About 100 years ago, in Season 12 of The Simpsons, self-professed “No. 1 fan” Drew Barrymore guest-starred as Krusty the Clown’s daughter, Sophie, on the long-running show. Her time on the episode might have been fun for Drew, both personally and professionally, but it seems to have inspired her parenting style, too.
Homer Simpson seems like the last person who would inspire any kind of positive parenting, but Barrymore’s reasons are explained in her second memoir, the just-released Wildflower. And once you hear why, you’ll be on the exact same page as Drew.
Barrymore refers to an oldie but a goodie. “And Maggie Makes Three” features the Simpson family looking through a photo album and the kids notice that there are no pictures of Maggie in it. In Wildflower, Drew explains that it tells the story of how Homer unhappily works at a power plant and sacrifices his own wants and needs for the well-being of his family — something to which she can relate now that she’s a mom of two (daughters Olive, 3, and Frankie, 18 months).
Every day he worked in an octagonal room looking at an Orwellian plaque that read, ‘DON’T FORGET: YOU’RE HERE FOREVER.’ And one day when Homer came home he told Marge that he was afraid of his whole life slipping away without him ever getting to live his dream, which was to run a bowling alley. And so they all squeezed financially and made it work and Homer finally got his dream job! He became so happy that even his hair started to grow back! His life fell into place with his wife and two kids, and then suddenly Marge became pregnant. Now of course, in order to earn the living wage his family needed, he had to go back to work at the power plant. And so he did. But at the end of the episode, the kids say, ‘Yes, but why are there still no pictures of Maggie in this photo album?’ and Homer says it’s because he keeps her pictures where he needs them the most, and it cuts back to his office, and they are all taped up in front of him on the plaque for inspiration. But the way he has taped all the pictures of Maggie on the plaque, it has covered some of the words, and it now reads, ‘DO IT FOR HER,’ and that is what he now sees every day. Do it for her. That is it. You show that you love them endlessly. You devote yourself. You sacrifice. You parent also by example. The way you live and the things you achieve and the way you behave will be more evident than trying to convince them of anything.
Damn. Homer got us good. And thanks to Drew for the reminder. It’s something all parents can relate to. We’re used to sacrificing everything for our kids, our families. We make sure everyone is taken care of first, never do anything for ourselves, even take the smallest slice of pizza or the butt of a loaf of bread so long everyone else is happy. We’re the first ones up and the last ones to go to sleep and we’re the last ones to get sick — because we spent all that time making sure everyone else got better.
And Drew is living it now. Despite her successful and stable career, Barrymore is choosing motherhood over acting, revealing last month that she was taking a break from the biz. But we won’t miss her. We’ll just get our Drew fix through her new book, and discover other amazing pearls of wisdom she has to share. Or we can always watch this awesomeness over and over again: