7 Things Parents Can Learn From "Modern Family"
Parenting advice can come from all kinds of surprising places—even TV. Take the characters on the ABC hit show, Modern Family. The show's patriarch, Jay Pritchett, who is "on the south side of middle age," is back in the trenches of parenthood with his new wife, Gloria, after raising his two adult children. That's because Gloria Delgado-Pritchett, who is 20 years his junior, gave birth last season. Since baby Joe's arrival into the Pritchett household, we've seen them tackle some pretty relevant issues. Here are a few of our favorites lessons.
Who needs maternity clothes? Everyone.
Gloria: “I don’t need maternity wear! I’m barely showing!”
Jay: “Your clothes barely fit before you were pregnant.”
Gloria: “I didn’t hear you complaining.”
One universal truth about pregnancy is, no matter what the mama’s size, her belly is going to get bigger. While some mothers view this news with excitement, others, like Gloria, are in denial. No one knows how to take charge and flaunt her femininity the way Gloria does, but even she has to be called to the carpet when it comes to her pregnancy fashion, or lack thereof. Her refusal to purchase any maternity wear, despite her growing belly, leads to more than one awkward exchange with family members, including Manny, who is embarrassed to be seen in public with her protruding tummy in tight-fitting clothes. Soon-to-be-moms, don’t fret. It is possible these days to find fashionable maternity clothes that even Gloria would approve of.
YOU'RE the mama, now.
Gloria: “You have a problem with the way Manny is being raised, you talk to me!”
Moms and their grown daughters often butt heads when it comes to raising the next generation. Gloria is a modern mama who is fiercely protective of her brood, even when it comes to her own mother. While Gloria’s mother has her own ideas when it comes to the way her grandchildren should be raised—including the choice of little Joe’s name—Gloria is just as headstrong. One rule of thumb to help avoid conflict: Politely listen to your mama (or, in Jay’s case, your mother-in-law), and then do what you want (after she leaves).
Compromise is key.
Jay: “Fulgencio Umberto. The initials are F.U. Pritchett, which is exactly the way it feels right now.”
Baby naming is never easy. Should it be Jackie, Jacki, Jacky or Jacqui? Should he inherit his great-great-paternal grandfather’s name or his great-great-great-maternal grandfather’s name? It gets even more stressful when two parents don’t agree. Gloria’s fervent mother, Pilar, insists on naming the baby after Pilar’s late husband, Fulgencio–and Jay isn’t too happy about that. In the end, they name the baby Fulgencio Joseph Pritchett to appease Gloria’s mother—but decide to call him by his middle name, Joseph, or “Joe” for short. All it takes is a bit of cooperation and some give and take, right?
Jay: “Or (the baby) took a page from the old Jay Pritchett playbook, saw the crap he was in for and pretended to be asleep.”
Sometimes all dad wants to do is bond with his baby boy… in a movie theater… watching James Bond… while the baby sleeps. But then he realizes that true quality time takes a little more effort. In one episode, after promising to spend the day with baby Joe, Jay is instead caught leaving the baby alone with someone Gloria does not know, just so Jay can enjoy some 007 time in peace. To make amends, Jay spends some quality time reading Moby Dick to his sons with the help of a sock puppet. Dads take note: When it comes to bonding with Baby, it’s not a good idea to break promises with mommy. Plus, nothing can beat that daddy-baby bonding time–not even James Bonding time.
Photo Credit: ABC
Sometimes, you can only agree to disagree.
Gloria (whispers): “It’s the curse.”
Jay: “Not that I ever want to discourage you from whispering, but that’s not a thing.”
When it comes to Baby acting up, it’s easy for parents to make excuses. Gloria blames a family curse for baby Joe’s bad behavior when he is kicked out of Gymboree for being too aggressive. Concerned the baby may be possessed, she even calls for a priest. Jay, on the other hand, thinks everyone should toughen up a bit. Who’s right? Well, Baby Joe ends up trying to strangle the priest and steals his wallet—so, who knows?!
Photo Credit: ABC
Don't neglect big siblings after Baby arrives.
Gloria: “There’s certain moments in life that you never forget. Like when I held Manny in my arm for the very first time… It was so exciting to see him grow up, and the more he becomes the little man I know today, the more I know I’d do it all over again.”
With more than a decade in age between Manny and baby Joe, Gloria and Jay have their hands full bridging the gap between the two siblings. Only time will tell how close the two brothers will be, but Gloria does her best to make sure Manny gets as much attention as baby Joe does. She plans a special surprise birthday party for Manny, but it turns into a disaster when she goes into labor. Gloria does her best to delay the baby’s birth, promising not to go into labor until after midnight, but baby Joe has other plans.
No matter what the age difference, there are ways to make sure the older sibling feels special even after Baby arrives. For example, you can try to keep your older child’s routine, so they won’t feel misplaced, and let them know what an important role they have to play as the big brother (or sister). Even attempting to carve out one-on-one time with them, as Gloria did, can be valuable–even if it does not go according to plan.
Photo Credit: ABC/Peter "Hopper" Stone
It takes a (global) village.
Gloria: “That’s how you know that your family loves you, when they feel free to scream at you.”
When it comes to blending different customs and traditions, things can get even more complex especially after Baby arrives. When baby Joe is born, Gloria is intent on making sure equal weight is placed on her Colombian roots by merging her family’s history with Jay’s. She does so, as we’ve seen, by including Fulgencio as part of the baby’s name—although Jay insists on calling him Joe—and incorporates her family’s traditions from food to beliefs into their daily routine. No matter what each parent’s background, there are a variety of ways you can highlight the importance of both cultures without sacrificing one for the other.
Parenting is hard. Thankfully, a number of very creative parents have come up with some ingenious ways to make the job a whole lot easier. Want to make your life easier, too? Check out the ten best parenting hacks from around the internet!view gallery
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