I love a good movie, and before parenthood I used to watch them a lot. These days, I’m watching more kid-oriented shows like Sofia the First, Super Why, and PJ Masks. When I do get a chance to watch a movie, I now watch it through the eyes of a parent. This has drastically changed my interpretation of films and the emotions I experience throughout the film. I’ve also found that some of my favorite non-parenting movies seem to actually be about and/or inspired by parenting. Here are five non-parenting movies that have strong parallels to parenting.
One of my favorite non-parenting movies is actually the perfect description of life with a toddler. You follow the same routine each day – get up, go potty, get dressed, play and learn, nap time, etc. I’m a creature of habit, so the fact that the days are the same doesn’t really bother me. It’s the conversations I have with my daughter about our routine that hurt my brain.
I ask my daughter to use the potty every morning after she wakes up. Yet every morning, she flips out about having to use the potty. She screams that she doesn’t need to and demands to know why I’m asking her to go. I calmly explain to her why going potty is important. So she finally pees (and it’s like Niagara Falls down there), and I’m like, “See? Don’t you feel better now?” She smiles, agrees that she feels better, and goes about her day. And then we do it all over again the next morning. Head, meet wall.
Dr. Ian Malcolm warns John Hammond and his scientists that, despite all the dinosaurs being female, “Life finds a way.” So do children.
As a child, my mom kept dangerous things out of my reach. One dangerous thing that really intrigued me (for some reason) was my dad’s razor. It was stored in the medicine cabinet of their bathroom, which I was too short to reach. So I did what children do – I found a way to reach it. I fashioned steps out of their bathroom drawers, climbed onto the counter, and retrieved my dad’s razor from the medicine cabinet. I then learned that razors are dangerous because I immediately cut myself. However, I also learned that I was capable of finding a way to get what I wanted.
The Devil Wears Prada
A toddler is basically a miniature Miranda Priestly. They’re selfish, their expectations of others are extremely high (and often impossible to meet), and I’m pretty sure I’ve called my daughter “dragon lady” a few times.
Like Miranda, my daughter tells me what she wants for lunch, only to refuse to eat it once it’s ready. And like Andrea, I simply stand there with a “But you asked for it!” look on my face. Regarding impossible literary tasks, my daughter has asked me to read her a book while I’m driving us somewhere. And when I explain to her that I can’t because I’m trying to keep us alive while driving, she yells, “I just don’t care right now!” and proceeds to sob. See? Dragon lady.
Alice in Wonderland
This is one of my favorite Disney classics! I love the whimsical animation, the silly songs, and Alice’s ridiculous encounters with even more ridiculous characters. As a child, I thought that Lewis Carrol must have been quite mentally unstable to create such a story. However, as a parent, I wonder if he was simply listening to a child tell a story.
My daughter has recently discovered the power of imagination, so sometimes listening to her tell a story is like falling down a rabbit hole. Her story opens with a plausible sentence like, “Daddy! Papi and I went for a walk with our dog!” But pretty soon, she’s telling me about traveling in a time machine with a talking pillowcase to eat mint chip ice cream with a family of robot dragons. And my only question for her is, “Was our dog there, too?”
The parallels between this movie and being a stay-at-home parent are numerous. One day, you’re a career-oriented person who spends time with their significant other and can leave the house at will. And suddenly, you’re confined to your home with no real adult interaction and you’re constantly asking yourself, “How do I do this?”
Like Tom Hanks, you acquire a new skill set and learn how to survive parenthood. But the skill set is ever-evolving. Therefore, you’re only proficient for so long before needing to acquire the skill sets of potty training your toddler, minimizing tears during homework time, and getting your teen to open up to you. So like Tom Hanks, you’re always in survival mode. And you probably yell at inanimate objects in moments of frustration (#nojudgment).