Guest Post from Michelle Riddle
I was very much looking forward to this new TV show, “The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom” on TLC. I was happy to see that there was finally going to be a show that addressed what so many moms are going through. What a HUGE disappointment the show was...where do I start?
I will start with the one positive thing…the comment the husband made about not being able to give is wife that "completeness". This hits exactly on the issue that I think so many stay at home moms face. While I love my kids and am thankful for the time I get to spend with them, at the end of the day I need to feel like I did something for me. I need to spend a little time doing something that I am passionate about that makes me feel like a little more than a chef, house-cleaner, chauffeur, referee, etc,. That is what feeds my desire to someday go back to work.
I hate that the show is promoted as asking what a mother "gave up" to be a stay at home mom. All that kind of thinking does is bring up the dreaded "mommy wars". I kind of feel like this has been a non issue lately, but am sure this show is once again stirring the pot. It brings us back to the discussion that moms who stay home gave up a chance for a successful career and set the feminists back a few years and working moms are not making the right decision in doing what is best for their family. Give me a break, that is just wrong. Women make the decisions that are right for them and their family and how dare the media continue to add fuel to this fire that one choice is "better" than the other. It is hard enough being a mom (working outside the home or not) we don't need to constant media influences to make us second guess the decisions we make.
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I know this is a TV show and it is for entertainment purposes, but TLC usually seems a bit more on track. The huge black "SLSM" van…like mom was off being a secret agent...well that was just plain silly. I admit it, I like reality shows. I find a show like The Real Housewives of Orange County very entertaining. The lifestyle of these moms is just so far from the reality of moms out there that it makes for very good entertainment. I don't watch that show to learn anything that relates to my lifestyle, I watch it for fun. The Secret Life of A Soccer Mom was not exactly entertaining and did not teach me anything; all it did was make me angry.
Here is where I think the show really missed the mark. This mom was not living at her house for the week that she was working. She was not trying to get kids up, feeding them, dressing them, getting them out the door and then getting to work on time and then doing it all again in the evening. She was getting a full nights sleep, something she probably had not had in YEARS and knew the children were "safe" at home with their dad. That is not the reality of a working mom, is it?! Sure, that once again makes for good TV, but isn't it more important to show what it is really like for a working mom.
And here was got my blood boiling the most about the show... I get that the show editing has to be done in a way to make it interesting to watch so will not even talk about the fact that she was forced to make the decision to go back to work in a few hours without having any discussions about salary, schedule, childcare, etc,. I have to believe that these conversations did happen, but would not make for good TV. But here is what could have almost redeemed the entire show for me. I would have liked to see the mom have a discussion with her employer about working part time. Couldn't she be a successful fashion designer 3 days a week? I would have liked to see the show focus more on the idea that moms can have it all. Wouldn't it be nice if the show worked with companies that do offer flexible schedules where the "job" of a mom is respected? Why continue with this idea that it has to be either or. Why do we have to make a choice?
Michelle runs SantaCruzMoms.com