Being a mom doesn’t come with an instruction manual, but it sure as heck comes with a whole set of societal rules, mom judgment, ingrained worries, and second-guessing. Oh, and the guilt — did we mention the inherent and everlasting guilt?
Let’s face it: we hold ourselves (and yes, sometimes others) to impossible standards when it comes to being a mom. And that’s precisely why last year’s movie Bad Moms was such an instant hit with parents everywhere. In today’s gluten-free, over-scheduled, high-demand world, being a mom can be tougher than ever. But Bad Moms reminded us that it’s okay to stumble once in a while, and that no one is perfect.
It was the feel-good movie for overworked, overtired and overwhelmed moms everywhere. Now the franchise is back for a holiday sequel (A Bad Moms Christmas hits theatres this week) and we can’t wait to see how it tackles Christmas, gift giving, and dealing with our own parental units. Until then, here are some golden rules we’re holding onto from the first installment.
1. Kids are allowed to be bored
We’ve all felt the stress of running from one appointment or soccer game to the next, all in a bid to make sure that our kids are getting the required amount of sports, arts and culture in their lives. But Mila Kunis’s Amy character reminded us that not only are all of these activities unnecessary, they could be leading to overwhelmed children as well. Boredom fosters creativity, and creativity is certainly underrated. Let’s give ourselves a break and sign up for one less activity this winter season — our sanity may depend on it.
2. Doing it all is a cold, hard myth
Hand up for all of us who have had a crying breakdown in our cars when we felt like no one was looking? Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom who is trying to balance the ridiculous demands of the household chores with your children’s development, or a full-time working mom struggling with trying to balance work and parenting, being a mom is effing overwhelming. Everyone needs a break, and no one can do it all. It may feel good and productive to tick every single checkmark on your to-do list off, but if you’ve got a crazy list each and every day, eventually you’re going to snap. It’s human nature, and we’re all human. Accept that you will never do it all, and that’s okay. Instead, focus on doing your best. That’s all anyone can ask of you.
3. Mom-on-mom judgment needs to die
Have you noticed that we tend to judge others when we’re feeling the guiltiest about our own stuff? Maybe it’s human nature to compare ourselves to others and to see how we and our children stack up (Millie is already reading?! But Molly only just learned the alphabet!). But as quick as we are to have those comparative thoughts, maybe we could all work a little harder at letting them go. No one likes to be judged for their decisions — especially as a parent — and Bad Moms reminded us that no one, especially moms, are perfect. Let’s band together and stop the Judge Judys of the world already.
4. No one knows what it’s really like to be you
We’ve all felt alone and misunderstood, like no one really gets how hard it is to actually get by every day with a teething toddler, a full-time job and a kid who is somehow lashing out at school despite your best efforts. (Or some other narrative along those lines.) That’s what makes it so easy to hate Sally and her seeming ability to handle anything that comes her way, right? Well as Amy and Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) taught us in the first movie, no one really knows what it’s like to be you, just like we don’t really know what it’s like to be someone else. So… maybe we should all just give each other a break every once in a while? We’d potentially all feel so, so much better. No one has all of their crap together, despite what it may look like on the surface.
5. We all need friends
Know who makes the best friend? A fellow mom. Especially one who will share a glass of wine with you and commiserate over all of the awful things your kids have done, but still love them to pieces. Bonus points for a mom friend who brings over snacks and/or little pick-me-ups when she knows you really need it.
6. We also all need at least one good bra
Remember what feeling sexy used to look like? Or when we used to wear thongs or lace? Even if it’s just for you and you alone, ditch the old nursing bra and invest in a nice bra for the gals to hang out in. We should all have the right to feel good about ourselves, and a great way to start is to reclaim some semblance of the pre-mom version of ourselves left behind in that delivery room. You know, the sexy confident version that you’re starting to miss.
7. Me-time is allowed
What? A Mother who schedules in some time for a nice bubble bath, a pedicure or a shopping date with a friend? How dare she? Those are words we never actually hear except for in our own heads. Our children demand so much from us that it’s easy to always put their needs first. And while we all want to make sure our families are taken care of, can we please just put self-care back on the table? Take a break—it may actually make us better-rounded moms in the long run.
8. Your partner is your teammate
Who didn’t root for Amy when she ditched the man-child and found a new relationship with a person who treated her as her equal? While no one is saying that divorce or separation is the answer to a struggling marriage, we can all relate to feeling like the quarterback while our partner has been fumbling the ball. If this movie has taught us anything, it’s that sometimes we can be guilty of not communicating our needs and wants to our partner, and they don’t know how to help as a result. As with any team, actual teamwork is necessary to keep winning — and who doesn’t want to win at life? Holding the majority of the mental load may suck, but even the act of trying to unburden some of it to your partner can be a major stress-reliever.
9. The struggle is real
As Aaliyah so succinctly sang, “If at first you don’t succeed, pick yourself up and try again, try again, try again.” Being a mom is hard, plain and simple. It’s also rewarding, fulfilling and comes with a ton of unexpected plot twists, which is exactly why this movie gently reminded us to try and enjoy it all as it comes. Pick your battles, buy the damned bake sale cookies if you don’t have time to make them from scratch, and then schedule in a glass of wine after the kids have gone to bed and drink it in that sexy bra.
Tomorrow, when you feel like breaking down in your car again, you might want to thank yourself instead, for doing the best you could have done in the first place.