We aren’t living in an age of “bad mom” culture. We’re just seeing more experiences.
Back in the day there were three channels. Then there were more. But over the decades while the number of options increased exponentially, the number of experiences we saw on screen did not. Especially for women, and notably for moms.
We got dead moms, good moms, absent moms—but few of these tropes, let alone the shows that make them, focused on the moms point of view. Like many other things in the age of Peak TV and 21st century culture, we’re getting more stories and removing the barriers for representing them.
I love my mom; she’s one of the most amazing women I know, and certainly my favorite mom. But I can’t pretend to know everything that happened in her life, how she feels always, and what her life is like when I’m not around. A show based around me featuring my mom is much different than a show centered on my mom.
Mila Kunis, Katharyn Hahn, and Kirsten Bell get to be “bad moms” who hang out with each other and sometimes prioritize themselves over their kids. Jane Villanueva gets to make choices to be around Mateo while her Mom gets to make choices that seem irresponsible. Lorelai Gilmore gets to be her daughter’s best friend and Rayna James gets to build a thriving career.
Don’t mistake expanding the narrative for simple mud-slinging at the women who raise us. Let them have a chance to tell their story now.