We love bad moms.
We love it when a mom gets fed up with the stress of parenting, keeping a house, and managing everyone’s activities and jumps ship to have fun. It’s our favorite, right?
Because it’s everywhere.
Looking no further than my Facebook newsfeed, I can see that moms are entertained by this glamorous “bad mom” behavior. There are endless memes that imply that we are bad moms.
Apparently we all love coffee and wine (and need both to survive motherhood), think motherhood is a drag
and think our husbands are worthless.
Television and movies are full of bad mom behavior. Especially when it comes to the SAHM.
I am well versed in this subject- I am always on the search for a good show to watch and am drawn to shows about families- reality or fiction. Plus, I secretly binge watch shows when no one is looking. SAHMs on television seem to either be too perfect (Carol Brady-The Brady Bunch, Claire Huxtable- The Cosby Show), quirky and ridiculous (Claire Dunphy- Modern Family, Kitty Foreman- That 70’s Show, Beverly Goldberg- The Goldbergs) or lazy and terrible (Peg Bundy- Married With Children, Betty Draper- Mad Men, Nancy Botwin- Weeds).
Maybe real motherhood is too boring for television.
Even the supposed “Real Housewives” who are mothers are rarely seen actually mothering their children. They are often having a booze-fueled argument at a fancy restaurant about what one woman said to another. There are few segments about how they struggle with real parenting issues.
There is even a movie called “Bad Moms” about a mother who is overwhelmed with her responsibilities to her job and her family, so she decides to let go of her quest to become the perfect parent and decides to be a “bad mom.” Her new “freedom” includes drinking, drugs, and seeking revenge on members of the PTA.
Why do we love this portrayal of motherhood? Is it because it makes us feel better when we make a small parenting mistake (at least we aren’t selling drugs to feed our families like Nancy Botwin)? Is it because there are no good alternatives (loving mothers aren’t exciting)? Is it just because it is funny (admittedly, I laugh at this stuff)?
What effect can this culture of bad mom behavior be having on real life mothers? Maybe it normalizes behavior that is destructive to the family (drinking and drugs). Maybe it tells us that TV and movie producers know more about how to be a mother than, say, the Bible. Maybe it teaches our kids that mothers are irrelevant, dull, and not to be taken seriously.
I don’t really have an answer. What I do know is that I can control what I watch (and sort of what my kids watch). I don’t need the internet or the TV to tell me what motherhood is. Maybe I should just turn the TV off…