By Laura Simon
Every Monday, I make sure my three-year-old tornado doesn’t take a nap. I schedule activities that I’m certain will wear her and her older brothers out. We swim, run, wrestle, and climb a few walls. Meanwhile, I walk around with an extra pep in my step, and I’m positively perky while we sprint through bedtime stories a bit earlier than normal. Even my husband will tell you I’m in a better mood on Monday evenings, even though Miss No-Nap is having a breakdown by 6:00 PM.
Monday night is Bachelor night. Even my boys (6 and 8) know not to try to push bedtime past 7:58. They also know this is not the night to sneak down the stairs to request an extra kiss/glass of water/story/medical treatment. Mommy is watching The Bachelor, and that is Mommy’s time. (Yes, my children know the word “bachelor”. So sue me.)
When I confess this to people, I get a variety of responses. Obviously, given the ratings, there’s a lot of solidarity. But I get plenty of weird, confused faces, too.
I don’t understand the confusion; it turns out that – aside from the obvious lack of exotic décor, Christian Louboutins (I totally had to Google the spelling), international travel, tiny waistlines, chic clothes, stomach butterflies, mystery and excitement – my life has a lot in common with the Bachelor Mansion. In fact, I’m basically Chris Harrison without the tailored suit. (Also, I take back what I said about mystery…we have a lot of that here. Like, what actually happened to my toddler’s sippy cup that’s been missing for three months, who rubbed a nerf dart in red mud and fired it at the nine-foot ceiling, and what is that ghastly smell in my minivan?)
Think I’m kidding? Let’s talk about Harrison’s role in the rose ceremony. Every week, there’s one rose left on the table and more than one guy – or girl – without a rose. Everyone is staring at that solitary rose, debating whether to cry or throw up, and Harrison walks in, looks solemnly at the contestants, and says, “Gentlemen (or ladies), this is the final rose of the evening.”
Duh. My three-year-old could tell you that, if I would let her watch the show.
Now consider bedtime. Everyone in the house knows what time the clock says. All the clocks, really…they collaborate with one another to bring sadness and pain to children everywhere. Every night, I walk in and state the obvious. “Kids, it’s time to go to bed.” Of course, my children don’t stand there in stony silence, waiting for the shoe to drop. Even though they knew it was coming, they fall the pieces like this is the first time in history bedtime has been suggestion. But still – I know how Chris Harrison feels. Most of what I say is painfully obvious and completely unnecessary, yet it remains a vital part of my job.
The parallels don’t end there. Can we talk about unrealistic expectations? Every season of the Bachelor/Bachelorette has the sobbing contestant that simply can’t handle her boyfriend dating twenty other girls. Um, did you watch the show before you signed up? Similarly, every day hour, someone in my house falls apart because I really did say they had to put their laundry away. Or because I won’t let them go to the store naked. Or because I insisted that they wear shoes outside on the hot pavement. I mean…did they get the memo about what moms do?
Like Chris Harrison, I deal with constant emotional breakdowns. While the contestants on The Bachlorette are flipping out because they aren’t getting what they want (the one-on-one date), my children are flipping out because…they aren’t getting what they want (ice cream for breakfast).
The Bachelor has multiple women fighting over one man; I have multiple children fighting over one Dollar Tree toy that has been sitting, unnoticed, in the house for at least three years.
The Bachelorette has leads that don’t know how to make up their minds (I’m looking at you, Arie). I have children who both do and do not want a Gogurt. What if they choose the Gogurt and a cheese stick is really what they need? Can they change their minds after the Gogurt is consumed? But I digress.
My point is this: there’s a reason why the women of my generation – women with busy lives and many children – tune in week after week to watch a hapless gaggle of scantily-clad contestants pretend to have the maturity to make major life decisions – and it isn’t because we’re hopelessly romantic. Nope…The Bachelor resonates with the daily ridiculousness of our lives. And if nothing else, I can watch it knowing that no matter how much of a train wreck my life might be, at least I didn’t look for love on reality TV.
(Because it didn’t exist back then. In the Dark Ages. But whatever.)
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