Here’s a well-known secret: The magic that comes alive during the holidays is real. And it’s brought to you by the mothers of the world.
I’ve yet to meet a woman who doesn’t plan, shop, sort, save, and stress her butt off over the holidays, only to feel exhausted and unappreciated. In fact, I clearly remember my own mother staying up late wrapping gifts, shopping at all hours of the night, and making breakfast from scratch every year, while my sister and I just sat back and enjoyed it.
Of course, we appreciated it. And yes, we definitely felt the magic of the “perfect Christmas” my mom created. My parents literally went as far as bringing in deer poop from the woods and telling us Rudolph has an accident on our kitchen floor. Then there was the time we found “muddy boot prints” from Santa himself. If that’s not going above and beyond for the holidays, I don’t know what is.
The truth is, we want so much for our kids that we go to great lengths to manufacture this dreamy snow globe scene year after year. Then we are crabby, dirty, and tired. We do it because we love them, yes. But it’s also okay to step back during the holidays (or any other day of the year) and let some enchantment happen organically.
A Bad Moms Christmas, which opens in theaters nationwide on November 1, portrays this dilemma perfectly. The three main characters, Kiki (Kristen Bell), Amy (Mila Kunis), and Carla (Kathryn Hahn), are taking this time of year to another level — and calling out all the reasons why moms get the shaft over the holidays.
“Christmas is a magical time, full of wonder, excitement, and joy,” says Kunis’ character Amy in a voiceover. “A time for making lasting memories with family and friends. But do you know the secret behind what makes Christmas so special? Moms. Moms working their asses off, cooking, wrapping, decorating and shopping.”
Yep — PRETTY MUCH.
The second Bad Moms installment kicks things up a notch, by introducing each characters’ mother — Ruth (Christine Baranski), Sandy (Cheryl Hines), and Isis (Susan Sarandon), who all do a pretty hilarious job of adding to their daughters’ holiday stress levels in ways we can all relate to.
I was lucky enough to visit the set during filming earlier this year, and get a few moments to chat with the actresses about everything from our relationships with our own mothers to how we hope our teenagers don’t totally hate us one day. It was a reminder that, famous or not, we all face similar issues as moms. We are the creators of all things — and yet after a while, we all just want to throw up our hands and say, “What about me?! Forget this holiday magic crap!” while putting our feet up to enjoy some spiked eggnog by the tree.
“So many women are so busy making magic for everybody else,” said Hahn, which instantly reminded me of my own childhood, as well as the great lengths I go to during the holidays for my own kids. “I just remember, like, ripping, opening presents under the tree so fast while my mom was struggling to fry bacon.”
Don’t we all have memories like this? And now as a mom, I do it for my kids — even though I tell myself every year I am not going kill myself trying to make things sparkly for everybody.
It’s something that Amy, Kiki, and even Carla fall victim to each year, too; as do their real-life counterparts, Mila, Kristen, and Kathryn. And it’s that very real quest for perfection (and all the stress that comes along with it) that the film hopes to capture.
“I think this movie represents the idea of ‘bad’ being the imperfection of a human being,” shared Kunis. “But yes, I think it’s important to show real life and I think this is — you know, as comical as it is, it’s very much the real life of any parent … mother or father. ”
Try as we might, there is always a part of us that feels responsible for our kids’ happiness. Celebrating and making special family traditions is in our genes. We can’t help ourselves, and I think we can all admit, part of us likes doing these things so much because we think it will help us feel some of the nostalgia and magic, too.
But maybe all we need to do is try to balance some self-care with making things magical for our family. I know, it’s easier said than done, but this year, I am certainly going to try.