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The Stigma Of The Bad Mom

The 2016 comedy hit Bad Moms starring real life gal-pals Mila Kunis and Kristen Bell struck an unfortunate comparison among moms: the ‘perfect’ moms and the ‘bad moms’. Perfect moms are the moms who are well manicured, involved in everything and seem to have a handle on time that other moms pale to achieve. Bad moms, on the other hand, look a mess, act a mess, and are the furthest definition from what a ‘perfect’ mom would be. The revolutionary proclamation is made by Kunis who starts the movement by stating, “I’m so tired of trying to be this perfect mom. I’m done.” As a result, a group of women go “bad mom” ham and act in as full opposition as possible- which includes a copious amount of substance abuse. Party scenes and binge drinking scenes are common including a drunken tirade through a grocery store. Kristen Bell’s character even finds herself trying “whippets”- the dangerous act of inhaling nitrous-oxide fueled products like whip cream cans and computer cleaner- and later talking about how much she likes them. Such generic dichotomy highlights a problem in the way women are defined as “good moms” and “bad moms”. Being a “bad mom” doesn’t have to mean going to the complete abusive and harmful end of the existence scale. On the other hand, being a “good mom” doesn’t have to mean being rigid and inflexible to the point of misery. Eventually, the movie exposes that even the “perfect moms” have their share of otherwise unshareable problems. In the end, everyone comes together as friends, perfectly imperfect.

Thankfully, a critical lesson that women, many of whom are moms, learn in recovery, is that there is no such thing as perfection. Twelve-step program Alcoholics Anonymous has used phrases like “progress not perfection”. Unfortunately, in the world of women, progress is rarely as celebrated as the mythical idea that some women, more than others, have actually achieved perfection. Consequently, this polarization prevents many women from seeking help. Additionally, the defined extremes of a “bad mom” and a “good mom” can leave permanent damage in the mind of a mom. Even in her recovery, after she has abandoned drug and alcohol abuse, she might not speak up about mental health struggles, cravings, eating disorders, and other problems that can arise during recovery. The “bad mom” stigma and “perfect mom” stigma are shaming to the idea of what being a mom is, which is different for everyone.

Welcoming women between the ages of 18-65 years old, Villa Tranquil is a unique opportunity for women to extend their care after treatment. Our transitional living programs provide ongoing clinical structure and support, helping women continue their progress in recovery. Call us today for information:  214-799-3080