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How Having a Baby Killed My Movie Watching Mojo

Photograph by Photofest

With all of the hateful and useless political ideas floating around from various presidential candidates lately, I'd like to propose something totally practical and beneficial to society. How about creating a new film rating that will designate movies and TV series as NSM—Not Safe for Moms? Any Super PACs want to run with this?

See, I used to be obsessed with movies. Like, going to a movie every weekend and watching one at home every night obsessed. I used to binge-watch TV shows over entire weekends. I loved and hated and debated and thought about movies. And then... I had a baby.

And it's become clear that I am now in a completely different category of the movie and TV viewing public that I never knew existed. I am absolutely unable to watch ANYTHING that involves babies or children being injured, abused, neglected, kidnapped, abandoned, deathly ill, attacked by zombies or basically harmed in any way.

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Is this a normal part of motherhood? Is it something inevitable that you just have to live with, kind of like the um, interesting things that happen to your boobs after a year of nursing? Or am I just going through some kind of temporarily heightened emotional state that will pass like movie lovers PMS?

Either way, this situation puts a major cramp in my movie and TV watching style, and I'd like to be forewarned. I'm pretty sick of having to jump up and run out of the room with my fingers in my ears because suddenly a pregnant woman is being kidnapped or a guy with a gun is threatening an infant. I mean, "Homeland" is now completely off the table. Sorry, Carrie. I love you, but your little girl's situation is um, suboptimal. And what's with blowing up people's entire families?

It's not that I don't like a little violence in my entertainment. In fact, my pre-baby self used to deeply love an action movie.

I can't even watch "The Black List" anymore because every time James Spader casually shoots someone: Oh my god, that random guy was once somebody's baaaabyyyyyy! Noooooo!!! Yeah, it's gotten that bad.

Movies are even worse. One minute I'm out on a date night, happily watching the latest "Hunger Games," and the next minute, I'm gasping in horror and covering my eyes because children + war = I CAN NOT WATCH THIS.

It's not that I don't like a little violence in my entertainment. In fact, my pre-baby self used to deeply love an action movie. My husband and I would see almost every one that Hollywood offered us each year. (I know, I can no longer imagine what that kind of free time even looks like.)

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But these days, I just can't risk it. At any moment, some adorable eight-year-old is going to be held for ransom or used as leverage, and I'm going to have to awkwardly shuffle past ten people's knees in the dark to make my escape. It's not fair. My nightmare is that I'm going to be stuck watching romantic comedies for the rest of my natural life. I HATE romantic comedies!

Someone, please tell me I'm going to get my movie watching mojo back. That I'm going to giggle when people get beheaded on "Game of Thrones." SPOILER ALERT: Like many George R.R. Martin readers, I have inside knowledge that a certain mom is going to return next season and scare the bejeezus out of everyone, and I want to enjoy it. I want to analyze the plot flaws in some dark Christian Bale vehicle, instead of tearing up because he promised he would take his daughter to the zoo, and instead he blew things up and shot bad guys! Oh, the horror!

Motherhood. I knew about the sleep deprivation, the poop explosions, the tantrums. I didn't know about Jennifer Aniston on Netflix for the next twenty years!

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