Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Marley & Me

We took the kids to see Marley & Me Tuesday for Totally Terrific Tuesday Family Fun Night (TTTFFN). We’ve been doing TTTFFN for about five years now and it is definitely a family tradition that won’t die any time soon. The kids love it and are horribly disappointed if we have to skip. Usually it’s playing a game after dinner or watching a movie at home or, during Christmastime, driving around looking at decorations and lights. But the local theater runs a $5 special all day Tuedays and the kids have been wanting to see the dog movie so that was a great treat for tonight.

Sean and I saw the movie over Christmas break; we knew there were a few questionable moments, (my favorite: Jenny calls John and says, “There’s a naked woman in your bed right now,” and John answers back, “Well, you two get started and I’ll be right home.”) but we loved the fact that a committed husband and wife were the stars. It showed the ups and downs of married life but through it all divorce was never an option. I can’t remember the last time I saw that portrayed on the big or little screen. I’ll let my kids hear a few sex jokes when the context is marriage.

The other reason I loved the movie was because Jenny makes it very clear that she made the choice to stay home and raise her children. When her first child is born she tries to work from home as a newspaper writer. But we see her become more frustrated and she says she knows she’s not doing either job, writer or mother, well. John says he’ll get her some help but she says she doesn’t want to miss raising her own kids. When’s the last time stay-at-home motherhood was seen in such a positive light in the movies? I wanted my kids to see that so they know it’s a choice and I made the same decision Jenny did.

Of course, reality came crashing down on the way home from the theater. I was mentioning some of the things I liked about the movie and I specifically said, “I want to be home with you guys. Even when the days are crazy I would never change my choice to be a stay-at-home mom.”

Sean was very supportive: “You kids have no idea what a blessing your mother is.”

Cue the crickets.

Seems they tuned out right at that very moment, the moment I told them how much I loved being an at-home mom. How I’d made the choice to forgo career and focus on my children. How it was truly the simplest choice I’d ever made because no one could love them the way I do.

Silence. Pure, unadulterated silence. They didn’t hear/pay attention to a word Sean or I said.

Was I irritated? Um, yes. Annoyed? Double yes. But that’s just a snapshot of motherhood. Moms give, kids take and when they’re old enough to know they have a lot of apologizing to do, they apologize and moms get to be grandmothers and it’s all worth it in the end.

So would I change my decision knowing what I know now? Nope. But when Marley & Me comes out on DVD I may make them watch it again with my running commentary: “See, this is where the mom gives and gives and gives…”