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The Parenting Wisdom of Betty Draper from Mad Men

Go watch TV!

Go bang your head against a wall!

What did i just say?

You don’t listen!

What is wrong with you?

Freeze!

Go upstairs!

One of the funniest viral videos making the rounds this week is New York Magazine’s compilation of the parenting wit and wisdom of Mad Men’s Betty Draper.

Betty Draper is one of television’s worst parents, second to none (Ok, maybe Livia Soprano had her beat). As I‘ve written previously, she’s widely reviled by the Mad Men’s fan cognoscenti, who routinely dub her a narcissistic and abusive mom while giving her duplicitous philanderer of a (ex) husband a pass, probably because he’s played by Jon Hamm and pretty much everyone watching the show wants to do him.

I know I am supposed to join the Greek chorus of Betty Draper tut-tutters, but I confess I find something liberating about watching her parenting her children really, really badly week after week. Betty is not worried about her children’s delicate psychological state. She’s clearly annoyed to be trapped in the house with them hour after hour, day after day and she is going to let them know it.

Can we honestly say we feel any different, at least some of the time? Who among us hasn’t gotten angry at their children? Who hasn’t yelled at them disproportionately or said something inappropriately sarcastic or adult to a child younger than ten?  Who hasn’t snapped at least once  and told their children to go away or watch television?

Betty Draper lives so we can feel good about our parenting sins.

Let she who is without sin cast the first stone.

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