Are We Seriously Quaran-Competing?

“There will be so many times you feel like you’ve failed.  But in the eyes, heart, and mind of your child you are super mom.”
~Stephanie Precourt

I read an online article a week or so ago, maybe longer, (is time even a thing anymore?) with the headline 37 Things to Do Before the Lock-Down Ends.

I’m not sure what I expected when I read through the list, but if I was looking for something, I didn’t find it.  I walked away feeling more disappointed than inspired.

There were a lot of cleaning and organizing projects recommended, which are all well and good, but I suppose I was hoping for more.  Like, ideas that fell somewhere between  See if You Can Sit Long Enough to Convince Your Fit-Bit That You Died and Write the Next Great American Novel.

To be honest, most of what was listed are things I spent my pre-coronapocalypse life doing.  I’m a bit, um, OCD’ish, so my house already looks like no one lives here, and the only thing I have left to donate are organs.

I can make my own bread and my eight-year-old commandeered my Spotify account a long time ago, so I’ve already got all twenty-seven (yeah, you read that right) of his carefully cultivated and labeled playlists downloaded on every one of my devices.

As for the rest of the suggestions, meh….I’m too busy learning how to do second grade math and trying to snag curbside grocery pick-up time slots online to start my own You Tube channel, or learn a new language.

Really though, I think the issue is that I can’t live in someone else’s list.  I’m desperate to find ways to make this time count for something that matters; in ways big and small.  I want to be able to look back on this time with some gratitude for the way its forced me to slow down.

I want to come out of this feeling like I’ve learned something from the experience and that I’m better for it.  I want to feel like I contributed to something.  

But, I also I think I’ve come to understand that while we are all in the same storm, we aren’t in the same boat.  How we are each spending this time, how we have the ability and the means to spend this time, has to be about feeding our own individual needs and deciding for ourselves what is purposeful, or, let’s be honest, just base level doable and tolerable and necessary some days.  And shouldn’t that be enough?

No.  The answer is no.  At least not if you’re a parent.

Because apparently, there are some people….and let’s be honest here, we women mostly….who can’t even let a pandemic happen without the need to turn it into a parenting competition with defined quarantine philosophies and systems.


Listen, I have never understood the mommy wars.  Who-TF is winning?  Is there a score card somewhere to refer to?

Are the Helicopter moms trailing the Free Range moms because their kids don’t know how to hail a cab, or throat punch a stranger?  Are the helicoptered kids destined to become adults who are easily lured into curtained conversion vans with signs advertising free candy?

Are the breast feeding moms raising super human children?  The kind who only get into Ivy league colleges and are immune to every disease that has ever diseased, while the formula feeding moms have children who wear Velcro shoes into adulthood and suffer from eternal ear infections and adult diaper rash?

Side note:  Has anyone considered breast milk as a cure for COVID-19?  Can’t you use it for everything from sunburns and wrinkles, to bio-fuel?

Are the Working-Outside-The-Home moms lapping the Work-At-Home/Stay-AT-Home moms (I don’t even know what the acceptable PC term is anymore), because studies show their kids are more independent and can go with the flow and cook a four course meal by the time they are five, and balance the family checkbook, AND take the family car out to pick-up milk and cereal and wine by aged ten?

OR, are the WAH/SAH moms screaming, “Eat my dust” out of the moon-roofs of their mini-vans, because their kids know what it means to be really loved?


And what’s the prize, assuming someone is declared the winner at some point?  Is there a trophy, or a cash prize?  Or, is turning out the winning breed of child the prize?  And when we will know who won?  When adults stop complaining about all the ways in which their parents failed them and how they swear to do better?  Will that EVER happen?  I think, no.

It wasn’t that long ago that smoking cigarettes and having the occasional glass of scotch was considered A-OK during pregnancy.

My parents brought me home from the hospital riding shot-gun, nestled in a dresser drawer.

My brother and I used to roll around in the cab of pickup trucks going highway speeds down rural roads, driven by our parents….and we weren’t the only ones.

I rode my bike without a helmet, swam unsupervised and my siblings and I were left alone in hot cars while our parents and grandparents casually walked every grocery store aisle while socializing and shopping for a full months worth of groceries….was that a big deal?  NO, because back then, you could roll down the windows without turning on the car.

When I was in elementary school, you could still get sent to the principals office for a spanking.  Hell, even elderly neighbors we pissed off were allowed to take a shot if they could catch us and the only thing parents ever had to say about it was, “Get your shoes on, you’re going over there to apologize.”

It seems to me, that parenting lends itself to evolution.  Each generation tweaks the process and tries to be a little bit better….and repeat, infinity times.  So why are we so desperate to force our kids and our parenting into specifically defined boxes, instead of just trusting our instincts?

I get the need to want to connect with other parents.  It’s a hard job, for everyone, and it’s nice to find like-minded moms and dads to compare notes with.  But the second a self-proclaimed parenting expert Mommy Blogger, whose only credentials are that she’s given birth more times than I have, starts in with all the directives about all the ways we should and should not be raising our children, based on literally nothing other than the  x-number of years of parenting she’s got under her belt, I’m out.

Nice Try Jan

I mean, can we agree that definitely NO ONE knows what the hell they are doing right now?  Unless you were raising kids during the Black Death, or the Spanish Influenza?

So, to anyone who might be reading this and feeling like all those other ladies have their shit together and you should too….Or, you’re feeling like you wish you could at least be as effortlessly cool as all those moms who have made not having their shit together a trend….for whatever it’s worth, because I don’t know shit from crap….I think you’re killing it.

If homeschooling makes you feel like you are on the verge of staring in your own episode of Snapped, so you’ve given up and now you’re kids are watching TV and playing video games all day.  Or, maybe you lock them outside in your own backyard for the full length of a school day….whatever.  You’re doing awesome.  Your kids will be fine.

If you love a schedule and so you’ve created elaborate, color coded daily itineraries….and by the second day of the lockdown you had built your own backyard schoolhouse out of yard debris with your barehands….and you are committed to seeing that your children complete every teacher assigned lesson, AND learn Mandarin, AND how to split an atom by the time school starts up again (God willing) in the fall….you are amazing.  Your kids will also be fine.


If you have managed to cook gourmet, wholly organic meals from scratch using ingredients you harvested from your own windowsill gardens and by butchering your own livestock, you are awesome.  Your kids will be fine.

If you’re family has been eating a lot of canned goods and dehydrated meals you bought in bulk from Mountain House, because you prepped like you were going to be riding this out in a bomb shelter instead of your house with electricity and a full kitchen. OR, if you guys are eating whatever you can afford to eat right now….that’s great too.  You, my friend, are awesome and your kids will also be fine.


If you get up and begin every day with a shower, followed by full hair and makeup and your kids are so pressed and perfect they look like they could start modeling face masks and hazmat suits as soon as they are allowed within six feet of a fashion photographer, you are incredible and your kids will be fine.

If your family has started cycling through seasonal, holiday themed pajamas and Halloween costumes, because laundry sucks and the only people you see anyway are the Amazon, UPS, Fed-EX and USPS delivery drivers through your front window, and you don’t care if they think you’re cute or not….you are incredible.  Your kids will be fine.

If you and your family have spent your free time sewing hospital gear for front line workers, delivering meals and supplies to the elderly and vulnerable in your community, coordinated drive-by birthday celebrations for every kid in your town and you’ve cleared every single piece of litter, including cigarette butts, from the highways and byways and national forests within a 50 mile radius of your home….you are rock star.  Your kids will totally be fine.


If you got up this morning and that feels good today, you’re a rock star too.  Your kids will also be totally fine.

Because here’s what I think….as a mom who swears allegiance to no particular style of parenting and thus knows nothing beyond whatever my own instincts tell me to do on a day to day/hour to hour/minute to minute basis….Do your kids know they are loved?

Just loved?

Because if you’re that mom.  You win. 

90210MG! Or, everything I needed to know about life, I learned from Kelly Taylor

“I was always taught that if it looks like a duck and it sounds like a duck!”
~Brenda Walsh, Beverly Hills 90210

I don’t know about you, but of late, my evenings consist of a lot of TV.  And by TV, I do not mean the news, or anything news related.  It’s not that I am apathetic, or prefer to remain uninformed.

It’s that I would like to be actually informed.  Instead, I feel like I’m watching a Saturday Night Live skit…..


Clorox and Mean Green on the rocks with a Tide Pod chaser?

Armed hillbillies protesting lock down restrictions….while wearing masks and gloves?

The Lt. Governor of Texas every time he opens his mouth….“There are more important things than living.”  

Did I see something about UFO’s yesterday?

Kim Jong Un is….??

A dog and a tiger have tested positive for COVID-19?


WT Actual F*%k is happening?  I cannot even…and so I won’t.  Fortunately, I’m good at finding silver linings, so if this had to happen, at least it happened in the age of streaming services and DVR and On-Demand.

Can you imagine if this were the 80’s?  I can.  At my house, we would have been fist-fighting over the last can of Chef-Boyardee….on lockdown day two.  And even if there had  been anything to binge-watch on TV back then, it wouldn’t have been happening at my house.  My  mother would have for sure put her foot, or someone’s head, through our TV over a math word problem while screaming, “Fuck it!  You can just redo the third grade next year!”   

So, in the spirit of counting your blessings, I say again, if it had to happen, I’m glad it happened now, when my entertainment choices are many and my risk of losing a tooth in a domestic dispute is zero.

At this point, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve rewatched Downton Abbey and Victoria and all of the nature programs available through Disney+….when I’m in the mood for something that feels a bit more refined and educational.

The Office is a go-to favorite when I need something light that never fails to make me laugh.  And BTW….I blame Dwight Schrute….


Also, to satisfy the beast that craves trashtacular TV, I’ve been watching the first few seasons of the various Real Housewives franchise.  Which, honestly, in its humbler beginnings….when the women weren’t obsessed with their D-list celebrity status and constantly screaming at each other during booze-fueled excursions….was actually a pretty interesting experiment that offered a glimpse into the lives of women living, working and managing families, in some of the countries wealthiest zip codes.

But there is one the program, above all others, that I hold most near and dear to my heart, the one I return to time and again.  The one that makes me feel like I’m wrapped up in the coziest blanket, nestled into the squashiest of cow-hide chairs….the OG….Beverly Hills, 90210.  


The original show premiered in 1990, two days before my 11th birthday.  From the very first episode, I was hooked.

At various points in time, I wanted to be Kelly Taylor, Brenda Walsh and even Andrea Zuckerman.  But I only wanted to be Andrea in the earliest days of the show.

By the time the gang was in college, Andrea looked like she’d jumped from a just barely plausible teenager, to middle aged overnight.  I was like 13 by then, and so completely incapable/unwilling to be generous, or sympathetic, to the fact that she was a working actress fighting nature.


And I never wanted to be Donna Martin.  Because honestly, WTF was up with her hair? I was no fashionista myself….I used to wear shorts with tan pantyhose and white scrunchy socks with glossy black shoes that had ribbons for laces….but hell, even I knew that whomever was managing hair and wardrobe for Donna, clearly hated her.

Anyway, over the years, whenever anyone from my past said something like, “You turned out all right….all things considered,” I joked that it was thanks to my parents; Television and Books.

But in fact, there’s a lot of truth in that statement.

When I was lost in the world of Beverly Cleary, Ann M. Martin, Francine Pascal, Judy Bloom and Harper Lee, I was learning valuable lessons about life and family and relationships and the real beauty of being a kid.  Lessons that weren’t always available to me at home.

The same was true of television.  The Tanners, Seavers, Mr. Belvedere, Alf and the Walsh family especially, helped me navigate through my childhood, adolescence and early adulthood.

I often emulated the characters I saw on TV.  I used their lines and facial expressions and mannerisms and I adopted some of their goals and achievements and hardships.

It wasn’t unusual for me to borrow scenes, or whole story lines I would attempt to pass off as real and belonging to me.  Like the time I told kids at school that I had 8 brothers and sisters named Marie, Cindy, Wendy, Connie, Sherry, Melissa, JR and Harvey and that my dad was a gym teacher named Graham.  (Just the Ten of Us)

And I was forever trying to replicate the stylish students of West Beverly High School.

In the early days of 90210, I bought a pair of round eyeglasses at a dollar store that looked like the pair Andrea Zuckerman wore.  I insisted they were prescription lenses and that I lived in an apartment with my grandmother, because my parents lived out of district.

Eventually, I stopped lying so blatantly, but I never gave up the fantasy that I could somehow morph into Kelly Taylor, but also be a Walsh.

On my first day of junior high, I wore a pair of red, plaid shorts that came with a matching blazer and enormous shoulder pads.  I paired the short suit combo with a black, sleeveless, turtleneck, and shiny black pumps I found at a thrift store.

I looked like a pee-wee football linebacker in high heels, but I thought the outfit looked like something either Kelly or Brenda would have definitely sported on a night out….and OK, I may have insinuated that the outfit came from Rodeo Drive and not the seven dollar clothing store.  But whatever, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

As I got older, I knew that from a fashion perspective, I would never come up to snuff with the likes of my idols. I lacked the acumen of a designer and the finances of someone who could afford a designer.  But, I could forever remain a mega-fan who, once a week, lived vicariously through the impossibly hip inhabitants of the Walsh House and the Beach Apartment.

For ten years, I was there for every romance and broken heart.  I watched as the cast morphed from high school students, to college students, to adults building careers.  I rooted for them through the hard times and I celebrated their successes.

I grew up right behind them and I watched closely as they dealt with topics like sex, drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and complicated relationships with parents, friends and significant others.

And through it’s various storylines that tackled all those really relevant subjects related to adolescence and young adulthood, I learned to make my way through my own; I honestly did….however theatrically and dramatically.

In case you aren’t, like me, a rabid, would totally dominate a 90210 themed Jeopardy episode with questions related to the most random factoids like:

Answer:  Karen Brown Mulligan.  Loving wife of David.

Question:  What was Steve Sanders biological mom’s name and what was written on her tombstone?

You might not know that 90210 got a reboot last year and briefly returned to television.  It was a moment I had been anxiously and excitedly, (overly and unnaturally), waiting for since the announcement the cast was “in talks,” began circulating many months before the official announcement.

Before the premier of the reboot, I rewatched the final episode of the original show, specifically for one of my all time favorite scenes; the very last one.  Many of the original cast members are dancing in a circle to Kool & The Gang’s Celebration at the wedding of Donna and David.

As the camera begins to pan back, Luke Perry raises his arms, with a huge smile on his face, and then pulls in Brian Austin Green and Ian Ziering for a hug.  Then the entire cast joins in the embrace.  It’s been nearly twenty years and the scene still makes me tear up.


So, I would be lying if I said I hadn’t had my heart set on a reboot that picked up where the original left off, just twenty years down the road.  But alas, the show went in an entirely different direction.

Instead of finding out what happened in the lives of Donna, David, Kelly, Dylan, Brandon, Brenda, Andrea and Steve since we’d last seen them, the new concept was designed to be a show within the show, as the cast played exaggerated versions of their real life selves.

I wanted to love it, I really did.  But, I didn’t.  I get what they were trying to pull off, but for me, the approach lacked the nostalgic escapism my adolescent heart was hoping for.

I wanted to see the beach apartment again and the Walsh house and the Peach Pitt.  I wanted the show to take me back to a time that felt simple and sweet.  Back to a world before smart phones and social media and reality television and faux celebrity.

Fortunately though, thanks to syndication and streaming services, the show lives on in its natural state and right now, I need reliables.

I don’t know anymore what tomorrow is likely to bring, but I know that with 100% certainty that tonight and tomorrow night and the night after that, (at least so long as the shit doesn’t really hit the fan Walking Dead style) that there will be BBQ’s and parade float building at the Walsh house.  Someone will definitely order the Mega-Burger at the Peach Pitt and it’s just a matter of how long I can stay up before it’s time to celebrate another summer at the Beverly Hills Beach Club.

And you know what else?  It might have taken a global pandemic and twenty-years since the original show went off the air, but I think I might have become a 90210’er after all….


Silver linings….