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107: Better Call Daddy- Reena Friedman Watts (Full Transcript)





Jey (00:00.)

But no, it's those emails suck. Those emails 1000 % suck. Um, but yeah, it's just eating my job hunt to get to my current job. Now that I've been in for a year was rough. It was a long process because it took, it took more than a month to get hired. And then I had to wait and start. And then I was like, they put it, put you on part time for a couple of weeks to do all your training. And it was like, this just sucks. Uh,

So I just blew through everything, like being like a single parent at the time, like I blew through like everything I had saved just to keep afloat for a month and a half, almost two months before getting paid again. And then unemployment was supposed to happen because I got wrongfully terminated from that job. And I had won my appeal against them because they had broken at least 15 different RCW codes in my termination.

and they didn't give me a fair chance. It was a lot of it was a he said, she said kind of defiring. And of course, I'm being the he in that situation and whatever. I mean, I was kind of already unliked and I get unlike that jobs very easily because I'm I'm loud and I'll get in your face and I'll speak up and I'm not afraid to do that. Definitely backfires from time to time.

It's not my best qualities, but it is what it is. But job hunts are fun.

Reena Friedman Watts (01:38.318)

I love that you're brave enough to speak up because I feel like corporate America is all about just getting the job done, not speaking up, not getting too personal.

I don't even know how to navigate a wrongful termination. What steps did you take? What would someone do?

Jey (01:59.333)

I mean, you kind of just have to, for me and my say, so I live in Washington, um, and I just had to file unemployment, but my unemployment was already like, so I never actually got like the payout from it, which I was supposed to, cause you pay into unemployment throughout your whole employment. Um, you're always paid into it technically. And then when I got fired from the previous job,

It got denied and their side was justified. I was like, cool, whatever. I thought it'd be closed out. So I went in to reapply under this new job and it was so messed up. It was a whole process. It was a whole thing and I didn't get the benefits, but I ended up winning the case against them and whatnot. So I just the overall satisfaction that like they were found in the wrong was more than enough for me. The money would have been nice. Um,

But overall, it was just like filing unemployment and then just like putting in your reasons why they were, you felt it was wrong. And then normally like someone from like the unemployment office, like calls you to investigate and then get your like verbal side of it that they record and then transcribe. And then they ask you very specific questions. It's like, did this happen? Yes or no. Did this happen? Yes or no.

And a lot of it was, and I probably shouldn't recommend this, but a lot of it was like playing dumb. Or it's like, well, I didn't know that was a policy. No, they never showed me that. Like, oh, what? No way. Like, I was never given that. Like, I was never given that part of the handbook. Oh, no, that policy changed and it was very unclear. It was very gray. No one ever explained it to me. Like my boss didn't tell me that.

Reena Friedman Watts (03:31.83)

Hmm.

Jey (03:54.135)

uh or this part of it wasn't explained to me so i had no idea that i was even wrong if i knew it was wrong i would have done the right thing um and just really playing

Reena Friedman Watts (04:04.334)

Yeah, that makes sense. And honestly, who does go through the employee handbook?

Jey (04:09.861)

Nobody. Nobody. Nobody goes through the employee handbook. But technically you do sign it at some point. But then again, it is it is what it is. And, you know, at the end of it, I won. I didn't get a payout, but I still won. They were found guilty for all the things that they did wrong and are doing wrong. So will it lead to any change in that company? Probably not. But it is what it is. At least they were wrong.

Reena Friedman Watts (04:37.708)

Yeah, that probably felt like a little bit of redemption.

Jey (04:41.125)

100 % 100 % well, Rita, thank you for being here. I appreciate you. I was enjoying our talk on jobs and the market and everything and so much that I just wanted to hit record and start talking. But thanks for being here with me today, Rita. You're the host of the Better Call Daddy podcast with your dad. You guys interview interesting and controversial people, share stories with your dad life.

Reena Friedman Watts (05:02.368)

Yes.

Jey (05:11.941)

life as a daughter and then your dad weighs in with his wisdom and wit on those different things. So welcome to Young Dad Podcast today. I'm super excited to have you.

Reena Friedman Watts (05:20.526)

Yes, I'm super excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me.

Jey (05:25.027)

Definitely. So tell us a little bit about you, about the podcast, about, you know, what you do over there if the people haven't listened to it before.

Reena Friedman Watts (05:33.422)

Yeah. Yeah, my dad is my confidant. He is the one who gives me hope and inspiration and tells me that I can do anything. And he's really been kind of my encourager throughout my life. All of my different chapters he has been accepting and he's a dad of three girls. And we all still call him, even though we're all married now and have children of our own and...

I feel like he and his parents were very instrumental in my life. My parents had me young, they got married out of high school and I knew all four of my grandparents and my great grandparents, which was a big part of who I became. My dad worked with his parents for 40 plus years. They've been entrepreneurs. They ran a lighting manufacturing company in Kentucky and then in Indiana. They moved it across the river.

And I felt like he was giving me a lot of advice that other people could use. And also I felt like our relationship was unique in that I asked him for so much advice in my life and I wanted to kind of let people be a fly on the wall for that. And then if they wanted to know what that was like or if they had a similar relationship or if they had daddy issues or inspirational fathers too that...

we could share those stories and learn from each other.

Jey (07:03.845)

I think that's so important. I mean, I have, I'm a dad of two girls, so I definitely can under sympathize with your dad a little bit with only having girls so far. Granted, minor, young, they're not adults yet, but hopefully we'll do this again. We'll have your dad on here too, so that we can sympathize with each other a little bit. But it's so important, you know, to...

I think that's so cool that you guys have that relationship even into adulthood with your dad to call him, to go to him, to rely on him, that he's your confidant still like all these years later. I think that's just so cool. You know, my kids, I was really young when I became a dad. I was 22. Sounds like your dad was even younger and...

Reena Friedman Watts (07:49.134)

He was 22, 23 also. He met my mom, she was younger.

Jey (07:52.613)

Okay, definitely. Okay, yeah, my ex -wife is younger too, so that lines up. So yeah, my kids definitely know all their grandparents, but there's a lot of grandparents in our situation now, especially since the divorce and her parents are divorced. Like our, my kids' grandparents' situation is definitely interesting, to say the least. It's very non -traditional.

to where on their mom's side they have their maternal grandpa and their maternal grandma and then additionally her dad is remarried so there's an extra grandma there and then her parents are alive and then her dad's parents are alive so her great - their great -grandparents and then on her mom's side there's a grandma.

alive still. So great grandma. So there's a lot of like grandparents and then you flip over to my side to where I don't really know I'm not really close to my biological mother at all. Like we don't talk, we don't interact nothing. So they've never interacted with her. They probably won't ever interact with her. And that's why my choice to make sure that I keep that relationship non -existent because she doesn't...

I feel really bad saying she doesn't deserve it, but she doesn't deserve it. She doesn't deserve the relationship with me, with the kids. And that's by her own personal choices and the things that she's done to me in my life that reflect like she didn't know that I was getting married. She didn't know that the kids were even born. Like she got no knowledge, none of that. So.

I'm not even sure she knows she's a grandparent. And I don't know if she honestly cares if she knows she's a grandparent. And then of course through her on my biological mom's side, I have my grandma who raised me from when I was two weeks old. She's still living. Grandfathers have all passed, but then my grandma's first husband remarried. And so I have another grandma there. She's still living. And then on my dad's side,

Jey (10:17.751)

My dad's dad passed away when he was really young so I never got to meet him and then his mom is still living but I don't talk to her really. Again, by choice. She's a Karen. Her name's Karen. She's a Karen. She's the worst. She definitely knows how I feel about her. And then there's a great grandma. She's 101. Still kicking, still kicking around.

Reena Friedman Watts (10:45.546)

Wow.

Jey (10:47.429)

So, yeah, so grandparent situation on my side is all over the place.

Reena Friedman Watts (10:57.934)

My dad's parents were like second parents to me. All of my grandparents lived pretty close, like, you know, within 20 minutes of a drive. And yeah, my dad's mom, I would say, taught me how to love. You know, when I walk into the room, I know that she's so happy that I'm there. And she always was like, when are you coming back? And don't leave. And she tells me, like, I love you more than anyone in this world.

I mean, saying that to someone makes you always want to be with them.

Jey (11:30.253)

Mm -hmm. 100 % 100 % and I mean I was super close to my grandparents because they were the ones raising me You know, like my grandma raised me. So like I was I'm still really close to her like I'll call her every week or so and we'll talk and we'll catch up and we'll All the things and then my other grandma who I spent some time with growing up Her and my grandfather who's passed I'll spend some time talking to her every week or so and

just kind of go through that and yeah, outside of that, I don't, I talk to my dad pretty often. My dad and I have an interesting relationship. At the time of this recording, the episode's not out yet, but it should be coming out here in about four weeks. My dad and I actually do an episode together, episode number 100 of the podcast. So that's super exciting to be able to talk to him about that.

Reena Friedman Watts (12:22.592)

Yes, congratulations on that. That's a big accomplishment.

Jey (12:26.757)

I know it's huge. I'm really excited. And then just, you know, talking about that story and talking about that aspect and dynamics been really fun to explore over these last, I don't know, a hundred plus episodes. It's like my journey of fatherhood and in relation to like my dad. And we talk about our story, like growing up and stuff, like what that was like, cause I didn't live with him until I was 14 or so. So we didn't really have a relationship.

the first 14 years of my life. And so we just weren't close at all. And then some things changed and you know, have to go back and listen to that episode when it comes out. Or if you're listening to this now, definitely go back and listen to episode 100. It's a fun, fun, hilarious episode. Lots of laughs, lots of profanity, lots of vulgarness, lots of roasting.

talk about how I was as a teenager and all those things that he helped me learn and there's a lot of gratitude expressed and like, you know, overall now like we call each other when we're excited about something, which is really fun. He'll call me when he's excited about something or like when he's stressed about something and like we have that with each other, like I'll call him. And usually I get a different response when I call him versus him calling me because like,

I work in mental health and I'm a mental health clinician so I know how to have that conversation and be excited. He just doesn't, and I love him to death, he just doesn't have the same like emotional capacity.

That is I do, which is okay. I mean, we're different people completely, so.

Reena Friedman Watts (14:15.086)

What I think is interesting is as you become an adult, you also start to realize that your parents need you to be there for them as people versus you always being the kid. So I have to remember that sometimes when I'm calling my dad and just like needing him to listen to all of my stuff, I also need to remember like, hey dad, are you okay? Like, how's your day going?

Jey (14:42.341)

Definitely. No, I call him and I ask him how he's doing versus always just expecting like the same, you know, or expecting just to get like the support when I need it. Like it's definitely as an adult, like growing up and stuff like I've learned that it is that two way street, you know. Like they need us to just as much as we need them, if not more, because I mean, who else do they have? I mean, they're getting older.

Reena Friedman Watts (15:12.654)

Yeah, I love that you're even bringing that up because like my dad's in his in his sixties, he's almost 70. And, you know, like we're at this stage where we're like trying to think potentially my husband just turned 50.

You know, and he's like thinking about places he still wants to visit and our kids growing up and getting them through school and like one of them's coming up on college and we're still thinking about the grind. But my dad's thinking about like legacy and who's gonna take over for him and who's gonna manage all this and then.

You know, how many years does he have left of health or his brain or, you know, like where he's going to be able to travel or who he's going to be able to see or all those things. Who's going to take care of my mother? All the, all these questions, right? Where it, these are big questions and like, we're still trying to balance our small children.

Jey (16:05.925)

Those are huge questions.

Right? No, those are huge questions. Like my it's funny. Your husband could be my dad. My dad just turned 50 last year. And so my dad's super young. We're only two. My dad and I and my grandma were all 21 years apart from each other on that side. So him and his mom are 21 years apart. Yeah. So we're 21 years apart exactly. So it's like we're super young. Like he was only 42 when my oldest daughter was born.

Reena Friedman Watts (16:20.982)

Wow.

Reena Friedman Watts (16:26.956)

Wow, yes, it's like that on my mom's side.

Jey (16:39.781)

uh he just turned

Reena Friedman Watts (16:40.718)

My grandmother became a grandma at 41. What are you from Kentucky or something? I'm from Kentucky. They do it like that there.

Jey (16:44.005)

Yeah. No, no, we're just, I don't know how it ended up. Well, I guess my dad's African American or part African American. So I don't know if that has anything to do with it, but we just had kids like young, you know, like, I don't know. But it's funny that you say Kentucky, my grandma who raised me.

Not the grandma who raised me but the other one I lived with a little bit I was probably like 11 12 years old for a few years there She lives in Kentucky now and so it's yeah, she lives in I don't know where Kentucky somewhere But yeah, Kentucky's beautiful that's kind of like my shelter in place spot like if the world goes to crap and like I'm just fleeing out to Kentucky and Hanging out out there for a while. So

Reena Friedman Watts (17:19.404)

Oh wow.

Reena Friedman Watts (17:28.43)

It is.

Reena Friedman Watts (17:39.566)

That's cool. Yeah. I don't know. It's funny. I we've we've moved all around. I met my husband in California online when that was just starting out like 17 years ago and now maybe 18 years ago. We&#x