Happy Mommy

Yesterday, in a theater crowded with more babies than mommies (yay fertility drugs!), Lil’ Mil and I saw Sex and the City 2.  There’s a scene towards the end of the movie when Miranda and Charlotte have a mommy-to-mommy moment at the bar in their ridiculously lavish Abu-Dhabi hotel room.  If you’ve seen the movie, you no doubt remember this scene.

Up until this point in the movie, the theater was humming with lots of baby noises but very few mommy noises.  Quite the contrast to my viewing experience for the first installment, which was a loud, raucous affair.  Granted, I saw that one on a Friday night with a group of girlfriends, along with a theater full of other groups of girlfriends.  The mid-day mommy crowd was a decidedly less rowdy bunch.

Of course, there’s also the fact that the first movie was actually good.

Anyway – the Miranda/Charlotte scene.  It’s a cocktail-induced, talking-really-talking conversation in which Miranda reaches out to Charlotte, mom-to-mom.  It takes a little prodding, but Charlotte eventually opens up, and the exchange that follows is everything you’d expect from SATC.  Funny.  Honest.  Real.  Taking turns, they say all the things they’re thinking and feeling but aren’t supposed to say.  How motherhood isn’t enough.  How sometimes it’s too much.  How conflicted they feel about feeling conflicted.

There was chuckling in the audience.  Followed by more of it.  With every line, every revelation, the energy grew.

The moms woke up.

And then Charlotte, abandoning her Happy Mommy smile at last, says, in her trademark Charlotte-y squeal:

“Being a mother is hard!”

“So hard,” Miranda agrees.

“And I have help!” Charlotte says.  ”The women without help, how do they do it?!”

Miranda just shakes her head.  ”I have no fucking idea,” she says, and then raises her glass.  ”To them.”

“To them!” Charlotte echos.

And they drink.

And the moms around me, they cheered.

Being a mother is hard.  So hard.  Whether you have help or don’t.  Whether you’re a SAHM, a WAHM, or a GTWM.  Whether you have five kids or one.

And yet, so many times, we play the Charlotte.  We smile and pretend that everything’s fine.  We pretend that things are perfect.

We pretend that we are perfect.

But.

Our kids aren’t perfect.  We aren’t perfect.

Which is why every Charlotte needs a Miranda.  Why we, every chance we get, should be Mirandas to each other.

My kid isn’t perfect.

I’m not perfect.

There are moments when I want to put Lil Mil in a closet and lock the door.  Or, at the very least, put myself in a closet and lock the door.

Motherhood isn’t enough. Sometimes it is too much.

I feel conflicted about feeling conflicted.  So conflicted, in fact, that I’m hesitant to post this.  Hesitant to abandon my Happy Mommy smile.

Which is crazy, because I’ve never been a Charlotte.  But motherhood has made me one, I think because I so desperately want to be good at this.  Better than good.  I want to rock at this.  I don’t want to stumble and falter as often as I do.  And so I plaster on the Happy Mommy smile, hoping that if I wear it long enough, I will somehow morph into the woman I expect myself to be.

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Do you hide behind a Happy Mommy smile?  Are there things you don’t say because you don’t want to ruin your Perfect Mommy image?  Are you a Charlotte or a Miranda?  Has motherhood made you more concerned with perfection (or the image of it) than you were before?  What’d you think of SATC2?

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