I was just thinking the other day how much we moms resemble leading ladies in movie blockbusters. Our acting skills are finely tuned (how many of your seven- year-olds knock-knock jokes have you laughed at? All of them, I'd be willing to bet…I rest my case). But more than that, we have a full range of emotions we draw from on a daily basis, and we know just where and when to use the appropriate "face." Let me explain…
You know how blockbuster movies usually fit into a specific genre: drama, horror, romantic comedy, action. Well, from what I see, to be a really effective, good mama, you have to be a little like Sybil (you know, the multiple personality chick from that blockbuster a couple of decades back?). One of the fundamentals of being a good mama is being able to put on your appropriate mom "game" face, depending on the situation at hand, to teach your little darlings the appropriate life lesson.
For instance, if your kids are whining because you didn't buy them the Juicy Couture sweat suit, you put on your most serious drama mama-face and remind them how you didn't even have color TV and had to share a party line on the phone with 12 other families (embellishment is the key to good drama) when you were their age, and you liked it!
And, when your teenage daughters announce they are going to a slumber party or on a date, you strike the fear of our good Lord in them by putting on your "bad things can happen" face and start telling them "true" horror stories about girls who snuck out to meet boys in the woods or were parking with a boy in the woods (in Bakersfield, one tree constitutes "the woods") being terrorized by crazed young men with long fingernails and/or ski masks and chain saws (embellishment is the key to good horror).
And, when your youngling comes in slamming books and kicking the dog, because that dumb boy or stupid girl called your daughter or son a jerk and just would not leave him or her alone, you smile, pat them on the back and, just like in the romantic comedy where the most annoying person turns out to be "the one" for the one most annoyed, reassure him or her that the guy or girl is bugging them because "they like you."
Action faces are on most moms practically 24/7. Especially when the kids are home. Mama has to be at the ready as soon as the decibel level rises on the yelling, screaming and fighting. If she hears crashes and explosions before she arrives in the room ready for action, it's too late. Bad things have most likely already happened. Blood has probably been drawn, innocent animals caught in the crossfire may have been maimed, and an entire room was probably destroyed in the blink of an eye.
So, just like in the movies, every "genre" of mothering has a special lesson to convey. And, although these lessons may be ambiguous and guilt-inflicting, hey man, we're just doin' what we have to do to make sure Junior becomes a productive member of society. Plus, a few Oscar-worthy performances are what put the "fun" in the fundamental mothering.