I recently went to see Bad Moms and, yes, I should probably make plans to go to Confession at some point this week after watching it. The Catholic News Service rated the movie as an “O – morally offensive” and that rating is definitely accurate. The film is morally offensive due to nudity, profanity, and many other vulgar topics. So, just to be clear, in this post, I am not advising that you see the movie or show it to your moms’ ministry!
However, the movie did have a few good points about #MomLife, even some that align with biblical teaching. Because moms everywhere seem to be running to see this film, I wanted to highlight a few of the lessons presented. The movie is so appealing because every mom is able to see a bit of herself in one of the characters. We desire to be recognized for all that we do and sacrifice. You can use these points as a starting place to talk with other moms about their struggles and to open up about your own difficulties in motherhood.
(Just another reminder that I’m not suggesting you see Bad Moms. I had difficulty finding even a 2-minute clip of the movie that was appropriate to share on Catholic-Link.)
1. We want our children to be kind, not over-involved in every activity: “If I speak in the tongues[ of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.” – 1 Corinthians 13:1
Basically, what the movie reminds us of and what the Bible states is that it doesn’t matter if your kid can speak Mandarin, play 5 instruments, and juggle swords, if he or she doesn’t know how to love others, you are both missing the point of life! Teaching our children to love others in the way that Christ does is more important than an activity that we could involve them in.
Ask yourself: Do I have my kids involved in too much? Take a minute to write down a list of all the “extra” stuff your kids are a part of. Take that list to your prayer time. Ask God to show you the purpose and fruits of each activity. Does it build virtue or does it create stress? Honestly evaluate if you need to cut back on a few things.
2. We have to stop judging other moms: “‘How can you say ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye?” – Luke 6:42
Motherhood is a vocation, not a competition. Throughout Bad Moms, Amy (Mila Kunis) is constantly being judged by other moms. She’s subtly criticized for working too many hours and publicly harassed when she brings pre-packaged donuts to the bake sale. When it comes to things like what we feed our kids, how often we bathe them, and our style of discipline, we just need to come to terms with the fact that our way is not everyone else’s way and that’s okay. We all do things differently. It’s a gift that God made us so unique. How boring life would be if we were all doing the same things the same way all the time! Let’s stop giving other moms a hard time when they don’t do things exactly as we would have… because we all know that we don’t do things perfectly all the time either. Besides, we need each other. Only another mom can understand the trials and daily struggles that you face.
Ask yourself: Do I judge other moms (subtly, publicly, or through gossip)? How is this a sign of my own insecurity? Take a moment to pray for those moms that you may have passed judgment on.
3. No matter how good someone looks on the outside, we have no idea what is going on inside their heart : “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes.” – 1 Peter 3:3
Spoiler Alert (because I’m hoping you really won’t need to see this raunchy movie after reading this post!)…Gwendolyn (Christina Applegate) the PTA President who rules the school and appears to be perfect from the outside, is actually falling apart on the inside. It turns out that her life is a mess. This is often true in real life. Your friends with the Facebook pictures that look like they were stolen from a J.Crew catalog are often the ones that are aching the most. The more things on the inside are falling apart, the harder we try to create the perception that life is a breeze. Our job is to look beyond the outward appearance and see the beauty in a person’s heart. Get to know their story. Ask questions that help them to open up. Be the one that shows them love in spite of imperfections, trials, and struggles.
Ask yourself: Am I guilty of focusing more on making my outward appearance in order to look perfect than taking the time to deal with the internal hurts I’m facing? How can I work through these issues? Find someone to confide in and ask them to be your accountability and prayer partner.
4. Sex is an important part of marriage: “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.”
When Amy and her husband attend a counseling session, Amy makes a comment that they have not had sex in a long time. A true sign that their marriage lacked an intimate connection of any kind and was falling apart. The Catechism says that “In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.” (CCC 2360) Each time a married couple engages in sex, it is a form of prayer that renews and strengthens the marriage vows. In the movie, the characters gave into their own selfish desires and were led to sins of adultery and fornication.
An active sex life is essential in every marriage. It is important to place a priority on making time for physical and emotional intimacy with your husband.We must work hard to ensure that our husband feels loved even when we are busy raising children.
Ask yourself: Do I view sexual intimacy as an important part of my marriage in which I can give of myself to my husband? In our marriage do we experience the gift of sex as God intended – free, total, faithful and fruitful? Do I put my husband’s needs ahead of my children’s needs? Take a moment to read through a few quotes from St. John Paul II’s Theology of the Body to fully understand God’s design for intimacy in marriage. Do something today to show your husband how important he is to you.
5. We need friends and we need to take the time to hang out with them: “Just as each of us has one body with many members, and not all members have the same function, so in Christ we who are many are one body, and each member belongs to one another.” – Romans 12:4
As moms, we get so busy that often we forget the importance of taking care of ourselves. We might think we are doing fine on our own, but it is so beneficial to have a community of support. With friends we are able to share our difficulties, seek advice, and just go out to have fun. Each member of the body of Christ brings a different gift that will serve to help us and encourage us in our vocation as a Mom.
Ask yourself: Do I take time to be with my friends and develop real, meaningful relationships? How will this help me be a better mom? Take a friend out for coffee this week or meet up with someone to go for a walk. You’ll be happy you did!
6. Moms don’t have to “do it all”: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman, here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.” – John 19:26-27
Even Mary, the Mother of God, needed someone to care for her, which is why Jesus asked John to watch over His mother. There is no way that one mom can do everything. It’s impossible, and when we try to do it “all” we inevitably face mental, physical, and spiritual burnout. There is a scene in the movie in which Amy tells her son that he will have to start making his own breakfast. At first he is upset, but eventually, he learns how to make a delicious breakfast and is proud of his accomplishments. Sometimes when we try to do everything for our kids, we take away from the joy that they feel in being responsible.
Ask yourself: What am I doing for my kids that they could most likely do on their own? In the same way that you evaluated the activities your kids are involved in, evaluate your own. Are all the events you try to fit into your schedule really important to your spiritual growth? Are there some you can eliminate and others that you could ask someone else to do (ex. take some laundry to the dry cleaners or get a babysitter so you can grocery shop kid free). After doing this, pick a skill to teach your kids – from sweeping the floors to cooking a meal – that will help lighten your load and empower them.
7. Children are a gift: “Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from Him.” – Psalm 127:3
There are a couple scenes in the movie that demonstrate this point beautifully. At one point the “Bad Moms” are chugging down alcohol and being obnoxious as they run wildly through a grocery store. When they see a baby in a stroller, they immediately stop the reckless behavior and start oohing and ahhing over the adorable child. Even when we may feel like abandoning all our responsibilities and going crazy, deep down we know, love, and appreciate the gift of our children. It’s one of the many paradoxes of motherhood. As much as we like to complain about all of the cooking, cleaning, scheduling, arguing, and tantrum throwing, at the end of the night we would do anything for our children.
Ask yourself: Have I taken the time to appreciate the gift of my children or do I treat them as just another chore? Take a moment to thank God that He has allowed you to partner with Him in loving and guiding your children. Today, tell your children how much you value them and what a gift they are to you.
8. These Moms need Jesus (and your mom friends do too): “That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:10
This is what struck me most throughout the whole film. I know it was secular film and I wasn’t expecting any religious aspect to it, but my heart was breaking for not only the fictional characters in the movie, but the thousands of moms in real life that live this struggle of frantic chaos in parenting. You don’t need alcohol, hot dates, or fancy cars when the stress of this life gets you down. You need Jesus. Those things will
Those things will never fill you in the way that the Lord can. They will always leave you feeling more depleted than when you started. It’s like putting a band-aid on a gaping wound. Only God can give you the sense of purpose, hope, and direction that will get you through the difficult season of motherhood. His grace gives you strength to endure when you think you can’t last another moment. His forgiveness and mercy will reassure you when you fail or say the wrong thing to your child. Knowing that He loves your child even more than you do, that He will fill in the gaps and mistakes of your parenting, and that He has assigned a Guardian Angel to walk alongside your child at every moment will give you such an incredible amount of peace. Having a relationship with Jesus will allow you to see the joy of your sacrifice. Don’t be a Bad Mom alone, invite God in. Let Jesus comfort your weary heart and lavish you with His love.
Ask yourself: Do I call on Jesus to help me throughout my day as a Mom or do I try to do it all on my own? Do I look to things – alcohol, shopping, food – to comfort me in a way that only God can? The next time you get together with a friend, make it a point to talk about how God guides your parenting. Share your tips with one another.
There is a Catholic version of Bad Moms. Well, sort of. Danielle Bean, editor of Catholic Digest, is the author of “Momnipotent: The Not-So-Perfect Woman’s Guide to Catholic Motherhood” which is one of the best parenting books I have ever read. I have to say Bean’s comedy rivals that of Bad Moms because her stories are so hilariously and honestly accurate, as you might expect from a mother of eight. Both the book and the Momnipontent dvd study series have helped me to reclaim the joy of motherhood and to realize that perfection is not the goal. This study is just the thing for your small group of moms to take part in together.
Dear Lord, You know my heart and my brokenness. You alone see the effort and sacrifice I put forth throughout the day as a mother. Remind me that in serving my family, I serve You. Help me to set aside my selfishness and to continue to give without counting the cost. Be present throughout my day and make it clear to me what projects, activities, and responsibilities will help me grow in holiness so that I may choose to do those things. Remind me that perfection is not the goal. I ask for your forgiveness and mercy for all the ways in which I fail daily. Pour your graces over me so that I may overcome my sin and grow closer to You. I ask that You would fill in when I fail as a parent. Protect my children and enable me to lead them on the path to heaven. Strengthen my marriage and help me to love my husband in the same way that you do. May your own Mother be my example in all I do, think, and say. I ask all of this in the name of Your Son, Jesus. Amen.
Use this song as a prayer when you lack the words to speak.
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