My first viewing of Groundhog Day garnered my appreciation for Bill Murray as an actor but that’s about it; in my youth it wasn't relatable. You don’t fully appreciate the nuances of this film until adulthood when monotony begins to rear it’s ugly head in the form of daily occupational nightmares and the merry-go-round of endless responsibilities.
When you decide to stay home with your child you enter an elite group of people who reach the pinnacle of empathy for Phil’s character. This may fade as children get older and become walking, talking, unpredictable balls of mischief who provide day-to-day variations similar to a job outside the home (to be determined). Though right now staying at home with a baby could be Groundhog Day the sequel.
Why did Phil & I become kindred spirits as soon as I decided to stay home with a baby? See below.
We have the same maddening morning greeting
Phil: Phil is infamously awakened at 6 am without relent to "I've Got You Babe" and dialogue outlining the shitty weather. “Okay, campers, rise and shine, and don’t forget your booties ‘cause it’s cold out there today!” UGH!
Me: I have yet to sleep past 5 am without the audible reminder my son has well-functioning lungs/vocal cords. Just like Phil, I wake up to the same maddening greeting day-to-day. Double UGH!
We hear the same phrases out of the same people's mouths day after day
- “Morning. Off to see the groundhog?” (Man in hallway)
- “Did you sleep well, Mr. Connors?” (Mrs. Lancaster)
- “Phil? Hey, Phil? Phil! Phil Connors? Phil Connors, I thought that was you!” (Ned Ryerson)
- “Did you bring a reusable bag today?” (Jewel Cashier)
- “Did you use our Cartwheel App today?” (Target Cashier)
- “I have a delivery, can you buzz me in?” (UPS Courier)
We’re plagued by reoccurring daily annoyances
- Steps into the same puddle every morning en route to Gobbler's Knob
- Watches groundhog announce 6 more weeks of winter
- Enjoys an ice cold shower
- Blizzard prevents his departure
- Steps into the same puddle of spit up en route to high chair
- Watches favorite toy run out of battery (without backup batteries)
- Enjoys a cold cup of coffee (after wrangling baby down for a nap)
- Traffic prevents my husband's timely arrival home
The same exact quotes are applicable to both our lives:
- Phil: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same?”
I’d sit in a condo and watch my son eat, play, sleep.
- Phil: “Do you ever have déjà vu?”
Yes, every time I get a pinch or kick from my son during a diaper change.
- Rita: “What did you do today?” Phil: “Oh, same-old same-old.”
Exact replica of the exchange my husband and I have when he arrives home from work.
- Rita: “Phil you look terrible! What happened rough night?”
I’ve heard this exact statement/question combo before...it’s called 5 am baby.
We’ve been put through the wringer & tomorrow's always a new day
Phil: “I have been stabbed, shot, poisoned, frozen, hung, electrocuted, and burned.” “...and every morning I wake up without a scratch on me, not a dent in the fender...I am immortal.”
Me: I have been kicked, screamed at, fielded demands, endured public tantrums, survived household disasters, and adapted when life-saving devices malfunction (like the TV when I’m trying to get something done). Every morning it starts all over again.
Encountering the same situations day after day gives us the superhuman ability to see into the future
Phil: Thanks to his time loop Phil becomes heroic. He anticipates/fixes a flat tire; catches a child falling from a tree; and successfully administers the heimlich on a choking restaurant patron.
Me: Thanks to my life being a time loop I’m heroic as well. I anticipate/prevent tantrums; catch flying toys, spoons, bowls, sippy cups, bottles; and successfully block pee, vomit, and spit up from disfiguring the house.
Repetition enables us to perfect our everyday talents
Phil: Phil develops the skill of a seasoned pianist, makes world-class ice sculptures, and becomes well-read in everything.
Me: I develop the skill of loading a dishwasher in under 2 minutes, make 8 loads of laundry disappear in a day, and become capable of carrying 15 items at a time (child, dog, diaper bag, extra bottles, my coat, grocery bags, etc).
Our attitude seems to break the curse of monotony
Phil: His time loop ends once he changes his attitude toward life. He begins helping others, embracing his situation, and finally falling in love becoming happy/fulfilled.
Me: My daily monotony seems worse when I start the day with a negative attitude (Mondays) and relents when I have a positive attitude (Fridays). So staying mindful/present in the moment and enjoying the wonderful/fulfilling times with my son breaks my "time loop."
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