Edgy Mama: Why do so many moms love Twilight?

Have any moms you know suddenly stopped eating garlic? Are they looking pale and a bit lovelorn? Are they carrying around door-stopper-sized books with black covers? If so, they just might be Twilight Moms.

While I’ve been aware of the ginormous success of and slavering fanaticism toward the Twilight books and movies featuring the teen girl and her vampire love, I’ve only just learned about the mom groupies.

The recent release of the latest movie based on the third book, Eclipse, has brought out, not just hordes of angsty teens, but large numbers of women who are way too old for high school. Often they’re moms of high schoolers.

They call themselves Twilight Moms or TwiMoms, and not unlike Claymates (the mostly female fans of singer Clay Aiken), they’ve developed their own networks of fannish communication. There’s a Twilight Moms web site, a Facebook fan page, a Twitter handle and even a book titled, of course, Confessions of a Twilight Mom.

I’m not a TwiMom, though I will admit to having read the first three books — driven by curiosity and because lots of amazing women friends and family members exclaimed they were “must-reads” (not a single man I know has read the books — or will admit to it, at least). I have not, and probably will not, read the final book or see the movies. Though I adore horror novels, the Twilight books seem more romance than horror.

Which, I believe is one of the reasons women, and moms in particular, have responded to them so strongly.

“The books take you to another place where the laundry doesn’t pile up and the leading male is all about you and your needs. What’s not to love?” says Asheville event planner Lauri Nichols, mom of two.

Indeed, sister. For most moms, romance got discarded with that first umbilical cord and finding the time and energy to rediscover it is akin to attaining the Holy Grail of parenthood — completely empty laundry baskets.

We all get, and most of us accept, this reality of life with kids, but that doesn’t mean hiding in the bathroom to read a few passages that include a once-in-a-lifetime, sweep-you-off-your-feet romantic adventure, doesn’t relieve the pressure some. And if it puts you in the mood for rekindling, I doubt your partner’s going to complain about the disappearing mom act.

While the Twilight books didn’t work this way for me, I do regularly lock myself in the bathroom with a variety of escapist literature (including the addictive Sookie Stackhouse series on which the True Blood television series is based. They aren’t dissimilar to the Twilight books, containing both vampires and shape shifters, but they’re written for adults and contain lots more sex).

But Twilight works for a helluva lot of moms.

“It isn’t necessarily the best writing around, and you have no doubts reading it that it’s written for teens. The story is what carries you through, and it pulls you in so that you don’t want to stop reading. As soon as I finished one, I’d be dying to read the next in the series. I even posted something on Facebook asking if it was odd to read the whole Twilight series in less than a week, and I had lots of responses from other moms who said they did it, too,” says Kelby Carr, organizer of Asheville’s Type-A-Mom Conference and mom of three.

Also, for moms I’ve talked to, that (somewhat) innocent sweetness of the Twilight books holds appeal. One mom told me that the first book contains the steamiest hand-holding scene she’s ever read. And she’s read a lot.

Then there’s the sisterhood aspect to the books and the fandom.

“These books also get passed from mom to mom. I received them from a mom and passed them off to my sister (mom) who devoured them, like me,” Nichols says.

I bought the first book, another was lent to me by a mom friend, and the third passed to me by one of my sisters (I’ll get it back to you, Mandy. Pinky swear).

They’ve also promoted some mother-daughter bonding.

“I love Twilight because my daughter and I bond while laughing at how horribly dramatically bad the movies are…” says Genie Maples, painter and Asheville mom of three.

While my 11-year-old girl loves to read, she’s, so far, shown no interest in the Twilight series. Our only movie bonding moments have occurred with Zac Ephron in the High School Musical movies (I’ve already written about my cougar crush on Zac if you care to search the MX archives). But I probably would cave in to my resolution not to see the movies if she really wanted me to watch them with her.

After all, what’s not to like about a little drama, preternaturally perfect teenage boys, and short escapes from the Sisyphean stone of parental repetition?


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5 thoughts on “Edgy Mama: Why do so many moms love Twilight?

  1. Genie Maples

    Anne, You quoted me perfectly.

    But in retrospect, “love” was a strong (if Twitter character count efficient) word. Maybe I should have said, “I enjoy laughing with my kids at the dvd’s”. I appreciate campy movies, and found the two Twilight episodes I watched to be so over the top that they were fun. I probably also identify with Bella’s eternal angst a bit, given my own intense-artist persona. Her exaggerated character helps me nudge, tickle, and wink at my own over-seriousness. I’ll take the laughs where I can get them and be grateful.

    If I had read the books instead, maybe I’d have had a different perspective. I think a lot of what I find funny hinges on acting and direction. The films so driven by sultry stares, slo-mo sequences, shirtlessnes, and weird dialog pauses I barely notice the plot.

    So I wait patiently for the third in the saga’s netflix availability.

  2. barb

    I have never read the books and had never seen any of the movies but over the weekend my daughter was visiting and begged me to go see Eclipse with her because she couldn’t get her husband or friends to go. She’s a married woman with two children so I figured how bad can it be and I love horror films(good ones that is!).Here’s my rating…I fell asleep …twice! The story is simple..the plot thin…the vampires are tame and spend more time posing than acting the part…sorry! She tells me this was the best movie yet so I guess I won’t be seeing the others. I am thinking the books must be much better because I have spoken to many who have read the Twilight series and have really enjoyed them.For me, the movie did nothing!

  3. Rio

    I honestly first picked up the books before the first movie came out because all my students were reading them, and I needed to know what they found so interesting about them. (And glad you didn’t read the 4th book – it stunk.) I think Meyer’s gift is creating characters people really care about. And interesting note – I’ve taken my teenage son to see all the movies thus far – we are heading to see Eclipse in about an hour. And yes, we have laughed during some parts that weren’t supposed to be funny, and I probably have ticked off some girls in the theaters. But it’s a fun escape on a hot afternoon.

  4. Don’t worry, Genie, the movies have already been mostly eviscerated by MX’s own Cranky Hanke.

    And thanks for letting me quote you!

  5. veebee

    So reassuring to read this. My adult-in-age-and-deed sister, who, while not a mom, is a natural caregiver (and social worker) became a Twilight devotee while on an extended visit to Napa Valley. I thought CA had turned her back into a teenage girl.

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