I related to three of the four story lines this week. The first one was the one where the manager had to suddenly lay off seven people. He was told by the company owner (still driving around in a limo) at the beginning of the show, and by the end of the show (a week or so may have passed) he was calling the first person into his office. I’ve experienced this not as the person doing the firing, but the person randomly being called into the office. From what I have heard, my former employer knew that things were not headed in the right direction, but the reality of the situation sort of smacked him in the face, suddenly and without warning. It was interesting to see it from the employer’s perspective, and it was a small consolation to see that the manager doing the firing lost sleep over it.
The second story line that hit home for me plays out in living rooms and bedrooms across the country on a daily basis — the issue of work/family balance. The fact that the school day isn’t quite as long as the work day, and that work these days is hard to come by for some people. In this plot line, the female lawyer has always been the main bread winner. Her husband has stayed home with their daughter, but is now wanting something of his own. He takes on a remodeling job that suddenly requires more hours than he thought–threatening the work/family balance that his wife has come to depend upon daily. She stretches and bends to make it work, but it’s stressful. Up until my lay-off (see the above paragraph), this played out in our home every time our children were sick. I was a teacher, which provides for a lot of time off and a family friendly schedule, but it’s not flexible. You can’t bring your classroom home and teach reading at 9pm after your child is in bed. My toddler couldn’t come to my classroom and hang out until I was done with class for the day. My husband and I made it work, but there were days it wasn’t easy. His job carried the higher salary and the benefits, but my job carried more take-home pay and a child’s school tuition. I give the TV couple two more episodes until they hire a nanny, something has got to give in that situation.
The third story line involved a couple announcing to their son that they were getting married. The son was not impressed or excited in the least (he’s six). I haven’t told my children that news, but I’ve delivered plenty of other “exciting” adult news to a tough,tough crowd. “Your Aunt is having a baby!” “Mommy’s getting paid to write!” “Daddy just got a promotion!” “Grandpa just retired” all have the same appeal is “Good news! You’re not being audited by the IRS.” The dad in the show is fairly new to his gig, and a bit bummed his son wasn’t thrilled. He’ll get used to it I’m sure.
The fourth story line involves a single mom and her teenage daughter. All it did for me was make me glad that I’m dealing with childcare issues and not teen girl issues. Phew.
So that was what this week’s Parenthood meant to me. Now I’m off to retrieve the children who just ran outside without permission and who are basically streaking through the neighborhood. If that’s a plot line on the next episode, that’ll be all the confirmation I need that NBC has, indeed, bugged my townhouse.