I’ve bitten my tongue for as long as I can; now, I have to jump on the soapbox. Anyone been paying attention to the backlash Gwyneth Paltrow has received since publishing her advice to working mothers? Oi…that woman takes narcissism to a new level. She and two of her friends, venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny and designer Stella McCartney, decided to do fans a favor and tell the world how brilliantly they can juggle their lives. The backlash is due to the sometimes patronizing tone these women used and the fact it’s far from reality for the traditional working mom. After reading it and then reading it again, it occurred to me that there’s more to this nonsense – it doesn’t ring true.
Starting with Paltrow (and don’t even get me started on the typos), she tells her audience that she got her daughter out of bed, dressed and ready to go to school by 8 a.m. It then occurs to her that she’s not yet dressed her son; in fact, he’s still asleep. So up she goes to his bedroom, got him dressed and back downstairs for a “breakfast of eggs and toast followed by a spoonful of lemon flavored flax oil”. Keep in mind, she has to leave by 8:20. She admits getting everyone in the car is no small feat since the little ones are not paying attention…oh – but before she loads the kiddies, she remembers the deadline for the school’s Christmas toy drive is today. Now, they “pack up and finish decorating the shoe boxes with toys, toothbrushes, hats, scarves, books, etc”.
After dropping the little ones off at school, she continues her day with her 9 a.m. dance aerobics for about an hour, arrives back home for a shower that includes multi-tasking in the form of a post workout stretch; checks in at her home-office, rushes out the door to rehearse with her band, off to voice lessons and finally, she was able to “scoot” back to the car. She says it’s now 12:30.
In short, she accomplishes all this -the hour long workout, the driving to and from, showering, checking email, voice lessons and band rehearsals- in a mere three and half hours. Her afternoon is just as full – a meeting with her super stylist that includes fittings and trying on a “myriad of dresses and outfits”. It took me a second, but I finally understood what she meant when she said she had “b.o.” from trying so many dresses on. Countless interviews with country music DJs, press conferences and meetings until 4 p.m. when the kiddies return home. She then manages to feed them dinner, bake cupcakes, massage her son’s feet and then girl’s night out.
Her buddy, Juliet de Baubigny, claims that she is home for dinner “most nights” so that she can spend quality time with her children. I can understand that. The only problem is, a quick run through the thousands of photographs taken around the country and the world, for that matter, reveal that perhaps she’s not as home as often as she’d have the reader to believe. Further, she says working moms should schedule concert time and says just last night she attended a Sheryl Crow concert and that she’s now looking forward to an Impressionist show in San Francisco. She also says one of the things that makes her life really amazing is that she finds time “each day” to “give big, long hugs” to each member of her family. No one can argue with that, but again, that’s difficult to believe when she’s photographed as often as those annoying Kardashians. Exactly when are these big hugs being delivered?
So why would I even bother with acknowledging this nonsense? It’s simple. These women go on and on about their daily 70 minute spa treatments, several assistants, PR folks, in-home fittings of different designer gowns and plenty of “oohing and aaahing” over their latest charities. If they really wanted to speak to their fans, this was a golden opportunity.
This newsletter failed to entertain and did little else than cause many readers to want to hang them by their ankles with one of those designer gowns; further, working moms want to be able to relate – they want to know they’re not the only ones fretting about the dust that settles on top of the refrigerator or how to keep the little one from scratching because he’s come down with chicken pox. Frankly, this self-serving “Oh, look at me” nonsense was insulting and quite silly. So have you read the GOOP newsletter? What did you think? If not, and you want to, you can find it here.