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10 Ways Buffy Taught Me to Battle the Forces of Darkness

It’s no secret that I think the most brilliantly written show of all time is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. If you want to learn about great dialogue, watch Buffy. Watching the show made me a better writer, and most of the writers on it have gone on to have amazing careers. When I want a new show to watch, I look at the writers and if there’s a Buffy writer in there, I know it’s probably going to be great.

“In every generation there is a Chosen One. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons, and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer.”

The forces of darkness. We might not have blood-sucking monsters lurking around corners, but we battle our own forces of darkness on a daily basis around here. Here are 10 ways Buffy taught me to battle the forces of darkness, be they vampires taking over our town, my kid having a total meltdown about homework, or the edits to my book on which I’m procrastinating by writing this post.

1. Arm yourself with the right tools.


Buffy needs a sharp stake and I need a strong cup of coffee and well-honed state of denial to get my kids out the door for school. “I’m sure they all brushed their teeth, did their homework, and put on clean undies. Sure they did. They’re responsible like that, and I can totally trust them.”

2. Confront your fears and take risks.


Quinoa. Natural deodorant. Chaperoning a field trip. I was terrified to give up two spaces after a period. (I learned how to type on a TYPEWRITER with Fred and Wilma Flintstone, you guys, and all this moving to one space is rampant ageism.) But my fingers are starting to learn how to use only one space. This is of course exactly the same as taking on vampires with superhuman strength. (And listen up, you young punks, you can pry my Oxford comma out of my cold, undead vampire hands.)

3. Get creative.


You never know when a solution’s just staring you in the face. How to bribe your kids to do homework (one orange Tic Tac per two math problems), what to do with kale (leave it at the store), finding the energy for your spouse (breakfast date). There are no bad ideas. Well, maybe a few.

4. Don’t get distracted by the little things.


Lots of things try to distract me. How my kids lose every single toothpaste cap, stepping on a Lego, one-star reviews. Shove it all away and keep heading to your goal.

5. Sometimes you need a dance break.


We don’t burst out into song nearly enough, and it always helps. Unless you’re a tween girl and your mom does it in carline picking you up from chorus rehearsal. Then you’re dead on the sidewalk in front of your friends.

6. Know when to say sorry.


Apologize if you’re wrong. Preferably without sarcasm or excuses. I apologize to my kids on a daily basis. Live fester-free, because the forces of darkness love a good subcutaneous fester.

7. Play well with others.


Two are usually better than one. At least until it gets homicidal.

8. Be enthusiastic.


Get excited. Whether you’re battling six loads of sweaty laundry, Friday night soccer practice in the Arctic tundra, or another apocalypse, your winning attitude will get you through. Enthusiasm is contagious.

9. Stay alert.


The forces of darkness could be anywhere. An unflushed toilet with the seat up. Viral memes with the word “you’re” spelled wrong. Cats.

10. You’ve got this. The forces of darkness cannot hold up to your big finish. There’s nothing you can’t face.


(Except for bunnies)


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