In case you don’t have any clue what movie I am talking about, here is a promo shot:
First, I’d like to admit right out of the gate I didn’t walk into this movie with naive expectations. The trailers gave a pretty good indication that there would be some inappropriate humor. Second, I am not planning on giving away any spoilers. There were definitely some parts I thought the movie could have lived without, not only for the story line but even in the presentation. Sometimes it could go too far. Third, there were some parts of this that were REALLY unrealistic when you are talking about any group of moms. Lastly, there were also a LOT of truths.
Overall, I laughed and I laughed hard. At one point I laughed so hard (as I was taking a sip from my straw) that I pushed air through the straw, which caused a small tidal wave in my cup, and that resulted in my drink landing in my eyes. Which just caused a whole other fit of laughter for myself and those sitting around me. I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt. Yet, there were some moments that I nodded in solidarity. There were moments that were uncomfortable. And, yes… as I said before totally unnecessary.
What I want to write about (and I’m up for conversation too) is WHY a movie like this not only resonated with moms but was drawing us in like moths to a flame.
My first thought is probably the most obvious, there is an enormous amount of pressure on moms to be it all, do it all, and do so perfectly. Whether it is the perfect birthday party, bento box lunches, or simply making it to every school and sport activity… we feel the pressure. We notice so much of what is around us, like the mom who has the perfect hair and make up in the parent pick up line… when we were struggling to get out of the house with a bra under our pajama shirt. We see the kids with the perfectly styled hair, accessories, and sparkling white sneakers…. and we just spent the last 40 minutes looking for eyeglasses or a belt. Other moms dropping their kids off early, and we are 10 minutes late because we had to go back home and pick up the flute that was left behind… or because our darling child took 15 minutes to brush her teeth.
How do these moms do it? We cast shade in their direction, but really we are asking ourselves… why can’t I do it?
I think there are a number of moms who have run the scenario through their head of just saying no. No to the requests by the husband, kids, school, coaches, etc. An opportunity to just walk away from the pressure and enjoy life again. To make the choice of not being the perfect mom anymore, and instead be the bad mom.
This brings me to my second thought, as you watch the trailers you see a group of women having fun. We are not talking bunko party fundraiser fun, but the kind of fun we had as teenagers and young single adults. The fun we had when we didn’t care what others thought, where it was ok to be silly, and there was an expected freedom in the general knowledge we were going to make mistakes and bad choices. It takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to be an adult, and could just let loose and be free.
With motherhood came some sort of unwritten code of conduct, that we couldn’t be silly anymore. We began to take everything too seriously, including ourselves. Let’s face it, books and the advice of television “experts” reinforced this. Reminding us over and over again that it was time to grow up, put away childish things, and get our heads out of the clouds. As we did this, many of us sent fun sailing away for good. We stopped smiling, we stopped laughing, and we stopped being silly.
The movie Bad Moms called out to that free spirit inside of us, that desperately wanted to laugh… and laugh hard. So, it pulls out all the stops. The women let loose in a way we couldn’t, and we live vicariously through them. They say the things that roll through our minds & do the things we secretly wished we could. (Ok, maybe not all of the things they say and do, but you get the point).
I also believe this appeals to Christian women so deeply because of the bar that is set for our expected behavior. If other moms are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their every day life, Christian moms understand the additional expectations put on the Christian mom. To have perfect children that love Jesus, quote the bible, volunteer with the elderly, and gladly donate all their birthday money to the missions fund. To be women who are serious about the study of the Lord, leading small groups, inviting women over to mentor and pray together, to dress in simple clothes, and be ever diligent in our choices of entertainment. There is a pressure that all of our time should be so seriously focused on Christ, that we can’t let loose and laugh until our sides hurt.
Confession… I saw the movie on opening night. It’s taken me almost a month to admit I saw it, because frankly… I expected to be judged for it. I was worried about what my church friends, my readers that look to me for wisdom, the women or leaders who are reading through my blog trying to decide if I would be the right speaker for their next women’s event… what would these people think of me?
I learned something from the movie though… my eyes were opened to how long it had been since I had laughed so much and so hard. I realized how seriously I take myself and made the decision not to. I embraced that silliness is okay and even healthy for my kids to see. I made the decision that I wanted to laugh more, but with those whom I am the closest to… not a theater full of strangers. I want that girl posse who has my back, in the most biblical way possible… and who will be silly with me. Women who know how to laugh, smile, and stop trying to be something that is impossible to attain… perfect.
All of those parts of the movie that I thought were unnecessary, they don’t have to be part of my life. But the good stuff… I welcome it. We are all GOOD MOMS despite our imperfections and the times we muck things up… because we are LOVING MOMS. In the end that is what matters. The Lord didn’t call us to a life of misery, but of fulfillment and joy as mothers… and laughter. So much laughter.