Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mars, Moms and Movies

I was all set to write about how my oldest child isn't adjusting to "school time" and about how the melt downs would come at a drop of a hat. Seriously. I just highlighted several paragraphs and hit delete.

But then we had, "family night." We do every Friday night while they are still at the age where they actually WANT to have family night. Where the idea of staying up later than normal, eating popcorn, and all snuggling under one giant blanket is still appealing to them. Because, guess what, these years are going to be gone in a mere blink of an eye, even if they don't know it yet.

I've had one of those weeks where I've felt unappreciated. Like a not-so-glorified member of the housekeeping staff. Couldn't even THINK of starting my homework before 9 PM because every two minutes I had to get back up to get something or other. Every word has been met with opposition, tantrums, and the type of resistance that goes along with adjusting to an earlier bedtime and wake up time.

But tonight, we watched, "Mars Needs Moms." I'll give you an overview, so if you want to rent the movie yourself, I'd suggest you stop reading now.

The whole premise is that Mars is actually run by women. They have hatchlings every 25 years. The female children are raised by nanny robots and the males are basically discarded. They all live below the city, among all the trash and debris. Wanna know why they're discarded? Because they want to hug and play too much and Mars is run by a female "supervisor" who considers this a waste of time. Kind of a nod towards how hard moms work, they nanny robots, after raising the female babies, must be dismantled because they are worn out. So in order to save time having to reprogram a whole new set of nannies (see a theme here?) they kidnap moms from Earth and use their memories in order to program the new robot nannies. But, here's the clincher, they only kidnap a mom who has a kid WHO ACTUALLY LISTENS TO THEM.

Yep. Do your job right and you have alien beings ready to suck you up in the spaceship, never to be seen again. That's gratitude for ya.

In this movie, the mom they've selected is doing her mom thing, and has stood firm when her son didn't want to take out the garbage, took away TV privileges when he made the cat sick by feeding it the broccoli that he was supposed to eat, and when he's sentenced to go to bed early, mom utters the very sentence that has crossed my lips more than once, "Maybe I'd be better off if I were a mom who didn't have to nag so much." To which, the son replies, "Maybe I'd be better off if I didn't have a mom AT ALL!" Heard that before? Or some version of it? I have. I try not to let it get to me, but it does chip a little piece off of my heart, even though I know they don't mean it. But it hurts.  I'm just trying to do my job here, and raise a kid that some woman will be lucky enough to marry someday. We've all been there. And what's your reward? You get sucked off to Mars so they can use your memories to implant in robots to raise their children. Thank you very much. Not even something you get to brag about.

Anywhooo. The son realizes that he didn't mean what he had said, so he goes to apologize to his mom (there's the fiction for you), and arrives in time to see his mother being abducted. In his attempt to chase her, he ends up on the spaceship.

Long story short, he ends up meeting an adult who has been on Mars since HIS mother was taken and hasn't quite grown up yet. He lives 'underground' where they keep the garbage (and the discarded males). This guy wasn't able to save his own mother. So in the movie, you see a flashback where his mother was 'destroyed' after they used her memories for programming purposes.

At this moment in the movie, my oldest (and most sensitive son), breaks down. I mean, buries-his head-in-his-blanket-I-have-to-pause-the-movie kind of breakdown. He's sobbing. My youngest son has a death grip on my bicep (or at least where I'm supposed to have a bicep). I actually need to put my arms around the both of them, hug them tight, and reassure them that this is just a movie.

I a bit taken aback. I honestly wasn't sure that my kids knew what it meant to them for me not to be there. Does that make sense? I mean, we do so much, we get so little thanks, so we wonder if they'll remember all those things that we do for them every day. Stuff like, cut their sandwiches in a diagonal without being asked, making sure their socks don't have lumps, packing their favorite lunch, taking them swimming when you don't want to be caught dead in a swimming suit and complimenting them on their attempt to make tuna fish sandwiches that takes every once of energy to swallow without gagging.

It's the little things that count, even if you find them on another planet.


  1. What a great family night! And a wonderful memory to hold onto when they're sassing you and you wonder if they really appreciate you.

  2. My girls watched that movie the other night. I wondered why they were just a little nicer.... Sometimes I feel like and old hag nag, and then when my sixth grader runs over to the door to give me a hug in front of her NEW school and class, it makes me feel great!! Nice Post!! You are clearly doing a great job, Mom.