We’ve been role playing Frozen in our house for almost two solid years so I think we were all ready for a change. That change came in the form of Pixar’s newest animated film— Inside Out.

Have you guys seen it yet? Your kids will think it’s hilarious while you try not to drown your popcorn in your own tears. Am I supposed to weep this much at cartoons? Because it feels really abnormal. Everyone else is busy laughing at Bing Bong, the candy crying elephant, while I’m all, “She’s forgetting her imaginary friend ever existed!!! She’s losing all her childhood memories!!!! She needs to face the sadness before she becomes happy again!!!!! WE ALL GET OLD AND THEN WE DIE!!!!!”

It’s a great movie. I just…. MOTHERHOOD. It did a number on me.

I took the girls to see it a few weekends ago and even though I’m pretty sure they didn’t fully comprehend the plot, they are OBSESSED with the characters.

The characters, if you know nothing about the movie, represent different emotions inside a little girl’s head— Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.


I’m sure there are more emotions but those are the main characters in the movie, so from this point forward, you and your children will cap your capacity for human emotion at five different feelings. Until Inside Out 2 comes out, of course. I look forward to meeting Guilt, Shame and Regret as the little girl gets older.

Anyway, Mazzy and Harlow like to play Inside Out and they have designated our roles which are not up for discussion and DO NOT CHANGE EVER. Harlow is Joy, Mazzy is Disgust, Mike is Anger and I get to be Sadness.

Yay, I get to be Sadness!

I mean— “Okay… I’ll be Sadness if that’s what you guys think is best…” spoken softly while frowning with a short low-pitched almost inaudible sigh at the end.


The voice of Sadness is the same woman who played Phyllis on The Office, if that gives you a better sense of what I’m dealing with. I guess my character makes sense when you consider how many tears I shed during the movie.

For the past two weeks, every time I do anything with even a little enthusiasm, I’m met with, “No, Mom! You’re Sadness!” Then I have recalibrate my excitement, ramp it back down to zero and start over.

“This trip to the park seems fun but it reminds of the time I fell off the swing. Sigh.”

“It’s only a matter of time before this ice cream drips on my favorite shirt and ruins it forever.”

“We’re having dinner as a family. I hope nobody dies.”

Yep, my kids have made me into Debbie Downer and I must face all family situations with a negative frame of mind. Playing Kristoff (my designated Frozen character) never sounded so good.


The worst part is, even though Harlow is Joy, she rarely participates except to announce that she is Joy. So all family conversations include anger, disgust and sadness (when Grammy is around, she gets to play the part of Fear) but there is no element of positivity whatsoever.

This would be typical dinner conversation:

MAZZY: These meatballs are disgusting.

GRAMMY: I’m scared they are too hot and will burn my mouth!

HARLOW: (silence)


ME: Those cows lived a terrible life that ended in the worst way possible.

Then Harlow and Mazzy crack up uncontrollably, as they always do when I play my part correctly.

Hey, if I’m gonna be Sadness for the next two years, at least my girls find my misery amusing and I get the biggest laughs.