I did something crazy today. I played hooky and went to a weekday matinee with my friend Lisa to see Bad Moms.
(Now you know what a Girl Scout I am—this is my “crazy”-!)
As someone who is self-employed and whose kids are actually young adults now, you might think this wouldn’t be a big deal for me. I am technically answerable only to myself, and still getting used to that. Is it really “hooky” when you work from home?! But old habits die hard, and guilt is apparently ever-ready to pounce, like some kind of opportunistic virus. I think it’s been decades since I saw a matinee! Apparently I have an unspoken standard that movies are for weekends and evenings only.
Lisa reminded me that I work many evenings and often weekends too—this is what building a business looks like—and it’s actually OK to take an afternoon off every now and again.
Ironically this was a major theme of the movie—the impossibility of really being a “good mom.” Of meeting the unattainable standard set for us as people who are parents. I actually loved the movie—particularly the fact that every character was redeemed in the end. If you have a problem with R-rated language and a little raunchiness you may want to pass on it. If not, you are in for a surprisingly thoughtful take on the bind real mothers are in today, hidden between the laughs.
Why am I talking about this on the Hollywood Parents Guide blog? Because I see a lot of great moms who seem to be suffering under the weight of the impossible standards they have set for themselves.
Moms who want to help their kids follow their dreams and who make immense sacrifices to support that, despite the odds. Moms who struggle to make the best choices for how to educate those kids—and for young actors, the choices can be especially confusing.
Moms who dedicate literally years of their lives helping kids memorize sides, get to acting class, dance class, voice lessons, rehearsals, auditions, and sometimes even to set. And who also do all the other mom stuff, keeping a family together and often working outside as well as inside the home. No matter what or how much you do, it feels like it cannot be enough. The financial load can be great, but the emotional load is often greater.
One of the takeaways from Bad Moms for me was the burden we put on each other and ourselves through judgment. But if– as Mother Teresa is supposed to have said– “When you judge someone , you have no time to love them,” we are missing out on a lot of love by judging the way others parent, and in turn judging ourselves as short.
Worse is the way we may be modeling this for our kids. Every time we stress about not being perfect, they get the message that being perfect is extremely important. Not a lot of room for humanity there. I think the difference between perfectionism and high standards is the amount of anxiety we feel if we miss hitting our standard. We are all works in progress.
I’m working on giving myself permission to be fully human, and I encourage you to consider this too. My new standard: imperfect, with high standards.
PS—the quote is one I learned from my daughter Dove. My kids have been my greatest teachers—this is one of the beautiful surprises of being a parent.
PPS—if you do see Bad Moms, stay to watch the credits. There is a charming, moving series of little interviews between the lead actresses and their real moms, and it made me cry.
My book, The Hollywood Parents Guide, available on Amazon contains everything I wish I’d known when Dove and I started this journey, and will save you untold amounts of time, money, and stress. Full of information you MUST know, it also features stories from parents of other kids who’ve made it!
Or book an hour consulting with me to come up with an individualized plan that takes your own unique needs into account. For about the cost of an hour with a professional acting coach, you can get your questions answered and a road map to help you move forward toward your dream.
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