Ok, I really don’t want to be a downer on the party here. I get why some moms would want to go see the movie “Bad Moms.” It will probably be funny, and cathartic. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be entertained for a night.
What I can’t seem to get past is how this movie exemplifies society’s lack of any real understanding or direction for today’s mothers. What mothers actually contend with, inside and outside of us, as we mother seems lost on most people—including ourselves.
There is a reason a comedy about mothers going AWOL was made. What mother hasn’t complained about how tired she feels, how little her partner does, or how chaotic her life seems at times? What mother hasn’t felt overwhelmed with the pressures, responsibilities, and demands of mothering at some point?
Most of us have had some fantasy of escape or rebellion that in reality would be difficult, or simply ridiculous, to execute.
So this movie, I think, aims to satisfy our fantasies of rebellion against the status quo, without us having to pay the price. We know the reality of partying into oblivion, or cutthroat get backs at other women, is a drastic blow to our own self worth.
If we really want out of the expectations, obligations, or the institution of motherhood, this isn’t the way.
But what IS the way? How can we better understand our struggles as mothers so that we know which direction to take? How do we rebel, take off the masks, and turn the pressure we feel into liberation, in real life?
Maybe the writers of this movie, both husbands and fathers, wanted to help us not be so upset, or not take ourselves so seriously. Maybe they wanted to make a lot of money off of all the people who just want to laugh about the situation modern mothers are in.
But I don’t want a fucking comedy. I want some guidance from some real mentors. I want insight from modern women who are actively finding their way out of the cluster fuck of holding down careers while raising securely attached kids, and in addition to all that having time and energy for their marriages, health, friendships, communities, growing spiritually, planting organic gardens and making homemade herbal supplements for their kids…among other things.
I want to understand why some of the most privileged mothers are some of the most burnt out. (Although that may be partially explained by the aspirations in the paragraph above). Why do mothers seem so unenthused, depleted, and stressed out, instead of empowered and energized by being entrusted with the sacred task of raising a family?
And no, I don’t think it’s because mothers aren’t doing enough, caring enough, or working hard enough. I don’t think our husbands or partners can solve this for us (although they can love and support us as we find our own way). And I don’t think going “crazy” like the moms in this movie is getting us any closer to unraveling this mess.
Ugh, this movie. I just can’t do it.
Maybe because I have spent years swimming upstream through strong currents of advice, social pressure, and judgment to find my own voice, and way, as a mother. Maybe it’s because as a mother, I have had moments of ego crushing humility as well as beautiful triumph—that no one could have described to me, and I never saw reflected anywhere, especially a hollywood movie—and I deeply value those life experiences and hold them dear to me.
Personally, I want to wake up from the trance society creates that says mothering is overwhelming and exhausting. I only feel run down as a mother when I am trying to live up to expectations, values, and ideals that aren’t mine, weren’t defined by me, or aren’t relevant to my life and what I care about. When I get back to what matters to me, and what I need to do to ensure I am congruent with my priorities, my energy returns and things fall into place.
But the work of getting in touch with my priorities and what I care about can be a daunting task in this society. What I think is important may not be seen as important by anyone else around me, or how I go about it may not make any sense to anyone else but me. So I have to know myself, trust myself, and live with the judgments that will inevitably come my way.
Mothering is a complex endeavor full of enormous responsibilities AND privileges. There are parts of it I love with all of my being, and aspects that challenge me just as much. And if we think we can escape that reality, we will fail miserably. Because that duality, those opposing energies, is the nature of life.
Instead, I choose to face reality, and my life, full on. I know I am not a victim of my life, of my schedule, responsibilities, or of motherhood. That knowing is deeply empowering.
So I have to wonder, what would a movie about empowered mothers, ones who take themselves, their lives, and their mothering as the beautiful, awesome responsibility and gift that it is? A movie about women finding their unique way as mothers, and being fulfilled because they had the courage to follow their inspiration, intuition, hard earned wisdom, full heart, and knowing.
Now that is a movie I want to see, although it may not be a summer blockbuster. So, until then, I will just aspire to live it.