For a while, it seemed like shows about “wives” were all the rage. “Real Housewives”, “Wife Swap”, “Sister Wives”, “Mob Wives” and coming soon to TLC, “Preacher Wives!” Those shows aren’t going anywhere, but now there’s also an ever-growing “bump” of mommy and baby reality shows, all of which goes to show that women are still largely defined by the titles of “wife” and “mom”. (How many shows are exclusively about husbands or dads?)
Also, like it or not, women are still seen as the primary caregivers and the primary parents, and for whatever reason, people feel fully justified — if not righteous — in criticizing the way mothers parent, in a way that they wouldn’t for a dad. Dads just aren’t held as accountable, no matter how progressive we may have become with regard to gender roles and parenting. It’s a shame, really, how many of these shows are made purely to ridicule moms and set them up to be ripped apart by viewers and especially by other moms.
Having said all this, of course I watch reality shows about moms. I’m not particularly proud of it. Reality TV in general is not exactly high art, but it obviously scratches some kind of itch in our culture, and there’s room for both “quality” shows and low-brow series. (I’m okay with my regular Sunday night routine of watching “Mad Men” and “The Real Housewives of New Jersey” in immediate succession, for example.) So, in honor of Mother’s Day this weekend, here are a few mom-themed reality shows that I can’t help but watch, despite the mild chagrin it causes me.