How Parks and Recreation Made Me a Happier Mom

During the peak of Covid-19 loneliness, I started watching Parks and Recreation. I genuinely looked forward to sitting by myself on the couch, after my daughter went to sleep, to watch a couple episodes of the light-hearted show. It was a huge change of pace from the normal dramas I had to limit myself to one episode a night with.

I noticed a huge change in my attitude going to bed throughout watching this sitcom. I loved laughing all by myself with Amy Poehler. I wasn’t hooked like I normally was on shows. I didn’t stay up later than I should because an episode would end on a huge cliff-hanger. It was all just easy-going.

What have we normalized?

As much as I love a good drama, isn’t it a little strange how numb we’re all getting to gore, sex, and violence? We’ve normalized watching an autopsy, shooting, abduction, etc. while our kids sleep in the next room on a nightly basis.

Watching serious shows like this made me a paranoid mom. It’s naïve to think that we don’t think about something awful happening to our children every time we see something awful happen to a child on tv, consciously or subconsciously. I can remember now how I felt the need to go check on my daughter (who sleeps through the night just fine) every night before bed. I remember a feeling of relief washing over me every time I would see her sleeping peacefully.

As much as I understand the importance of being aware of my surroundings, there’s a huge change in my sleep I experience when I watch something suspenseful before going to sleep. The ice maker has a way better chance of waking me up when I watch an episode of Marcella before going to bed, rather than The Office.

I firmly believe it’s worth considering exactly what we have all normalized and watch on a daily basis. We’ve shifted as a society from watching mostly sitcoms and having one day a week where we wait for the latest episode of a drama to come out to binge watching Law & Order, Game of Thrones, Dexter, etc. all night, thanks to streaming services. If I start a show on Monday, Netflix is emailing by Thursday to “finish watching ____”.

I think we could all do with a shift from dramas with little doses of comedies to comedies with little doses of dramas. I think we could all benefit as parents with a shift. What do you think?

Deon Sumer
Hi, I’m Deon! I grew up in Zachary, Louisiana. I am currently attending Southern University Law Center part-time, where I am also a teaching assistant, with the intention of practicing family law. I work full-time at the East Baton Rouge Law Office of the Public Defender as a secretary. I had my daughter, Evelyn, in the fall of 2018 and am engaged to an amazing, supportive man named Ryan. I love traveling and exploring new places. A plane ticket to anywhere with a rental car waiting for me is a solid vacation. I have a degree in mass communications with a concentration in public relations and a minor in political science from LSU. I have a rescue dog at home and love helping with animal welfare efforts. My daughter’s first word was dog (or ‘gog’). I'm also always looking for ways to join the fight against Louisiana's domestic violence epidemic. I spend the majority of my free time gardening or wandering around our neighborhood with my family.


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