How to Be a ‘Good Enough’ Parent (with Sara Gilbert)

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Description

Gloria calls up an old friend, the actress/author/activist Sara Gilbert, best known for playing Darlene on the hit shows Roseanne and The Conners, to talk about how they balance child care with demanding careers in the media. They get into Sara’s experiences with solo parenting, what it’s like bringing an infant onto a Hollywood lot, and how her family approached finding LGBTQ-affirming child care options. Plus, Sara tells the story of when she nearly went into labor on the set of The Talk. 

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Follow Sara Gilbert on Twitter and Instagram @thesaragilbert. You can watch her on The Conners every Wednesday on ABC.

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Transcript

SPEAKERS

Gloria Riviera, Sara Gilbert

Gloria Riviera  01:03

That was me and my daughter talking about my husband’s work. He was over in Ukraine. He actually did come back. That was his first trip. And now as of this show, airing, he is back in Ukraine. So a little bit of back and forth. And you’ll hear more about that in the conversation that follows. Where I get into childcare and juggling work. That familiar dance that we all do. This is NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US from Lemonada media. I’m Gloria Riviera. So I’m going to tell you a story about today’s guest. And I was told this story growing up. It starts it’s like I don’t know, 1979-1980. I’m 5, 6, little, my family is in Idaho. That’s where my mom is from. And we’re at the ice rink. And my mom sees this other mom. I’m skating with my siblings, and so are this other moms kids. But no one is talking to this other mom. So my mom says hello. And then like quite quickly, she invites this other mom to a barbecue at her place. And this one says on the spot why yes, she would love to come and thank you, as it is the first kind invitation she had received since arriving in Idaho. Two moms, meet cute because one notice is no one is talking to the other. So she says hello. Has that happened to anyone? Yeah, I thought so. Fast forward. Not only are our mother’s dear old friends, going back years and years, but I also have been friends with that woman’s daughter, Sara Gilbert, since we all met on that ice rink in Idaho. Sara is the cousin I would choose if I could choose family. I call her mom-auntie so you know, basically it’s already official. Of course, we could not have known that as a kid, as a child. Sara would begin what would become a long, successful multifaceted career as an actor, a producer and author and activist. I’m sure I’m leaving something out. I mean, I guess I might have known because she comes from a family of very successful writers and actors in Hollywood. But to me, she was just my friend performing with me as an itty-bitty girl in the I show. My friend who’s snowboarded eons before anyone else did. My friend who came to visit me in Seattle for my 13th birthday, my friend who had a very cute Beagle named Ralph. I mean, all you really need to know is that she’s the kind of girl who would name a dog, Ralph. And if I remember correctly, one time, we somehow got into a car neither one of us was of age to drive. We may have commandeered that car as teenagers one evening, over Thanksgiving in LA. I think we drove it to the mall. But I digress.

Gloria Riviera  05:00

So Sarah, you know, because she played Darlene on Roseanne, a sitcom about navigating life as part of a blue-collar family and all of the issues and challenges and hardships that come with that. She also during the filming of that show, went to Yale, I don’t know if you’ve heard of it. She would then become an executive producer and a panelist on the CBS show the talk, she would relaunch Roseanne. Now, she was playing Darlene as a parent herself. That became the Connors, all hit shows. She’s written books, and she supports charities like No Kid Hungry. She’s done many, many more creative, challenging, yet deeply satisfying things along the way. One of which is becoming a mom. She has three terrific kids. By all accounts, Auntie Barbara might be my source. Her oldest is 17. And her youngest is about the same age as my daughter, about 6. And in watching her middle child, do something for her when she left the talk, I think I got my best glimpse into who Sarah is as a mother. Because we really did grow apart in our 20s and into our 30s. And we’re just now doing this really lovely thing, which is rediscovering each other now that we’re parents. So Sarah had announced she was leaving the talk and her middle child wrote and performed the kind of song that let me just say, Jesus, if I will ever hear a song like that written by one of my own kids, I will just call it a day. Let me play you a clip.

Gloria Riviera  07:14

Those lyrics are just so real. And you don’t have a kid who writes something like that, unless you are a real parent, too. In this episode, Sara and I are going to talk about parenting about childcare what we get right what we don’t get right. And Sarah makes the very good point about childcare, which is that in many ways, right now, it is a reflection of the socio-economic extremes in this country. Those with money have more options than those who don’t and child care, like health care should be a public good. We should all have a right to it. I have yet to speak to someone who disagrees with me on that point. Before we get into the interview, I do you want to remind you all that today is the last day to vote for NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US for best public service and activism podcast at this year’s Webby Awards. That’s right. We are a Webby Award finalist. It’s so exciting. Thank you guys all so much for listening and for supporting the show. We would not be here without you. To vote, all you have to do is head over to vote.webbyawards.com. Click on the categories tab and select podcasts. From there scroll down to general series and select public service and activism. That’s it. You will find us there along with our fellow nominees. You can also find a direct link to vote in today’s show notes and on Lemonada’s social media accounts at @LemonadaMedia on all platforms. As I said today is the last day to vote. So you can hit pause. It’s okay. run, don’t walk to vote.webbyawards.com. Tell everyone you know to vote for us. And thank you. Thank you all so much. Okay, here we go. I really hope you enjoy this conversation with Sara Gilbert. Hi, Sara. So good to see you. I’m so excited to do this. And I’ve had so many thoughts about our long history. I mean, really long history.

Sara Gilbert  09:26

I know it’s wild. And it is interesting, because the time when we were connected the most is when we were the children. And now we’re meeting to talk about being the parents, but that is when we spent the most time together in our lives in that other role. So I’m interested to hear your perspective now and to share my perspective and kind of meet up all these years later.

Gloria Riviera 

Absolutely. I like to start all of these interviews by asking you if you think about when you woke up this morning, what was the first sort of logistical note in your head that you started to triage.

Sara Gilbert  10:03

I woke up today at 6, it was like, it was a little bit early, and I was checking stuff on my phone because I’m addicted to my phone. And then I would say like 15 or 20 minutes in, there was somebody I was supposed to talk to about one of my kids. And I got an email saying, just making sure you have my number. And I realized that my 9AM appointment was Eastern time. So I called immediately at, you know, 6:24, or whatever it was, and did you know the second half of the appointment. So that was kind of the first, I’ve screwed this up.

Gloria Riviera 

Yeah, I’m behind it. It’s 6:24 in the morning.

Sara Gilbert 

I’ve already messed up parenting, and it’s 6:24.

Gloria Riviera

One thing that we have not talked a lot about on this show is the LGBTQ, you know, part of parenting and like everyone, you know, those in that community need to find affirming childcare options. So going back, how did you handle that? Was it a non-issue for you, in your world where you live? Did it ever cross your plate as how are we going to figure this out? How do I find an LGBTQ affirming child caregiver? How did you handle that?

Sara Gilbert 

Probably as well, as I handled the 6AM call today. I didn’t really consider it to be totally honest, I felt that me and my partner at the time were the gender affirming, you know, or the LGBTQ affirming representatives. And I wasn’t too worried. And I would say I did probably run across a couple circumstances with people whose eyes or minds weren’t as open as mine. But I guess I’ve always taken that as an opportunity for people to get to know us, see that there is love there, see that we are a family. And I’m sort of open to different people, even if their minds are closed, because I just think there’s no way to change that narrative if people aren’t getting to know you. And if you are reactive to that there’s just then you both are in your corners forever.

Gloria Riviera  12:42

Right. Right. And you were a full-time working parent, right? When you went into thinking about starting a family. So how did that affect? You know, when who would carry the baby? Like, how did that all come together for you?

Sara Gilbert 

Well, because I’m an actor, I think it was, you know, hit and miss when I was working. It’s the last probably 10 to 12 years, I’ve been working kind of nonstop, mostly. But at the beginning, I would say there were times where I was working. I wasn’t working.

Gloria Riviera 

So if your oldest is 17, that sort of predates when you really started, you know cranking. So you were in this position where you could take the time to think about starting a family.

Sara Gilbert

I was around a lot and pretty, I mean, everybody’s pretty possessive with their kids, obviously. But I go into some kind of crazy mother bear mode, the first couple of years, I would say where it’s really hard for me to hand my kids over to somebody else. And I think, you know, a lot of people experienced that. And I happened to be fortunate enough at that time to have extra time now I’m sure I was also stressed about not working enough. So there’s sort of no great scenario but yes, I did have a lot more time then. And then with my youngest, I was more sort of torn between work and him but I was lucky enough to be able to bring him to work a lot.

Gloria Riviera  14:30

You were in charge so you got to make that call or is that something that’s companywide? I mean, that’s so unusual. How did that all work when you had to work with a kid with you?

Sara Gilbert 

Well on some lots and entertainment like they’ll even have daycare on the lot with this. It was I had my own dressing room. So it was just lucky that I could bring him and Linda his other mom took off a few months from  work and would come with me and I would, you know, run back to the dressing room nurse him run back to work and just kind of figured it out. And it was shorter days. So yeah, it was just a very lucky situation.

Gloria Riviera 

And he was loving it. I mean, he must have been tiny, tiny.

Sara Gilbert

Pretty much. And then I can’t even remember what happened after the first few months.

Gloria Riviera 

What, you can’t remember early days of parenting?

Sara Gilbert

It’s such a blur. Every time someone’s about to have a baby, I’m like, oh, it’s yeah, it’s gonna be great. Like they have no idea, the sleep deprivation they’re heading into.

Gloria Riviera

Well, if we knew no one can know. I mean, if we knew, I don’t know. It’d be much harder to dive into it.

Sara Gilbert 

I guess. But I did it multiple times. So I knew the second and third time.

Gloria Riviera  16:01

I know. But we forget. That’s what I think. And actually, that’s a point I think I make about childcare is that we get through it. And I’m like you, I struggle with, you know, justifying the fact that I’m even leading this conversation because I’ve had so much help, as we’ve moved from country to country. You know, when we were in China, my mom came with me when my kids were three and one. It was like, I used to say it was like Michelle Obama when she moved her mom into the White House. I was like, that’s what I’m doing. I’m moving my mom to China. But I think once we get through those early, hard days of childcare, we don’t remember how we got through it. Even if we got through it with an enormous amount of help. Because those days are behind us.

Sara Gilbert

Yeah, you kind of move forward. It’s funny. I was on a walk yesterday. And I saw this woman with a puppy and a baby stroller, sweating, stopping, picking up poop into one of those little plastic bags for the dog. And I was just laughing to myself, not at her but just thinking I flashed back to when she was like, let’s get a puppy and let’s have a baby and they’ll grow up together. I was looking at where she was now and I so related to it, this sort of dream versus the reality of what happened and it’s a mess when it actually happens. But now it also of course it gives our lives so much meaning and I wouldn’t change any of it but it’s just much messier and more difficult than you realize going in.

Gloria Riviera 

Right. Someone once told me I talked to her she was a dog lover about getting a puppy when my kids were tiny and she goes she’s silent after I gave her my, you know, my argument? She goes, is this for the Christmas card? Is that what this dog is about? About like taking a photo and she was right. And that was in 2008. When I have waited until 2021 to get a dog, I am now a dog owner but my kids are older.

Sara Gilbert  20:35

I think I saw some of those beautiful photographs.

Gloria Riviera 

So you have been in these two relationships, you’ve had these beautiful children, but you’ve also had these chapters of solo parenting. And I’m curious about how you navigate making childcare choices with an axe and what hard moments you might have faced in those times.

Sara Gilbert

I think, you know, with like, Linda, I can speak to that the most recent were luckily so much on the same page, we’re so similar, then it’s pretty easy. Yeah, it’s kind of great, I would say our relationship is at its best ever right now. And I’m so appreciative. I would say my first relationship were a little bit more different. But I just learned to accept those differences and understand that those give their own value to the kids or sort of a balance to someone not being like you. And I’ve also learned, which I think is valuable, whether you’re together or not together is just accepting that somebody else may do things slightly differently. And that’s okay. And not everything is going to be in your control. And there’s a reason there’s two parents. And we certainly share a lot of similar values. So I think that’s helpful. It’s, you know, I think it’s probably really hard for people who have extremely different values. We just have different styles, I would say.

Gloria Riviera  22:51

I think that makes a lot of sense. I work this through in therapy, where, you know, my partner is just going to do things a different way. And initially, it would drive me insane. And I wouldn’t want him to do it because I know how to do it. I know the best way to do it. I mean, I’m kidding, right? That’s what I thought in my mind, let me just do this. Okay, let me just do this.

Sara Gilbert 

Especially if you’re type A, you know, which I think you are.

Gloria Riviera 

Good guess, and I think you can be type A and be okay, with a different style, which I had to learn how to be both at the same time. But in terms of childcare when you did. So when the time came to drop your oldest off at school, you said before, you were not someone who was ready to hand your child off to anyone even in those early years. But you had to at some point. So, do you remember how you felt about the place that you chose for him? And again, acknowledging the privilege of being able to choose a place that’s a huge privilege, but do you remember how it felt to give them to someone else for the day?

Sara Gilbert  24:12

Yes, I mean, I remember. I’m trying to remember I think, and which kid it was, but I just remember there was like a roaming preschool at first where parents would go at first and then they would leave, and I just never left as like, I’m just staying.

Gloria Riviera 

What do you mean for the whole day?

Sara Gilbert

Yeah, I mean, it might have only been a few hours, but I was just like, I’m just chilling with this situation. So that was the beginning. But when they actually started school, I did let go and I was ready. And I think I felt like it was exciting that they were getting to the next chapter.

Gloria Riviera

And that’s how you want to feel you want to feel excited about it. But that moment is so different for so many Americans. I mean, that moment right now in childcare, the economy and the jobs market as essentially almost reached pre COVID levels, except in the childcare industry. I mean, we talked to someone who runs an early childcare center, and she’s just, she’s so good at her job. She’s just a get things done kind of person. And she was in tears, saying that she in the last week had received two calls to early childcare, teachers were leaving. And they’re leaving because the amount of teachers is so low that they’re to stress they’re not doing the job they were hired to do, she had like at the head of finance was in the classroom, because there’s such a deficit in such a desert. And so that’s when I think about sort of blacking out that part of my life. The reason I want to do this show is because it’s ongoing, the crisis is happening right now. And it feels like, as a working parent, we have to be aware of it because I don’t want it to be like that for my, my child. I don’t want my children to have to face the difficulty that early childcare is in this country, and you’re an activist, and you’ve done a lot of work with No Kid Hungry? How do you look at activism and this issue specifically, what do you think needs to happen? What kind of conversations need to take place around this issue?

Sara Gilbert  26:36

Well, look, I’m certainly no expert in this area. And there are people that are brilliant at policymaking and things like that. But to me, this whole country, as great of a country as it is, is so skewed towards socio-economic privilege. So if, you know, I just think about if it take it to even COVID, somebody who has money, has connections gets COVID You know, they’re getting monoclonal antibodies, or they’re getting Paxil COVID. And they’re have a doctor and someone’s checking their oxygen levels. And versus somebody who doesn’t have that they’re sitting at home, hoping they’re okay, you know, if they don’t have health care, or the best doctors or so it’s the same to me with childcare. It’s just people who have money, people who have access, are getting the better things. And I just think it’s one thing if you’re talking about extracurricular activities with your family, and it’s another thing if you’re talking about child care, health care, things that are fundamental to your survival. So I don’t really know what the answers are. Like I said, I think there’s people that are way smarter than I am. I’m just an actor. So I always feel even silly, like giving my opinion on these things. I just see that there’s a problem. I’m happy. We’re talking about it. I’m happy you’re making a podcast and just bringing awareness to this crushing issue that’s going on.

Gloria Riviera  28:17

I mean, my big frustration is that everybody acknowledges it’s a huge problem, right? In the United States, like nobody really does anything for you until your child is ready to go to school at age 5. Yes, there’s universal pre-K, we applied for it in DC and my child didn’t get a spot. So it’s a lottery system. It’s not guaranteed and DC is like a leader in that way. So everyone acknowledges that it’s a huge problem. But nobody wants to pay for it. So then how do we fix that? And there are places like you said, some of these studios have daycares on the set. First of all, you know, the entertainment industry’s attitude towards women, it’s surprising to hear that it’s evolved to a point where they’re offering daycare on set. And I’m curious what your experience was when you were pregnant, what have you seen change in the time that you’ve been in the entertainment industry, regarding attitudes towards women who decide to have children.

Sara Gilbert 

Well, with in terms of daycare, it’s not usually like the set it’s the lot so okay, the Sony lot has daycare, there’s different lots that have it and probably depending on their size, and the company and that owns it. What attitudes are what has changed..

Gloria Riviera

In my mind, I keep thinking of people like not, you know, could you get a job if you were pregnant? Or would the attitude towards you hiring you change if you had more than one child? Like, How has that worked for you as you’ve been pregnant and had your children I guess your last child you were cranking away. You were full time.

Sara Gilbert  30:05

Yeah. And I mean, I’ve been against so extraordinarily lucky that I don’t know if it’s affected me I don’t so, I think people have been pretty open to it. I mean, just a funny story. I remember, I had a lot of false labor with Rhoades, my youngest. And I was up all night a few nights and then it would stop and it would start and I was having contractions that were really strong. And I was driving to work and I called the other producer and I was like, listen, I can come in, but I just want you to know that I’m like having some pretty serious contractions. And he was like, great, basically, like if I were to go into labor on the show would be like a big rain, it’s so funny. So I actually did go into work.

Gloria Riviera 

Oh my God, that’s crazy, though. He wasn’t like stay home.

Sara Gilbert 

Oh my god, we were laughing. I mean, he’s a friend of mine. So we were laughing about it. But the contractions calm down before and it’s you know, it’s a live show. So there’s just, you never know what’s gonna happen.

Gloria Riviera 

Yeah, clearly. You got through it without having the baby during the show. I guess I would have known about that.

Sara Gilbert 

I made it through yet stopped and then started and you know, I’ve always felt a big pressure to show up at work. It’s really hard for me to skip work. Yeah, I have to think I’m going to infect other people or something’s really got to stop me from going. So I worked right up until a couple days before finally I thought you know what? I’m out. I can’t do it.

Gloria Riviera 

And what do you think your kids have learned from seeing you go to work every day. And all your partners have both had extraordinary success in their own careers. So your kids have had these two incredible role models throughout? What do you think? And do they ever talk about it? Do they ever? Is it not a big deal for them?

Sara Gilbert  34:26

I think there’s probably a double edge thing to it. I think on the one hand, they feel like it’s important to work and work hard and try to go after your dreams and, you know, I try to tell them that it’s possible going after what they want from their lives. And then, on the other hand, one of my kids, you know, felt like it would be impossible to achieve what his parents had achieved. I think when you’re in the perspective of a teenager looking at somebody who’s been working away for 40 years or whatever, it’s just hard to imagine achieving that, because they’re at the very beginning. So I, you know, I sort of talked to them about that. But I don’t know, what do your kids think about the way you work?

Gloria Riviera 

I think. When they were really little I was working, I was covering Asia for ABC News. And they actually what they remember is me being away. So they remember, when I would go for a week or two weeks. And at that point, my partner was working back in the States. So they were little they were three and four and five, they remember me being away. Now, I think it’s a mixture of they’re proud of what we do as journalists, to speak to the, you know, sort of obsession with, you know, financial success. They do, we talk to them about, yes, we are successful, but we choose to do something for what it is not what we make. So you choose to do what you do, because you love being creative. And we choose to do what we do, because we love to tell stories. And sometimes those are really hard. So my partner was just away, my husband was just away for a month and Ukraine. And that was stressful for the 13-year-old because he’s watching the headlines. He’s got a phone, you know, he wants to know, if dad’s in a safe place.

Sara Gilbert  36:38

How difficult to talk to your 13-year-old because, you know, if they say, is dad safe? I mean, that’s a very hard question to answer. You know, there, there’s an element of well, he’s probably in a safer area or protected to some degree. But you know, it’s hard to answer that, honestly. I’m curious how you dealt with that?

Gloria Riviera 

Well, we dealt with it by saying, Listen, I mean, we’re a news family, right? So we go into it, and they want to know, you know, are Russians, the bad guys, and my youngest daughter, who’s six, we were just talking about 23 and me. And she was like, wait, we’re Russian. Cuz she just little Russian in her, and we had a big conversation about how, you know, Putin does not represent all of Russia, there are good people everywhere. So, you know, the harder thing about my partner going to Ukraine is that he’ll probably go back. So it’s an ongoing conversation. And, and he, you know, the Wi Fi is good, they’re able to be in touch. But it’s this, it’s this larger issue of, you know, our kids see us work, they see us make sacrifices to send them to the best schools that we can find. And yet, you know, I think it’s a rare day that everyone’s had a great day that everyone was super happy, right? Like, those days don’t often come around. So anyway, back to the raising teenagers. Did you did you think about child acting at all? Or was that just an immediate no.

Sara Gilbert  38:15

Off of news and into the dangerous world of acting. That I’ve kind of always encouraged my kids to do school plays and things like that, if they want to act? I can’t say that I would be 100% opposed. If they wanted to do it. I definitely had a good experience myself. But I’d be more likely to encourage them to do it in their schools and just be passionate in that way and start their careers later for numerous reasons. But I definitely think there’s success stories. It’s not always bad when people start younger.

Gloria Riviera 

So when you look at where you are right now, you have a good relationship with your youngest’s mom, mother mom, and you have a good working parenting relationship with your first ex. What are the big challenges that you see coming down the pipeline with your kids?

Sara Gilbert

Well, I mean, God, that is really a question where a parent’s anxiety could just go haywire. You know, you just start thinking about the future. Future tripping, I guess people like to call it but I you know, one thing it makes me think of in terms of single parenting, yeah, is just that. You know, and again, there’s, I’m sure there’s some advantages to like there’s no conflict when you’re just making the choices in your house and there’s not a lot of, there’s no fighting you know, so even in the best of relationships, there’s conflict. So I’m sure there’s something about that that’s good. But I also sometimes feel like there’s no parent to balance me out. So even though I’m working closely with their parents, they’re not always here. And so I can tend to be the more nurturing. I mean, the other parents are nurturing too, but just in terms of me, I am not that disciplined, probably not that structure oriented, I get a little lost, and not so focused all the time. So I think, I wonder how that is for my kids. You know, I think in some ways, and sometimes it would probably be good if I had somebody here saying like, no, it’s seven o’clock, and this is the time for this. And I’m a little more artsy, and let’s go with the flow, and how do you feel and blah, blah, blah. So I kind of wonder how that affects them, or how that might, you know, I try to hope that it will create eccentricities that will work to their advantage, like whether they’re artists or whether they’re more compassionate or whether who knows. But yeah, but I definitely think that sometimes I wish there was a balance in that way.

Gloria Riviera 

I know, I know. And you said the phrase future tripping. And it’s like, that’s one of the questions I like to ask at the end is, you know, what weighs on you? And I guess that’s what weighs on all of us. Right? And when you compound those questions, right, will they be good people? And I especially think with teenagers, I feel like I’ve done everything I can do. And now that separation is you get to make your own choices, have the dessert, don’t have the dessert, like I hope I’ve taught you well.

Sara Gilbert 

Yeah, 100%. And I think they’re not going to be perfect people, you know, we’re not perfect people. And then when you’re staring at your kids is not perfect people, it’s painful. But just to remember that contentment, joy this, that, sometimes those are lifelong struggles for people or finding who they are, or whatever the scenario is. And I also something I’m learning as I get older, and my kids get older is that their lives are their own. So I do the best I can to shape them, give them tools, teach them what I believe is right from wrong. And then at the end of the day, they are going to make the choices they make and it’s better for me if I’m not fused with them, if I’m fused with them when they’re making choices that aren’t ideal. I’m in reactivity, I’m in panic. So it’s sort of an act of faith, just it’s the same as when you have another parent that’s parenting differently from you, or there’s just an act of faith and a letting go and trusting. So when I’m watching from that position of it’s their life, and I don’t know what the best path is, I don’t, this may lead them to the most fulfilling life, even if there’s more pain in this moment, than I do a little better. And I think I’m a better parent.

Gloria Riviera 

You know, I’ve always looked at you as someone who goes first, even from a very young age, even ice skating, even being in the show.

Sara Gilbert 

You were better though.

Gloria Riviera 

And I look to you in the same way now because you’re that much farther ahead of me as a parent. And I find it very helpful, you know, to have someone ahead of you to say it’ll be okay. And share stories. Right? We’re both storytellers. And before I let you go; I’ll ask you one more question on that. You know, being part of the Connors and playing Darlene both as a child right, it sort of mirrors our own relationship like that intense time for you on Roseanne. You were a child and now you are a parent on the Connors, what do you think that family faces in terms of childcare? Because there are little kids on that show?

Sara Gilbert  44:16

Absolutely. And we talk about that just the episode. It’s the one that I actually am working on right now that just came from the editors is about that. And I don’t want to give too much away but it’s a family member asking another one can you help with childcare and then that affects other relationships because they’re like, wait a minute, you’re putting your other kids first and not putting this relationship first. And so we definitely deal with that. And there are times where Becky’s had to put her baby into childcare with people who had totally different values. It was her Emilio’s family. And she felt she had no choice. And they didn’t even like her. And she felt she still had to put her baby in their care. Because she had no other options.

Gloria Riviera 

I mean, just that were that that phrase, she felt like she had no choice. So many parents are in that same. Like, this is my only choice. If I want to go do whatever Becky wanted to go do, go to her job, you know, whatever it is.

Sara Gilbert 

And then was trying to also at some point, go back to school. So yes, she’s there’s been a couple stories where she’s had to struggle for childcare. And of course, we’re just a show, and we’re doing the best we can. But our staff is pretty much all comes from a working-class background. So they have a good handle on what it’s like to, you know, not have enough resources for what you need. And one other thing I just want to touch on that an idea that has helped me that is certainly not an excuse to not try to be a great parent. But the idea of the good enough mother, which I don’t know if you know, when I caught the psychologist came up with and there is some comfort in that, especially, if you’re type A or perfectionist, and you know, you’re not going to be able to do everything and be everything for your kids. That if you come from good values and, you know, a decent frame of mind, and you’re trying your best that that that is good enough.

Gloria Riviera  46:37

Yeah. See, you’re doing it right now for me again, because that is very helpful. Yes, you are like that makes me feel better. Right? I actually feel better hearing that.

Sara Gilbert 

Well, it’s true. When we look back at our own histories. None of us have perfect histories, right? But it’s okay, we still have an opportunity to have great lives.

Gloria Riviera 

I know. Well, I love hearing about the storyline on the Conners. And how you guys honor that reality. For so many people watching the show. I mean, it’s always been such a standout because it reflects a reality that was just not represented in television that’s been part of its identity for so long. And I think part of why it still strikes such a chord.

Sara Gilbert 

Thank you. I mean, we definitely there are some shows, it’s obviously it’s gotten better. But there are oftentimes we see shows where they say they’re working class or don’t have a lot of money, but then they have some amazing apartment and childcare and never are struggling to pay the bills. So we really try to represent you know, what happens when the electricity gets shut off for real, you know, you have seven bills, and you can only pay one of them.

Gloria Riviera 

Right? Well, Sara, thank you so much for this, you know, what I know is a valuable hour in your day, especially when you started your day, a half an hour late for an appointment. I’m always so proud of you. I am just whenever my mom and I have been in a hard spot and we’ve talked to your mom about this. You know, my mom will just exhale and she’ll be like, wow, I think we’re doing a good job. pass that to you. I think that you’re doing a good job.

Sara Gilbert  48:24

I think I’m doing a good enough job.

Gloria Riviera 

I think you’re doing that enough job. Yeah. So we’re gonna combine the lesson I got and update my mom’s line, I think you’re doing a good enough job, a damn good enough job.

Sara Gilbert 

Exactly. There we go.

Gloria Riviera 

Good enough. I really liked that idea. That idea gives me room to breathe. And if you didn’t get it from Sara, I might be type A so I can really use some time to breathe. I also love what she had to say about studios offering daycare. I didn’t know that. And it gives me hope that big companies do get it. And that’s important. That’s a start. Also, I really like the way she spoke about this idea of being fused with our kids. So many parents are just intertwined with their kids’ lives. But Sara’s point, the way I took it was that it is in being able to separate in that process. There is a very healthy aspect of accepting our children as their own individuals, their own humans. And that can be a very healthy thing in parenting. That also makes me breathe a little easier. See, I learned a lot. I want to say thank you to Sarah for the conversation. And I want to say thank you for this new chapter that our very old, very cherished friendship is experiencing that coming back together. As mothers in our 40s It’s like we’re relaunching our friendship. And it really warms my heart. I also have to tell you guys, I had to fact check and text her to say, was your dog named Ralph? I’m remembering Ralph. We laughed. You can watch Sara on the Connors every Wednesday on ABC. Thanks again. Okay, so now it’s that time that makes me smile, because we get to hear from you, our no one is coming to save us community. In these voice memos, you make such touching relatable points. You know, they can be hard to hear just how tough it is out there. But we need to keep hearing those stories, because that is the fuel that fires this fight. Here are your real childcare moments from this week.

Speaker 3  50:49

Hi Gloria, instead of getting my kids up, and then and ready. Right now I’m doing this because that’s all I can think about. And we’ll be late again today like we’re late every day. But that’s a reality. I’m a working mom of two young kids. And I also serve as the volunteer board president for my County’s only licensed childcare center. And we’re going on about six and a half years of having the center open. And over the years, the support that got it going has really kind of fallen by the wayside. And it’s been left with just parents who really, really care about this and know that we can’t allow it to close. And the title that no one is coming to save us has never felt more true. Because no one is going to make sure that our community has this but a small group of parents who are really tired and really determined and getting really pissed off. And the fact that my entire community’s access to childcare rests on my shoulders is really heavy. And nobody is going to come and do it for us. So broken.

Speaker 4  52:17

I am a preschool teacher in our local public school district. And I was recently asked to stay an extra hour at the end of my work day to help out with a recess in which we have a lot of kids who have special needs. Kids who have a lot of intense support during the day. But they don’t have those support people on the playground. So I’ve been helping out and for the last two weeks, it has been absolute chaos with kids hitting, kicking, biting, just getting into trouble all the time. But after two weeks now, the last two consecutive days, we have had no physical aggression, no hitting, no kicking, no biting. So I call that a huge success.

Gloria Riviera

I’d call that a huge success too. And that first one having the weight, God, I feel it of her whole community on her shoulders. I cannot even imagine. Both of you keep up the amazing work. We need you. I would love for you to be a part of our community of caregivers. All you have to do is grab your phone and record a short voice memo and email it to me at Gloria at lemon automedia.com. I cannot wait to hear about your triumphs, your struggles, everything in between. All right, we have got some amazing shows coming up in the next few weeks. Next week. I’ll be talking to an incredible woman, Camille Bennett. I mean, wow. She is a childcare director and activist from Alabama. She tells me about the bleak childcare landscape in her state and lays out why childcare is a racial justice issue. I cannot wait for you to hear this conversation. Then the week after, I’ll be speaking with Liz Tenety. She is the co-founder of motherly Inc. She’s the host of the motherly podcast, we are going to talk about how we fix this system so that mothers can thrive. And then the following week, I’ll talk with Julie Kashen. She’s the director of women’s economic justice at the Century Foundation. And she’s going to tell me what the future of federal childcare reform looks like. Now that Build Back Better is no more I hate saying that. But it’s true. Still, there is hope. All right, that’s all for now. Thank you so much for listening. I can’t wait to see you back here next week.

CREDITS

NO ONE IS COMING TO SAVE US is a Lemonada media original presented by and created with Neighborhood Villages. The show is produced by Kryssy Pease and Alex McOwen, Veronica Rodriguez is our engineer music is by Hannis Brown. Our executive producers are Stephanie Wittels Wachs, Jessica Cordova Kramer, and me Gloria Riviera. If you like the show, and you believe what we’re doing is important. Please help others find us by leaving us a rating and writing us a review. Do you have your own experiences and frustrations with the childcare system? Do you have ideas for what we could do to make it better? Join the no one is coming to save us Facebook group where we can continue the conversation together. You can also follow us and other Lemonada podcasts at @LemonadaMedia across all social platforms. Thank you so much for listening. We will be back next week. Until then hang in there. You can do it.

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