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Secret Life of a Soccer Mom: Why I didn’t get the show

Categories: Balancing Act, Just For Fun, Working Women Issues, Your life


I was going to write a review of the new show, The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom, which premiered on TLC last night. I figured as someone running a company focused on working moms I HAD to do it. So last night I sat down to watch and couldn’t finish it. If you want my knee-jerk reaction to the show, there you have it — it felt unreal without being entertaining enough, so it didn’t pass the I-have-no-time-for-anything-that-doesn’t-entertain-or-inform-me test.

The premise of the show is intriguing and silly at the same time:

Each week one stay-at-home mom whoe gave up her career will secretely get to see the life she left behind.

If you must know, I don’t get why this has to be a secret from the family. Is working such an outlandish concept that the husband wouldn’t support it? I am sure it was done to create better television rather than to make any kind of social commentary, but I found it nothing but strange.

What I did like was feeling the mom had of just being thrown into a fast-paced workplace where people expected her to fail — I’ve not taken time off after having my daughter, but I imagine that if you do and go back to work, it feels a bit like that. I like to see things on TV that remind us about difficult realities — and I think it makes for good television.

A fellow working mom made a comment about the show this morning that stuck with me. She said the view it presented of a “working mom” was entirely unrealistic — where is the daily juggle if the mom is completely removed from her family and is 100% immersed in her work? Would you rather have your work or your family, the show seems to be asking, but c’mon, we know that neither is the answer. Most of us want some of both.

For a positive review of the show, check out Self-Made Mom’s post. (She also got a chance to interview the host, Tracey Gold and posted it on her blog.)

For a more negative take on the show, read what Elizabeth wrote on Career and Kids.

I am curious to hear your thoughts and reactions to the show, so please share them in the comments!

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12 comments so far...

  • That’s so funny, as I was watching I thought the same thing “WHY DOES IT NEED TO BE A SECRET??”

    I liked how the mom felt when she was working. It gave her so much confidence. She was so excited to be working. It seemed so liberating for her.

    Like Nataly, I did not make it to the end of the show.

    momof2lovelies  |  March 4th, 2008 at 7:33 pm

  • I really think the secret was just for good TV. I think some of the buzz on the blogs is negative though, due to what you said. I actually agree with you- a mom isn’t ever going to be that removed from her daily life. But then again, if she tries it half-assed, would she then be able to decide so quickly if she wanted the job?

    selfmademom  |  March 4th, 2008 at 10:02 pm

  • secret? that is silly!

    selfmademom - would you make a decision as to if you wanted a job with out considering how it would fit into your life which includes your family? i think it would be more interesting to see how they fit this ‘trial job’ into their lives. to see how they handle it and be more of a ‘mom is going back to work - or at least trying it out’ type of show with the whole family involved. i would like to see what Dad thinks and how the kids react.

    heh a lot of opinions from a chick that didnt even watch the show yet ;) (yes i said chick LOL)

    Kate  |  March 5th, 2008 at 9:46 am

  • I have absolutely NO interest in this show. I saw the commercial for it and thought, what? why? I had no idea they hid it from the families or that the person was removed from their family. If you’re going to remove me from my family it better be to sit my ass on a beach with a cocktail, I tell you what.

    Seriously, I had thought for a brief moment that I could be on this show and then realized I didn’t want to do that to myself. I could be doing something completely different with my career but I chose this path. Do I really want to watch something that’s going to make me wonder if I made the right choice? I prefer to not look back but to move forward. This show sounds like it’s making women feel more indecisive about themselves and their lives. Do we really need to be faced with more of that?

    Wow, I didn’t know I felt so strongly about this! Putting my claws back now.

    Mandy  |  March 5th, 2008 at 10:19 am

  • Though some people have written some thoughtful reviews of it, I still don’t think it’s something I’d go out of my way to see.

    I’m for inspiring confidence and all, but, I can’t for the life of me see how a woman going back to work needs to be a TV show or a game of sorts.

    Elizabeth  |  March 5th, 2008 at 3:35 pm

  • I actually loved this show. Yes, a large part of it was very strange, and it did feel staged. But I empathized with how scared and overwhelmed she felt being thrown into a stressful and hostile work environment after so much time away….I admired her for sticking with it….I loved her success..I was touched by her husband’s support for her, even while it looked like he was secretly hoping she would stay at home…and I was SO glad she chose what she felt would complete her. I actually thought she would choose to stay at home, and I found myself yelling “YES, YES!” when she accepted the job. The show made it abundantly clear in a visceral way how hard it is to juggle a career and family, and how important it can be to do it anyway, even if financially you don’t “have” to.

    Pamela  |  March 5th, 2008 at 4:16 pm

  • I made it to the end of one episode earlier this evening, and the way it ended made me very uncomfortable…The mom had done so well at the job she had taken on, that by the end of the experience, they wanted to hire her on full-time–meaning her life would do a COMPLETE 180 DEGREE CHANGE THE FOLLOWING MONDAY MORNING! She talked it over with her husband, and decided not to do it, because there was no way she or her family could handle such a change at that time. They gave her a taste of this life and then completely ripped it away from her! They didn’t even give her an opportunity to maybe just ease into it, allowing her and her family to adjust to this new situation. I was outraged at how horrible they made her feel! And of course since the husband had no idea any of this was going on, it was no problem at all for him to say “No darling, I don’t think we can handle you going back to work”. Argh!

    Dave  |  March 14th, 2008 at 8:41 pm

  • I think that all the comments are definitely relevant…and if you really watch the show (I did last night as well) it is how we as moms have felt or do feel daily. It is a pull that never stops. I think the whole premise of this show is to show that moms make a decision to stay home, it is the right decision for some and not the right decision for others. And neither decision is right or wrong, but a happy mom is a good mom. Last night brought tears to my eyes! But it is defintely something I can relate to. I have not worked a full time, normal job since I had my first child…I personally could not do it. But instead I work 3 different ones that are flexible…which is more than likely harder. I like this show. I think as it evolves it will show many different aspects and different types of mom. I like that one mom took the full time job and another turned it down!

    Shelleen  |  March 15th, 2008 at 12:05 pm

  • I cried when (the police woman) she was told no by her family. She really seemed to want to do this. Had she had a weekend to think it over maybe her husband would have realized what an egotistical arse he was.

    Deb  |  March 19th, 2008 at 1:50 am

  • Very interesting reactions! Simply put, this show pits WAHMs vs SAHMs from the get-go, which you would only do if you were trying to perpetuate the stereotypes and sensationalism media mongers like networks thrive on.

    Look, when health insurance isn’t tied to a 35+ hr/wk job and decent day care costs become reasonable, it won’t be such a difficult decision for families whether mom has a job outside the home or not. Two simple facts are that one, we ALL have creative contributions to make to our world that extend beyond our own backyards, and two that we collectively rely on each other to contribute to our societies economically. Without a doubt, it is important to raise Junior right, but women can’t ignore the roles they need to fill in our world during the 18 or so years their children live with them. America needs to take back the Family, reminding our employers in a big way that we are raising the next generation of doctors, lawyers, scientists, engineers, teachers, artists and so on, and both moms and dads need the TIME to raise them right.

    All we are saying is “GIVE FLEX A CHANCE!!!”

    flexmomforchange  |  March 20th, 2008 at 11:29 pm

  • Me too, I felt sad about the police woman’s decision. But you know, she was strong and capable (that pepper spray!), and as she said, she can make her own decisions. Hopefully she’ll find a way to go about getting what she wants, and bring her husband and kids along with her. I agree he came off as a total jerk, and their sons seemed to be imitating him.

    This program is set up in such a ridiculous way, and there is so much that feels phony….but I still love watching these women stepping out of their comfort zone to meet their challenges! I’d be curious to see follow up on all them and their families a year later.

    Pamela  |  March 23rd, 2008 at 1:01 pm

  • I just removed SLSM from my TiVo lineup. I was all for the show and really hoped that it would allow some women to get back in the game and realize that you can have a career and a family at the same time. Apparently too many women want to listen to what their husbands say and just accept it rather than standing up and at least trying it! Its unbelievable and depressing. Three out of the 4 have turned down once in a lifetime opportunities so I don’t feel the need to sit around and watch anybody else do the same.

    And you all are right about the “secret” thing…but after watching these episodes I see why! Most of the husbands seem very skeptical of their wives actually having lives outside of the home so I’m sure they would not allow them do something crazy like pursing the career of their dreams!!! Anyway, I’m done with the show…I gave it plenty of time to impress me and instead it depressed me. If they want a Season 2…they need to get ladies that have supportive husbands that will encourage their wives to do this.

    Nikki  |  March 23rd, 2008 at 9:38 pm