Saturday, June 18, 2011

A repost: Why Celebrity Soundbytes Make Me Cranky (From May 19, 2010)

I recently read this little article about Julia Roberts on MSNBC, who has been named People Mag's most beautiful person of the year (or whatever that bullshit accolade is properly titled). It said:

In an interview with the New York Times, the 44-year-old Pretty Woman star – who is married to cameraman Danny Moder with whom she has twins Hazel and Phinnaeus, five, and son Henry, two-and-a-half – revealed that she loves her home life.

She said: "We are happy as clams. I am fulfilled by my own life on an hourly basis.”

She added: "Every little moment is amazing if you let yourself access it. I learn that all the time from my kids; children are so filled with wonder. My youngest son woke up at 5am the other morning and said to me, 'It's a beautiful day, Mamma!' What's more precious than that?"

I know that this little fluff article is meant to make us love Julia even more. I mean, she loves her homelife, right? But it kinda just makes me want to punch her in the face. Every moment is amazing if you let yourself access it? You are fulfilled by your own life on an hourly basis? Really? Hourly? It must be nice to have time to reflect on your own life on a hourly basis. It must be especially nice to have time to reflect on your own life on an hourly basis and then have the added bonus of pleasantly discovering that you are, in fact, as happy as a clam.

Family soundbytes from celebrity moms tend to drive me mad. Why? Because they make it sound all beautiful and effortless and charming and delightful. Except of course, they neglect to mention the aid of their nannies and housekeepers and personal trainers and drivers and poolboys. When you have these things, I suppose it's a little bit easier to feel chill and reflective and fulfilled by one's own life on an hourly basis, given that most of their hours aren't actually filled with the shit-work of parenting and house-hold maintenance. I, too, would love to focus constantly on the beauty and magic and child-like wonder displayed by my children at 5 a.m. (and 1 a.m., 2 a.m., 3 a.m., 4 a.m. because there's a lotta kiddie wonder at my house in the night). But unlike Julia Roberts, I don't have anyone to hand them off to so that I can take a sweet-ass nap later (or go to a private yoga class to meditate, say perhaps on the hourly delights offered up by my life).

J-Lo, after the birth of twins Max and Emme, wanted us all to know she gets up to do her babies nighttime feedings herself. As if we are supposed to connect with this sentiment by thinking: Hey J-Lo - ME TOO! Gee, maybe you are just 'Jenny from the Block!'.

Christina Aguilera would like us all to know that motherhood has, in fact, made her sexier. I cannot even muster up the energy to respond to this wee tidbit of information.

And another article in this month's People Magazine about the lovely (and yes, I'm sure she is actually lovely) Julia has Ocean's Eleven (etc.) producer Jerry Weintrub waxing poetic about Roberts' mothering prowess: "She's not a diva. She's not afraid to get into an SUV and drive with the kids in the backseat." I have two things to say about this. First of all - anyone who has ever driven with screaming children in the backseat of their car will tell you that you should be afraid of getting into a moving vehicle with children, particularly one's own. Texting while driving has got nothing on driving with kids in the danger department. Second of all - do we really need to congratulate celebrities for, like, driving their own children places? Is this the standard of "good" mothering that they're being held up to? If so - I'm here to tell ya that I am a fucking amazing parent! The best. I drive my kids places and get up with them in the night myself ALL THE TIME!

These are only a tiny sampling of the crap about mothering spewed by celebs and churned out by every magazine and media outlet under the sun. I'm also sure much of these soundbytes are largely taken out of context. But they still make me hella cranky (as you may have already ascertained). And the, "golly gosh, I'm just a regular (but extremely zen-like and fulfilled) person with millions of dollars and a butler" routine just doesn't fly with me. Just once I'd like to hear one of them say... "you know - this parenting gig is great but it's bloody hard. I don't know how people who have to do their own dishes/drive their own car/clean their own pool/etc. etc. do it." Or something along those lines. Then maybe I'd be a bit more willing to be forgiving of their soundbytes, contextual or not.

And Julia - if you're out there, still wondering what could be more precious than being awoken at 5 a.m. by a wonder-struck child, I'm here to tell ya: It would be even more precious if the little bugger waited until 6 a.m to tell you it was a beautiful day. Really. It would. And if he waited until 7 a.m., it would be sweeter still. But at 8 a.m. - it would be fucking profound.


  1. Ha ha, this is so funny and so true. I don't even have kids, but I often feel the same sense of outrage at celebrity comments. You missed the queen of condescending life advice: Gwyneth Paltrow. From her "women shouldn't lift more than 3 pounds" to her persecution complex that "anyone who criticizes me is just jealous and lazy" .. that woman makes me crazy.

  2. Julia Roberts is one of my favorite actors, but I totally agree with you, and I'm not even a parent!