We moms are so stupid. We’re always worrying that we’re bad (and I don’t mean that in the humble brag way, but as in not doing a good job), that our kids aren't eating right, that they might forget to do their homework. We also make time to volunteer at school and play cheerleader at after school sports.
We're called tigers, helicopters, and sanctamoms for our hyper-vigilance and for keeping our children on the straight-and-narrow. We're mocked for wanting to know where they are and with whom. We take the job of having little lives in our hands very seriously.
Talk about making things harder than they have to be. Apparently, parenting is actually no biggie.
Driving this idea home is Fox’s new series "The Mick."
Mackenzie "Mickey" Murphy (Kaitlin Olson) is a hard-living grifter, and an aunt. When her affluent sister and brother-in-law are arrested and subsequently must flee the country, Mickey steps in as guardian to the couple’s children, Sabrina, Chip, and Ben.
Not that she’s doing this out of the goodness of her heart. In exchange for her, uh, guidance, she gets to live in the family’s mansion, drive the cherry red convertible, bask in the sun by the in-ground pool, and wear a walk-in closet full of designer clothes. (If this were an episode of "Law & Order: SVU," Olivia Benson would have had child protective services swoop in before Mickey made it up the driveway.)
So, their parents are criminals and their aunt is…let’s be kind and call her "free-spirited." We, however, don’t feel sorry for the young trio because, as the show description tells us, the children are spoiled.
Mickey will change all that. This adult brat, who never had any interest in mothering, is going to transform her charges into non-brats, presumably following the do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do model, and of course, show the rest of us square, lunch-packing, note-writing moms how it’s done.
I've been a mother for two decades and I'm exhausted – not from raising my son and daughter, or from chairing the PTO, volunteering, chaperoning field trips, hosting birthday parties, attending sports events, playing chauffeur as well as chief cook and bottle washer – but from defending my job and how I choose to do it.
As mothers, we’re damned if we do (as in, criticized for being overprotective or excessive because we keep track of our kids via the Find My iPhone app), and damned if we don’t, which would be to follow the lead of the wacky aunt and parent by the seat of our pants (read: half-heartedly and haphazardly.)
Whereas Mickey’s child-rearing choices are seen as an adult holding her own against the kids trying to pull one over on her, imagine if a mom made the same ones?
"Vilified" is the word that comes to mind if, say "American Housewife’s" Katie Otto went shot for shot with her teen daughter, started a fire as a distraction to steal ice cream from a street vendor, and suggested her bullied son pull down his attacker’s pants and “laugh at his tiny penis” rather than calling a meeting with the principal and the bully’s parents. For some reason, it's just not as funny when it's a mom making the bad decisions.
Those actions would probably bring up the question of why the mom bothered to have children, if she wasn’t going to take care of them properly.
Why? Because mothers are held to a higher standard of behavior. Yet when we uphold it, we're called the aforementioned tiger/helicopter combo with a sanctimom chaser.
For the record, mothers would love to be the fun ones who get to parent in the goofy, half-baked, arbitrary way that results in a shrug and eye roll that imply: “It’s not like anyone died or anything?” But we have a job to do, and we take it very seriously.