I’m not proud to admit that I looked around at my life when it was filled with diapers and sippy cups and longed for something more. And recently I’ve caught myself bemoaning the hours of my day that have been “lost” chauffeuring my children and meeting with teachers about academic or behavior issues that I regard as more of an irritant than a sacred duty.
I know I’m going to miss this job one day very soon, but I sometimes find myself wishing away the most precious years of motherhood – thinking that my life will be “better” as soon as the children are sleeping through the night…or out of diapers… or in preschool…or old enough to stay home alone…or old enough to drive. There’s this selfish temptation to rush my babies through their childhood for the sake of my own sanity. I try to resist and thoroughly treasure each phase…but I don’t always win the battle.
In Moms’ Night Out, the movie, Sarah Drew portrays the mother I become when I slip into that temptation and forget – for a moment – what a gift it is to be a mother. Only she does it in a way that makes you want to laugh out loud instead of slap her in the face (which is what people probably want to do to me sometimes). Sarah (better known as Dr. Kepner on Grey’s Anatomy) plays Allyson, a young mom who is living a life that looks a lot like mine did 7 years ago. She’s in the midst of motherhood chaos and all she wants is to feel like herself for one night. All she wants is to have something “more” than her duties as a mom.
To be perfectly honest, that same feeling is what motivated me to continue growing my business while my children were babies. It’s the same feeling that led me to compete in triathlons after having three babies in five years. I needed to know that I was not defined by the mounds of laundry and piles of dirty dishes…the finance charges for unpaid bills and forgotten permission slips for school field trips. I needed to know that there was more to me than my failures as a mother and homemaker.
What I love about Allyson is that she’s a total disaster and a neurotic perfectionist at the same time. Oscar and Felix all wrapped up in one. One minute her house looks the Tasmanian Devil took a spin through the kitchen and then next minute there’s not a stray sock or spec of dust to be found. You get the feeling Allyson’s a lot happier when her house is orderly and quiet so she can sit down and write her blog without interruption. That she’s happiest when everything is perfectly in place – despite her knowledge that she’s on an unrealistic quest for perfection. I can relate to that feeling more than I care to acknowledge. In fact, there were times in my life when I found it utterly impossible to do anything at all (sleep, work, etc.) if my house wasn’t clutter-free and white-glove clean. I know there are multiple disorders associated with such habits but fortunately it never got to the point of requiring intervention. I succumbed to the messy chaos of my life without putting up too much of a fight.
In the movie, Allyson eventually stops fighting for her freedom and accepts her imperfections as well. With a humble heart and the support of her friends and family, Allyson rediscovers her purpose in the most unlikely of conversations. My favorite quote from the movie comes from a scene in which Bones, a tattoo-plastered biker with a teddy bear heart played by Trace Adkins, tells Allyson:
“Y’all spend so much time beating yourself up – must be exhausting. I doubt the good Lord made a mistake giving your kiddos the mama he did. You just be you – he’ll take care of the rest.“
How I wish I had Bones to tell me that every time I felt less than adequate. Every time I needed a reminder of where to lean for support. Every time I tried to be someone other than myself.
Speaking of support, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Allyson’s adoring husband (played by Sean Austin) was a little too perfect for the real world. But…to be honest, my husband amps up the perfection when I’m at my worst…I guess he tries to compensate for my craziness. Since we are biblically “one” person, I suppose it’s the husband’s job to be extra sane and ridiculously understanding when the wife goes completely off her rocker. And I’m ok with that. Allyson was ok with it, too. Especially when her perfect husband told her that her job was important.
If you sometimes find yourself wanting more from life, I think you’ll enjoy Allyson’s adventure in Moms’ Night Out. It’s a delightful and hilarious reminder that your job as a mother is important. That God knows what He’s doing. That you are enough – just the way you are. That all the mayhem is worth it. And you’re going to miss it like crazy in the blink of an eye.
Moms’ Night Out opens in theaters May 9.