Parenting As Hard Work

Sheila at Feministing points out that comedian Louis CK is a boon to the “domestic workers movement”, which I gather is the PC mafia term for full-time parents.

By picking on his kids — who, based on what papparazzi have shown us, he does seem to spend a lot of time with in his real life — Louis C.K.’s comedy reveals parenting as work, which is exactly what it is.

She goes on to quote this hilarious segment in which Louis CK goes on Conan O’Brien and does an “interview” which is basically just him doing standup for five minutes while Conan goes “mm-hmm?” and “then what?”

Louis C.K.: I got to spend it with my kids which, you know, yahoo. It’s like hey you’re employee of the month, mop up. It’s what I have to do, I have to be with my kids. <audience boos> Oh shut up, none of you have kids. Here’s the thing, parents never get to say that it’s hard. And it’s the hardest thing in the world.

Watch the whole thing:

I love this aspect of the show. How he completely messes with the traditional view of the father. He gets closer to the real, messed-up truth of the modern family. The unpredictability of it, the massive changes the parental role is passing through. Those of us who are trying to both have our families and eat them too — wait, have a career too, I meant have a career — are doing some really hard fucking work. For a lot of us, were either divorced — and single parents all deserve a gold medal, every last one of them — or we’re both working full-time or near-full-time jobs (this is the one that pertains to yours truly) while trying to manage a family and a new gender role.

I mean, it’s doable, mostly, but there should never be any doubt that it’s hard work. And I like that Feministing points this out. Because it really is one of those places where Louis CK shows himself to be one of the most thoughtful, interesting and real comedians out there. His shows and his series always maintain an intimate and powerful connection to lived experience. I think that’s where a big part of their power comes from.

One of the scenes that most illustrate this in Louie must be the infamous doll repair-scene in (I think) season 3 somewhere. This is just every single experience of having kids being practically difficult rolled up into one scene.


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