I 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.
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.
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.