The best of both worlds: Clooney on the screen and a baby in your armsPhoto by Mary Murphey Beth Lin and her 4-month-old daughter, Sara, enjoy the "Movies for Moms" program at the Crown Theater in Skokie.
Betty Lin, like all mothers, has a hectic schedule. Between sending her 6-year-old son off to school, getting her 4-year-old daughter ready for the day and caring for her 4-month-old daughter, Lin has precious little time for herself-even less time for finding a babysitter so she can take in a just-released blockbuster.
That doesn't mean Lin, 33, wouldn't like to relax in a comfy chair while watching a movie in the middle of the day. It's just tough when other patrons scowl at the sound of a crying baby. Unless, of course, the other patrons are comforting their own crying babies.
Such is the idea behind Crown Theatres' "Movies for Moms" program at Skokie's Crown Village Crossing 18 theater. Lin, with babe Sara in her arms, was in the audience at the Skokie theater when the curtain went up on this new program.
"It was an opportunity for parents to get out and socialize with friends and watch a movie," says Lin of Chicago, who saw George Clooney in "Intolerable Cruelty."
Connecticut-based Crown Theatres started "Movies for Moms" as a way for parents and their young children to attend a special showing of a new release partly because other patrons dislike the sight of babies in the theater, but also to help new parents strike a balance between social activities and family life.
Two moms who attended the initial screening in Glenview "looked like they were best friends at the end of the movie," says Gunnar Malstrom, senior manager of Glenview's Glen Town Center.
Crying babies and curious toddlers are welcome, even expected.
"You wouldn't feel that pressure of having to leave if your kids act up," says Evanston resident Michelle Smith. Smith and her 14-month-old son, Benjamin, did not attend the "Movies for Moms" premiere, but Smith says she is attracted to the idea because of its "understanding environment."
Only seven women and three children attended the Oct. 29 premiere at the Skokie and Glenview theaters, but Malstrom says he is not disappointed at the turnout.
"I think once word gets out it will be pretty big," he says. The program runs every Wednesday in the late morning or early afternoon. A schedule of "Movies for Moms" is available at www.crowntheatres.com.
Mary M. Murphey, Medill News Service