I got the chance last week to see a special screening of the upcoming movie, Mom’s Night Out. I convinced my sweet hubbie to come along, and despite him being one of only three or four men in a packed theater full of giggling and shrieking women, he laughed right along with us. That is how true this movie reflects motherhood and all of our mama-isms.
Allyson (played by the adorable Sarah Drew) is a stay-at-home mom of three little ones with a husband that travels often for his job. As a way of reminding herself that she is still a productive member of adult society, she blogs as a “mommy blogger,” with three followers. Yesterday she had four. She is also a clean freak, germ-a-phobe with “nerve endings in the carpet.”
As the movie begins we see Allyson unable to sleep and frantically cleaning her home at 4 a.m. on Mother’s Day. It’s spotless when she finally falls into bed, but when she gets up a few hours later all hell has broken loose. The kids have DESTROYED the house to make her breakfast and through her OCD eyes, she sees them covered in salmonella. Meanwhile, her husband, Sean (Sean Astin), calls from the airport and while she is trying to get the kids ready for church, she finds her daughter drawing pictures on the wall and nearly loses it. Or, as she calls it, has a “moment.”
Several scenes (and “moments”) later, she arrives at church, disheveled and with mascara smeared all over her eyelids (from her daughter’s insistence on playing make-over). She sees and silently judges the beautiful, together moms (“I bet she has a nanny”) and brushes past the seemingly perfectly composed pastor’s wife, Sondra (Patricia Heaton), who well-meaningly consoles her “just give it five years.”
Allyson drops her kids off at Sunday school with the teacher, her best friend, Izzy (Andrea Logan White) and heads to the bathroom to clean herself up. But the “no touch” automatic paper towel dispenser will not come out, no matter how hysterically she gestures and dances in front of it.
Somehow she manages to squeeze into a packed pew and, sure enough, moments later gets paged to return to the nursery because of her son’s latest antic. When the day is over and Sean returns home late from his business trip, he sees the disaster that is their house and follows the trail of chocolate wrappers to find Allyson hiding in their closet, stress-paralyzed and unable to take her eyes off a live, internet feed of an Eagle’s nest.
Later that week, while at a church book club (an elusive dream of being able to read books as a mom of three, but going to the book club nonetheless because it makes her feel better) and texting with Izzy, sitting right next to her, Allyson realizes she needs a night out. They invite Sondra, because she looks like she is stressed too, having a teenage daughter and being unable to text legibly.
But when Saturday comes and it’s time to go out, Allyson has visions of the craziness that will ensue if she leaves her children with Sean. Despite this, she takes the minivan to pick up Izzy, who is in the midst of her own troubles in the bathroom, surrounded by five positive pregnancy sticks, to prove to herself that it really is true. Meanwhile Izzy’s husband, Marco (Robert Amaya), is freaking out about watching their twin boys alone. But off the girls go to pick up Sondra and head to their fancy Groupon restaurant for dinner.
What ensues next is a mom’s night out nightmare…and then some! Miscommunicated dinner reservations, unexpected hospital visits and a wild goose chase all over town that leads them to a stoner’s house, a tattoo parlor, a police chase and ends up at jail. And through this crazy weaving of every mom’s struggles and worst nightmares, there runs the sweet truth and tender moments that make us all say that although we have the hardest of jobs as a mom, it is also very important. We love our children and their quirks. And even their art scribbled on the wall is frame-worthy.
I seriously loved this movie. I loved how real it was. I loved how it reminded me that even with kids that sometimes make me feel like I am going figuratively insane, I am not alone on the battlefield of motherhood. And a reminder of this on a daily basis is soooo important for my mental stability!
I loved that everyone in the theater laughed at the things my husband and I laughed at…because what they were talking about or showing was all true! Things like comparing ourselves to Bruce Banner…we don’t WANT to turn into a mommy hulk. And sometimes we can’t help being the wild woman leaning out the minivan window to reality-check the “just married” couple in the car next to us, right?!
I resonated so much with Allyson. There are seriously moments every day in my life as a mom where it could be me in that movie. And even though on those days I would so much like to just throw my hands in the air and scream or eat a whole bag of chocolate and crumble onto my closet floor in a sobbing mess, sometimes it helps to just laugh at it. Which is why I also loved how Patricia Heaton prefaced the movie by saying, “You need to laugh at motherhood. Because if you don’t laugh, you will go CRAZY. And the kids will WIN!”
I, like Allyson, wanted to be a mommy when I grew up. This was my dream as a child. I am literally living my dream and yet I am still not happy. I’m stressed, exhausted, short-fused and most of the days, I feel like I am not enough. But, as Trace Adkins’s “Bones” character so poignantly asked Allyson, “not enough for who?” my answer would be the same as hers. I feel like I am not enough for my husband, for my kids, my mother or for God. And when it really boils down to it, I feel like I am not enough for myself. I spend so much time beating myself up for feeling inadequate, but no one else sees that except me. My children always want to give me hugs, tell me that I am pretty or draw beautiful pictures of our family. My husband daily thanks me for a job well done and weekly insists that I take some time out for myself. I may sometimes feel like I am not enough and that I am often a failure, but as this movie makes clear, we ARE enough, right where we’re at.
Moms’ Night Out takes this message of laughing at motherhood and “you are enough” further than just the comedic, mothers uniting in comradery of silly mommy-isms. It shares a message of hope and of love. And not just love from family, but of the Divine. This movie does a fantastic job of showing the love of Jesus to an often skipped-over and unreached group; stay-at-home-mothers. It is so easy for a mom who does not work outside of the home to sometimes feel that what they do is of little value with almost no reward. They need to hear that most of the reward is eternal and we have a heavenly Father, who can see past the temporary, even when we can’t. And that IS enough!
So look for Moms’ Night Out, coming to 1500 theaters nationwide on May 9, 2014. Check your local listings or Fandango.com and make it your very own, much-deserved mom’s night out! You can check out the movie trailer here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Leb6Vnhbp1A and learn more about the movie and the people who produced it at: http://www.momsnightoutmovie.com/
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