Sunday, May 18, 2014

My Review of Mom's Night Out

The first time I viewed the film, Mom’s Night Out, was at a preview during the 2014 Hearts at Home Conference in Bloomington, Illinois. Sitting in a room filled with moms from all across the spectrum, laughter and tears dominated. I was left encouraged and entertained anticipating opening day in the theaters.

When opening weekend hit, I gathered two groups of friends to watch the movie. Whether we were a large group of 10 or an intimate group of 3, moms from different seasons of life connected over this presentation. Each time, the movie spurred laughs and heartfelt emotions that were very authentic.

After having seen the show 3 times, I still felt the need to return to the theater once more with my husband. Now that I’ve watched it with him, I finally feel like I’ve had my fill. Hearing his laughter validated the relevance of the flick. I wasn’t just some crazy stay-at-home mom connecting only because I was in desperate need of some time away. My husband’s response confirmed the reality that our life paralleled with the main characters of the movie on so many levels.

Sure, everything in this film is taken a bit to the extreme. That’s usually how comedies work, isn’t it? Each moment is just relatable enough to play with the heartstrings. All the while, each scene is taken to the point where every mind over exaggerates the situation but never quite experiences in effort to brings forth the laughs.

The movie comes from the perspective of the main character, Allyson: a stay-at-home mom. Her mind works very similarly to the way mine operates in real life… as well as that of the many other moms I know (stay-at-home, working part-time or full-time aside). This was the BEST movie I’ve seen in a long time. Hollywood needs to produce more movies like this and “movie critics” should find some perspective from those of us who live it out every day.

Allyson expresses the sum of her feelings: “I can’t. No matter how hard I try or how much I give. I’m not enough.”

These were the lines that brought me to tears the first time I watched “Mom’s Night Out” because it's how I feel. I’m not a stay-at-home mom because I’m forced to be. My vocation in life is a choice. Just like any choice, we sometimes need a reminder that what we do is important.

The difference between being in the workforce and choosing to find your identity in your role at home is in the validation. In the corporate world, we are given performance reviews and receive pay checks. While my job earlier in life was “only” that of a legal secretary, I was respected in the work I did. My boss, other attorneys, loan officers, realtors and even clients endorsed my efforts. These days, voices come at me from every angle as to how I do not measure up.

Don’t get me wrong. My husband supports me and encourages me. I love my kids and I have a purpose outside of raising my children and cleaning my home. Still, it’s not the same as being in the workplace. Having my husband notice all my hard work and sacrifice isn’t the same as the affirmation of a boss or colleague or even a pay check or other type of reward.

A couple of characters in the movie find themselves mesmerized by an “Eagle cam”. They stare endlessly at a Momma Eagle taking care of her babies. Towards the end of the movie, I found myself taken by surprise with some encouragement as an unlikely source.

“He loves you. No matter who you are or what you do or how far you run. Jesus will always love you with His arms open wide. Just for being you. It’s a beautiful thing watching one of God’s creation do just what He created it to do. And that’s enough.”

No matter how loudly the outside world shouts, don’t let them guilt or deceive you. Being a stay-at-home mom is a worthy profession. It’s our job to raise the next generation.

“I’m a mess. But I’m a beautiful mess. I’m His masterpiece and that’s enough!”

Don’t listen to the critics. Get out and see Mom’s Night Out. This movie is worth every penny!

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