By MARY FLORES
(Mary Flores is a home-schooling mother of six children and blessed to be married to her “path to Heaven,” Rey, for 14 years. She welcomes your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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I was excited to find that my husband had another movie to review. Rey and I both enjoy this little perk of freelance writing. With six children 13 and under, we rarely go out to a movie, so I look forward to movie reviews.
Most of the movies Rey has reviewed have been pretty good. After watching the trailer for Moms’ Night Out, I had my doubts. In fact, I told him I didn’t want to watch it. I finally gave in. Within the first couples of minutes of the movie, I regretted it. I had already been assaulted by loud pop music, Rey reached for the remote to turn the volume down, and I found myself wanting to slap the main character and give her children a time out.
Beyond the loud pop music, you can expect a completely exaggerated view of parenting and of motherhood in particular. The dads are initially portrayed as mostly utter fools who are unable to function without the strong assistance of their wives.
The main character in Moms’ Night Out is a young mother with three children who is seemingly overwhelmed and about to crack. She is trying to do it all and it isn’t good enough, especially by her own standards. As if she doesn’t have enough to occupy her time, references are made to a struggling “mommy blog” she is trying to start up.
I am a mom so I know where she is coming from — she has three young children. She wakes up every morning to what seem like the same problems. Her house has toys strewn about and her shower probably has squeaky toys cluttering the floor. She may find herself drinking from a sippy cup or writing with a crayon because she can’t find any adult tools of her former pre-mom existence.
Thirty minutes into the film Rey groaned. “Can people really be this shallow?” Being a good home-schooling mom, I never miss a “teaching moment,” so I simply smiled and reminded him how much God had blessed him and how fortunate he is to have such a good wife and such charming children.
He was ready to throw in the towel or, more accurately, to throw the remote at the TV. I thought perhaps we should hold on. I saw some possible glimmers of hope and I actually can relate to that mom on some level.
What I have learned in the last 13 years is that motherhood doesn’t have to be that way. I can’t remember when it happened. I do know when it started. Rey and I were told in marriage prep as we argued in front of the priest that to become one in marriage, we would first have to die to ourselves. Very sage advice!
I have always thought one of the reasons God set up His plan for us to first marry and then have children is that parenting requires even more of this selflessness. Certainly it is a journey. And, in God’s good plan, we have time. First the nine months of pregnancy and then that precious infant in the arms that smells so sweet. We grow as the baby grows. Imagine if, instead, the morning after the honeymoon you and your new spouse woke up to a house full of hungry teenage boys!
After watching the whole movie, I can say that Moms’ Night Out does have some redeeming qualities. It may have the most appeal to families of young children who can relate best to the struggles of the early years of the journey toward sanctification.
After many outlandish and harrowing adventures of the evening that include visits to a tattoo parlor in search of a missing baby, an emergency room visit, an epic police chase reminiscent of the Blues Brothers, and having some of the moms end up in the lock-up, our main character mom who so desperately needed to “get away” realizes what she has known all along.
She has the beautiful life she dreamed of as a girl. She is just what she always wanted to be — a wife and a mother. At the beginning of the movie she doesn’t understand why this hasn’t brought her happiness.
The events of the night, along with some good advice from unusual sources, help to open her eyes. Our own struggle against God’s plan for our lives is often the source of our unhappiness. As Fulton Sheen once said regarding the search for happiness: “It is not so much what happens in your life that matters; it is rather how you react to it.”
So, in conclusion, if you can get past the over-the-top antics of Moms’ Night Out to see its message of surrendering to God’s plan, then the movie is worth an evening of your time.
Just make sure you have plenty of popcorn and a remote control to lower the volume when the music gets loud.