Am I a bad mama for taking my kid to Baby Mama?

by singlemomseeking on April 29, 2008

baby-mama.jpgI belong to that parenting faction that believes kids grow up too fast. Although M has watched her fair share of Hannah Montana, I do try to draw the line. Once a month, my mother-daughter splurge is going to the movies — often a matinée and always a kid flick.

After eight years of seeing “G” and “PG,” however, I’ve had my fill. No more Disney cartoons, please. Sometimes, I’m a tad jealous of how open-minded my single mom friend, Desiree, is. Des is an English teacher — and a movie buff who watches PG-13 movies with her 7-year-old. There’s an open door, and her daughter knows she can ask anything.

So, last Friday, when I asked Des to join us at the movies, she said, “Baby Mama comes out that day.” I really wanted to see this movie, in which a successful and single businesswoman (Tina Fey), 37, is determined to have a kid on her own. Along the way, she discovers that there are “two kinds of family: the one you’re born to and the one you make.”

I hadn’t even thought about the irony until the film started. Des, too, was in a relationship in her mid-20s, but soon after having her baby, her boyfriend decided to walk the other way. Neither of our girls knows their fathers, and both of them have recently asked something to the tune of: “If I don’t have a daddy, how did you make me?”

M whispered a couple of questions to me during the film (she wanted to know what was in Tina Fey’s thermos from the sperm bank). And on the way home, she asked me how one of her classmates — who has two moms — was born. We had a great chat. Thanks Des!

Update: Desiree wrote to me after reading this blog to suggest that I add something about WHY we took the kids to an adult movieash-and-m instead of a kiddie movie? We also need to have our fun too!

She adds: “I’ve never catered TOO much to Ashley and as a result, Ashley is a flexible kid.”

Have any of you seen Baby Mama — with or without your kid?

If you have a child under age 13, do you ever let him/her watch PG-13 movies?

Photos of Baby Mama…and our girls trying on lip gloss near the movie theater

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

ocean April 29, 2008 at 8:04 am

I do let my under-14s watch a PG-13 now and then, VERY SELECTIVELY. I use a great website: http://www.kids-in-mind.com to pre-screen flicks I haven’t seen. It goes through ALL the sex/violence/cuss words in movies, and even mentions possible discussion topics should you see the movie! Nice. For me, violence (like Pirates of the Caribbean-type) is more permissable than sexuality. Remember, what we call PG-13 NOW was, ten years ago or so, rated R. No lie. I in no way believe all PG-13s (or likely most of them) are appropriate for a 13 or 14 year old today. Once innocence is gone, it’s gone. Check out the (not for kids!) eye-opening flick Thirteen to be reminded why we have to police the information/media highway for our kids- and they are KIDS until they are grown and gone! We’re not done “raising” when they hit 15, people! :-)

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Elissa April 29, 2008 at 9:11 am

Sadly I never go to the movies with my kids. Seeing as I’m a single mom of four the cost of one movie for all of us would be WAY too much for me to afford. I do think though that what you did was fine… as long as you are prepared to have discussions later about things that come up as a result, which you obviously were.

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Kelly April 29, 2008 at 9:54 am

I’ve been taking my 12 year old to PG-13 movies for a couple of years now. I think it depends on the individual kid and what you think they can handle. I don’t care if there is a lot of bad language in a movie because, frankly, I know my kid is hearing that at school everyday anyway, and if I make it this big taboo thing, using those words will seem even more exciting to her. I worry more about sexual content. I’m even liberal with that because I love anything that can spark a conversation between us, but there are some things I’m not ready to discuss with her yet. So, she’s not going to see Superbad anytime soon, but I might take her to see Babymomma (we both really want to see it). Depends on the movie.

I do regret taking her to Sweeney Todd because it scared the holy hell out of her. I was like “But oh, we both love musicals, and yay Johnny Depp!”, but my God was it bloody.

P.S. how great is being a single parent who gets to make these decisions on our own? I have a divorced mom friend who gets yelled at any time she takes her daughter to a movie her dad considers inappropriate.

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gail April 29, 2008 at 12:25 pm

I was VERY careful with my two oldest but my third has seen PG-13 movies for several years now and he just turned 12 (partly because he grew up with teen-aged sisters). My feeling the third time around is that as long as you’re there to guide them through, they likely have seen and/or heard much worse already. So in some ways it opens up those teaching moments you might not otherwise have when you can share your views on the dangers of… whatever…

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Tonya April 29, 2008 at 1:20 pm

I have a 6 year old and 3 year old daughter. My 6 year old is a huge movie buff and I don’t mind taking her to movies that other moms won’t. I have sat next to her through many TV shows and movies to explain: “that is a puppet” or “that is made with computers” so she understands it is not a real monster. Anytime she would be afraid of monsters, I would point out that Elmo was a monster. Now I hear her explaining movies to my 3 year old daughter in much the same way.

My 6 year old’s favorite movies are Tim Burton movies. She loves Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I didn’t take her to Sweeney Todd because I did hear it was bloody. I also try to distract her during obvious sexual content. Eventually, as Kelly stated, I wouldn’t mind her seeing it so she would ask questions. She’s now introduced her sister to the Phantom of the Opera. Its cute to hear her explain that its just a story and not at all real.

But yeah, some moms wouldn’t take their kids to those movies. Bad mama? Nah! Its up to you how to raise your children. I think every child and every situation is different.

(Great blog, by the way. My friend Susan at One Woman Show told me to check it out!)

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judy April 29, 2008 at 7:41 pm

My 14 year old started watching PG13 with me after turning 13. I do pre-screen via reviews and friends. (not enough time to watch them myself first) We mostly watch at home using Netflicks. That allows for free conversation as necessary.

I generally would opt for a tasteful love scene which is necessary to the plot over anything violent, but since she won’t watch either we don’t.

I believe it is important to adhere to the guidelines as a general rule. Not too many kids are “that” ‘mature to watch older-rated movies and to truly understand the full implication’s.

But more importantly I don’t want her driving before she has a license or drinking before she is of age thus if I bend the rating rules it will allow her to bend other rules in the future.

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Kelly April 30, 2008 at 8:38 am

Judy, driving and drinking before the right age are both illegal. Ratings for movies are just guidelines so we have an idea of what a movie is like . It’s ultimately up to the parent to decide what their kids should watch. You choose to go by the guidelines, some of us don’t. But it’s not the same as letting them drive before they have a license or drink before they are 21.

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singlemomseeking April 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm

Thanks to all of you for that pre-screening suggestion!

I’m anti-violence movies for sure. I can’t watch violent films when I’m alone. But as all of you point out, it really is a parental decision when it comes to introducing your child to “adult” situations on the screen.

Kelly, thanks for reminding all of us about that single parent plus: the movie choice is up to you. There’s no big fight outside the theater with another adult about whether you’re right or wrong.

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dadshouse April 30, 2008 at 6:56 pm

My son’s mom and I both let him watch PG13 movies (he’s 12, but we’ve let him do this for a few years). I let him watch one R movie – Once Upon A Time in Mexico. We’re big Johnny Depp fans. It was violent as heck, but in a comical way. And I made sure to give the parental warning of “don’t shoot off anyone’s kneecaps or spray bullets into a crowd.”

The only time I felt uncomfortable with my son was letting him watch Juno. First scene – Ugh. But, he’s seen it now, so that’s that.

Haven’t seen Baby Mama yet – how is it?

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Shannon May 1, 2008 at 9:42 am

I pre-screen if it’s a questionable movie…and violent movies I don’t really ever let her watch…she can’t handle that and I’m aware. But comedy and “chick-flick” things-I think it opens the door to our communication. She loved Blades of Glory, which I didn’t love letting her watch, but we talked about it during the movie. I think it’s so good to expose the kids, on our OWN TERMS. If she sees it with me, she will get the chance to hear what I have to say about it. As for swearing, my girl thinks it’s repulsive and very unladylike. We roll our eyes at curse words in movies and talk about how they didn’t really need that word, in that line.

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