Last night I was watching a new show on FX called “Better Things” starring Pamela Adlon. The show on some levels is difficult to relate to: the main character is an actress living in Los Angeles with a gorgeous home. On other levels, it’s easy to relate to her: she’s in her 40s, a single mom raising three unruly daughters that work to drive her crazy on a daily basis, and she’s really struggling to keep her *&$% together. On every level, the show is both hilarious and touching.
Last night’s episode was especially endearing because it touched home on something we’re practically all guilty of: being judgemental. As women, we desperately want to lift each other up and support one another, but we’re also raised in a society where we’re practically bred to tear each other apart. For instance: the main character Sam (who is overtly atheist), ended up in a situation with another child’s mom, Trinity, who was Mormon. Sam had plenty of preconceived ideas about Mormonism and their views about gays and black people, and wrongly assumed that Trinity held those beliefs and disliked her immediately without giving her a chance. Trinity also held her own beliefs about Sam and her parenting based on her lack of spiritual devoutness.
The episode (called “Duke’s Chorus” if you get the chance to see it), while it didn’t show Mormonism in a particularly great light, did an excellent job of having the two moms sit down and talk things out, getting to know each other, and show just how much they actually did have in common not only as moms, but as people. Granted, they were sort of forced into conversation as their daughters played together, but they realized how much they were judging each other when they were really just working hard to figure it all out and they just needed to have each other’s backs.
Interestingly enough, this also mimics a situation in my own life. I am from Boston and only recently moved to Southern California four years ago where there is a very large population of Mormons. (Note: I never knew a single Mormon in Boston.) I’m also not particularly religious, though I’d say I’m spiritual, just not religious. I held my own preconceived notions about Mormonism until I recently made several close friends from that church who I can say have completely changed my viewpoint, at least about the members. They are some of the most liberal, open-minded, loving and kind people and amazing moms (and dads!) that I have in my life, and I’m so glad that I was open-minded enough to let them in.
It was an excellent social commentary not just on parenting, but on women in general. While we’re incredibly lucky to have far more information and support than our parents did and their parents did before them, we’re all just still trying to figure it all out as we go. Let’s have each other’s backs.