By Kathleen Sullivan of www.threekidsonehusbandandabottleofwine.com
The television sitcom. For many of us Gen Xers, they were the bomb! There was nothing more relaxing than chilling with a bag of Doritos on a Thursday night while having some laughs with your favorite pretend families. I feel sorry for the youth of today. They were robbed.
When I was a little girl, I yearned to one day have the cheerfulness of Mrs. Brady, the toughness of Mrs. Huxtable and a travelling music bus like Mrs. Partridge (just in case any of my kids had talent).
As I am now in my 40s, I have come to one big realization: all of these television shows were a big lie. In turn, I am beginning to doubt the authenticity of my entire childhood. Thanks a lot, Mrs. Keaton. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. An Immaculate Home 24/7
Really? No, seriously. Really? My carpets currently have such deep stains that neither Alice nor Sam the butcher would be able to get them out. It is not just that I cannot keep up with the mess two kids (and a husband) make. I am also always finding the weirdest shit in the strangest places (i.e. I recently found a pair of girls’ underwear on my kitchen floor.)
I really want to know. I want to know if any of these ladies ever had to quickly turn the couch cushions over before guests arrived.
Looking back, I giggle at the baby doll and one teddy bear the set designer had strategically placed in the living room (you know, so it appeared that sitcom kids actually played with toys). I do feel bad that the two toys were their biggest problem and not the water stains on grandma’s antique table. I am also guessing bathrooms cleaned themselves.
2. A Mom That Always Looked Perfect
By the way, it didn’t even matter whether she worked or was a stay-at-home mom. She always woke up to make pancakes in full makeup. I am lucky I have the energy to stick some cinnamon toast sticks in the microwave. If my kids dare ask for something more complicated, I do the noble thing. I feign hearing loss. A little lie never hurt anybody.
3. Kids That Were Never Sick
I remember an episode of “The Brady Bunch” when little Cindy had the sniffles and you would have thought the world was ending. All because a kid had a little cold. I always wanted to know what happened at night. In my household, this is the time illnesses are at their worst and all hell breaks loose. I don’t recall Mrs. Brady chasing her kids around with a bucket to vomit in. I never witnessed any hysterical cries of children protesting a rectal thermometer. Did Dr. Huxtable ever have to make a run for baby Tylenol at 4 AM? I don’t think so.
4. Kids That Went Straight To Their Beds Without Protest
Is it just me, or were the bedtime rituals pure fantasy? Sitcom bedtimes usually went in the following order: Parental figure read a story. Child would eventually be both sleepy and content. Child would fall asleep. The child also didn’t even remotely mind that the lights were turned off. No sudden requests to use the bathroom either. In my fun little world, I have to go through no fewer than fifteen books. After “lights out,” my kids decide to join us in the living room anyway. Because monsters.
5. Children That Mysteriously Aged The Following Season
I remember sitting down to watch the season premiere of one of my favorite shows, “Family Ties.” The youngest child, Andrew, magically went from nine months to four years in the course of a single summer. What were they feeding the kid? So in the sitcom world, kids went from being in diapers to being magically potty trained. I like this idea! Where do I sign up?
6. Unusually Eventful Births
My mom always told me that labor and delivery is not as horrific as they portrayed it onscreen. You start off with some contractions, get over to the hospital, and usually wait a while to have the baby. Seems simple, right? Well, not for sitcom moms. First of all, Mom would typically go into labor on the day some sort of emergency occurred (think snowstorm, blackout or a husband away on a business trip). Sitcom moms also had the unique ability of going from one contraction to full blown labor in five minutes. In those situations, there was really only one logical solution: call wacky neighbor from across the street and have him deliver the baby. Laughter ensued as he had never delivered a baby before. Regardless, he did the job perfectly and handed the baby (who was clearly born at six months old) to Mom. Oh, and there was never any sign of blood or fluid either. The baby was born miraculously cleaned up.
7. No Swearing
I don’t believe this one for a second. You mean to tell me that Mrs. Brady never muttered, “Shut the f*ck up!” during one of Mr. Brady’s longwinded speeches? She didn’t tell Marcia and Greg to “Stop the bullsh*t!” that time they argued over who was going to live in the creepy attic? The kids never swore either. Pretty amazing!
8. A Day That Ended With Forgiveness and a Whole Lot of Hugs
Oh, and it didn’t matter if someone in the family had just committed murder. They talked it out and all was good in the hood. This was always accomplished in fewer than thirty minutes. This is pure bullshit, by the way. I come from an Irish Catholic family, and we hold grudges. Hell, my cousin ripped off my Barbie’s head the Thanksgiving of 1983 and I still haven’t forgiven her.
I, do, however, forgive my childhood sitcoms. I am thankful for the memories and laughs. Sitcoms, you will forever have a place in my heart.
About the Author
I am a freelance writer and full-time mom. My work has been published on: The Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Club Mid, Mamalode, Bon Bon Break, xoJane, and Your Tango. I am also the creator of www.threekidsonehusbandandabottleofwine.com where I write about all the ups and downs of mommyhood.