Leslie Knope and motherhood
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This final season of Parks and Rec has surpassed my expectations. Final seasons of shows just aren't supposed to be this good. (Well, they should be. Just usually aren't.)
One aspect of the show has been sticking with me episode after episode. And that's how Leslie is being portrayed as a mom. Usually when motherhood is portrayed in a show, there's something broken. Either the mom is overwhelmed, the relationship with her spouse is lacking, she's completely given up on herself and dives obsessively into everything baby. Not that any of these aspects of motherhood are "wrong" in and of themselves. Mothers everywhere probably experience 1 or all of these things on some level. The problem comes in when mothers are portrayed through one, single lens. We rarely see balance in the character - the whole person.
With Leslie, in this final season, we see the entire person. We see the mom who is totally in love with her kids when she shows her monthly scrap books of her kids to her ... Ron. We see the woman who is head over heels in love with her husband when she encourages him to do something that she think he's perfect for. We see the passionate, driven woman who is dedicated to her job and continues to work to fulfill her dreams and better her community. Her wit and her humor hasn't faded.
In a world of "helicopter parenting", working vs. stay-at-home moms, and arranged baby play dates, it's refreshing to see balance in a woman. Sure, she works. But her husband and her kids are her top priority. And she hasn't forgotten the ambitious, soft, hilarious Leslie.
And I respect that.
Leslie, I'm sad you're leaving us soon, but grateful for the woman you were.