Lessons From the Mother Ship

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I’ve been asked, more than a few times over the last decade; “why Star Wars?” from people who just don’t get it. They either never saw the films at all, or did see them, under duress, and continued to hate them out of spite and a sense of superior bitterness.

This week, “Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi” opened in theaters. A new chapter in a 40 year old tale has been laid down as cannon and, as always, many “outsiders” are taking the opportunity to  vocalize their distain for the franchise as a whole. As it does every time someone’s fandom becomes popular, the haters take over social media. They are hard at work belittling the joy and excitement of fans with nasty comments and boisterous claims about how “adult” they are because they don’t like Star Wars, have never seen Star Wars and how, somehow, that makes them super cool, more mature, etc.. These are the folks who say, “Why? Why be into a series of movies about characters who have a made up religion with light up swords?” …as they go about their very “adult” business of watching chick flicks and binge watching Sons of Anarchy with a sense of superiority.

For all that bitterness, it does bring us to an important question. Why does *this* story create the feelings, the power it does within us? I thought as a former Star Wars hater turned super fan, I’d take a moment to chat about this. Why Star Wars?

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For the last few years, my little schtick here on The Mother Ship is to talk about geek parenting and what that looks like.
It’s included taking them to shows, conventions, playing video games, watching geeky movies, talking about life in general with still young, geek children in this insane world of fantasy, sci-fi, horror, mystery, adventure and magic.
We’ve talked about Gravity Falls and meeting Alex Hirsch, attending Star Wars Celebration, joining the Galactic Academy, attending ComicCon, going to Disneyland, what to be for Halloween, why YouTube sucks for kids under 15, we’ve talked about Autism in geek culture… oh wait, no… we really haven’t. Well, we should talk about that. Maybe next time. Anyway, that’s what we’ve done here so far and it’s been awesome, but now it’s time to get a little deeper, a little more personal and dive into the reality of day-to-day life of a geek mom.

This picture is just here because it’s my children being cute. We were at Disneyland, about to do a meet-and-greet with Jack, Halloween, 2014.

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By now we’ve all heard the news:
The 13th Doctor will be Jodie Whittaker, a woman.

We saw Cars 3 on Father’s Day.

(**warning** Hints of plot spoilers) Now, this isn’t a movie review post and I’m not going to get into the details outside this recommendation: For those who are skeptical because they didn’t much care for #2, give this one a shot. It takes us back to the original magic. The heart, the passion and the roots laid down in the first movie have all come to flower in this gorgeous story. It had me tearing up through a great deal of it and it was absolutely worth seeing.

That’s all I’m going to say about it because today, I want to share something even more beautiful than the story itself.

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Many parents in today’s world pride themselves on what they filter. It’s become a topic to boast and shove in other parent’s faces. It’s something that fuels arrogant pride and vicious mom-war battles online and even at playdate tables.

“My sweet Jimmy only watches wholesome shows from the 1960’s.”

“Oh really? well MY dear Janie only sees shows about Jesus and the alphabet! She’s ready for first grade reading and she’s only 4 years old!”

“Oh that’s nice, but I’ve raised my darling Samantha on nothing but classical music, we don’t even watch TV because, as you know, it’s bad for their brain development.”

Ugh. Gross, right?

I’m going to be the one to stand up here – I’ll raise my hand and I’ll be honest; I hate filtering.

There. I said it. I HATE FILTERING. It’s time consuming, it’s frustrating, it’s annoying. I’d really just rather not. I do it because I have to, not because it makes me look like a good mom. Those “good moms” full of all their judgement and ego-based parenting can shove it.

I hate that I HAVE to filter in order to allow my children to be part of almost any experience. The fact there is so much crap my kids can be exposed to that filtering is a necessity is frustrating beyond belief. Monitoring every single little thing, 24/7, on every single form of media just to make sure we stay within the realm of age-appropriate content…. It’s exhausting and irritating for ANY parent, but I think it’s especially so for a geek mom. Why? Because deep down, we want to share this world with our children and we have to hold ourselves back on a constant and daily basis. It’s me against the “shiny” and my better judgement against the “long term effects” consequences of allowing some experiences too early. The conflict is maddening.

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Lately, we’ve seen a lot of junk on TV and in the movies which are targeted toward children. I’m not talking about movies like Deadpool and Logan – THOSE ARE NOT KID’S MOVIES. They aren’t supposed to be nice. I’m talking about rated PG and G movies, animated, cute-looking, seems nice on the surface movies that turn out to be horrible. There’s a whole bunch of “please never do this in real life” kind of nonsense that, after a while, is just exhausting. From YouTube gameplay that you THINK will be appropriate for children only to find out it’s a bunch of fart jokes and bad attitude that NO ONE wants their kid repeating (I’m looking at you, FGTV), to crap that is down right terrible and doesn’t even attempt to hide it, (reference: “The Day My Butt Went Psycho”) the stupid is literally everywhere.

It’s surrounding our children 24/7 like a giant, jungle snake with hypnotic eyes lulling our children with the soft words, “trust in me”. If you don’t have time to sit there and watch these shows with your kids to filter, chances are the bad behavior they get in trouble for is coming from these shows. It can get incredibly frustrating for parents and I tell ya, the world of media certainly doesn’t make it easy. Before you know it, you’ve turned into your parents – shielding the kid’s eyes and muting scenes in movies that were supposed to be for kids!

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*This post is full of Star Wars spoilers for everything from Episode 1 thru The Force Awakens.

The time comes in every child’s life when they are officially initiated into the world of Star Wars. For some it’s as early as birth but for others, like in our family.. you must be ready to receive and ask for it of your own free will. Until then, the truth is shrouded in secrecy.

If you know anything about me, you know I am a fierce protector of storyline when it comes to any film or book series. Maintaining that secrecy for those who have not seen/read them yet is important to me, especially when it comes to my children and Star Wars. It becomes a secret much like Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy – something you keep safe until the time is right.

Some of you may remember the decision we made to hold off on allowing our children to see any of the Star Wars stories/cartoons or short films that gave away those secrets out of context. You may also remember last January when we unknowingly walked into a 20 minute show that gave away every secret of the entire series and I was LIIIIVVVVIIID because there was zero signage to warn people. You can read about that here if you want.

Well, we’ve moved forward and now is the time.

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Welcome to our countdown to the most anxiety-inducing horror films for parents on our final day!

For 30 days, we have been covering the films I both love and hate because they’re awesome and they give me panic attacks now that I’m a mom and today is the day! It’s All Hallow’s Eve, day 31, and our final installment of this series.

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Have you ever thought, “huh.. that looks dangerous” while walking by something precariously placed on a shelf? Have you said to yourself, “self, if I put this here, someone will probably come around and knock it down and they could totally kill themselves”? If you are a parent, have you ever thought… “I need to baby proof this whole room before the baby starts crawling” because you suddenly see all the things that a baby can be hurt with standing out like glowing items of requirement? Have you covered up outlets and corners, installed baby gates and bolted furniture to the wall once baby becomes mobile? If you’ve answered “yes” to any or all of these questions, you will understand why today’s movie has earned its place as the #1 movie anxious parents should probably never see.

Disclaimer: Trigger warnings are a given when you talk about horror, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Many subjects covered by horror films are disturbing to parents in ways we can’t possibly understand and each is unique to the parent and his/her experiences. Tread carefully and know your limits. If this begins to be too much, there’s no shame in closing the window. Also, this post contains some spoilers throughout. 

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Welcome to our countdown to the most anxiety-inducing horror films for parents on day 29!

As you know, we have been covering the films I both love and hate because they’re awesome and they give me panic attacks now that I’m a mom.

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Today’s movie is a series, a remake and a video game of glorious terror and deliciously frightening images that no only don’t leave you right away, but love to return just when it’s the least convenient.

Disclaimer: Trigger warnings are a given when you talk about horror, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Many subjects covered by horror films are disturbing to parents in ways we can’t possibly understand and each is unique to the parent and his/her experiences. Tread carefully and know your limits. If this begins to be too much, there’s no shame in closing the window. Also, this post contains some spoilers throughout. 

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Welcome to our countdown to the most anxiety-inducing horror films for parents on day 28!

As you know, we have been covering the films I both love and hate because they’re awesome and they give me panic attacks now that I’m a mom.

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Today’s film, another zombie flick, is important to the cannon for zombie lovers for the same reason it’s on my list. It answers to the long-asked question; What happens when a pregnant woman is bit at full term?

Disclaimer: Trigger warnings are a given when you talk about horror, but I’m going to say it anyway.  Many subjects covered by horror films are disturbing to parents in ways we can’t possibly understand and each is unique to the parent and his/her experiences. Tread carefully and know your limits. If this begins to be too much, there’s no shame in closing the window. Also, this post contains some spoilers throughout. 

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