Thursday, July 28, 2016

Rise of the Bad Moms!

With the new movie Bad Moms coming out next week there seems to be a rise in glorifying the bad moms and our less-than-perfect mommy moments.

This movie has a fantastic cast of moms who have all talked publicly about their own bad mom moments. Mila Kunis, for example once forgot to strap her daughter in the car seat while driving. Yep, so many of us have been there. My daughter was less than a year old when I did the same thing. It was only when I got to my destination that I noticed I had put her in the car seat and never put on the five point strap. Instead of feeling relief that she was okay I ruminated on the mistake and added to the running list of things I would beat myself up for in my head.

 Copyright/ stockbroker / 123RF Stock Photo
About 10 years ago when my daughter was a toddler we were in Target and I don't remember exactly what she was doing at the time but it was clearly not what I wanted. Whether she was begging me to buy her a treat or acting out, I am not sure. I just remember trying really hard to keep myself together as I attempted to set limits with her in the middle of the store. I must have been clearly frazzled and I felt on the verge of yelling when an older woman came up to me out of nowhere. She said, "Mom, I know this is hard but you are doing a really good job. I can see you are wonderful mother."  I cried. Right there, in the store. I needed to hear that so badly. Now, 10 years later I don't remember the situation, but I remember that comment and the impact it had on me.

The rise of the bad moms, for me is not about really being a bad mom but about normalizing imperfection. 

Although this movie is meant to be a comedy and to poke fun of the helicopter picture-perfect mommies out there, I think there is more important message to take away from the rebellion against perfection parenting. In today's world it is so easy to feel awful about ourselves because we don't match up to the social media idea of perfection. No one is perfect. For the most part we are all trying our best and yet so often moms are vilified on social media. In the last few months there were quite a few public incidents that seemed to spark a witch hunt instead of the compassion and support families needed. What happened to the time when public news stories of tragedies brought people together to support and empathize with other parents? 

Harsh criticism and judgment is not just something we do to others but something many of us do to ourselves. As a working mom I had overwhelming mommy guilt when I felt as if I was failing as a mom trying to live up to unrealistic expectations I put on myself.  Since sharing my story I have been contacted by so many other moms just like me that struggle with self-criticism that gets in the way of thriving as parents. As a therapist I often work with people who struggle with negative self-talk and self-judgments. They believe that if they feel guilty that makes them terrible parents.  The truth is that we all make mistakes and those mistakes do not define us. Kindness, forgiveness and compassion for others and ourselves are critical to let go of the guilt that gets in the way of everyday parenting.

I am looking forward to enjoying the movie Bad Moms coming out this weekend and hope it serves as a reminder to everyone there that you don't need to be perfect to be awesome!

For more information on Mommy Guilt, Tales and Tips from an Imperfect Mom, check out Mommy Guilt quoted in the New York Post, like it on Facebook or follow me on Twitter! Workshops are also available for parent or employee groups in the New York/NJ area!

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