Categories
Personal

In Defense of the Menlo Park Mom

Last week a job posting for a household manager/cook/nanny went viral.  The poster is a single mom of twin boys and CEO of a San Francisco-area company.  You can see the post for yourself here.  The job description was incredibly detailed.  The right applicant should be able to, among other things, do the following:

  • Plan vacations based on interests and ages of the family, including recommending appropriate vacation destinations, booking vacations (while understanding how to use credit card points vs. cash), and tracking expenses;
  • Track purchases, administer allowance, and make returns on time;
  • Manage the Google calendar;
  • Meal plan for the family, taking into account various dietary restrictions;
  • Cook meals for the family according to certain criteria/said dietary restrictions;
  • Physically active and able to play with the two boys (10);
  • Arrange play dates and manage social calendar for boys;
  • Travel with the family.

The backlash was swift.  My mom’s groups blew up on Facebook and Reddit, and a common refrain was that we women already do this work and we aren’t paid for it!

But isn’t that the point?

Slate found the mom, who agreed to an anonymous interview. You should read it. In it, she says, facetiously, that she’s looking for a wife. But that’s not totally right. She’s looking for another her. The tasks she outlined? I can do those. I currently do those. And no, I’m not paid for it. And yes, the job description is incredibly detailed because this is an attempt at outlining all the parameters this woman can think of to replicate the things she’s already doing.

I don’t blame her! I too would pay good money to no longer have to meal plan, prep, and grocery shop. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be able to focus on my work all day and come home and have dinner already on the table, with the next day’s snacks and meals already planned. (Side note: is this how husbands have it because if so I will scream. No, right??)

Anyway, I applaud the effort in trying to craft a list of tasks that could show, rather than tell, what it is this woman wants. She wants someone to care about her kids as much as she does, to proactively look for ways to make their lives better, just as she does. She wants someone willing to spend the mental energy to meal prep, set up play dates, find the “right” flag football team, and manage the damn Google calendar.

She wants another her. The problem is, it’s impossible to replicate yourself. The things parents do for their families, the mental load of running a household while staying present when you’re with your kid(s), while crushing it at work? What we do is unique. And it will be hard to find a person who fits this criteria and is willing to work for the amount this woman is willing to pay, which is $35-40 an hour.

There was a time in my life when I would have accepted a job like this, with all the benefits, and saved for college or law school. In fact, that time in my life came to pass when I was 18 and nannied for a summer, complete with a vehicle I could use all day long. The problem is, my 18-year old self would have been total shit at this job. The amount of emotional intelligence she’s looking for is almost certainly reserved for those of us who have been through it before and understand the importance of caring about these things and getting it right.

Now, as a lawyer who is also a mom, I’m perfectly qualified for the position, but would never take it. If anything, this posting attempts to quantify the unpaid labor that moms do every single day for years on end. And what I’ve learned is that while you may be able to pay to outsource some things, the value moms add is priceless (or, at the very least, worth more than $35-40 an hour).

Apologies for any typos. I wrote this on my commute home, as I had to leave early from work to prepare our family dinner of organic salmon and root vegetables before my toddler gets hangry at 5:45.

Categories
Bachelor

Episode 3: Too Much Pageantry?

It feels like we’re getting into the swing of things now, so let the games begin.

Champagne-gate

We start with a flashback of champagne-gate, and then a cut to the morning after.  Everyone is tired of talking about champagne.  Kelsey doesn’t even LIKE champagne.  Both women take the L.  Moving on.

Victoria P. and the Role of Trauma

Victoria P. has her first one-on-one date and we quickly see that she is too good for this show.  In the first episode we got a little back story, which previewed her challenging upbringing.  Her dad passed away when she was young and her mom struggled with addiction.  In that promo package, we saw Victoria P. with her mom and her sister, so it seems like her mom has recovered (at least enough to participate), but we got a lot more details last night.

Victoria P.’s story is chilling.  She was tasked with taking care of her sister as they shuffled through shelters, dealing with extreme food insecurity.  Victoria P. detailed how she would cut up a raw potato, season it with salt and pepper, and give it to her sister just to ensure her sister would have food that day.

The trauma Victoria P. experienced is not fodder for a reality show.  It’s not something that should appear on a first date, complete with a close-up and touching music at the end of a segment.  Victoria P. should never feel like she needs to expose herself to the world to “get a rose.”

This is known on the show as the “trauma pitch” (although I liken it to trauma porn).  A contestant is encouraged to share their deepest trauma with a relative stranger (on national television, no less) as soon as possible.  The producers couch the advice to share in terms of “vulnerability,” being “open” to the process, and using your time with the lead in a world where time is the most valuable currency you have.

An article in Psychology Today says it better than I can:

“Due to limited and unpredictable access to the bachelor or bachelorette, there is intense pressure to ‘make a pitch’—that is, to form a sound bite about how one’s deepest trauma has taught them some valuable life lesson, usually some variant of one of these three or four themes.
The experience of [insert horrible trauma that the bachelor/bachelorette and audience have no right to know] has taught me to….’never take life for granted/make the most out of every day/tell the people I care about that I love them more often/make the most out of the chances I’m given.'”

Victoria P.’s “lesson” is that she has never felt deserving of someone like Peter, and it has impacted her past relationships.  Victoria P. shares that she is grateful to Peter (a stranger!!) for showing her what she deserves, and she wants Peter to know who she is.

This franchise and this universe is not the place for someone like Victoria P. to unpack this trauma and its impact on her interpersonal relationships.  The producers extricate these deep-seated emotions but are not there to help the contestant work through any of it after it’s shared.  The producers are there to make a story, and any alleged benefit a contestant has in unburdening herself is tangential to the overall goal of making a profitable show.  The costs far outweigh the benefits, yet we continue to see it season after season.

I worry this will not work out well for Victoria P.  She says repeatedly that she’s falling in love with Peter, and that she’ll do what she has to do to protect her relationship.  She seems to be conflating her worth with the idea of a “man like Peter” (who seems like a nice enough guy but fairly normal).  And Peter seems to be more into the idea of her than her.  He loves that she’s a caregiver, that she leads with her heart, and is drawn in by her background, but I don’t see a lot of chemistry between the two.  I am very nervous to see where this goes, for her sake.

Dethroning of Alayah

Is the era of beauty queens officially over on this franchise???  In the past few seasons the pageant queens have done fairly well (Hannah B., Caelynn) but now it seems like the tides are turning, and the fact that you are a pageant queen means you have the burden of showing you are actually authentic (let’s just ignore how that same description could apply to models, influencers, and half the contestants).

I have to admit I did not see this coming.In the past two episodes Alayah has been portrayed as a sweet friend.  She talked Kelsey up after Kelsey had a meltdown at Mykenna, even fixing her makeup.  So I was a little confused when we saw footage of the women at the house, with Alayah on a coffee table saying she’s “not like all those other beauty queens.”

This seems to be the impetus of Sydney’s takedown, but we later see that many of the women share Sydney’s thoughts on this.

I see two issues at play.  The first is Alayah’s profession(s) and her comments about how she’s “very good at putting on a face” when she needs to.  The second is Alayah’s actions, both before filming and in the house.  I think the women conflate the two, and use Alayah’s comments that seem to be made in jest against her, but they likely do so because Alayah’s actions in front of the camera don’t match who she is around the house.

I don’t really see an issue with Alayah’s comments.  Sydney, who has already decided that Alayah is fake, conducts a vicious cross-examination of Alayah in the night portion of the group date (seriously Sydney, consider litigation because that was masterful).

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She starts off with a question that Alayah should have known was pointed, but Alayah just responds normally, “oh yeah girl I have like three jobs.”  And it just goes downhill from there.  Sydney traps Alayah into saying that it’s easy for her to say the right things as to not offend people.

Sydney then shares this with Peter, and he takes it super seriously.  This is either a testament to Peter’s feelings for Sydney, or his fear of a Jed-repeat (probably a bit of both).  Peter is so scared that someone on the show is going to pull the wool over his eyes, he ends up doing a full house inquisition into Alayah’s actions.

And here’s where I really do see why Sydney raised this with Peter.  Because in every conversation (at least those we’re shown), the women Peter talks to say that Alayah is fake for the cameras.  That she acts one way and then as soon as the cameras are present she “turns it on.”  That her voice goes up an octave as soon as Peter shows up.

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And most damning of all, apparently Alayah told Victoria P. (a fellow pageant queen) to not share with producers that they knew each other before the show.  Alayah explained that she made that decision because she was scared that both women would be “disqualified” if producers knew they had a prior friendship (see, however, Caelynn and Hannah B. from last season, producers LOVE this stuff).  But it was the final nail in the coffin for Alayah.

I guess she comes back next episode, but I can’t imagine it’s for a long time.  Peter was really thrown by Sydney’s accusations, and it makes me wonder what the men on Hannah’s season knew about Jed (or Luke P.) and how they acted around Hannah versus in the house.  Peter said multiple times that he can’t let what happened last season happen again.

A few other thoughts:

Women and lingerie and pillow fighting?  Can we not, ABC?  Sometimes it feels like this show is too problematic to ever recover, but I guess that’s a conversation for another day.

Word slip-ups.  We had a few.  Case in point:

These made me giggle.

Top 4:

  1. Madison.  Can anyone beat Madison at this point?  Peter was so happy to see her, and their chemistry is palpable.  It’s hers to lose, but there’s still a lot of time so we shall see.
  2. Kelley.  I was glad to see Kelley back on our screens this week.  She had a nice one-on-one time with Peter, and I really liked how she characterized herself.  Instead of saying something like how she’s not like all the other women, she kept the focus on herself, sharing that she was really far outside of her comfort zone, but was sticking around for him.  These two seem like a normal couple, which is refreshing.  I also loved that Kelley bit her tongue during the drama.
  3. Sydney.  Somehow during all this mess, Sydney managed to position herself as Peter’s confidante.  It shows that Peter trusts her and is willing to take her side, even at this early stage.

Honorable Mention:

Tammy!  I am loving Tammy.  She’s hilarious and seems so normal.  Maybe getting a Bachelorette edit??  She and Peter finally shared a kiss.  I don’t see her getting to hometowns but I hope she sticks around awhile because she’s a breath of fresh air.

Until next week!

Categories
Bachelor

Episode 2: Champagne and Tears

Episode 2 in the books and I am still loving this season.  The producers seem to be pulling back the veil a bit (except for some suspect editing during the Hannah B. and Peter convo, discussed below), the ladies are bringing the drama, and Peter is appropriately bought into the process.  It’s just been a fun time, and I’m excited to see where it goes.

Let’s get to it!

Hannah B. and Peter

We pick up where we left off last week, which is exactly where I wanted to be.  Hannah B. and Peter are discussing their lingering feelings.  Hannah B. has admitted she wonders whether she made a mistake sending Peter home, and explains why she hasn’t reached out until now.  Here’s where the editing starts to get funky.  Peter asks Hannah to join the house, and her immediate response is, “I mean…” and then a soundbite of her saying “maybe” that we don’t see coming from her mouth (prime example of frankenbiting).  We then start getting some strange footage where it seems like the camera people are out of the room and zooming in:

Hannah says, “selfishly, let’s just get on a plane!” And then the conversation seems highly edited from that point out.  Up until then, the two of them had been super candid and honest with each other.  It’s the type of conversation you know has happened behind closed doors, but we’ve never seen it before on our screens, and it was incredibly compelling.  Hannah expressed doubt, Peter questioned whether she felt this way because she was focusing on the “what ifs” and not her true emotions, and both of them were stuck.  Hannah was in the middle of filming DWTS, and Peter had just started his journey as the Bachelor.  He asked if Hannah would come back to the house, but we all know Hannah would never do that.  All she could offer Peter was for him to break his contract, walk away from a house full of women vying for his attention, and take a chance on a maybe.

I have a feeling that after Hannah made the suggestion that they hightail it out of there, the two of them continued to have a very candid discussion about what that would look like.  We’ll see if either of them speak to the media about what we weren’t shown, but otherwise it’s impossible to know.  All we know is that after that conversation (and likely, some producer intervention telling Peter he absolutely could not walk away from his whole season), Peter told Hannah he couldn’t do it and the two of them said their goodbyes.

Takeaway on Hannah: I think the producers put her up to appearing on the show.  I think she has to own her actions once she got to the show, and I wish for both their sake she had kept what she was feeling to herself, because she wasn’t offering Peter a real choice.  She was never going to join his season, and she had to know he couldn’t leave his.  It wasn’t fair to ask him to do that, so it felt like an eruption of emotion without a well-thought out plan.  I feel for the woman but this helped no one.  I hope they both take some space from this.  If they have true feelings for each other they will find their way back together, but I think this is most likely an exercise in regret rather than true love.

Notably, we were missing any ITMs (“in the moment” interviews that are one-on-one) from either Hannah or Peter.  This is weird.  Last episode we had a ton of Hannah B. one-on-ones where she was crying to her producer and talking about her feelings.  And I don’t really understand the decision to not interview Peter about that interaction (or, more likely, to not SHOW any interviews with Peter) unless he was saying things that don’t fit with the narrative of the story arc this season.  Based on what we’ve been shown, I do not think Hannah B. and Peter get back together.  But we shall see!  This season is a big question mark, which makes it so fun to watch!

Champagnegate

This was some good old-fashioned producer-driven fun, wasn’t it?  Kelsey, who seemed to have been drinking some champagne already, set aside a bottle of champagne she’d been saving for a year.  Hannah Ann led Peter straight to it, seemingly not knowing it was Kelsey’s, and opened it right up.  Cue Kelsey’s total meltdown.

For context, Kelsey seemed to be keyed up in general during this cocktail party.  She accused Mykenna of “stealing” Peter when Mykenna spent some one-on-one time with him (at least from what we saw, Mykenna did not appear to take Peter from anyone).  So Kelsey was primed for an altercation.

I asked my Instagram whether they thought Hannah Ann knew the champagne was Kelsey’s, and the response was mixed:

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I think Hannah Ann was set up.  As she explained after the incident, there were two champagne areas and I think producers likely led her to the wrong one.  Hannah Ann’s reactions (and subsequent decision to tattle to Peter and accuse Kelsey of bullying) are her own, but I do believe her on this point.

I do not, however, think Kelsey was bullying Hannah Ann, and it turns out, neither do you:

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Honestly, both women take the loss here.  Kelsey overreacted about the champagne, and continued to hold a grudge into the next day and night, which seems unnecessary.  At first I thought Hannah Ann handled the altercation well.  She could have emoted a bit more, and focused on apologizing right away, but she stayed calm and moved away from the situation.  I didn’t think she needed to continue the drama by bringing it up with Peter, especially after she “won” that group date.

And let’s talk about that group date, shall we?

Victoria F. vs. Hannah Ann

This was a doozy.  Victoria F. was all over the place and it was really hard for me to follow.  If you recall, she botched a sexual joke right out of the limo, and seemed to get real awkward, real fast.

victoria f 1

Since then, she has made it a point to tell the camera (and us) how out of her element she is, how this is uncomfortable for her, and how she’s not like the other girls.  This episode, she’s tapped to participate in one of the better dates this franchise has to offer – a chance to win a whole wardrobe sponsored by Revolve.  And all you have to do is put together an outfit of your choosing and strut down the runway.  (Remember when contestants had to get almost naked in years past?  This is way better.)   Also, Victoria F. is a model:

So I find it a little hard to believe that this date got her spinning out so badly, but that’s what she says.

She ping pongs between scared, crying, giddiness, etc. on this date.  It was hard to follow.

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I’m not totally sure what to make of her yet, and it looks like you guys are just as stymied:

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I do believe that one person can authentically feel all these emotions in a short span of time, especially in a stressful situation like dating on national television.  So I’m not saying that she’s putting on an act, but she does seem hard to follow.  She has another breakdown to Peter in the evening portion of the date, and pulls a card that many a contestant has used in the past by threatening to leave.  She’s threatened to leave a few times already, and the previews show her doing it again, so we’ll see whether Peter tires of it in the future, but for now he gives her the assurances she needs to hear, and all seems well.  I think she’ll be around for a bit.

Here’s who I think Peter is most interested in at this point.

  1. Madison:  We didn’t see a ton of her this episode but when we did see her it was meaningful.  Peter gave her a framed picture of their date and made a point to tell her how much he liked her.  I think he’s really feeling it with her.
  2. Sydney: We finally got to see some of Sydney!  She got the group date rose, and Peter really seemed to connect with her.  We also saw some good footage in the preview of the two of them.  I think he really appreciated that she was a straight-shooter and down to earth.
  3. Hannah Ann: Like her or not, it’s pretty clear Peter does.  We’ll see how she weathers the Kelsey storm, but I have a feeling Hannah Ann is going to come out the winner there.  The girls is confident, I’ll give her that!
  4. Victoria F. (possibly): Jury is still out here, I’m not ready to put her at the very top, but that runway walk alone won her some points in Peter’s eyes.  Hopefully she gets out of her own head!  But I think we’re going to get some more gems from her in the mean time.

Peter’s favorites are not always my favorites, so here’s my list of the women I’m enjoying watching the most.

  1. Tammy.  Tammy is a breath of fresh air!  She’s funny, she’s involved but not too involved, and she seems super normal.  Sidenote: there was a voiceover of Tammy seemingly badmouthing Kelsey right after she consoled Kelsey, and I have to think that was editing.  I think Tammy said those words, but likely not about Kelsey (or not about that particular incident).  Always be on alert when you hear a voiceover but don’t see the words coming out of the contestant’s mouth! 
  2. Lexi:  I think she’s a dark horse!  I loved how Peter remembered her (but joked that he didn’t), and I loved her confidence on the group date.  She rocked the runway.  I also loved her response to Kelsey.image1
  3. Natasha:  Natasha was great this episode.  She was up front with Peter about how she felt when he spent all his time with Hannah B., and the outtake of her talking with Janice Dickinson was gold.  She’s also the only contestant over 30, so you know I’m rooting for her!
  4. Kelley:  Where was my girl Kelley this episode??  After such a strong start last week, we barely saw her.  I think she’ll reappear on our screens next week though, and when she does I’m sure she’ll regain her place in Peter’s top 4.image0

 

And I’ll leave you with the best part of the episode:

Categories
Bachelor

We’re BACK!

Hello friends, it’s been a minute.  I am sorry I have abandoned you for TWO YEARS (life happens), but am happy to be here for the beginning of a brand new Bachelor season, with a new bachelor Peter.

So let’s get to it, shall we?  First, let’s talk about Peter and what we know about his season so far, because it looks like things are going down a little differently.  As a reminder, this is a SPOILER-FREE zone.  I haven’t read spoilers for this season and don’t plan to.  That being said, there’s a lot of noise about this season and as a regular consumer of Bachelor content (Reddit, podcasts, interviews), it’s clear something is up.  Peter has explicitly called out spoilers and said that no one will be able to spoil this season.  Chris Harrison has made similar comments.  As far as I know, that has held true and no spoilers have been released, at least about the ending.  The general consensus in the blogosphere is that this season is unspoiled because it hasn’t ended yet.  What I mean by that is that people think Peter either chose no one, chose someone who was not a contestant (cough, cough, Hannah B.), or chose someone but after the season stopped filming.  Maybe this is all a gimmick to lend credence to Hannah B.’s appearance on Peter’s premiere, but for whatever reasons, this season is likely to be an interesting one!

Peter as the Bachelor

As an initial matter, I thought Peter gave an above-average performance on his first night at “The Bachelor.”  He was pretty vanilla on Hannah B.’s season, windmill night aside, but handled the women very well.  He was gracious, attentive, humble, and confident all at the same time.  And his convo with Hannah B. was just HEARTBREAKING.

Hannah B.

This really was the whole episode for me, and the most real this show can get.  I know people are tired of seeing Hannah B. crying on their screens (myself included, but more for her sake – hasn’t she been through enough???) but let’s walk through this.  Hannah was competing on Dancing With The Stars in the LA-area by the time Peter’s season started filming.  It is common knowledge that Mike Fleiss (problematic creator of the franchise) does not like his leading ladies to go on DWTS, even though he routinely lets the male leads do it.  There’s a lot on this.  Hannah B. was the first Bachelorette who has been allowed to have the gig since the first Bachelorette ever, Trista, whereas four former bachelors have done it, not including Grocery Store Joe.

Given Mike Fleiss’s very protectionist approach to having his female leads participate in DWTS, I don’t think it’s too far-fetched to think that in exchange, Hannah agreed to show up on Peter’s season (and in fact, her contract may have required her to do so regardless).  Does that mean she was contractually obligated to share her lingering feelings with the new lead?  Of course not.  But I do feel for her, because it didn’t look like she really wanted to be on that date and I don’t think she had a choice in the matter.

So let’s break it down.  Hannah had a rocky season, to say the least.  She got engaged to Jed which ended in a great ball of flames sometime over the summer.  They were officially over by the time her season concluded, on July 30, 2019.  Hannah then goes out for one date with Tyler C., on August 1, 2019.  That, as we all know, goes nowhere, as Tyler C. starts dating Gigi shortly after.  On August 17, 2019, Hannah is announced as a DWTS contestant, and starts training shortly thereafter (first episode is aired on September 16).  Peter is announced as Bachelor in September, although it was widely known that he was a finalist for the gig by the time Hannah’s season had concluded.  His season started filming on September 20, 2019.  And the date we saw on Monday was filmed on September September 24, 2019 (happy birthday Hannah B.!).

hannah and peter

Whew.  A whirlwind to say the least.  Could Hannah B. have reached out to Peter before his season started if she actually had feelings?  Absolutely.  But I find it pretty defensible that she didn’t.  Trying out one of her runner-ups is one thing, but going down the line is something else.  She also likely wanted to give Peter a shot at the gig, and if she had gotten involved it may have messed it up for him (notably, on Ashley I.’s podcast, Peter said he would not have been the bachelor if Hannah had reached out to him beforehand, which blows my mind).  I do think, however, that she should have tried harder to lock it up while she was on the date.  Peter did not need that extra confusion, and Hannah was not about to join his season.  She was in the middle of filming DWTS!

Given the fact that the season ending still remains open, I am leaving some space in my heart for Hannah B. and Peter to reunite.  I think it’s possible the two will end up together, which is nuts, I know, but it’s also bonkers that Peter is out there saying he wouldn’t have done his season if he had known Hannah was into him!  Can you imagine being Peter’s final 1 and hearing him say that?  So I’m holding out a candle, but we all know she does not actually join Peter’s season because she goes on to win DWTS, which filmed basically the entire time the Bachelor filmed.

Let’s move on to the women who are actually competing for Peter’s heart, shall we?

I’m not going to go through every one, but I am going to include my top contenders thus far.

  1. Kelley Flanagan

kelley

Gotta love a lady lawyer from Chicago!  She was a large part of the episode, cheating scandal aside (and I thought she handled the accusation with grace and humor).  I like her!  She seems to have a good self-awareness about all of it, and she and Peter have an undeniable connection so far.  I hope that “target” on her back goes away as more women get into the fray.  I would hate to see her embroiled in unnecessary drama, but so far so good for Kelley.

2. Hannah Ann

Hannah Ann is like a doll!  She’s young, at 23, but has a lot of poise and grace about her.  She’s clearly very confident, and she has definitely captured Peter’s attention with that first impression rose.  I think she plays it up for the cameras a little too much, but I’m hoping she relaxes into all of this a bit and we get to know her more.  I think she’s going to be around for awhile.

3. Madison

madison

This date was so sweet!  Madison seems like an all-around nice person.  She held it together for that fairly intense first date (first date while being filmed, first alone time with Peter, and also meeting his family all in one is a lot).  The two seemed well-matched.  I didn’t see SPARKS fly between them but they have a solid foundation so far.

Honestly, those are my top three and the rest I’m still trying to figure out.  I thought Tammy was a real hoot:

Victoria F. had a few meltdowns and great facial expressions:

Victoria P. seems too pure for this world (as in The Bachelor world), and I VERY much appreciated the flashback to spinning teacups.

Lauren is just stunning, and crushed the jumpsuit look, so I’m excited to see more from her:

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So I’m pumped for this season!  And I hope you are too!  Until next time…