The movie Bad Moms just passed the hundred-million-dollar mark, beating expectations for a niche, female-targeted movie in the era of action sequels and franchises. While the humor was similar to the creators’ other films (The Hangover), the themes spoke to a different target audience: modern moms.
At lunch with work colleagues who happen to be moms, one mom told me that she saw the movie twice in one week and that she was evangelizing about it to her book club, her PTA and the other football moms. She pulled up a picture on her phone and showed the line out the door of the movie theater on a Wednesday night. Then, she told me about how long the moms stayed in the theater afterward talking until the lights went up.
“The ushers had to kick us out. There were probably 40 of us still in there, in groups of 5 or so. He said moms were closing down the theater every night.”
That’s worth pausing on.
Nobody, I mean nobody, sticks around movie theaters to close them out (unless they’re still adhered to the sticky theater floors).
That’s the power of validation.
And that’s what sets Bad Moms apart aside from the movie content; it gives fed up moms the chance to get together in groups and talk about the movie afterward. Validation and a shared identity ensue.
Opening in a slow season at the movies (late summer), the movie capitalized on moms’ desires to get out of the house and take a break before the hectic school schedules and extracurricular activities dominated their calendars.
But the filmmakers couldn’t have anticipated how well the themes in Bad Moms would resonate with many modern moms and the fact that it could teach us all lessons on the power of validation, like these:
It’s not just about doing less. It’s about recognizing you’re already doing enough.
Mila Kunis’s overworked and underappreciated character, Amy, decides she’s had enough with the exacting expectations of the school’s bake sale fundraiser, which requires homebaked goods free of gluten, dairy, nuts, and sugar. She buys cinnamon rolls, which sell out.
Isn’t the point that I raised money for the PTA, she asks?
We’re often told to do less. How can we do that? Isn’t that just another task on the list–become minimal? Live simply.
What if the path to doing less was stepping back and appreciating what we or our employees already do, instead of asking them to produce more by somehow working less? Realistically, when we ask for more with less, this is what it really means:
More with Less*
*Less time w/ family
You are more than your role.
Bad Moms checks off all the stereotypes when it comes to moms–pretentious Tiger Mom, helicopter mom, lonely stay-at-home-mom, slutty mom. What these moms have in common–besides all loving their kids fiercely and wanting the best for them–is that they have needs beyond their roles as moms. Needs for relationships, celebrations, nachos.
We’re not suggesting you get drunk in a grocery store like our protagonists in Bad Moms. But as a leader, it’s important to recognize and validate your employees have needs outside of their 9-5.
We are all working toward the same objective.
The moms all care about their kids and want the best for them, even if they do it differently and have different priorities
We all just want to be heard and understood
Mom or not, every cohort in your workplace has their own things they want to be validated for. Keep a sharp eye out for this and offer a safe place to vent and a great place for being rewarded and recognized.
-By Scott Mautz & Natalie Hastings