Editor’s note: Today is our final installment of our Moms’ Night Out: A Real Life Look series, where our writers share how this movie resonated with them, how it touched them where they are right now, how they found a glimpse of the priorities and beauty they sometimes overlook in the midst of the daily grind. Enjoy!
After reading a brief description of the storyline for Moms' Night Out, I was fully expecting the movie to be funny.
And it is. Really, really funny.
What I wasn’t expecting was how much I cried. And how hard I cried. Good tears. Healing tears. The kind of tears that all women shed and most men don’t understand.
At the beginning of the movie, my tears were those of relief. Relief at being understood. Relief at seeing myself on the screen – in slightly younger, slightly thinner form. A me that could get so undone by a day of trying so hard to keep all the balls of stay-at-home motherhood in the air that hiding in a closet eating chocolate after the kids are in bed seems like a good solution. The only solution.
By the end of the movie, my tears returned. This time they were greater in number. And somehow healing.
They were the tears of feeling validated. And valued. They were awesome tears.
I related so closely to the main character (Allyson) in the movie. Much more closely than to any movie character I can remember relating to in a very long time. And it wasn’t just the fact that she has three young children and so do I.
Or that she has a very real and slightly crazed fear of the many everyday things that threaten her children’s safety. And so do I.
More than anything, it was her overwhelming fear of failure. Of failing at being a mom. The thing she’d always wanted and was trying SO HARD to do just right. To do perfectly.
And that’s what struck me. I, too, always wanted to be a mom. Ever since I can remember, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to be “just a mom.” And yet there are days when I find myself paralyzed by feelings of failure. Feelings that I’m failing them. That I’m not good enough. That something I do or don’t do is going to cause them great and irreparable psychic harm. And given that there is no job more important – more utterly vital – than being a mom, failure is quite simply not an option.
But here’s the thing. Somewhere along the way, not failing became equated with being “perfect.” And striving for perfection is the one thing that guarantees failure. What I know – in my mind if not always in my heart – is that I am not a failure as a mother. As long as we love our kids (and I do with all my heart) and are trying our best (and I am, even when it all goes wrong, I never stop trying my best), none of us is failing. Also, none of us is perfect. The perfect mother happened exactly once. And she was the mother of God.
So yeah, I’m not perfect. And watching Moms’ Night Out reminded me that being imperfect is a perfectly wonderful thing to be. I suggest as nicely but as firmly as possible, that if you are a mom or have a mom or especially if you are married to a mom, you get yourself to the theater to see Moms’ Night Out. You’ll be glad you did!
Thanks for joining us for our Moms' Night Out: A Real Life Look series!
Copyright 2014, Marilee Haynes
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