Secret Life of a Soccer Mom: Surprise Reactions.
Among the books I’ve adored reading to my three children over the years has been Rosemary Wells’ “Bunny Planet” collection. In each of the three books in the set, a child-bunny is having a bad day, falls asleep and has a dream about visiting the “Bunny Planet” where a benevolent Bunny Queen named Janet shows the youngin’ the day that “should have been,” a day that exists only in the little one’s dreams.
I kept thinking about those books when I caught the first episode of TLC’s new reality show, “The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom.” The conceit of the show is that an at-home mom gets the opportunity to see what her life would be like if she resurrected her dormant, pre-kids career and started working full-time outside of the house. The woman is given a week to work at a company – all arranged by TLC and caught on film, of course – while her family thinks she’s off at a spa, relaxing. Dad is left in charge. At the end of the week, depending on how the mom fared with her work, she may be offered a job at the company and is given precious few hours to decide if she wants to radically change her life and become a working mother. The tagline in the show’s introduction summarizes it nicely: “For anyone who has put their dreams on hold, your time has come.”
The premiere installment featured Adrian Stark, a former fashion designer who has worked for the likes of Chanel. She left her career over a decade ago when she became a mother. Her life since then -- before “Soccer Mom” hostess Tracey Gold arrived at Stark’s home in a black truck containing spy-like surveillance equipment – has revolved almost completely around her three daughters, while her husband Bruce, a physician, has gone off to work each day. Gold gave Stark the chance to work in a fashion house where Stark was called upon to design and make three dresses in less than a week. Stark’s creations were included in the designer’s private fashion show for two buyers and a celebrity stylist. After the first two of Stark’s dresses were given the thumbs down, the last one was labeled a hit. In fact, Stark’s cream-colored dress was later worn by Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson at a televised event.
Near the end of the episode, Stark came clean with her family about what had transpired and they were shown a video of her at work. “I don’t regret staying home with you girls at all,” she tearfully told them, “but there is a side of me that loves to be creative.” After her husband watched scenes of her in action, he said that for many years there has been a part of her that has been missing and he could never quite figure out what is was. Perhaps, he ventured, pursuing her dreams would make her feel whole again.