I can't remember a time when Sesame Street wasn't part of my life. I loved all of Jim Henson's creations — Fraggle Rock, The Muppet Show, literally any movie he and his team made puppets for — but Sesame Street had a special place in my heart. And from the time he debuted in 1985, Elmo was one of my very favorite characters. To my delight, my own children followed my lead and Elmo was, in many ways, as real to them as any member of the family. There are times Elmo saved me as a parent so, in many ways, he was real to me, too.
Lots of people scoff at the idea of "letting the TV raise your kid." To those people I say: "But, like, have you watched Sesame Street? If I had to pick people to raise my children other than me, literally anyone on that show would be a fantastic choice." (Also that's not how it works you judgmental troll.) The various people in the neighborhood aren't directly raising my child, but they're a great influence.
From its inception, Sesame Street has represented an inclusive community where children learn, grow, and get in touch with their emotions. And, in my opinion, Elmo has been an MVP. He's basically a physical manifestation and presentation of the concept of love. He's cute, cuddly, a good friend, and even ends every Elmo's World segment with the assurance that "Elmo loves you!" Who couldn't use that every now and then? Certainly it helps me out with my kids, because this parenting gig is rough.
So with that in mind, here are some potentially disastrous moments that were averted thanks to Elmo.
When I Had A Second Baby
Juggling one child is tough. Juggling two is tougher and figuring out how you're going to go about it without dropping everyone and everything is especially tricky. So in those early days, Elmo was basically my co-parent, especially when he watched my oldest while I was trapped under my constantly breastfeeding infant. (Also: that baby was over nine damn pounds and my poor torn vagina really needed to not be chasing after a toddler for a while.)
When I Was Working
I've been a work-from-home mom since my youngest was about 9-months-old. Being a work-from-home mom is often romanticized as the "best of both worlds" — working mom and stay-at-home mom — and while I'll never deny the positive aspects of this option I have to admit that it's not all sunshine and roses. Imagine getting anything done when you bring your child into an office setting. Yeah, so it's like that. Some days, particularly if I'm working on a tight deadline, Elmo was clutch.
When I Didn't Get A Good Night's Sleep
And I'll go ahead and let you guess whose fault that usually is.
Anyway, being a mom has, in my experience, meant that you're usually pretty tired. But sometimes, you're really tired and it's like "Elmo, take the wheel."
When My Children Didn't Get A Good Night's Sleep
A cranky, tired, sleep deprived child is a child who can mess up a parent's entire day. That child cannot be soothed by mere mortals. It takes a monster to tame a monster.
When I Was Hungover
Calm down, people: this wasn't a daily occurrence (or more than a couple times in the last six years occurrence) but I'm a damn human with a social life and a love of wine, beer, and craft cocktails. I'm also a parent who does not shirk her responsibility, but sometimes it's perfectly responsible to sit with your child with a strong cup of coffee and a cold compress over your eyes while they bliss out on everyone's furry red monster.
When I Was Cooking
I mean, really, this is just a safety concern sometimes, especially when my children were younger and didn't realize "jumping next to a hot stove asking me to pick them up is not going to go well for any of us." Elmo keeping them occupied while I made dinner was absolutely essential because any day you have to rush to the hospital to treat hot oil burns is a bad day indeed.
When I Was Hosting A Dinner Party
No matter how well-behaved my children are (and they can be very well-behaved when they put their minds to it) it's unfair to ask them to be perfectly content for the duration of one of my dinner parties. It's not fair to ask my guests to entertain themselves while I go play with my children (or worse, as them to entertain my children). Enter Elmo. Elmo's got this for a bit while I hang with my friends at the dinner table.
When My Kids Were Wound Up & Just Needed To Chill Out
You know those days. Those days when you seriously start checking the medicine cabinets to make sure your kid didn't pop that old bottle of caffeine pills leftover from college. All is well pharmaceutically speaking, but your kid is just off the walls.
Elmo is here to help. Elmo is calming, soothing, and unlike pharmaceuticals doesn't have any negative side-effects. He is, however, definitely habit forming.
When I Needed To Prepare My Daughter To Get Rid Of Her Pacifier
When My Kids Were Sick
I feel like it's the unofficial parent gospel that all screen time rules are suspended when a child is sick.
When There Was A Snow Day
The rules don't apply during snow days, either.
When It Was Summer Vacation
Rules still apply during summer vacation but, like, there's more wiggle room because after a while everyone just gets a little bit stir crazy and sick of each other.
When It Was 5:00 AM & They Were Wide Awake
And whatever your screen time rules are they don't go into effect until 7:00 a.m., because science.
When I Was Just Over It For No Apparent Reason
Women often feel they need to justify every single one of their decisions, especially their parenting decisions, but here's a little secret: we don't actually have to. Not really. It's OK, even when you're on your game, to really, really need the help of a beloved childhood icon. That's what they're there for, after all.
When I Needed To Feel Loved, Too
I know some parents are annoyed by Elmo but you know what? I love him. That little guy is pure love and I'm finding that harder and harder to come by these days. Besides, Sesame Street has always been and always will be my happy place. So hate on, haters: Elmo isn't just good for my kids, he's good for me, too.