An Open Letter to Netflix

netflixMy Dearest Netflix,

First I want to say thank you for seeing me through the many highly productive, wine-fueled television marathons I’ve come to cherish over the past few years. Thanks for catching me up on The Walking Dead when the rest of the world wouldn’t shut up about it. Thanks for introducing me to underappreciated gems like The United States of Tara and Raising Hope. Thanks for being my patch when I was weaning off The Office but couldn’t get Jim and Pam off the brain. Thanks for the parental control options that give me a reason to feel slightly less crappy about the kids binge-watching on their tablets while I get work done. Thanks for filling many a late-night hour with old rom-coms I’d almost forgotten and new ones I won’t publicly admit I’ve watched.

Basically, Netflix, you’re awesome.

You were awesome long before August 4, 2015. But a few days ago, when you announced that you’d be allowing your employees up to a year of unlimited maternity and paternity leave, you brought “awesome” to an unsurpassable level of fucking fantastic-ness.

A year of maternity and paternity leave. A year! Unheard of.

For me, this is a majorly sensitive subject. When I got pregnant with my son unexpectedly at the tender age of 25, just months after getting my first huge promotion, I promptly learned I was ineligible for paid maternity leave from the MULTI-BILLION DOLLAR CORPORATION where I worked simply because I hadn’t signed up for short-term disability (because a baby is totally a disability, right?). My story gets uglier, but I won’t get into it. Let’s just say I don’t work there anymore.

My story aside, I’m writing today to simply say a heartfelt thank you, Netflix. And I think I speak for moms and dads everywhere in my praise….

Thank you from the mom who is forced to leave her child in the care of another, merely weeks after giving birth, because she can’t afford not to work.

Thank you from the moms who can’t afford to go back to work at all because child care is so damn expensive.

Thank you from the exhausted parent who often stumbles blearily into work on two hours of sleep after being up all night with a crying infant.

Thank you from the parent who is tired of missing milestone after milestone.

Thank you from the parent who wears guilt everyday like a pair of tired mom jeans.

Thank you from the parent who spends too many extra hours just commuting to work, wasting away precious time that should be spent with family.

Thank you from the parents who have opposite schedules, causing stress on their marriage because they never see each other.

Thank you from the mom who contemplates quitting every morning as she leaves for work.

Thank you from the parent who fights the urge to wake her sleeping children when she comes home at night, just to spend some time together.

Thank you from the mom who wonders how the bills will get paid if she is fired for taking yet another day off to care for her child.

You see, Netflix, although you can’t employ every parent in the nation, we thank you for leading by example. We thank you for setting a precedent, one that should have been in place for decades. We thank you for doing the one thing that other countries around the world already see as a no-brainer.

We thank you for proving what most other companies don’t have the balls, the decency, and the common sense to admit: there is NOTHING more important than family.

One Grateful Mama

Guilty Pleasures: The Top Three TV Shows I Hate to Love

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge television addict.  You may recall my having mentioned in past blogs that I watch an “inexcusable” amount of it.  I’m not proud, but it’s just part of who I am. I like to justify it with the fact that I went to school for communication arts and thus am merely making use of my otherwise wasted degree.

Not every show I watch is embarrassing (although my level of obsession with a few of them might not be too cool). However, in the spirit of making others feel better about their own viewing choices, I’ve decided to disclose a few of my bigger boob-tube indulgences.  That way, you won’t feel the need to justify your own love affair with Teen Mom or Dr. Phil (two shows I haven’t listed below but of which I’ve seen my fair share of episodes).

Me, according to Big M.

Me, according to Big M.

Here is my list of the top three shows I hate to love, and why I love them so damn much:

American Idol – As talent shows go, this truly is the mother of them all.  And although I’m not even a big fan of them, I can’t help but be sucked into the Idol vortex whenever January rolls around.  I think it’s just kind of a pastime for me.  I’ve been hooked ever since Kelly Clarkson defeated that curly-haired douchelord in the show’s very first season, then beautifully belted out her single, “A Moment like This,” a song I am admittedly ashamed to say I’ve always kinda liked.  Sure, the show is a looooong way off from its former days of glory, when Simon would publicly berate contestants in his hilariously condescending British accent, and Randy made the whole world never want to hear the word “dog” ever again, and Paula practically jumped onstage every week to dry-hump some young male contestant, sipping liquid crack from her giant you-aren’t-fooling-anyone “Coca-Cola” cup and then rambling incoherently for the rest of the episode.  Those original hot mess judges and their antics are all long gone, so why do I still watch it today, you ask?  I honestly don’t even know.  Maybe because it’s fun to say the word “pitchy”?  Or because Keith Urban reminds me of a grown-up, Australian version of Jordan Catalano from My-So-Called-Life? Or maybe I’m just hoping for an update on the Pants On The Ground guy?  Whatever it is, I’m still faithfully watching.  Unfortunately, my DVR is pretty loaded up on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so someday I may have to bid adieu to Ryan Seacrest and the gang (whoever the hell it is by then).  But I’m really just hoping for a new Carrie Underwood or Philip Phillips to come along and save the show from their flailing ratings- and my own decision to call it quits.

The Bachelor – The dumbest thing about my obsession with The Bachelor is that I have only recently begun watching it a few seasons ago.  Despite my affinity for trashy reality TV (The Bad Girls Club was my favorite show for a really long time), I actually managed to avoid this one for like a zillion seasons.  Then one Monday night I just had nothing else to watch and I finally tuned in to see what the hype was all about.  I think I was sucked in immediately out of sheer wonder– just how delusional ARE these women and do they honestly believe they will find some jacked-up form of “true love” by duking it out with 25 other equally delusional skanky nutbags for the affections of some brainless asshat with the personality of a toaster?? This season’s selected Bachelor, Juan Pablo, is already in some majorly hot water for recently spewing out some controversial (read: assinine) opinions on homosexuality.  This angers me sooo much, because Juan Pablo is fucking HOT AS HELL (what he lacks in charisma he seems to make up for as eye candy).  Although I knew he was an idiot before, I now know he is an ignorant idiot, which totally sucks. I did not want to know that.  I don’t personally care how stupid he is, as I’ll never meet him in person or care even if I did.  But now I just feel dirty for thinking he’s so hot and giving a shit who he selects for his future ex-fiance.  It’s like when you love fast food, and then you land a job at McDonalds and you get an ugly behind-the-scenes peek at just how nasty the shit is– and it ruins fast food for you forever.  You were perfectly happy NOT knowing what those burgers looked like in their frozen, precooked, clearly 150% processed state. And now you can’t un-know what you now know.  Same goes for myself and Juan Pablo. But it doesn’t even matter.  Because I’ll still watch every week, wondering who’s getting a rose, who’s getting the boot, and who’s getting the crazy bitch of the season award. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is.  Now let’s move on.
Days of Our Lives – Soap operas may be a dying breed, but this one isn’t going anywhere.  And there’s a reason for that: because it’s GREAT.  Daytime entertainment at its very best.   I’ve literally been watching this show my entire life (thanks mom!), and if they ever cancel it, I think I may contemplate suicide.  I mean, these are much more than characters on a TV show to me; these people are my friends.  For just one hour every day, I live in Salem and I’m an honorary Brady or Horton or Kiriakis or even Dimera, and it’s a freaking blast.  I know this makes me sound a little nuts (okay, a lot nuts)  but when you spend most of your time with people barely old enough to wipe their own asses, you start craving the company of adults. Any kind of company, even the kind that is not even remotely real.  But I just love this show so much, and I’ve grown up with its cast, and every day, for that one, amazing hour, I get to escape to another world with them– a special place where nobody stays dead forever and everyone is a gorgeous, millionaire, murderer and/or adulterer, with at least one illegitimate child they’ve never met and another child of uncertain paternity on the way.  SO embarrassingly awesome.
Now it’s your turn: what are some of your favorite guilty pleasure TV shows?