I went to see Mom’s Night Out. Twice, actually, and I positively loved it. It was super funny and tears streaked my face several times, some from laughter, and some from the stomach-pit place that felt just what Ally was feeling.
I will note, before making my completely different point, that the few negative reviews were welcomed in my book. Because they prove the point that feminism really isn’t, in practice, all warm and fuzzy and “everyone just be happy doing what you love.” (They actually call the movie “anti-feminist”, so I’m not making that up.) Feminists’ love of choice stops at the front of door of home. Period.
Back to my post.
There was a line, early on, where the main character says something like (I couldn’t find the exact quote), “This is what I’ve always dreamed of. I’m living out my dream. I’m a wife and mom and…I’m not happy.”
And yes, it bothered me. Because for all the reality of motherhood being hard, I think our younger generation of women on the brink of their own families get discouraged by our complaining sometimes. So we have to (need to?) walk this tightrope of “It’s hard, but it’s good.” Honesty met with strength.
Which is ultimately, what the movie did, and beautifully recovered what I had thought was a disturbing line but actually wrapped the movie up with the simple, perfect message.
Ally says, at the end of the movie, “For me to be happy, something has to change.” And she smartly responds that she is that something.
And there it is. That thing I tell myself, and you here, and that thing we so need to be reminded of day after day, regardless of where we are in life, or what our circumstances–
that our happiness doesn’t depend on a life being always in order and things in a row, and our nails manicured and quiet vacations at the beach and pretty clothes with no wrinkles or stains, and uninterrupted bathroom breaks.
Happiness (which I’m not sure really exists and would be better defined as “joy”) is something that comes from within. It’s the something that has to change if we find ourselves “unhappy.”
Because I’ve watched people rise to joy out of miserable circumstances and I’ve watched others wallow in self-pity with less misery. And still, I’ve seen some, with every comfort and privilege life has to offer, never find contentment.
Ultimately, our most inherent flaw is the need to blame. Blame something or someone for everything we feel or experience. Remember what Adam did in the garden?
We laugh at him and do it ourselves. “It’s his fault, her fault, I can’t be happy.” “If my husband were different.”…If my house were bigger.”…”If my children…if my parents…if my financial situation…if my church…”
Happiness begins with “honor and strength are her clothing.”
Happiness begins with the choice to stop blaming and choose joy.
And for another great point about the movie, visit my friend’s post, “What Are You Saying to Your Kids?”