How to Be Happy (The Reminder in Mom’s Night Out)

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?”



13 Responses to “How to Be Happy (The Reminder in Mom’s Night Out)”

  1. Ginger says:

    This is such a good reminder! I have been struggling over the past several days with seeing with crystal clarity every little flaw in my husband & my emotions have been deceiving me into thinking I’ve never been happy with his man and I never will be. So I had to take action. I read scriptures on marriage and went back to my favorite marriage books and prayed for God to right my thinking. And He did!! My eyes were opened once again to all the grace God has given me through my adoring, loyal, hardworking, loving daddy of a husband.
    He is faithful when I am floundering. Emotions can be so deceptive, changing with the tide it seems. But God’s Word never returns void. It always achieves His purposes. That is so comforting to me.

    • Beth says:

      I’ve been struggling with this too, Ginger. I decided to get a notebook and every night before I go to bed, I write down all of the nice things my husband does for our family. I knew that I would probably be surprised at how much there was to write down once I started focusing on the positive and not on the “flaws”, but after 2 days, I filled 2 whole pages and I wasn’t surprised, I was shocked and ashamed of myself for holding him to such an impossibly high standard of perfection. Seeing it all written down and making a concentrated effort to focus on those things has really made me realize how selfless and loving that man of mine is, and how undeservedly blessed I am to be married to him!

    • I loved this so much, Ginger!!! How amazing that everything changes when our perspective changes.

  2. Laura Santos says:

    I think you hit the nail on the head with blame. We come across this everyday with the children. “Mom, she makes me so mad!” No, dear, you make yourself mad. If we weren’t in control of our own emotions God wouldn’t tell us to “put it off.” Sometimes gratefulness for ourselves and the skills God gave us contribute to happiness: thankful we can make any place feel like home, thankful we know how to make do, thankful we know how to find the good in every situation. The thankfulness (for ourselves) gives us the push to BE. And then an added bonus to the thankfulness for ourselves is we can pass this on to our sisters…”YOU know how to make any place feel like home. You know how to make do, etc.” Whatever God calls us to, he gives us the strength and means to do it.

    We are having a picnic later today. It’s very cloudy and several people have cancelled. “I’m thankful for God giving me a plan B if it rains! I’m thankful that we will definitely have enough food. I’m thankful that I know how to be flexible.” Some may say this is too psychological or self centered…but God has made us and given us His Holy Spirit and His mind…we can trust and obey.

  3. Beautifu article.I love all the points .Stop Blaming and finding happiness within.Love the line honor and strenght are her clothing :)

    http://www.godlyindianmom.com/

    https://www.facebook.com/godlyindianmom

  4. Lisa says:

    I agree, it is a great movie! :)
    You nailed it with this-

    “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.”

    I have found deep joy in some of the most desperate situations I’ve encountered in my life, because they have forced me to refocus, and realize that when it comes down to it, no matter what else happens, He is enough. Joy (and for that matter, peace) aren’t found in our external circumstances, but oh how often I find myself frantically searching for them there!!!

  5. Summer says:

    I am struck by all that I’ve read here (especially Ginger and Beth)today as I’m in the middle of reading a great book by Nancy Leigh DeMoss called “Lies Women Believe”. I’m sure many of you have read it, but if not, I encourage you to. It’s about recognizing the lies that we believe,(deep down inside whether we mean to or not), the impact they have on us, and then replacing them with The Truth of God’s Word. It has opened my eyes to so much wrong thinking and I’m loving being able to counter those sinful thoughts and feelings with truth! Anyhoo, just FYI. Thanks, Kelly, for the encouragement!

  6. Summer says:

    BTW, I’ve got to see this movie–I hadn’t even heard of it!

  7. Kelly L says:

    Love this post, haven’t seen the movie yet. I usually wait for DVD, homebody that I am. ;)

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