Like most red-blooded American women, I launched myself into the "This Is Us" obsession bandwagon. I eagerly waited each week to catch up on Kate’s weight-loss journey while Toby encouraged her with his sweet, self-deprecating humor. To cheer on Kevin, who’s really just a self-involved asshole but you can’t help but root for. To see what new project Randall would be diving head-first into. And Jack … Jack who made my heart beat a little faster with his rugged good looks and constant ability to say and do just the right thing to make everyone love him.
But then there was Rebecca.
Rebecca—poor, under-appreciated, no-fun, serious Rebecca—is kind of the worst. She’s likable but, let’s face it, she’s a total downer. A gorgeous, talented killjoy most of the time. I want to love her, but I just don’t. And I realized, it’s not her fault. It's Jack’s.
At first I didn’t recognize this. After all, who wouldn’t love the scruffy-faced piece of man perfection? The man always knows what to say and how to make it all better. He works hard for his family, puts their needs above his own. He’s everyone’s favorite: his kids', his friends' ... mine. The show sets it up so the man can pretty much do no wrong (well, minus the raging alcoholism, but we'll look past that for now).
That is when I realized that Jack’s amazingness is the reason why Rebecca is the downer.
It’s so unfair! And it’s not an unfamiliar scenario.
He’s the good cop, so she’s forced to be the bad cop. He takes Kate out to ice cream and leaves Rebecca to try to help her daughter with her weight issues. He swoops in with surprise vacations and buys the dream car and is the hero. He’s the optimist, she’s the realist. He’s the enthusiast, she’s the nag. He’s the rule breaker, she’s the ruler enforcer.
And then he goes and dies.
I mean, talk about setting your wife up to be the sole parent left to blame. His legacy is sealed at the peak of his awesome dad-dom, and she's left to be the recipient of inadequacies and blame from their three children for forever.
It’s so unfair! And it’s not an unfamiliar scenario. So many moms can relate to being the main parent who does the dirty, fussy, parenting. The homework getter-done-er, the bathtime enforcer, the chores reminder-er. The mom who’s been parenting all day and then the door opens at 6:00 p.m. and all of the babies run to Daddy with squeals of delight and a spontaneous tickle fight.
What's Mom supposed to do? Be pissed that her kids love their father so damn much? Yell at him for being amazing? Throw a fit every single time he tries to make their life magical? No. All she can do and sit back and watch, sigh, and enjoy the fact that, while it might not feel like it, she is one of the lucky ones.
So, now, when I sit down and watch my favorite show and I see Rebecca’s parenting role getting her down, I’ll do a little cheers and take a sip of wine in solidarity with my fellow bedraggled mom. She deserves it—and so do we.