Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Do you need a Moms' Night Out?

Yes. Yes, you do. It doesn't matter if you have kids or not. It doesn't even matter if you're female or not! Because this movie is straight up funny and can (and should!) be enjoyed by pretty much everyone.

Mom of 3 Allyson is starting to feel the strain of family life. She's a bit of a perfectionist, and anyone who's spent more than 5 minutes with a child knows that children and perfection go together about as well as fire and gasoline. But Allyson's determined to do the best she can to have the perfect homeschooled, organic-eating, well-behaved children. She's read all the books! She knows all the techniques! Unfortunately, her kids haven't read any of those books and know nothing of those professional techniques. They only know it's Mother's Day and they want to make Mommy breakfast in bed. The result? Eggs, flour, and orange juice smeared everywhere. Well, what do you expect from 3 preschoolers left to their own devices in the kitchen? Her airline pilot hubby Sean is out of town but should be home to help take care of things soon. So, with her head held high, Allyson is determined to make it through church with her dignity and her sanity somewhat intact.

At church, she meets up with BFF Izzy (whose husband is terrified of children in general and his twin boys in particular) and her solid rock mentor Sondra (the pastor's wife who's struggling to understand both autocorrect and her teenage daughter). After a major meltdown in the ladies room at church, Allyson decides what these three ladies need more than anything is a night away. Away from husbands. Away from household mess. And FAR away from whiny, needy, sloppy, crying, screaming children. A night of glamorous dresses, gourmet delights, and grown-up conversation. So, with the husbands baby-sitting (joined by Kevin, Sean's lifelong best friend and video game buddy who just so happens to hate children) the ladies doll up and head out for the evening. What could possibly go wrong?

"Ladies, tonight is our night and we look good."
Well, you know if nothing went wrong, it wouldn't be much of a movie, would it? So, suffice it to say, EVERYTHING goes wrong. And I mean that in a good way. This is one of the most hilarious movies I've seen in a long time. And not just because this is a "chick flick". It might be a movie about moms, but there's a lot of stuff for guys in here, too. Tattooed bikers. A Shawshank Redemption reference. A high speed car chase. And someone getting Tased. I saw the movie with my hubby, and I seriously think he laughed even harder than I did. The pacing of the comedy was perfect. The "blog post" type narration includes just enough humorous clips and quotes to make it funny without being distracting, and really gives you a look into Allyson's mind.

The movie is also very relatable. I only have one kid, and he's not even a year old yet, but I definitely found myself nodding in agreement with Ally's sentiments. There's a saying floating around the internet that behind every great kid is a mom who's pretty sure she's screwing everything up. It's how Allyson feels, and it's definitely how I've felt on occasion. I don't always feel like I'm the best mom. There are stale Cheerios under my couch. I never remember to take a bib to nursery, so I leave church on Sundays with a slobber-covered baby. I accidentally left a dirty diaper in the diaper bag once. For a week. My house isn't spotless. Heck, it's not even really organized. My hubby is very supportive, but he's also still a guy. He still likes to play video games with his brothers and watch movies with lots of explosions. And the last "night out" I had where I actually dressed up and went out to dinner was my anniversary...last year. The last time I went out with just some girlfriends? Erm. Hmm. A church function...about 5 years ago, maybe? So, yeah. I totally get where Allyson is coming from.

This is my minion. Don't let the cherubic smile fool you. He can be a holy terror when he puts his mind to it.

Under all the comedy, car chases, and chaos, though, is an encouraging message to moms from a very unlikely source. Big bad biker Bones gives Allyson some sage advice: to do the best you can with what God has given you and let go of the illusion of perfection. Sometimes as moms, we get so overwhelmed with the work, the demands, the competition with other moms (don't lie. You know you compare yourself to every other mom on the planet), that we lose sight of what's truly important. Your kids might remember that your house was always clean, and that your makeup was always flawless, and that you made every craft ever posted on Pinterest. But they will definitely remember how much you loved them, mentored them, prayed for them, and invested time in them. And so, I give a word to all you moms out there, or would-be moms, or single ladies, or even guys... heck, anyone who feels like their life is less than perfect. As Sondra says: "Life is about finding the meaning and the joy and the purpose in all the chaos."

Embrace the chaos. Embrace your kids. Embrace the love and grace that God has given you. And take a night out once in a while. Couldn't hurt, right?


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