susan Para Beau how people reacted to her modern love, peace and well. You got any pushed back against the idea of a mom being a bully, so I dont think there was anybody. At least it said to my face: oh my god you're crazy or what we thinking you know. I think that most people, knowing me, took it in the Spirit in which it was intended, which is that I did this crazy thing and I am not proud. but I'm also laws are not ashamed of it. Some people did right to season to tell her. She shouldn't have done what she did and that through
The ball might have taught her son the wrong lesson and she also heard from people who said things like. Oh my gosh, you know if she doesn't go to arm and she threw All really hard, you know, could knock the child over can enter the chair. This was not a ball that could injure a person. I wish that I and include the ball with every copy of the essay so that I can be cleared of some of those charges. Susan says that she'd still make the same decision to throw the ball today, if necessary, but in some ways were thinking about. Parenting has changed since that day in the pool. I think I have a better sense of what battles I need to lead by children fight by themselves and what battles I need to be a part of that dangerous point is when you are unwilling to let them go out and figure out ways to negotiate situations without you, because garden,
they're, going to have to do that, and so that think that balances is really important to strike, and I think I'm closer than I was ten years ago. Will Susan so grateful to hear that, because, honestly, I still, I have a long way to go myself. Susan parable. Her son is seventeen now and is starting to look at colleges, and she teaches creative writing at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania Susan's. author of several books, including the broken places and the fall of LISA Bello The break.
I love spelling my boyfriend and I often play spelling bee together by together, I mean sitting next to each other playing individually and not cheating. Sometimes when I open up spelling bee- and I see, but you have completed a few words on your own, I feel a little betrayed in sorry. It may have happened again today. I have one friend who I will send screenshots from spelling bee of inappropriate words that I always get nervous that I sent it to my parents or something like that was my dad. It was like the first time together and I was out. I think I got to see it. J C K, P, o Jack jackpot panic, yeah Nice I'm same as ascii, the digital puzzles editor for the New York Times. You can try spelling bee and all our games at annoying times, dot com, flash games, here's Daniel Joan
editor of the modern love column for the New York Times. I think we do surprised things and we feel surprisingly powerful emotions when we're parents and she unearths that all so beautifully. My experiences with being two emotional, as apparent were usually on the soccer sidelines of of my sons, game when he was sort of one kids on the field and. You really do feel the urge to step out onto that field and and do something about it, and you know how inappropriate it is- and you know how yelling at the ref is, is inappropriate, and yet you still feel yourself starting to go there. Takes all the restraint in the world to. Say to yourself: this is his business. This is for kids, not for adults but completely. I
if I put those emotions the next week, actor and rapper Awkwafina, who stars in ocean's, eight and crazy, rich Asians. I almost gave up on and when a sandwich rejected me- message on Okcupid? That said, what's shakin bacon and the old profile pictures were of actual sandwiches. looking sandwiches, but sandwiches nonetheless, the Modern love is a production of the New York Times and W B you are Boston, NPR station, its produced directed and by Jessica, Albert Caitlin, O'Keefe and John Perotti. Our intern is Louisa Judge. For the modern, the podcast was conceived by LISA Tobin, Iris Adler's, our executive producer
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Transcript generated on 2022-04-16.