We Can All Breathe Easier Now That Gwyneth Paltrow Has Ended The Mommy Wars

gwyneth-paltrow-mommy-warsI never even heard of the “Mommy Wars” until we finally got internet hooked up in our apartment, sometime around my daughter’s third birthday. Apparently, people are judgey mofos when it comes to parenting choices that in no way affect their own children. Basically, the Mommy Wars are awful.

Well, everyone can take a deep breath, because the Mommy Wars are officially over. Thanks, Gwyneth Paltrow!

Yes, like all good things in life, we have our girl GP to thank for this one, who, in the aftermath of dropping yet another obliviously privileged Goop bomb on us, is working hard to make things right.

At issue was her declaration in an interview with E! News, where she opined that working a “regular” 9-5 job was easier than being on set, and that it gave her a lot more time with her children. Here’s the quote that had everyone saying, “why, I never!”

 ”I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”

I’m gonna have to cut her some slack on this one. Oblivious? Yes. Inaccurate? Well, I’m going to guess not. It’s been a long time since I was on a movie set, which was sometime around never, but I’d be willing to wager that it’s a mite busier and with longer hours than the last customer service job I had. On the other hand, I can only imagine that it’s much more pleasant.

gwyneth-paltrow-mommy-wars

In a post on Goop, entitled Ending The Mommy Wars, Gwynnie wants to set the record straight:

As the mommy wars rage on, I am constantly perplexed and amazed by how little slack we cut each other as women. We see disapproval in the eyes of other mothers when we say how long we breastfed (Too long? Not long enough?), or whether we have decided to go back to work versus stay home. Is it not hard enough to attempt to raise children thoughtfully, while contributing something, or bringing home some (or more) of the bacon? Why do we feel so entitled to opine, often so negatively, on the choices of other women? Perhaps because there is so much pressure to do it all, and do it all well all at the same time (impossible).

Despite her unabashed disrespect of parentheses, I’m inclined to agree with her.

I’m not a Gwyneth fan, but that has more to do with the fact that she looks perpetually worried. Even her happy face makes her look like she’s about to cry, and I find it very stressful to look at her.

mommy-wars-gwyneth-paltrow

But I don’t know or care what kind of parent she is. Even if I followed celebrity news very closely I still wouldn’t because as long as you aren’t abusing or neglecting your kid, when it comes to how you raise them, the arrow on my Give-A-Fuck-O-Meter stays planted at zero. That goes for everyone, not just celebrities.

I can’t say that I’ve ever come face to face with someone who feels differently. The internet is of course a whole different story, with everyone weighing in on how working mothers are selfish harpies and stay at home moms are lazy sweatpants wearing martyrs, but in real life? I honestly can’t say I’ve ever picked a side in the “Mommy Wars”.

My mom status has evolved and changed drastically over the years. I waited tables when my kid was a baby, stayed home when she was a toddler, worked at her preschool when she was four, stayed at home the summer before kindergarten, worked in an office her kindergarten year, stayed at home again, and now I work from home exclusively.

Every single one of those jobs sucked, and every single one of them had their benefits. The only thing that they all truly had in common was the overwhelming feeling that I was missing out on something, whether it was money or being there for my kid.

I remember that in my first office job, I made friends with my boss, who has a grown daughter of her own. Being a firm believer in learning from the wise women who have already seen and done it all, I asked her “On a scale of one to Dahmer, how bad am I screwing up my kid right now?” I wish I could embroider her answer:

“Negative five Gacys. We’re all fucking up our kids in one way or another, but working isn’t one of them.”

I’d like to add that staying at home won’t doom them either.

(Image: Theo Wargo/Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Theresa Edwards, on twitter.
Share This Post:
    • CMJ

      Loved your take on this!

      http://cdn.gifbay.com/2013/04/colbert_keeps_a_high_five_handy_now_with_proper_spelling-45662.gif

      I still don’t like GP, though…even though I tend to agree with her on this.

      • Kay_Sue

        It feels weird to agree with her….like unnatural almost.

      • https://twitter.com/FaintlyXMacabre Theresa Edwards

        i did shower after writing this.

      • Kay_Sue

        I don’t blame you.

      • Kendra

        I agree with her stance on the mommy wars, but I do not agree with the rest of what she said on GOOP. She went on to explain what she said that angered people (the quote above), but she said something completely different than the actual quote. So…you know….she pulled an Eckler. Can I say that?

      • CMJ
      • Kay_Sue

        No argument here.

      • itpainsme2say

        Do you think her and Eckler would be friends, I mean they are both in the blissfully unaware club and the myrter guild.

    • @Real_George_Clooney

      This is like Japan attacking Pearl Harbor then saying “can’t we all just get along?”

      • Tinyfaeri

        Or maybe throwing an apple pie in a food fight and then saying people should really not waste food because others are starving.

    • Kay_Sue

      “On a scale of one to Dahmer, how bad am I screwing up my kid right now?”

      I am going to use this as my measurement for everything now.

      I really agree with everything you’ve said here. We’re all screwing up our kids somehow. Why, today we walked to the park, which is a Grade A mom thing to do, right? Fresh air, sunshine, exercise, quality time…dead squirrel on the way there. So what pops in my head, but to say, “Hey, this is why it is so important to look both ways before you cross the street.” Object lesson.

      It will come out in therapy some day, I am sure.

      • Tinyfaeri

        I heart Kay Sue.

      • Kay_Sue

        When life throws you lemons, make lemonade.

      • Tinyfaeri

        Word! :-D

      • Miriam

        And throw some vodka in it!

      • Rachel Sea

        Or lemon syrup, which you add to gin and top with champagne, garnishing with a brandied cherry.

      • Kay_Sue

        Oooo, that sounds amazing.

      • Rachel Sea

        Happy Mother’s Day. *hic*

      • librarygirl92

        My mother actually slowed the car down to point out a dead squished cat to my brother and said, “That kitty didn’t hold his mommy’s hand when he crossed the street. And now look what has happened.” Similar to her telling me not to go near the railroad tracks because a boy did and was hit by a train and his mommy and daddy had to bring him home in a shoe box. Vivid imagery there.

      • Kay_Sue

        I am crossing my fingers that you all turned out okay and were not too terribly scarred.

      • librarygirl92

        Well, I still don’t go near railroad tracks and my brother is very, very careful crossing the street. So all is good. (:

      • Kay_Sue

        Success! ;)

      • Tinyfaeri

        Wow. I feel better about introducing the word “stabbing” to my toddler’s vocabulary.

      • Erin Murphy

        Huh. I don’t remember growing up with a sister. This sounds like shit my mom would say.

      • Kelly

        I did the same thing. I’m kind of glad someone else has done it. He was so fascinated with the street though! I didn’t know what else to do!

        Oh well, I’ll pay his therapy bills.

      • Kay_Sue

        That’s the same exact scenario I was in. I could not get him distracted from it, lol!

      • LiteBrite

        I also like the response: “Negative five Gacys.” On a scale of 1-5 Gacys, how bad is it?

      • Kay_Sue

        It’s the perfect system.

      • lin

        I taught my daughter the same thing. “See that dead chipmunk? He got squished by a car. Do you want to be squished like that?” Seemed effective!

      • Kay_Sue

        This is why I love you guys. In that moment, I thought to myself, I legitimately may have just psychologically scarred my kid, but Mommyish makes the guilt disappear. He’s not psychologically scarred–he’s learned a valuable lesson and important life skill.

      • Véronique Houde

        or he’s just learning that you’re really fucked up.

      • Kay_Sue

        In that case, I’m blaming my parents…

    • JamesRGarcia

      It’s been a long time since I was on a movie set, which was sometime around never, but I’d be willing to wager that it’s a mite busier and with longer hours than the last customer service job I had. On the other hand, I can only imagine that it’s much more pleasant. http://num.to/4788-8183-4688

    • K.

      I still have hopes for the Goop parody site, so here’s my take on Gwyneth’s latest sorry-not-sorry bullshit. And it was way, way too fun to write.

      “A few weeks ago, someone asked me why I only work on one film. My answer was: film work takes me away from my kids, which is true. It’s also true that I’m a billionaire and can make choices as to whether or not I work, but see, when you don’t work for 11 months out of the year, it’s seriously intense to have to put in those three weeks. I mean, in comparison to a daily existence of making organic quinoa salad and figuring out where to donate my used Louboutins (sidenote: those are my shoes that cost more than your monthly daycare payments, FYI), having those long hours of being a movie star for those three weeks is a huge shock to my system, and it’s also kinda hard to be away from my kids. I mean, that’s all I was saying– just that, you know, it’s a struggle to be crazy-busy for 3 weeks and—no offense—but there’s no way you regular moms could understand that. I mean, film is different from regular life, right? Sure, I’ve never myself held a “regular” job in my life (and certainly not with kids) and have never experienced live with an average income, but I’m just using a natural
      frame of reference for me—can I help it if it’s completely out-of-touch for the rest of you?

      So THAT’s the context I was trying to get across, but you regular moms are just so jealous of my wealth and success that you used me to express your own emotional issue about not being so privileged and wonderful as moi (sidenote: that’s
      French for “me”). Maybe, instead of criticizing me, maybe you should feel bad about the fact that you are criticizing me? It’s not that I’m Gwneth-Fucking-Paltrow, the arbiter of good taste and moral authority for the 21st-century (although I am and I have a website to prove it); it’s that like, I’m a woman too, and aren’t we all in this together, as womyn? Can’t we all stop judging each other? You really need to be more supportive, you 9-5 moms.

      So in the interest of bettering your attitude on this stuff, I invite you to read the thoughts of my latest guru below and to really internalize her thoughts on “how busyness has supplanted leisure time, joy, and refreshing the soul.” I think that if you all took just a little time out of the day to meditate on living a more soulful, well-rounded lifestyle—I like to take a half-hour for myself out on the terrace, right after yoga and just before composing my supermarket list for the housekeeper, to think about gratitude—you wouldn’t be so negative and judgmental and we could end these mommy wars. Together.

      Blessings,

      gp”

      • Kendra

        Omg. I seriously got through that halfway before I realized you were doing a parody of her! (my reading comprehension today is poor). It could have been her writing it. Brava!

      • noodlestein

        This is your million dollar idea – DO IT!!

      • Em

        BEST POST EVER.

      • keetakat

        I just peed a little! LOLOL!!!!!

    • Alex

      I’m actually inclined to agree with her in some aspects, approaching this from the perspective of someone whose career involves frequent business trips and time away from your family.

      Routines, whatever they are, are helpful because they are mentally relaxing. You don’t have to wonder what time you’ll get home or what you’re doing this evening, because it’s the same as it was yesterday. You don’t have to coordinate childcare or household/social responsibilities on the fly because plans changed. And you know exactly what your schedule will be three months from now, because it’s always the same.

      In many types of occupations (including those other than mine, although I’m not qualified to speak for hers), very few details are actually worked out in advance. So it’s not the “we need you to go to _________ for two weeks” that fucks everything up. It’s usually more along the lines of “we need you to go to ____________ for we don’t know how long yet or what exactly your goals are but you need be there first thing tomorrow morning” that leaves you scrambling to re-arrange your routine as well as any work-related or non work-related responsibilities that now have to be put on hold. And yes, I get used to 14-16 hour workdays when I’m on the road, because your client is going to squeeze every available minute out of you that they can now that you’re already there (I mean, what the hell are YOU going to do at the end of the day when you can’t go home?). Business trips are not vacations, sorry.

      So yeah, it’s not the travel or the length of time away, it’s all the uncertainty and short notice surrounding it. Which I actually believe those in the entertainment industry DO struggle with; filming a major work is incredibly complex and very difficult to keep on budget what with coordinating schedules and availability of personnel and locations.

    • Emily A.

      Assessment: “Harpies & Martyrs” is an excellent name for a girl punk band.

      • https://twitter.com/FaintlyXMacabre Theresa Edwards

        seconded.

    • E F Hutton

      hmmmmm

    • Pingback: Angelina Jolie Says Moms Shouldnt Complain About Motherhood

    • Pingback: 8 Celebrity Twitter Moms To Follow