I Want to Go to There: Raising Kids 30 Rock-Style

STAY WARM - Tina Fey is seen bundled up while filming a scene for the hit show "30 Rock" at the Rockefeller Plaza in New York CityI can’t stop crying about the 30 Rock series finale. But we all know how Liz Lemon feels about crying, (there, there, awkward pat) so I’m going to shut down my sadness by focusing on the instructive, life-affirming moments of the last 7 years of the show, like Jack Donaghy holding Walt Disney’s frozen head in his hands.

30 Rock had lots to say to and about women in the work place and at home, and there will never be anything so brilliantly self-aware again. A TV show about a woman working in TV struggling to find work-life balance while eking out new ground for women in comedy and feeling conflicted about wanting some kind of  homelife with kids written and performed by a woman working in TV struggling to find work-life balance while eking out new ground for women in comedy and feeling conflicted about wanting some kind of  homelife with kids?

I want to go to there.

But 30 Rock has even more to say about life, family, and raising kids. Here are a few things I’ve learned from the show.

  • You Can’t Have it All. . .Or Can You? 1 of 10
    You Can't Have it All. . .Or Can You?
    Moms, dads, we know you want it all. Everyone on 30 Rock wants it all too—For Liz this means balancing her career with her home life. For Frank this means having enough empty water bottles to urinate in. Everyone defines "having it all" differently. If you're willing to be flexible in your definition, you might end up having it all where "it" means night and "all" means cheese. Just don't let work self suffocate life you.
  • You Probably Won’t Ruin Your Kids 2 of 10
    You Probably Won't Ruin Your Kids
    As parents, we agonize over every little thing. Sometimes we lack perspective. In the long run, we probably won't totally ruin our kids. Jack Donaghy was raised by a loveless, controlling mother and doesn't even know who out of 3 choices fathered him—and he grew up to run NBC! Look at Tracy Jordan. He persevered after his dad went out for cigarettes and never came back. Bottle or breast? Who cares? Of course, I don't want to minimize the importance of a father figure in your child's life. As Liz learned from her Sims family, when a child doesn't see his father enough he starts to jump up and down, then his mood level will drop until he pees himself.
  • Teach Kids to Hang In There 3 of 10
    Teach Kids to Hang In There
    Raising teens and tweens can be hard. They're all gangly limbs and insecurity. Remind them to take a page out of young Liz Lemon's book. There was no perm, head gear, or pleated pair of high-waisted pants that could hold her back. If your children are struggling through high school assure them that you support them. Tell them to put on a brave face and say, "Hey nerds, whose got 2 thumbs, speaks limited French and hasn't cried once today? This moi!" And if they end up watching Solid Gold in the basement on prom night? You'll be there with a meat lover's pizza.
  • Cultivate Friendships 4 of 10
    Cultivate Friendships
    Parents need to surround themselves with a support system of friends. If you don't tend your relationships with your friends, who will drive you home from the dentist office when you're strung out on anesthetic? Who will tell you if your mom's a lesbian? Who will stop you from soaking your tampons in vodka? Not your 4-year-old, sucka.
  • Child Proof Your Home 5 of 10
    Child Proof Your Home
    Young boys don't need unlimited access to the internet. Get a filter. And lots of tricky passwords.
  • Don’t Be Too Focused on Kids 6 of 10
    Don't Be Too Focused on Kids
    Yes, your kids are your top priority. But they shouldn't be the only thing on your mind. It's good for parents to maintain balance in their lives. Liz once thought a handsome little person was a child, with disastrous and hilarious results. Make a little room for the adults in your life, even if you're short on time. (See what I did there?)
  • Give Kids Problem-Solving Tools 7 of 10
    Give Kids Problem-Solving Tools
    The most important thing you can do for your child is to teach them problem-solving skills so they can cope with anything that comes their way throughout life. Sometimes their best-laid plans will fall through, like Cerie's plan to marry rich and design handbags. When they encounter disappointment, kids need stores of resilience to help them persevere. And there's only one way to do it. When a problem comes a long, CRUSH IT WITH YOUR MIND VICE.
  • Enjoy Simple Pleasures With Your Kids 8 of 10
    Enjoy Simple Pleasures With Your Kids
    A freshly-bathed baby, a child's drawing of a unicorn, an ice-cold McFlurry from a random McDonalds, ham—these are the simple pleasures in life that we often overlook when we get too busy. Liz Lemon is a veritable connoisseur of the good life and reminds us, "All everyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich." Remember that. Also, say yes to staying in more!
  • Listen To Your Kids 9 of 10
    Listen To Your Kids
    A good parent will spend more time actually listening to their children than lecturing them. As Kenneth the page reminds us, "God gave us two ears because listening is twice as important as talking. But he gave us ten fingers...he must really want us to poke things!" The more time you spend listening and getting to know your kids, the more specific and relevant your advice to them can be. Jenna recalls, "When I was pageantizing my mom told me there's only 3 things between you and winning: your breasts and wanting it bad enough."
  • Never Go to a 2nd Location with a Hippie 10 of 10
    Never Go to a 2nd Location with a Hippie
    Finally and, perhaps most importantly, never go with a hippie to a second location!

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Read more of my writing at Babble and at my blog, Every Day I Write the Book.

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