In case you’ve been wondering, I haven’t been abducted, just sick! Our busy schedule is winding down as summer approaches, and all at once my body is exhausted. So last night, when my kids’ MMO program offered childcare and a free ticket to the new movie Moms Night Out, I was right on time.
I hadn’t seen a single trailer and had no idea what the movie was about, although for free childcare I would’ve seen Texas Chainsaw Massacre. The movie began by introducing a clean-freak wannabe Mommy blogger barely holding it together in the crazy, messy chaos of her world. Yikes. If I had red hair (and a nicer house) it would’ve been like watching the story of my life. At one point, the main character tells her husband something like, “This is the life I always wanted. So…why do I feel so unhappy?” So much work, so much exhaustion, so little sense of self. That was what her life looked like. And boy, could I relate to her. I could relate all the way down in my bones. And as I watched her story unfold, it struck me that all these feelings must be much more common than I realize.
Patricia Heaton (of Everybody Loves Raymond) plays the wise and like-able pastor’s wife, who gives us a glimpse of mothering a teenager. When I realized her husband was played by Alex Kendrick (think Facing the Giants, Courageous…etc.) I’ll admit I had a moment of “eesh, I hope this isn’t cheesy.” And you know what? It was, at moments. There were spells of over-acting and slapstick humor. But there were also truly hysterical moments, that prove you don’t have to be crude to be funny. And more importantly, there was a sense of resolution for the main character, a recognition that maybe a lot of the discouragement and discontentment in motherhood comes from expectations we heap upon ourselves. The unrealistic standards that nobody (except you) expect of you.
Is it Oscar worthy? Of course not. This movie has been trashed among Hollywood critics. But for the first time in a long time, I left a movie feeling like my heart had been a little bit refreshed. I left a movie grateful for my messy life, and not longing for the romantic adventure of Charlize Theron’s sexy life. I left a movie without the slightest twinge of guilt over the things I’d just seen and enjoyed. And to me, that’s a pretty good moms night out.
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