Casey Rose Wilson and Matt Walsh — LIVE!
Recorded live at Largo Los Angeles and introduced by the lovely Kulap Vilaysack, Casey Rose Wilson and Matt Walsh provide tried-and-true tips on raising good kids. First, Casey outlines all the reasons raising assholes may be inevitable and how we all need to be 100% kinder to mothers. Then, Matt provides 10 things anyone in the world can do to raise good kids every single time, no matter what.
[00:09] Announcer: Please welcome to the stage writer, director and showrunner Kulap Vilaysack.
[00:20] Kulap Vilaysack: Hi, everybody. Tonight, we’ve got two awesome superstar comedians. The second person coming out is a gem of a human, well-known character actor, sometimes-director, comedian, writer, dad and Los Angelino, Matt Walsh. First, actress, writer, comedian, podcaster, director, mom, and one of my nearest and dearest, ladies and gentlemen, put your hands together for Casey Rose Wilson!
[01:03] Casey Rose Wilson: Hello! So I am here to discuss with you all the topic of how to raise a child that is not an asshole. Very difficult. I’m trying and failing to do my best not to raise an asshole. My kids are very little — 2 and 4 — but I can feel it, I’ve got two assholes on my hands. I’ll throw out one example of many. On my older son’s first day of preschool, I was a wreck mainly because I was bleeding from my second son’s birth three days prior, but also because my first-born was starting school. And I wanted to make a good impression on the other parents because it’s important to me at least to look better on the outside than what’s happening on the inside. And despite the fact that I had patches of white and dry shampoo all over my hair and I was sweating from every hole, we cast our son goodbye.
[01:49] Casey Rose Wilson: And I walked out feeling proud that he wasn’t screaming or crying when he turned back to my husband and I and yelled clear as a bell, “uh, mama, what Mercedes you gonna pick me up in?” It was the most horrifying sentence I’ve ever heard. And I went over to him with clenched teeth, and I said, “the blacked out SLS.” He’s a little asshole, but that’s because his parents are assholes. My husband and I.
[02:18] Casey Rose Wilson: Why should we expect anything different? Because the two of us are just entitled little lazies. And as it relates to parenting, I am trying to instill the values my parents instilled in me. They had nothing, but it’s a lot of work to model being a model. My sister-in-law has taken an approach I used to scoff at, but I now revere in a concerted effort not to raise an L.A. brat. Because there’s brats, and then there’s, of course, L.A. brats. Her parenting — my sister-in-law’s parenting method consists of acting ‘as if.’ You know, which is also the premise of my acting school. You don’t need to be a character entirely because that’s impossible unless you’re Daniel Day Lewis and you take up cobbling for two years. But basically you just try to act ‘as if.’ Example. My sister-in-law does not read books. The Daily Mirror is her literature. But what kind of example is that for her daughter? So she purchases real books, scatters them about the house, and when she hears my niece, she just picks up a book, has it at the ready and just pages right on through it. And she doesn’t work out ever. But when she drops her daughter at school, she wears athleisure and just says brightly, “I’m headed to the gym. It’s leg day.” And who’s the wiser? And her nine-year-old is the single most well-adjusted kid I know. So it’s all working.
[03:31] Casey Rose Wilson: My sister-in-law also has some avant garde ideas concerning diet and exercise. The crux being, if you want to lose weight, take Nyquil at 4 p.m. and sleep through dinner. And if you wake up at 2 a.m., double down on it. And you wake up — as she tells it, this is not a joke — feeling lighter and more powerful. So her advice is not always healthy, but it does work. Anyways, I’m here to focus on children and parenting specifically. The jury is out on my young kids, but I do have a take on parenting and mothers in general, which is that we’re all doing our best. I don’t think anyone is trying to be a shitty parent, and in fact in today’s world that would actually be courageous because we’re trying too hard. We’re setting ourselves up for failure from the highest heights and it’s honestly insane. In the early ‘80s, my mom worked full time and my babysitter was a show called Santa Barbara.
[04:30] Casey Rose Wilson: My caregiver was an 89-year-old smoker named Mrs. Grimes, who lived across the street. And I sat on her bedroom floor. She watched me from the bed and I spent the afternoon eating Froot Loops and fending off her molest-y grandson. And look at me. I am fine. I’m so fine. Seventeen years of therapy, a sugar addiction, and I still suck my thumb, but I’m fine. Thank you.
[04:55] Casey Rose Wilson: I do think mothers, all mothers, truly are heroes. Point blank. I feel like society has just ridiculously high demands. And I’d like to highlight one such hero among us. This is a hero who’s actually married to our next guest, Matt Walsh. My dear friend Morgan Walsh, who did something so valiant in the early days of motherhood it will be spoken about for years to come. The first time she dared to leave with her newborn for a walk around a track at a local high school, she was feeling pretty good. She was suffering from sleep deprivation, proud to have gotten out of the house, though. And a woman ran past her on a track, looked back at horror at Morgan’s son in a Baby Bjorn, and simply said, “it’s not a doll!” of her baby and ran off after this verbal abuse. Like, what a fuck-up. My friend jogged with her baby next to her, screaming at the top of her lungs, “what do you mean by that, ma’am? I’m not sleeping, I’m not eating. I’m feeding this baby from my body. I don’t think this baby is a doll.” The woman sped up and huffed off and Morgan then did the only sane thing that she could think of to do, which was to run ahead of the woman, baby in tow, and trip her hard. She was a queen. Why do we judge other mothers? But I’m just as bad. I’ll tell you one story in a class in L.A. — there’s so many L.A. parenting classes. One, it’s called Rye, which is just the premise of it is to have respect for babies.
[06:22] Casey Rose Wilson: And I took this class for two years, with both my children, so that’s four years total. I would scoff listening to parents who would raise their hands and say the most insane things. One mom said, “listen — tears in her eyes — we tried. We feel so badly using a highchair and even using a car seat because it’s restraining them. It’s restraining them from being able to play and attack their own impulses.” And the teacher — I’m looking at this like, “strap your fucking kid in and shut the fuck up.” But the teachers are nodding. They’re like “we know. If we had our way, we would not use car seats.” In another class — yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. This is why we feel so badly parenting, because I use a car seat, I feel terribly. In another class, a mom raised her hand and said sheepishly, “so I hired — and I don’t know how I’m gonna tell you guys this — I hired a home child organizer, which is a woman who clears out all toys that may be confusing to children like the Alexa.”
[07:24] Casey Rose Wilson: “She said it’s confusing to my child that we talked to a robot. So she got rid of the Alexa. She was also pretty firm. We had to donate any stuffed animals where the bears were wearing clothes like Paddington Bear. You know how he had that cute little red coat? Apparently, that’s a no, because animals don’t wear clothes in reality and that’s way too disorienting for kids.” Woman was absolutely deranged. But I will say deeper into parenting, I now try to live by a golden rule, which is that I don’t say one thing about anyone’s parenting ever, never, ever, because parenting is them. And I have a strict policy for whenever I see a new mom, I never utter a single word that is not one of these three phrases: You look beautiful. What can I do to help? You’re doing a fantastic job.
[08:08] Casey Rose Wilson: I feel so deeply for the parents and mothers around me. I can cry when I see them struggling with a stroller, rushing off to work, kneeling before their children, losing their tempers, screaming, cradling their daughters, looking back one more time and smiling at their sons. So I will say one more time, I think we must assume every parent and mother is doing her very best. Sifting through and contending with a great beast, which is a massive identity shift and reckoning with processing of an acceptance of a new self, and ultimately later separating from and letting go of. And all along the way we hope our children turn out well and do not become assholes. I would say it’s different nowadays because my parents did not, or would never have, hired Rick Singer to have someone take my S.A.T.s for me. No, I left the math portion entirely blank and I have to live with that. And now here I am riding the wave of my son’s every single moment. Was it odd, I think, when I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up and he simply replied a stranger. And then added a stranger — he’s four — a stranger who sits alone in the movie theater and just eats popcorn by himself. Which is actually inspired, I think, and revolutionary. The truth is, it is my children — my children are incredibly sweet and empathetic — it is their father and I again, who bring new meaning to the word assholes. And having grown up with nothing, I seem to have latched on to a lifestyle that is disgusting, and I’m embarrassed for myself. I will have anything delivered. I recently tried to Postmates Plan B from Rite Aid.
[09:48] Casey Rose Wilson: So in examining it all, it seems that we, my husband and I, are the assholes. I do hope to God that my children will raise us not to be. Thank you.
[11:14] Announcer: Please welcome writer, speaker and husband Matt Walsh.
[11:27] Matt Walsh: That was beautiful, you guys. I have three children, so I qualify as an expert. Today, I will list the 10 musts for raising a guaranteed great kid every time. Please note this is the first draft. One: you must learn your love language. As my wife once explained to me with mild annoyance, my love language is acts of service and time spent, which isn’t perfect for her. Be present in your kid’s life and then be present when present. I fall back silently on sitting with my kids and being there for the mundane. An example of the mundane, you ask? Oh, let’s say a six-hour swim meet in Sun Valley where your son has only five minutes in the pool. Don’t pick swimming as a sport. All these tactics that I mention to you now must be deployed, every single one. Failure to initiate one of these is to forfeit the guarantee of a great child.
[12:28] Matt Walsh: Two: check your kids while they’re sleeping. By day, these assholes drove you insane, but while asleep, they’re resting angels dreaming before the dawn of their next flight to Earth, where they will create more deeds of goodness and love. I also think kids can intuit your presence while they rest. It’s a way, again, of showing them they are loved. A smile from a half-awake child is basically tuning into the iconic collective unconscious of parenting. For thousands of years, cave parents have watched over their dreaming, children drooling, drooping and then eventually dropping that wooden club that was white knuckled in their hand. This is our parenting wheelhouse.
[13:10] Matt Walsh: Number three: you must always try to create loyalties and prejudices in your children. For example, Jersey Mike’s is just so much better than Subway. Subway sucks even though they have olives and Jersey Mike’s doesn’t. Number four: you must not ask your kids to share something. Tell them simply to take turns. Think about it. I don’t even like sharing and I’m an adult. Imagine at the office, “Bill, I don’t care if you’re my coworker, this is my cell phone. Get your own.” Number five: if you are cooking food, like mac and cheese or hot dog, you don’t have to sell it. But if you have to sell food, add the word cowboy to the item. It makes the meal legendary. Cowboy eggs sound a lot better than just eggs. Cowboy toast. Forget about it. What about desperados tacos? You get the idea. Other adventure adjectives can work, but please start slowly with cowboy. Trust me.
[14:15] Matt Walsh: Six: you have to celebrate Halloween. You must promote it. You must decorate your house and commit to a costume along with your children. It is our best American holiday tied with Thanksgiving. Also a fall event, oddly. I’ve always loved Halloween. I would obsess about it as a kid over my costume. High school, it was about egg fights and t.p. and shaving cream. In my 20s and 30s, I celebrated Halloween by doing live gory, ridiculous bloody, murder shows mixing fake blood that was basically chocolate sirup and red food dye. It was Christmas around the theater. We’d ritually prep the theater and cover it with duct tape to prep ourselves for the chocolate storm. Now, as a dad, there’s no more fake gallons of blood, but we prep for Halloween a season in advance. It usually starts the night the kids get back to school. On those morning car rides to school, oh yeah, we start pondering what ideas might be relevant to do for Halloween this year. Then we browse Halloween stores and check out thrift shops for inspiration. It’s for real. We have friends and family come by. We break bread and then we go out en masse dressed as zombies or superheroes searching for the full-size candy bar, the goal of Halloween. And remember, if you find that house — and it is treasure like the Count of Monte Cristos — you must mark in your head for next year.
[15:34] Matt Walsh: Seven: show them the age-appropriate movies you love. You must. Watching Harry Potter with my kids was magical. It felt like a journey every Friday night for at least three weeks. And if it’s scary, don’t forget you can pause through at any given moment and go frame by frame for the littlest ones. Number eight: on your child’s birthday, you must — and only on this day — serve them breakfast in bed. This may promote obesity later in life, but it’s such a thrill to be pampered. It is a tradition I stole from my brother and his family. You make that breakfast look like room service at the Four Seasons. You put a flower in there, a cloth napkin, enough cutlery and some reading material. Classy. That was eight.
[16:28] Matt Walsh: Nine: you must visit your local dollar store. It is the perfect destination for an evening field trip. When my kids were little, I would take them to our 99-cent store, place two singles in their hand and tell them they can get anything they want in that store. Twice. It blew their mind. The permutations are indeed endless at the dollar store. You could get two different toys, two different treats. You could get a candle or a bar of soap. Glow sticks and army men with parachutes often won the day. Imagine hucking neon tubes high into the night sky. Their blur illuminating the occasional paratrooping plastic soldier. My kids running beneath them, trying to catch and relaunch it all as fast as possible. That memory cost me two dollars. I’ll have that memory for the rest of my life.
[17:25] Matt Walsh: And 10: you must let kids believe they can be anyone they want to be because the world is filled with places and people who are happy to tell them otherwise. A few years ago, we were at a kid’s birthday party. It was one of those indoor spaces where they have a zip line, ball pits, games and dress-up boxes, costumes and props, etc. My oldest son has always liked wearing girl stuff. His mom’s clothes, etc. So he headed right towards the dress-up box. I think he had layered on two dresses and a tiara before some boisterous thick boy came along. He mocked my son for wearing what looked like a mom’s clothes. I was within earshot and quickly asked this little fashion thug, “um, why can’t he wear that stuff? He likes it.” The boy stared back at me from beneath his Derek Jeter jersey and cap. He smirked and replied with annoyance, “those are girls’ clothes, and he’s not a girl.” And I replied, “you’re wearing a fucking Yankees jersey and you’re not fucking Derek Jeter, so back off.” Thank you. Do all of them. You will raise a great child.
[18:52] Good Kids is a production of Lemonada Media. It’s produced and edited by Andrew Stephen. Our executive producer is Stephanie Wittels Wachs and our music is by Dan Milad. Ad sales and distribution are by Westwood One. You can find out more about Lemonada online @LemonadeMedia. If you liked what you heard share, rate, review, say great things about us.