If TV series omit the fatigue of being a parent…

If TV series omit the fatigue of being a parent…

Although the family is usually the subject of famous TV series, often, these do not tell fully and with authenticity what it means to "be a family". To make the episodes enjoyable and entertaining, for example, all the difficulties and practical tasks associated with being a parent are omitted.

Those who have no idea what it means to constantly live struggling with children could never get an idea, through the series, of the fatigue that bringing up children implies..

To say, for a single mother with three young children - particularly if one of them is less than a year old - it is difficult to find time even just to drink a glass of water without being interrupted at least three times.

This, however, is not even mentioned in many television series that talk about family.

According to Jim and the distortions of domestic life

To make an example, think of According to Jim, an American TV series (produced from 2001 to 2009) exported to many countries: the protagonists are two parents with three children, one of whom is only a few months old. The man is an architect, she is a housewife. This series tells of their family life, but without showing that when two people have children, everything revolves around them.

In the series According to Jim, the eldest daughters appear to make the story fun, but they are not a burdensome commitment for the mother - who has time to do anything whenever she wants - and the youngest child hardly ever appears (you see the child in very few episodes). When he is present, he behaves well, on the sidelines, inside a play pin with his games, without crying or screaming for attention.

The episodes focus mostly on the relationship between husband and wife; while the care of children is only "in the background": although the authors play a lot on the fact that Cheryl - so the wife is named - takes on the full weight of family and domestic life, de facto, the fatigue that the woman experiences, especially with the youngest child, is not shown in the least.

You never see a mother struggling with a newborn that doesn’t sleep, that takes 40 minutes to finish a bowl of soup, that cries relentlessly for no good reason.

The result? A TV series that would have the potential to comfort the moms who are exhausted by the end of the day, ends up seeming to be a lie and therefore not credible.

Being parents: a tiring task par excellence

Being a parent is tiring, both physically and mentally. Particularly in the first months of a child's life, the tiredness becomes a constant for the two parents: not only if they don’t sleep at night (this happens also and then some days become possible horror film scripts); even under "normal" conditions, a child sucks out a lot of one’s energy.

Characterized by a natural egocentrism, the newborn constantly calls attention to its needs: to be fed, dressed, cleaned, cared for, guided in his first movements. The child does not grant breaks or allow for delays... he shows no mercy for the moods of adults, for he does not comprehend circumstances and feebleness. All you can do to rest is to delegate the care of the child to another for a few hours. A housewife who doesn’t use external help lives on the same basis as her children and learns very quickly that few things in the world cause tiredness like taking care of a human being who does not answer for himself all day.

To make comedy does not mean having to hide the truth

A comedy, of course, is not a documentary... you cannot expect a television series, whose purpose is to entertain the public, to focus on serious issues to the point of exhaustion. What is certain is that you could take advantage of the problems related to the supervision of children to make comedy: instead of ignoring them, they could be used to create anecdotes and situations that make people smile.

In this way, in addition to entertaining the viewers, it would be able to provoke empathy in all those women who, often, are exhausted by the daily grind and who, perhaps, feel a little alone with their small, big dramas.

If cinema and TV, like theatrical representations in the civilizations of the past, have a cathartic purpose, why not exploit the power of catharsis to motivate stressed women grappling with bottles, diapers and moods of every kind? Why should a story about a family with three children overlook these burdensome aspects of domestic life?

Seriously telling the life of a family, with all that it entails, could prove to be much more fun than one might think...

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