As part of our Moms Secrets survey results this week, we’ve discussed at length all those things moms like to judge each other on. TODAY.com movies editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper weighed in with her own take on being a “Sanctimommy” who judges parents who bring their kids to age-inappropriate flicks.
I agree with Gael when it comes to R-rated movies or anything with tons of violence or gore. I have a kid with sleep issues – the last thing I need is to give her something else to be scared of.
That said, I’ve (unwittingly) been on the other side. My passel of mom secrets includes this one: I don’t always check those sites that give family-friendly ratings and reviews before taking my kids to the movie theater.
On one particular occasion, I not only exposed my own kids to wholly inappropriate content, but I took a group of their friends along, too.
For the record, none of the other moms had checked out the PG-13 rated movie either, probably assuming that I had. So two years ago when I took three 10-year-old girls and three 7-year-old boys to see "17 Again," starring Zac Efron, we all expected to see something cute, akin to "High School Musical."
In reality, it was several notches racier than HSM, with themes of bullying and sexual references and plenty of foul language, including the “a” word, the “b” word and the “d” word (which got plenty of giggles out of the boys).
The real kicker was the scene in a sex education class, where the teacher is passing around a box of condoms. One of the 10-year-old girls leaned over and whispered, “Kavita, what’s inside those little packets?”
I was horrified and reacted as any parent who has realized she’s made a mistake: I punted. “Ask your mom,” I whispered back.
In the car, I called all the kids’ moms to apologize and warn they might get some questions.
The 10-year-old did go home and ask what a condom was. It resulted in the “sex talk," the mom told me later, and with her daughter putting her hands over her ears and screaming, “Nooo!”
Thankfully she was able to laugh about it. But I’ve learned my lesson. If there’s a question of unsuitable content in a movie, I try to do my research. And if I don't, I just don’t invite other kids along. Maybe I should just stick with Winnie the Pooh.
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Kavita Varma-White is a writer, editor and mom of two tweens. In between cheering at numerous soccer and softball tournaments, she's a contributing editor for TODAY Moms and MSNBC.com.