April 28 14

Last night’s Mad Men was awwwwwkard. I can’t even possibly count on my fingers and my toes how many times I cringed and squirmed for poor Don Draper as he sat in the offices of SC&P. But the funny thing is, as far as the stickiness of the episode

{that’s a thing with me, by the way. It’s why I love Mad Men so much. At 11pm on Sunday night my brain can’t shut off; I’m still thinking about the episode—the deeper meaning, the message, the wait what happens now?s}

goes, it was all Betty Draper Francis: Mother last night.

Ever since Betty Draper became Betty Draper Francis and moved to Rye, we have seen less and less of her story. Sure, we got Betty in a fat suit, we got Betty in a dark wig, we got thin, blond Betty again, we got a surprise tryst at Bobby 5′s camp, and then we get what we always get: Bitter Betty doesn’t like Wife #2; can’t deal with teenaged daughter. 

But last night Betty made her season 7 return over lunch with Francine—you know, her friend who mostly smoked while pregnant and gossiped about Helen Bishop the single lady. (gasp!) But now Francine has A JOB! And she’s in AN OFFICE! For THREE DAYS A WEEK! Her kids are a bit older and she needed something to do, she said. And that’s when you started to see the cogs in Betty’s head moving. Because Betty does exactly, um, nothing. Remember when Betty used to ride horses at least and took up political causes in Ossining? 

So Betty decided to be present and go on Bobby’s field trip with his booby teacher to her family’s farm.

Sure, Betty was overdressed for the farm, and smoked quite a bit, but the look on Bobby’s face was just PERFECT. This was the best day ever for Bobby. His mom came on the trip! They sat on the bus together and had conversations! She even tasted the fresh, warm straight-from-the-udders milk (hurl). That little boy was having a very proud day. He even told his friend to scram—”You can’t sit there! That’s my mom’s seat!” He was so happy—this was not the Betty Draper Francis that Bobby was used to. Maybe Francine got under Betty’s skin.

betty-mad-men

Or maybe not. 

Since Bobby—because, remember, Bobby is a little kid—traded the second sandwich for some candy.

Oh Bobby. It was Betty’s sandwich.

So Betty yelled in a hangry rage. Betty scolded Bobby and made him feel smaller than small. Betty put on her sunglasses and scowled for the rest of the trip.

“IT WAS A GREAT DAY UNTIL HE RUINED IT,” she scowled some more, looking for sympathy, and then stormed off with baby Gene.

When Henry asked Bobby what on earth could have happened to the greatest day ever…Bobby answered.

“I wish it was yesterday.”

 

Because Betty, oh Betty, it wasn’t Bobby who ruined the day. 

But she didn’t see.

She didn’t see the way his face lit up when she agreed to come on the trip.

She didn’t see the smile when they sat together on the bus.

She didn’t see how much it filled him with glee when she drank the milk.

She didn’t see him shoo away his friend from his mother’s special seat.

She didn’t see any of those things.

 

The thing is,

I know I have done this.

I know I do this. 

 

Not in the way Betty does, of course.

But it has happened. Something small sets me off. An inconvenient trip to the bathroom. An accidental elbow me in the face. A ketchup packet squirted on my favorite sweater. A knee-jerk reaction—that usually only lasts a few seconds, even—to something silly, stupid, something THAT KIDS DO ALL THE TIME. But that’s what the kids see, right? Mama’s face, Mama’s upset.

Ugh. 

So, that’s my goal: TO NOT BE BETTY DRAPER FRANCIS.

To try to not have those knee-jerk reactions, no matter how short, how fleeting.

To try to laugh it off, or make a joke, or simply say, “It’s okay that you spilled the ketchup on me…it’s only a sweater!” instead of saying that ten minutes after I made the face, pulled the scowl, clucked my tongue, and began cleaning up the mess.

Because they see it.

Bobby saw it.

My kids see it.

I don’t want them to ever wish it was yesterday. 

(Even though I’ll never drink the milk straight from the udders)

 

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  1. This post actually made me tear up – because I hear you. I feel the scowl or the subtle eye roll and I see that they push it down inside of themselves and that slays me. It’s so hard to be on, to be calm, to be patient, to be WISE every moment of the day. But there should always be the desire to try and make it happen. I know it’s important to let them see me wrestle with my emotions….but it should never be at their expense. xo

    [Reply]

    Comment by Louise on April 28, 2014
  2. Boo. This made me cry in the parking lot and now I’m drying my tears because I am about to get my highlights done and tears. Betty is an awful mother! Always. And I know I freak and yell at the smallest things and I feel terrible afterwards and my kids hate it! Wah. I shall remember to not be a Betty. I shall remember!
    P.S. I haven’t started this season of Mad Men yet because I’m still mourning the end of Breaking Bad. Now how the heck will I find the last three episodes?!

    [Reply]

    Comment by Loukia on April 28, 2014
  3. Oh, you are so right. Thank you. I definitely need to remember to not let it be all about me. DBBD. Don’t be Betty Draper.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    DBBD. Love.

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    Comment by Rebecca on April 28, 2014
  4. Related? Last night I took my boys and mother-in-law to Stars on Ice. I had free tickets and I knew the boys would not be super excited, although my youngest liked it. My eight year d was crying almost the entire time because the agony! He could be home installing a new Minecraft mod! I felt terrible but I didn’t want to leave, because I actually love figure skating and our athletes. Bad mom me?

    [Reply]

    Belladawna replied on

    Not a bad mom, It sounds like your 8 year old was just having a rough time, and didn’t realize that it was more about you trying to share in something you enjoy than what he wanted to do that night (Which sounds like something he could have done anytime). It just sounds like a normal child tantrum which is sad, but not a failure. Hopefully he as he matures he will see that you were showing him love, not trying to force him into something he decided not to enjoy. <3 A fellow mom.

    [Reply]

    Comment by Loukia on April 28, 2014
  5. Oh Ali, get ready for this to go viral – it was perfect and exactly what I was thinking about myself last night!

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    Comment by Cristan on April 28, 2014
  6. Yep, crying a lil bit. This is so spot on.

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    Comment by Lindsay on April 28, 2014
  7. Yes. This exactly. Also? Every scene Bobby is in I feel a little heartbroken for him. He’s so earnest and cheery. Poor Bobby.

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    Louise replied on

    Oh gosh, remember that scene with Bobby and Don in the movie theatre??!?! Sob. It’s like Bobby is everything Don wasn’t able to be as a boy, even though they both had cold “mother figures” Bobby continues to rise above it. Deep Mad Men thinking.

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    ali replied on

    …all my thinking about Mad Men is deeeeeep.

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    Nicole Boyhouse replied on

    THAT SCENE. Poor Bobby!!! I was just thinking about that. Also, remember when he wrecked his wallpaper?

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    Comment by Nicole Boyhouse on April 28, 2014
  8. Fantastic post! You’re such a talented writer!

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    Thank you! xoxo

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    Comment by Lisa on April 28, 2014
  9. Well done- great post! God what a good show!!!

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    Comment by Kelly on April 28, 2014
  10. Love this. That is all : )

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    Comment by Sharon on April 29, 2014
  11. I felt totally the same watching it. I wondered if Bobby traded the sandwich to get his mom the treat of having candy? Did he do it out of excitement? If she had any idea how crushed he must’ve felt, would it matter? Have I crushed my little kids’ hearts? Ever? Will I?

    Betty’s concern over why her kids don’t love her… was it actually concern?

    Don sitting at the office. Don without confidence. Megan not replying, “I love you” and him not really seeming to mind that much. The glint in his eye when he agreed to the new contract… Eeeee.

    That episode! Amazing.

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I’m with you…so many questions.
    I can’t figure out why Don is taking this deal…there’s no way he can play this nice. And he’s going to lose his partnership.

    I don’t think he has loved Megan since Sylvia—he fell in love with her in very non-Don Draper fashion.

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    Louise replied on

    But did he fall in love with Sylvia or who/what she embodied in his eyes?

    [Reply]

    ali replied on

    I think love…I think it was a first for him.
    His behavior, his expressions, his everything is different with her.
    He hasn’t been the same since she was steady in his life.

    Comment by alex on April 29, 2014
  12. Wow. This is Amazing Ali. Simply amazing. So well said. Thank you.

    [Reply]

    Comment by monstergirlee on April 30, 2014
  13. […] how my What Would Betty Draper Do sure was tested […]

    Pingback by But Mama, I Promise I Gave Them Back To You… | Cheaper Than Therapy on September 9, 2014
  14. […] 5. Not be quick to get annoyed, irritated, bugged by things. Not sweat the small stuff. Take life advice from women like Leslie Knope, and not Betty Draper. […]

    Pingback by What I’m NOT Doing in 2015 | Cheaper Than Therapy on January 2, 2015
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