Bad Moms

Maybe it’s because I’m tired of hearing Moms complain. Motherhood is a choice and, apparently, a blessing, but an alien life form perusing Facebook and Mommy blogs would never guess it. Every single day my news feeds are clogged with “open letters” from Moms who cry and complain about never having enough time to “do it all” – and yet, they’ve always got the time to let us know about it. Here’s a secret: nobody gets to do it all. Every single person struggles with work-life balance. Everyone! imagesJ7LLG4KCBut the craziest thing is not that mothers believe themselves to be uniquely challenged (you and every other breeder on the planet anyway) but that the #1 thing they complain about is judgement from other Moms. Which is crazy. Motherhood IS tough. And there’s no one right way to do it. But if you have time to be peeping into someone else’s minivan, then I guess maybe it’s not as all-consuming as you thought. Here’s another secret: nobody gives a fuck. Everyone’s pretty busy living their own lives. Just live yours. If you have guilt, deal with it. Don’t project it into someone else’s judgement.

I’m super glad to say that most of the Moms I know don’t need a self-congratulatory shit-shows like Bad Moms to make themselves feel better. This movie feels like the opposite of feminism. It implies that women aren’t very good at multi-tasking and are susceptible to nervous break downs if they have more than one thing on the go at once. How many mothers do I know who have literally eaten spaghetti while driving? None. It’s dangerous and stupid. The mothers I know all have tiny portions of dry cereal handy to keep kids entertained and fed in the car, and backseats that smell like sour milk, but they don’t twirl pasta and drive.

Most if not all of the mothers I know work full-time or go to school, or both.  The reality is that mothers need to be caregivers and providers both. Sometimes even exclusively. Yes, it’s hard to leave the kids. Almost 2016-05-04T12-34-47-833Z--1280x720_today-inline-vid-featured-desktopeveryone can think of something they’d rather be doing than going to work. But if you’re lucky enough in this economy to only work part-time, or from home, or not at all, have the good grace not to complain about it. And if the hours you have with your kids are few, make the most of them. Kids remember quality time, not quantity. Maybe don’t spend that time writing passive-aggressive tweets about how tough your life is.

I think the worst thing Bad Moms does is that it infantalizes women. Motherhood is reduced to a competition, and all the Moms start acting like middle school girls. They openly bully each other. They form cliques. They ostracize and criticize the ones who aren’t like them. Bad Moms feels like middle-aged Mean Girls, only not as funny, not as mordant. When the screenwriter, who is a man by the way, decides to indulge the mothers in “letting loose”, what they do is throw a tantrum and make a mess in a grocery store. Like their toddlers. He doesn’t seem to think much of mothers, and I find that insulting.

It’s 2016. Women can handle their shit. But if they don’t like the kind of lifestyle that comes with having kids, here’s another secret: you don’t have to have them. Ladies have options! Living childfree is one of them. But if you do have kids, embrace it. You don’t have to love it all the time and good god, you don’t have to be with them all the time. I think mothers need to gift themselves with time apart way more often. Happy mothers are better mothers. Stop with the guilt. And stop with movies like this, that only exacerbate guilt and perpetuate the very concept of “good moms” and “bad moms” that it nominally pokes fun at. Children’s Aid can assess the bad moms. The rest are just moms doing their best, and that’s good enough.

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33 thoughts on “Bad Moms

  1. Veronika

    What a wonderful review! I haven’t seen the film yet, but I’ve read quite a lot of positive reviews (mostly from male reviewers though!) which I found a bit surprising. This review, however, makes much more sense and is probably much closer to how I’m going to perceive the film too… keep up the good work! 🙂

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  2. J.

    Y’know, I remember hearing this ol’ cliche from folks that being a parent is the toughest job they’ll ever have, but it’s also the most rewarding. It’s totally true, though. You might want to pull your hair out at times and might find you won’t find the time to go see Pacific Rim 2 (I know, I know), but it’s all about the little one now. That’s cool. Choose Joy. Choose the wee one smiling (or crying), cause they give you something that 3hours at the cinema never will.

    Anyhoo, great post. I’ll give this one a miss.

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    1. Jay Post author

      You and your Pacific Rim!
      I mean, I kind of adore it. Your comments are going to be a love story to that movie before it even comes out.

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      1. J.

        It’s one of my favourite ever movies. Second will be smashin, too – I’ll look forward to reading the glowing review here!

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  3. calensariel

    Hm… Was going to make this a GNO movie with a beer chaser afterward (yes, we have a bar in our mall! “Bout Time”), but it doesn’t sound that good. How many mothers do I know who have literally eaten spaghetti while driving? None. It’s dangerous and stupid. I nearly choked when I read that I laughed so hard! 😀

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  4. DotedOn

    Jay, some mothers are REALLY competitive. They put their kids in all kind of extra activities because they think that that made them good moms and better children.
    There was a woman in the former school who always looked down at me. How could it be possible for a woman who doesn’t work not having time to drive/bring the kids to extra activities. One day I got fed up and said: I may be a Class B mom but someone needs to do the ugly work. I didn’t add: You should thank women like me that you can compare to and feel you are the best, but I guess she got the picture 🙂

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  5. Birgit

    I love what you wrote here…if you do have issues with kids…don’t have them! Well, you said it much better but I, too, am sick of this whole mother martyr crap. Most have 1 or 2 kids while, many, years ago, had 5 or 6. This movie does not appeal to me in the slightest.

    Liked by 1 person

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  6. Sara K. Eisen

    I loved this review. I am a mother of 4, an executive, a humanist (what is feminism if not specifically targeted humanism?), and a reluctant / way past giving a shit suburban dweller, — formerly PTA mom until, no freaking way I am doing this for kids 3 and 4 — and this, basically, is my philosophy in a nutshell. People want it both ways, and they want it both ways in public, and that’s just obscene. 🙂 Thanks for calling out pop culture, suburban culture, social media, and millennial self focus, all in the same post. Fab.

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. Jay Post author

      I”m glad you understood what I was trying to say. The movies are always showing us these images of mothers who are frazzled, flustered, unable to cope, and eventually melt down by acting like their own children. When I look around me in real life, I see loads of women who are competent and getting their shit done. Yes, sometimes that involves selectively saying NO. It’s a powerful word.

      Movies like this reinforce the very stereotypes they’re pretending to subvert.

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  7. Audra

    As a first time mom it was a little tough at first not to compare my mothering to others, especially when my sister in law had her girl just 5 weeks before I had my son. Well written review, but not just that…good words for all moms. Just keep doing *your* thing, all you Moms. You’re rockin’ it. 😉

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  8. Pingback: BAD MOMS IS PRETTY BLOODY GOOD « lloydmarken

  9. kitcatsdesigns

    I personal liked the movie and thought it was entertaining… though it had it’s over exaggerated “mom “characters. both “working “and “stay at home”, I think that makes a comedy ! What I thought made it interesting is how these characters all lived in silos but end up coming together in the end with the same common thread, and they had no idea they all had some of the same struggles…

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  10. Christy B

    I watched this last night and it had so much implausibility which I sometimes don’t mind but not when it’s reducing women to kids who don’t have common sense. Ug!

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