Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Mind if I gripe?

Can I just say I loathe this show? I do. On many levels.

I've been seeing the commercials for it for a while, and I've been grumbling about it. But I wanted to give it the benefit of the doubt, hoping that the commercials were making it out to be different than it really was (TV execs have NEVER done that to us before, have they?).

So I watched it last night. And I can't say too many general things I hate about it, but I just do. The idea is that they take a "soccer mom" and give her a taste of the career she "gave up" to be a mom. This first mom has been a SAHM for 10 years. Before making the decision to stay at home she had been in the fashion industry. So the show offers her work with a fashion designer for a week. The catch is that no one in her family knows she doing it, not even her husband. They think it's a show about rewarding moms and she's at the spa. My thought is does the husband know she's thinking about working outside the home again? Have they discussed it? Is he on board?

Anyway, she shows up for her first day of work and they tell her that the next 3 days are going to be chaotic because they (she?) have (has) to design, pattern, make and fit 3 dresses for a show. Over the course of the next few days, it shows mom stressing out, while the other "real" employees act slightly snotty discussing whether or not they think she can hack it. Once she does something well, they act surprised that she's good at it and at one point, the main designer says, "I actually do" when asked if she like one of the mom's sketches. She actually does? And someone else says, "She's doing better than anyone expected." What were they expecting? Because she's been "just a mom" for several years now she must be an idiot? Then when mom is talking about the deadlines she must make, she says, "Here it's 'produce, produce, produce' while at home, it's just mellow." Wha....? Is she serious? Maybe I'm looking at it a little differently because not only am I a SAHM, but I'm also a homeschooler, but I wouldn't call anything about my "job" mellow. I have more freedom in my days than a normal 9-5, but that doesn't mean it's mellow. But I digress.

Meanwhile, dad's at home taking care of the kids. The show does a good job of making the dad look like an idiot (but isn't that what all of TV does?). At one point it shows the preschooler drinking from and subsequently spilling a container of coffee creamer while dad's just around the corner. Dad seems to have no clue what's going on and when the girl says "I clean it", he says something and then continues to hang laundry. Later on, the two younger kids get into diaper rash cream. It also shows dad saying that SAHMs take everything too seriously, but he later redeems himself by saying he has a new respect for everything that goes in to staying at home with young kids. Still, I was wondering, has he had no idea the entire time that he's had kids that it's hard to care for them?

Later in the show, the people at the design house are coming around to the fact that the mom has talent. She does well on an in-house fashion show and one stylist says she wants one the mom's designs for one of the big name celebrities she dresses.

Toward the end, when mom is coming back, dad says he's looking forward to having his wife home and getting back to normal. When she gets home, everyone comes clean and the mom tells her husband what she's actually been doing for the week (remember, he thought she was at a spa). She then gets offered a full-time job with the designer. She's obviously excited, but that's a huge decision to have to make. Then they tell her that she needs to decide before the end of the day and she would start the following Monday. The host and the designer both mention a few more times how the family needs to hurry and make the decision.

It was obvious she was going to take the job. In a discussion with her husband, she even says that she didn't "mind relying on babysitters" if her kids got sick. That's just a hard thing for me to imagine given that she's stayed at home for 10 years. Anyway, her hubby was very encouraging and supportive of her and told her that he just wants her to be happy. He also says that this opportunity has given her something that he couldn't...completeness. And then I gagged. She takes the job and the show makes sure to show that they all live happily ever after. Well, not really. But it does show the big name celebrity wearing one of the mom's designs in a nationally televised performance.

So, okay. I didn't really go into it with an unbiased and open mind. But at first the people on the show act like she couldn't possibly "make it" in their industry because she's been at-home for so long. Then they act surprised when she does well. THEN the show leans toward how great it would be for her to take the job (thereby implying what a disappointment it would be if she decided to "just stay home" again). And it implied that dad was an idiot. I hate that.

I will say that I did enjoy the fashion industry part of it. That was fun.

So there you go. I had to get that out. Perhaps I'm too sensitive and a little insecure. Maybe not. All I know is that I really didn't appreciate the entire tone of this show. I will not be watching it again. But I encourage you to, to form your own opinion. And tell me if I'm wrong.


Kate said...

I'm sensitive about it, too. And I'm not a SAHM. Or any kind of mom. But I hope to be one someday. Right now we're talking about me working 10 months a year and being home 2. Being a teacher makes that possible. I also get done at 3:30, which is a lot nicer than 5+. And I have good health insurance, which is most important. Even more important than the money or getting out of the house or feeling "complete." (Which is such a load of garbage--I love my job, I feel satisfied when I leave, but it does not complete me)

That "mellower" comment would have made me mad, too. I get two hours a day to do whatever I need to. Rest, go pee without someone barging in, go to meetings, plan for my classes, etc. I know YOU don't get that!

I still think of myself as a feminist and I want to have the CHOICE to work, have a family, do both, do one or the other, at different points in my life. I wish it wasn't seen as the lesser choice to be at home raising the next generation. Even though I get less respect than other professions as a teacher, I get a lot more than the parents who are home with my students. It drives me crazy!

I think it's moronic to ask someone to make such a life-altering decision in such a short period of time. Plus, the husband should be included in that decision--and give him a decent amount of time to think about it and talk with his wife about it. It's not like he's going to quit his job. And from what I've heard, getting a babysitter when your kid is sick is almost impossible.

I haven't seen it, but it sounds like they're really pressuring the SAHMs to quit their current job and take something "better" and more "rewarding."

Also, what about part-time work? I know people who do that. There are 4 teachers in my dept. who do that. Oh no, that's not good enough! You MUST be FULL-TIME. Krrrr.

K in the Mirror said...

I haven't heard of this show, but I would hate it too. The main thing I hate about "feminism" is that it's supposedly all about choices but really it's about you making the choices THEY think you should make. Can you imagine how they would have twisted the show if she'd decided to turn down the job and stay home with her kids?
And I can't believe the husband wasn't upset about any of this deception and that they could make a decision like that so quickly- unless it was really something they had been talking about previously. But then again, it's amazing how many women I hear about who really just don't respect their husbands or value him as the head of the household. Because you know, that's another outdated thing we got to throw out with feminism. We're as good as men! They don't do anything for us if we don't allow it! Drives me CRAZY.

Yeah, okay, I could get a big fat rant of my own going here. I'm glad we're biased in the same direction or we'd be fighting. :)

Alli said...

I just hated how the people on the show acted like she was inferior because she chose to stay at home for several years.

AND I forgot to mention that the reason the mom stayed at home to begin with was because their oldest daughter, who was adopted, and special emotional needs. I wonder if she's better now, or if she still has those needs and mom's getting back to work.

Thanks for both your comments. Obviously, I support women who choose to SAH, but I also encourage women to work if they choose and it works for their family. What I hated about this show was the slant that it put on working...like it was better and more fulfilling and SAHMs are inferior in some way. UGH!