It’s OK to be a little bit bad if that means not raising entitled kids.
Last night I invited my husband to the movies. Just him and I on a week night date where I chose the movie – Bad Moms. I did so not only because I was in the mood for a laugh, but also because at some point I heard him saying that he could watch that movie just to see how “realistic” the movie portrays parenthood. I agreed with him on being just a bit analytic; not about the comedy itself, but regarding the dialogues, phrases and representations of the different styles (yes, plural) of motherhood.
Here are the lessons I found in this comedy that are worth sharing. Do mind that there might be some spoilers in my comments, so if you hold any expectations for a surprising plot, you might want to skip them.
Surround yourself with positive people [that let you ventilate].
Oh gosh! I have been in this kind of situation many times! Friends can be so hard to find, specially when you experience life changing experiences like motherhood, divorce, money struggles or even when your kids start growing up and their needs are changing faster than you can say “stay-at-home-mom”. That is why it is so important to find at least one person that cheers you up, shows real interest about your life and, in an ideal scenario, you feel you can be friends with.
Learn skills from the strengths of others. No doubt Amy’s antagonist is the living version of Snow White’s witch. But you have to accept that Gwendolyn knows how to organize anything! From a glorious power point presentation, to an organic baking sale, to a fancy dinner. Carla is truly honest and Kiki is super loyal. We all have flaws and skills, and it is time to learn how to empower ourselves through empowering others by speaking about their talents. You don’t have to be friend of someone you find annoying, but you can always look for their strengths and see if you can, at least, play on the same team if the situation requires it.
A good music playlist is a true mood changer. The other day my daughter slammed me with a “Can you please don’t sing when we are in the car listening to the radio?” My response was: HECK NO! Now, I love her dearly but that is why I certainly believe she needs to learn to be tolerant to other people’s joyful moments. Specially, when it comes to music, we all know how the right song can uplift our spirits or even help us to cry when we need to. I like to think of music as an “emotional facilitator” and as moms, we all seriously need that kind of chilling help several times a day.
Simple self care hacks are a great way to improve your efficiency. BB cream for a do-it-all in the morning or dry shampoo when skipping washing your hair are golden hacks for women on a rush. There’s a scene where Amy retouches her roots with mascara prior to having a night out, which is a great way to skip the beauty salon-hair dyeing routine. You can get a real hair mascara to do your retouches at home, but if you decide to use your regular mascara wand just don’t use it on your eyelashes after it has touched your head’s hair. It can get contaminated and create a really bad eye infection.
You need at least one outfit that makes you feel empowered. Great style is not a matter of size or expensive clothes. Of course you can read blogs like this one or look for styling help in order to make your existing closet work for you, and in a ideal world all of your wardrobe pieces work wonderfully together with each other. However, most of the time we just throw on ourselves whatever happens to be clean and decent, which does help us to be dressed, but not necessarily be happy with our looks. Don’t get overwhelmed trying to figure out your style out of the blue, just start with one look that you know is a winner and use it whenever you feel it’s a good day (or night) to make a statement.
You need a partner, NOT another kid in need of being taken care of or in need of an education. If your are a woman who counts with your children or child’s other parent as a real presence in their lives, you have to get this clear to all of the involved on their education: It is a shared responsibility! And it is NOT YOUR JOB to remind your counterpart to do more than the minimum required of him, but also to get hands-on a situation whenever it is necessary. Sometimes it could seem like a good idea to just smile and keep unloading groceries from the car while he’s playing video games, in order to avoid having an argument. But think about this: Your kids are watching, and the role each parent assumes at home during their childhood will be tattooed in their subconscious mind and become accepted as proper conduct while they grow up. Beyond that, it will remain in there when they become adults themselves. Being nice when asking for help from your partner is a great way to show them how lovely and proper couples do things AS A TEAM.
Sofía says it better via GIPHY
It should be fine if everybody does what they are supposed to do. Following the previous train of thought, it is extremely important to reassure the teamwork mentality when it comes to our home and family. It is more comfortable, efficient and even easier to do it all ourselves and to solve situations as they emerge, but it is also the way to raise entitled kids who expect that things will happen to them just because they are cute and lovely (some of them). The thing here is that there is no way to improve the empathic skills of someone who has never been asked and showed how to put themselves in someone else’s shoes. Dr. Michele Borda, author of UnSelfie: Why Empathetic Kids Succeed in our All-About-Me World makes a lot of smart observations in her book, but this one caught my attention: There is this idea of popular kids being the mean ones while, in real life, the truly popular kids – as in the loved and respected ones at school, are those who are not only smart but also kind and considerate. And that is something that can only be taught and encouraged at home.
Kids lives won’t be amazing or magical if everything they get is “special”. As a mom of a tireless kid I know the hustle it takes to keep her busy, specially because she truly enjoys learning new things. Now, I love that of her, but I am positively sure that I can’t do any more juggling with my responsibilities in order to make her childhood “magical”. We are all killing ourselves trying to be perfect and it is driving us insane in the process, which is absolutely not fair. So, I am a firm believer of the “Let them get bored” movement [I just made it up, but I have true confidence of it becoming a real thing]. This promote less mom-does-it-all-for-me and less electronics and TV. Instead, this movement is much more about DIY entertainment/meals/tiding up/homework. One way to encourage this is by setting up a list of “to do’s” that have to be ready before any passive entertainment takes place. They will appreciate those moments much more than when they have an easy access to them at any given moment.
We all get tired, and our loved ones should be aware of it. Being a mom is a non- stop dirty job, no matter the presentation it comes in: working mom, stay-at-home mom, student mom, co-parenting mom, or all of the above… If you don’t communicate effectively with those who share your home you most probably will end having a meltdown or feeling burned out. That is not a good thing. I really dislike the fact that, if I want to have some “me time” I have to figure out how to fit it in my schedule. But I know that it is better to tell my husband that I need him to do this or that for me so that I can take a break, than keep the pressure accumulating until even the smallest thing makes me feel like exploding. Also, kids needs to learn how to ask for help, express their needs and be ready to give an extra pair of helpful hands.
Guilt is the fuel of emotional paralysis. It doesn’t matter if you are a mom or a dad, or if you have babies, toddlers or teenagers- it is ridiculously easy to feel guilty just for anything we do or fail to do for our kids. For the longest time parenting (actually, the western culture) has been forced fed with guilt. Be it guilty pleasures, guilty desires, guilty emotions… Guilt is only useful as a mechanism of improvement as individuals and to be mindful of the needs we and others have. Not as a road to constant self punishment. Why then should we keep going on the same track? Yes, we can’t always have all at the same time but certainly we are “allowed” to do things we enjoy. A fulfilled adult is a happy parent, partner and worker.
In conclusion, this movie shines on the situations of daily life for many women under a comedic light. Although laughing doesn’t make the real struggle of parenting less real, it definitely shows how important is for parents to be mindful and considerate with ourselves and others. Peace starts at home.
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