By Tracy, Managing Editor
For weeks now, the hubs has been telling me that I need to make time to watch the new show Up All Night. I saw snippets and knew I should, but my night’s are usually packed with school stuff and blog stuff and just me stuff. Then I got a preview of last week’s episode, and knew I had to make time to watch it. You see, it was all about Reagan, Christina Applegate’s character, getting judged by Kayla’s mom for being a working mom, thus leading her down a spiral of self-doubt, and the need to overcompensate to prove a point, not only to herself, but to the evil Kayla’s mom.
Here is a little snippet of the show. You know, the one that made me turn to my husband and ask if I could reach out to the television and punch Kayla’s mom in the face. True story. I was fuming.
Doesn’t that just get your heart pumping?
Then I took a step back and thought about how there finally was a show on national television that really understood all those feelings that go into being a working mom. Or really, not that they are just having light bulb moments about this whole working mom gig, but the fact that they decided not to sugar coat it. They are giving us the truth of what we face as working moms.
In the almost two years since I’ve been a mom (about 1.5 of which I’ve been working) I have had countless people tell me that they don’t understand how I do it. That they as moms stayed home to care for their children, only to return to the workforce once said kids where school age, or sometimes even older. I just smile and nod because I know they don’t mean it in any sort of purposeful judgmental way. They truly and sincerely are amazed at all the hats I wear on a daily basis.
But there are many lie “Kayla’s mom out there. Some in real life and some on the internet. There are those who read blog posts and judge without thinking. And sometimes the case may be the judgments are very contrived and trolly and comments are left as anonymous. Thinking or not thinking, ultimately it’s wrong.
As mom’s we have guilt. It’s in our DNA. And as working moms we add different categories of guilt. So the minute someone suggests the choices you make are in any way shape or form causing your kid to be lacking in something, momma bear attacks. If I were Reagan (yes, I can totally and 100% relate to a character on television…finally), I would have probably reacted the same way, taking a step back to see ways that I could make up for the perceived ways someone says I’m being a bad mom. (You have to watch the whole episode to see what I’m talking about…to see what led to the above clip with Kayla’s mom.) I don’t know if I would have had the time to concoct all that Regan did during the 30 minute show (it is television after all), but you bet your butt that’s where my mind would go first. Would I have started a verbal argument in my daughter’s class…probably not because that’s not me, but I probably would have walked out crying…that’s more me.
Ultimately, there’s is a more systemic problem going on. One that I continue to see everywhere. Judgy McJudgertons.
Yes this show focuses on a working mom trying to figure the whole balance thing out, but ultimately, the systemic issue has to do with all types of moms judging each other.
What I’m seeing lately, is not only are SAHM’s judging working moms, but working moms are doing the same to SAHM’s, and then there are SAHM’s going against other SAHM’s, and well, I could keep going on. My friend Diana, a SAHM who is on the verge of becoming a WAHM as her freelance writing career begins to take off, was recently attacked on her blog over, check this out, CLEANING! She wrote this post here in response to the warfare that ensued in the comments of a post where she talks about house cleaning. I’m not going to go into specifics as to who said what and to whom, but I just think it’s so ridiculous for moms, any category of moms, to feel the need to be so judgemental. We each do what’s best for us and the only one we should answer to for it is ourselves and/or our nuclear families. Period. The End.
If you don’t agree with someone’s choices as a mom, that’s fine. I tell my students that we can’t get along with everyone in this world; that we aren’t meant to be friends with every living human being. But what I do expect of them is a mutual respect for each other. They don’t have to agree or like what someone says or does, but they don’t have the right to put anyone down for being the way they are and thinking they way they do. Unfortunately, the only thing I have some semblance of control over is my classroom and I know that the hallways and lunch room offer a whole new playing field. But I hope to instill within them a second thought that can be applied later on in life. So when I hear about grown women, moms even, not willing to have this mutual respect for each other, it makes me worry. And all I have control over at home is teaching my daughter to be a good woman when she grows up, to be respectful and understanding of differences, though she may not agree, and I just wish that other moms could be the same type of role models for their children. And being role models not only deals with the in real life world, but also the online world, where so many of our lives are played out these days.
In watching last week’s episode of Up All Night, I worried even more about this problem. It’s a big enough issue going on between moms that a national television show picked up on it. Through the whole episode I was scathing, wanting to reach out and give Reagan a hug, especially as the second plot line of the show dealt with her friend Ava struggling to come to terms with their changing friendship when one friend is a mom and the other isn’t. And then there was a vision of a hope for reality. Yes I know this hope comes from television and not reality, but don’t we live in a media induced word where our in real life authentic conversations start to become about media itself, thus blurring the two?
As the episode closed, Kayla’s mom was struggling with a stroller. Reagan saw said struggle and decided to offer help, you know, because she’s been in that situation before. But when they both couldn’t get the stroller to fold up, they bonded over ripping that stroller to shreds. Because really, aren’t we all just moms dealing with the same trivial stuff on a daily basis? Can’t we all just get along?
Working Moms. SAHM’s. WAHM’s. And all the moms in between. Can’t we all just get along and stop the judgments? Who’s with me?
NOTE: You can watch the “Stroller Killer” portion of the episode over here. It’s pretty hilarious!