Recently, my family and I have been watching The Middle on CatchUp TV. After dinner, we sit together to take in the latest woes of the Heck family. We are into Season 4, so no spoilers please.
I don’t know how this nugget of sitcom gold escaped my attention over the last decade. Perhaps I was lost in a world of babies, nappies, toilet training and ABC4Kids. Then early primary years and so it goes.
Whatever the reason, it seems perfectly apt that we are viewing it now, and as a family. My kids are old enough to enjoy the humour, although some quips and concepts go through to the keeper, of course. Hubster and I laugh out loud; the writing accurately captures the reality of a couple outnumbered by their children, struggling to keep their heads above financial waters and wondering daily if they’re winning at parenting. Many times, Hubster and I have winced at how precise the situation on the telly echoes real life.
I can’t help but note similarities between us and the Heck family. I blabber on with no filter, like Frankie. Also like Frankie, most of my mothering is done by shouting. And a lot of eye-rolling. Hubster is quiet and tight-lipped, preferring to stay home over socialising, like Mike. I’m not even going to draw comparisons with the children—especially Axl with T1—I’ll just leave it dangling here. Like the Hecks, we don’t have money to burn. We are the family who stay home during holidays, while those around flit to Europe, Bali, the US or Canada. Our two cars are old, fickle and temperamental. We are not in dire circumstances, not even close, but it can feel quite peculiar to watch Frankie collect neighbours’ mail while they go on exotic holidays, or wonder how they’ll pay for another set of car repairs.
Also like Frankie and Mike, Hubster and I are often overwhelmed and ill-prepared for situations we find ourselves in due to the children. We are busy parents, working hard to do the best for our kids but invariably we make mistakes. But also like the TV show, we love our children and are undeniably yet pleasantly surprised when things turn out fine, despite the messiness of an non-perfect life.
And that’s it, isn’t it. What life’s all about. Love amongst the imperfections.