Mom Ruins It All was conceived during a drive home from my full-time job. As I listened to the soundtrack to The Greatest Showman for the umpteenth time, it occurred to me that maybe I shouldn’t be quite as enamored with this movie as I am. After all, P.T. Barnum was kind of an asshole–a man making his living by exploiting the freaks and, even then, that wasn’t enough, so he exaggerated their differences for a greater payoff. The rabbit hole I went down on that drive was deep and full of many twists and turns. A warren of wonders. It wasn’t long before I was reminded of a conversation I had had recently on a family trip to Disney World, where I told the kids that Beauty & The Beast was a horrible tale of a co-dependent woman doing the bulk of the emotional labor in a relationship with a narcissistic misogynist whose only interest in her remained in saving himself. She takes on the role of trying to change the man, which we all know is a terrible idea. Sure, she got her happy ending, but at what cost? My kids looked at me like I had two heads, then proclaimed that I’m weird.
The thing is, in 2018, in the world we now live, it’s hard to take for granted the things I once enjoyed as easy entertainment. The feminist inside that’s trying to assert more control in my life calls out the bullshit. The mom wants to ensure her spawn learn good life lessons to take into adulthood. The jaded part can’t help but be a little bit of a downer. The mental health advocate wants to pick apart the psychology of the situation. And when you throw in tweens on the verge of becoming teens, it gets…interesting.
So, here it is, in all its glory. I’m going to ruin it all for all of us.