Mothering for the Rich and Famous
Is it really easier for them?
I overheard a comment recently about Angelina Jolie to the tune of “well, I could have all those kids too if I had a full staff to help me.” For some reason, that comment reminded me of an interview I once saw with Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman (must have been for The Hours) where they were talking about their kids – specifically, making breakfast for their kids – and Nicole Kidman was telling a story about having made bacon for her two little ones, only to have her daughter refuse to eat the bacon, insisting that she would only eat turkey bacon, so then dutiful mommy got out the turkey bacon and started frying. And I remember thinking, “Wow, she cooks their bacon herself?”
The thing about million-dollar mommies is that the things you can hire other people to do for you are not the things that really make you a mommy. Now, before the mad mail begins, know that I just finished my sixth load of laundry of the day. I know laundry and cooking and cleaning are a huge part of what we, as mothers, do on a daily basis. And I’m not trying to discount their importance.
But when you look back on your own mother, and think about whether she was a “good” mother, does “she really kept the clothes clean” enter into the equation?
I believe that the true stuff of mothering is the other stuff. It’s knowing, truly knowing, each of your children as individuals and valuing each one for his or her uniqueness. It’s the way you kiss their boo-boos when they fall off the swing. It’s what you say to take the sting away when your daughter has her first broken heart, or helping your son get up the nerve to ask out a pretty girl.
When we look at celebrities and their children, we are seeing, literally and figuratively, only a snapshot. We don’t know who is really frying the bacon and who is just showing up for the photo-op.
But if Angelina is serious about being a mother and not just a figurehead, and I hope she is, she will have her staff take care of doing the laundry and cleaning the toilets and even frying the bacon. But she’ll kiss the boo-boos herself.