I saw the movie "Bad Moms" with some of the BEST moms I know. (Here we are at AMC.) Now, the language was rough. I truly don’t know one mom who goes about her day dropping the words-of-choice that the moms in this movie did. But it’s still pretty hilarious and recognizes the pressure moms are under to be perfect.
Christina Applegate’s character is an exaggeration of the over-the-top PTA president some encounter during their children’s K-12 experience. Actually, she was kind of a psychopath. We’ve all known those moms, too. They’re in our schools and will key your car if you bring store-bought cupcakes to the fourth grade Valentine exchange. And if you fail to sign up for 12 committees at Pre-K orientation? Oh honey, you’re blackballed until A) you move, or B) you die.
I wonder if I’ve ever been called a bad mom? My friend, Wendy, and I once served as den mothers for a spirited group of 10 Cub Scouts. Encouraging them to earn science merit badges, we once let them conduct experiments at my house using common household items. One involved Borax … and ended with a complete hose down of the deck, outdoor furniture, privacy fence, entire back exterior of the house, AND our Boston Terrier, Babbs. Oh yes, the boys, too.
Fifteen minutes after my traumatized house cleared out, Wendy returned – with a bottle of wine. We drank every drop, and people, it was not five o’clock ANYWHERE. Truthfully, I don’t think consuming an entire bottle of wine hours before the kids were asleep (and on a school night!) made us bad moms … but we absolutely were deserving-of-wine moms.
Another time I hosted a birthday party with a guest list of 26 rising first-graders. One highlight was to be breaking a piñata outside, but it rained buckets. So Mother Nature actually thought she was going to take on Mother Me at my child’s party?
Well, I stole her power to wreck the fun and did it by hanging that piñata in the hallway, where blindfolded six-year-olds wielding sticks each got their turn to whack away. This didn’t make me a bad mom or a good mom … but it did make me a dumb mom. Oh well, the children got their candy and my hubby was handy with wall patching putty. Seriously, what’s the problem?
I’m richly blessed to be surrounded by a lot of amazing moms. This is a network of women in my community and many of us initially connected through our children. We’ve done a lot of life together that far exceeds taking our turns as “snack mom” during the years of rec sports. We’ve walked each other through some of life’s most trying seasons, and I’m not just referencing the middle school era.
We’ve prayed for each other’s marriages and prayed for each other’s children. When my husband passed away in July 2015, leaving me widowed at least 30 years sooner than expected, I was reminded that wings aren’t necessary for people to qualify as angels.
My mom network is also full of readers, with some having voracious appetites for good books. I’ve noticed that a lot of moms love to read and describe themselves as “avid.” Well, my moms had to be avid to tackle “Watching the Water” when it was in its earliest stages. The first manuscript exceeded 800 pages (yep, it's true) and was stuffed between two big binders.
My friend Tami was the first of the mom crowd to read it and actually lugged that thing to a lounge chair by the swimming pool, where she explained to curious onlookers, read it, then began a mom-chain who passed it around. I heard that some read it while in bed, where they dared not to doze off for fear it would knock them unconscious should it fall forward and hit them above the neck. The book was a literary cinder block, but they read it. In all its desperately needs to be edited rawness, the moms read it.
Later, when it had been whittled down considerably, I put a digital version on Amazon for a while. My friend Jane chose it as a Kindle selection for her book club, which gave it some much needed and much appreciated attention and validation.
Thanks to all the awesome and real moms woven throughout the tapestry of my life, and to those who comprised most of the early groups to put their hands on "Watching the Water," meet its characters, and tell me they liked it. You’re part of the reason I never gave up on it and had the courage to take it to the level I stand on now … with a parrot on each shoulder.
As for “Bad Moms,” the ultimate message I took from the movie is “let’s be there for each other.” I’m all about that, and if the situation happens to require some medicinal wine … well, it is what it is and begs one question: red or white?