2016’s “Bad Moms” is the hilarious story of a group of moms fed up with trying to be perfect. Tired of laboring over the perfect treat for the bake sale. Tired of cooking only healthy, organic dinners for the kids. Tired of not feeling good enough.
Despite looking risky on paper — a female-driven, “R-rated” comedy? Where have we seen that before? — the movie was a huge hit. It resonated with women across the world, and men too, who related to the exhaustion and never-ending shame that comes along with being a parent these days.
With a sequel (“A Bad Moms Christmas”) set to come out this holiday season, the three leading ladies — Kristen Bell, Mila Kunis, and Kathryn Hahn — sat down for an interview with the Los Angeles Times, where they mused on why the franchise has become such a surprise hit.
More interestingly, Bell, Kunis, and Hahn got refreshingly candid about some of their different real life parenting philosophies.
For example, Bell and Kunis have wildly different approaches to Christmas in their own households.
“We don’t give our daughter presents,” Kunis said. That’s how she was raised, and that’s how she’s raising her kids. “I never really got gifts. Not because my parents were like ‘You don’t deserve presents’ — it just wasn’t the way we showed love or appreciation for each other.”
If the kids want something during the year, they get it during the year (within reason). Kunis and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, don’t make them wait to make a list for Santa.
Bell’s house is exactly the opposite. Christmas, for her family, is a massive, exciting, gift-giving bonanza. Throughout the year, if her kids tell her they want something, she tells them to remember to tell Santa. That’s just her family’s idea of good fun.
As for birthdays? The moms were split on the value of elaborate themed kids’ parties.
Hahn noted, “Our most expensive birthday party we ever had was when our son turned 1. He’ll never remember it, and it was so stressful and now it’s like, ‘Let’s go to Baskin-Robbins.'”
Kunis, meanwhile, said she loves the big blowout birthday parties, though she specifically mentioned going to them, not necessarily hosting them herself.
And Bell? “We’re not giving them birthday parties until they ask,” she said. “‘Yeah, I’ll make you some banana bread tonight and you can blow out a candle.’ That is literally it. Until you want it.”
So is there even right way to raise your kids when it comes to big gift holidays?
The “Bad Moms,” who sound like pretty good moms in their own right, are a reminder of a very important point: There are a lot of different ways to be a good parent.
Everyone has their own style. Heck, you can even make differing parenting styles work within the same family.
That’s not to say different overall philosophies don’t have different pros and cons, and clearly, abuse and neglect are never OK. But when we as parents do things with love, respect, and consistency, we ought to earn the right to not be judged or shamed for our individual choices.
The brief but friendly (and extremely nonjudgmental) conversation shows exactly what parenting disagreements between friends should look like. Kunis, Bell, and Hahn’s movie counterparts would definitely be proud.