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! But 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 everyone 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.