Are Moms TV's Bad Guys?

Any time there’s another mother on TV we’re supposed to compare our mothering to their mothering. Is that fair? Is that right?
Author:
Updated:
Original:
Dance Moms by Scott Gries for Lifetime

Dance Moms by Scott Gries for Lifetime

Lifetime’s newest reality show, Dance Moms, premiered last week. Focused on a Pennsylvania dance company in the middle of competition season, Dance Moms is everything you’d think it would be: a harsh task mistress, cross-country travel, choreography, music, moms obsessed with their daughters, and little girls in vaguely inappropriate outfits and makeup, and abundant tears. 

But something about it was even more familiar: mothers caught up with making their children “stars” to the exclusion of all else. You hear it in a dozen reality shows, an obsession with performance and fame.

Toddlers and Tiaras is the same way: make-up on babies, encouraging children to “shake it,” and telling us their kids are “stars.” It makes me squeamish. What are we telling these girls? That what they look like is more important than anything else? That tantrums from children AND adults is appropriate behavior? By all means, feed your kid another pixy stix so they’ll sparkle on stage. 

I admit it: we’re judging these moms, and we’re supposed to, the networks are counting on it. “What kind of mother would do that?” I hear over and over. From Supernanny to A Baby Story, and even Hoarders. Any time there’s another mother on TV we’re supposed to compare our mothering to their mothering. Is that fair? Is that right? Does it help?

I don’t know, but I do know that it sells a lot of soap.

Related

Project Runway mentor Tim Gunn and Dylan Lauren

Project Runway Hits Dylan's Candy Bar

The unconventional challenge on this season's Project Runway hits Dylan's Candy Bar! Find out what candy Dylan Lauren would have used to create her couture gown.

SYTYCD

Confessions of a Reality Show Watcher

So I watch a lot of reality TV. Do you have a problem with that?

Mike Rowe from Discovery Channel's Dirty Jobs

Flipping Out For Reality TV

I hated...how reality TV started taking over sit-coms. And then, I had babies. When my brain was a tired mess, reality TV was the perfect mindless garbage on which to zone out while I was nursing. Years later, I'm totally hooked.

portlandia

TV Shows To Make You Smile

Feeling a little sad, need a little funny? Try these hilarious TV shows you can watch together!

Carrie Bradshaw Apartment Layout

15 Floor Plans of TV Houses

Which famous TV show house would you most like to live in?

The Michael J Fox Show

New Fall TV is Back!

Spend your TV time wisely! There are some fantastic new shows heading in your direction--and would you believe the headless horseman might be my favorite?

green baby bumper

Are Crib Bumpers Hurting Babies?

What happens when something that's supposed to keep your baby safe turns out to be dangerous?

Bravo

Reality TV: The 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse

I think some reality shows give viewers a chance to see things they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to experience. But others? Not so much.