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The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom

As a culture-savvy New Yorker, I'd like to be able say that I despise cheesy, Hallmark-esque "Mom TV." I mean, why should women need tear-jerking reality shows created just for them? Aren't New York moms sophisticated enough to appreciate comedy like The Office and drama like The Wire? After all, there's no equivalent for dads—unless you count long, dull golf tournaments or the entirety of SpikeTV. Well, unfortunately for feminism, I love Lifetime Original Movies and (full disclosure) once spent an entire lazy Saturday watching reruns of John and Kate Plus Eight. So I was eager to have an excuse (writing this review for you) to catch TLC's newest venture in reality Mom TV, The Secret Life of  a Soccer Mom.

Keep reading for my thoughts on the show!

A Supernanny/Wife Swap/Working Girl hybrid, the show spotlights the age-old Mommy War. You know, the question of whether ‘tis better to stay-at-home with the kids or go out into the working world and be a “strong role model,” as last-night’s guest put it, for your daughters. Hosted by Tracy Gold (hey, Growing Pains!), The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom snatches up moms who left potentially glamorous careers ten years ago and allows them to go back to work in their chosen field for a week. At the end of the experiment, they decide whether to take a permanent job or to continue with life as it was before the show. Monday's premiere followed Adrienne Stark, a mom of three who returns to her life as a fashion designer, and (spoiler alert) takes a full-time position at the show’s end.

It was an interesting, even controversial, premise that could have sparked all kinds of debate, so I was surprised that after watching episode one, I really didn’t care what decision Adrienne made and easily nodded off to sleep. The featured couple was so politically correct and nice that I really couldn’t bring myself to question their choice. “It’s a beautiful gift to be a stay-at-home mom,” says Adrienne. “All I ever wanted was for you to be happy,” replies her loving husband. “I don’t regret staying home with you girls,” Adrienne tells her daughters, “but there is a side of me that loves to be creative.”

In many ways, it was a relief to see genuinely intelligent, conscientious parents on TV. But at the same time, watching good parents (when they’re not wrangling eight toddlers, that is) isn't all that riveting. I'm hoping the season picks up and next week's episode features some lunatic parents who hate each other a little.

As for you moms (and dads!) out there, did you struggle to decide whether to stay at home or continue working?  And do you think a reality TV/game show depiction of that choice diminishes how difficult it is? Talk back below, and weigh in on this and more city-specific parenting choices in our latest survey.

The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom airs Mondays at 10pm on TLC.

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