Natalie Portman Had No Idea That Full-Time Mothers ‘Work’



Natalie Portman very visibly welcomed her son Aleph in 2011 (fans will remember her very pregnant Oscar win). But even though Natalie was 30 years old when she became a mother, with a high-powered career and loads of travel under her belt, she admits she had no idea that being a mother was “work.” Oh, honey.

Natalie reportedly tells the November issue of UK Elle that she had some rather problematic assumptions about motherhood:

“I love being a mum, but it’s much more intensive work than being an actress – going to work feels like you’ve got a day off. Not that I want a day off from being a mum, it’s just perhaps I had this impression before that mums don’t work. But they work more than anyone.”

Round of applause for the epiphany but I have little tolerance for individuals who, first off, harbor such little estimations of parenting, and then triple back once they’ve welcomed a kid. It’s like a double dipping of selfishness with no regard for experiences that happen to stray from their own. Newsflash but everyone from SAHMs, SAHDs to full-time working parents are working their asses off (especially those who are not privileged). And bottom line? Thirty years old is way too old to be this stupid.

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  • Emma

    As a child of a mom who worked full-time, it’s easy to perceive other moms as not working as hard. Even though that’s not true, I was still always jealous of the kids who had SAHMs because they were more wealthy and got more time with their parents.

    Would have thought the Gloss would have been kinder and less self-righteous on this topic.

  • Evelyn

    To me she sounds like she is fishing for our admiration by innocently claiming she had no idea that being a mum involved any work but now she is one it is the hardest work ever.

    I am so wary of people claiming staying at home with the kids or being a working parent I the hardest. As stated by Koa it is all hard work. Also when a working mum says SAHMs have far harder work in quite such a “gosh, it’s hard, who’d have thought?” way I feel like I am being patted on the head and placated. All parenting is tough and it isn’t a competition over who is most frazzled.

  • Amber

    I kind of wonder how you can reach 30 and never have enough interaction with a child to know that caring for them is work.

    She never took care of a niece, nephew, cousin, etc.? She never talked to a friend or relative exhausted because of a new baby? She never saw a child have a meltdown in public and though, “gee, that looks rough.”?

    Is she stupid or has she just been living under a rock her entire life?

    • Ennis Demeter

      I never really took care of a kid or was around them very much once I was grown myself. I don’t think it is all that unusual.

    • goofyjj

      Maybe she just didn’t have the opportunity to interact with a lot of parents or children in her field. As a celebrity she is pretty isolated from the general population.

      She’s not stupid – she just didn’t have an opportunity up until that point.

    • Muggle

      I don’t think it’s even about her being a celebrity, I think she just doesn’t have any nieces/nephews or young cousins that she sees often. She might not have many friends who have had kids recently, if at all.

    • staferny

      My siblings and I were the youngest out of all of the cousins so I wasn’t around babies growing up, then I went to college where there were again no babies and my co-workers put off kids to establish careers before starting families. I have yet to spend a full 24 hours in the presence of a baby and I’ve already surpassed the 30 year mark.
      The moms I know now really have their shit together and make it look a lot easier than I assume it is. I’m sure I’m going to be in for an eye opening experience when I have kids, but I don’t feel that I’ve been living under a rock and I am by no means stupid.

    • Ptownsteveschick

      My husband hadn’t held a baby in his entire life until our daughter was born. He honestly hadn’t had the opportunity. Just because she is a woman doesn’t mean she would automatically have taken care of babies. And she has been working as an actress from a young age, so I really don’t see her as the “babysitting teenager” sort.

    • dcford

      I totally agree. There is this underlying assumption that any woman who doesn’t realize how hard parenting is before becoming a mother is some kind of asshole who negatively judges mothers, but when a man has little interaction with young children before becoming a father it’s pretty much expected. Harsh double standard in my eyes.

    • Rachel Sea

      My wife is from a very small family. She has literally no experience with babies, and has never even seen a diaper changed. She knows parenting isn’t easy, but in a purely academic sense. No one knows what it’s like until they’ve done it.

      And flying around the world for work, from a young age, is kind of the opposite of living under a rock.

    • R Zhao

      In most cases, I don’t think interacting with other people’s children really allows someone to appreciate how hard parenting can be. You know that you’ll soon get to leave, for one. For another, there’s not nearly as much emotional investment. You also don’t have the added pressures that many parents have.

  • Ennis Demeter

    No body really knows what being a mother is like until you are one. Cut her some slack.

  • K

    I don’t think anyone realizes how much work being a parent is – even if you know it’s work, you don’t realize just how much work until you have to do it. I think you are being too hard on her and it is unfair to judge out of context.

  • Beth May

    Natalie Portman is known as one of the hardest working actors around. For her to say she is just realizing the work moms put in is a sign of humility, not stupidity.

  • Larkin

    It’s not like she was running around pre-kid telling everyone how lazy stay-at-home moms are (unless there’s something I don’t know about). She’s just sharing her own personal journey, and acknowledging that she had totally misguided beliefs about motherhood before she did it herself, and I think that’s totally legit.

  • Muggle

    The quote was taken out-of-context to advertise Elle’s next issue. What better way to grab attention than get the stay-at-home sanctimommies all riled up and saying that a celebrity accused them of not working?

    Unfortunately, it worked a little too well and now everyone thinks Natalie Portman is an asshole.

    • ZbornakSyndrome

      Well, she does support Roman Polanski, which makes her a bit of an asshole, baby experience or not.

    • JLH1986

      The girl/woman he raped supports Roman Polanski. Not that I support him but it’s hard to be mad about it when his own victim states she wishes him well and she’s sorry for the trouble he’s suffered.

    • ZbornakSyndrome

      She says in her book, unequivocally, that he raped her and drugged her. She also outlines how awful the experience was of having famous people speaking out in support of Polanski while his defense team painted her as a slut who seduced him.
      In essence she’s been bullied for nearly 40 years by powerful and influential people like Portman into apologizing for her own rape. Lovely.
      What if he was a high school student in Stubenville and instead of Natalie Portman and Harrison Ford, football coaches and administrators stood up for the rapists? It seems to me, we don’t stand for that shit when the people aren’t famous.

      So she may have gotten over it, but I doubt she’s sorry she caused him trouble.
      But yeah, as long as a rape victim says she’s cool with what happened, even after a night of saying “no, no, no,” we should totally drop it.

    • Rachel

      I thought she was one of the least likeable people in HW for a long time, and not because of one little quote taken out of context.

  • ONJ

    Yeesh seems a little harsh

  • meteor_echo

    I could swear that this article was written by Maria Guido. But no, apparently not. Seems like the sanctimommyism is spreading.

    • JLH1986

      Along with the lists and the damn scrolling ads.

    • meteor_echo

      We need more Eve and Frances.

    • JLH1986

      Agreed. I like the fun pieces too, but it seems lately it’s been a lot of fluff…and lists…and ads.

  • Rachel

    Eh, I’ve always considered NP to be one of the most full-of-herself, and out-of-touch people in Hollywood. Still, I’m willing to cut her some slack on this one.

  • Magrat

    I think this is a little unfair. I don’t follow gossip rags, but I don’t know of any time she claimed mothers didn’t work. She’s just saying that it’s harder than she was expecting, which is exactly what I’ve heard from basically everyone who has kids.

  • Happier Gilmore

    Didn’t I read somewhere on here that you don’t even have kids? I have little tolerance for non-moms sticking their nose into the business of actual mothers.

  • Happier Gilmore

    You should really think before you post. This is one of the worst “articles” I have read on Mommyish. No wait, the worst was your Prince William Is A Racist piece.

  • Aldonza

    …I thought we were supposed to not be judging so much…

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  • Kat

    Yes, I’m sure you knew exactly how hard being a parent was before you became one. Blah blah blah.

  • Marina