Review: Mother Load

In short: I laughed until my cheeks hurt and then I wanted to go home and play Hungry Hungry Hippo with  my kids. (Fortunately, they were in bed so I didn’t actually have to play Hungry Hungry Hippo.)

Betsy Stover did a magnificent job telling my life story. Well, it wasn’t mine, really. It’s actually Amy Wilson’s, the mom who wrote and originally performed Mother Load. But Mother Load is the story of the modern mother, so it very much felt like my story. It’s like the writers had actually been to my house! Even the set — a messy living room — could have been straight out of my house!

It’s a one-woman, hour-and-a-half act where a mother (played by Stover) expresses all the stress and frustration of today’s moms while trying to have the perfect home, perfect children, and be perfect moms. In a very, very humerous way, Stover vents and questions where these pressures come from — magazines, books, doctors, other moms — by talking through personal experiences with infertility, pregnancy, childbirth, nursing, the second baby, and life with 3 kids under 5. Note: I know these probably weren’t Stover’s actual experiences, that she was acting. But they very well could have been her own because she sold it so well. It didn’t feel like you were watching an act, it was like just watching a really good mommy-friend share her stories.

As she talks she’s slowly straightening up her living room, folding laundry, etc. only to realize after 90 minutes of talking through these things, that the clean house and the perfect children don’t matter and aren’t the point. She feels guilty for not having it all together like the magazines and books portray, but then feels guilty for always telling her 3-year-old she can’t play Hungry Hungry Hippo because she’s spending too much time doing all the other stuff that’s needed to be the perfect mom. It is a fine line between being the mom you think should be and being yourself, and the show is great for letting you laugh at yourself and for making you think about how important it is to find balance.

My friends and I could relate to nearly every comedic portrayal of this mom’s experience, so we laughed hysterically throughout the whole thing. Aside from the plot, Stover had excellent delivery with quite a few right-on impersonations of the people we meet in life — the stuck-up preschool director, the skinny mom at the gym, the disapproving doctor, the cheery and unsympathetic labor & delivery nurse — her acting was magnificent!

I highly recommend it to all moms of young children!! It’s in my city through the weekend, but it’s a traveling show so see if there’s one near you, grab a couple girlfriends and go!

Also check out the writer, Amy Wilson’s, blog for more Motherload fun!

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