The Internet is up in arms about a recent installment of Gwyneth Paltrow’s lavish lifestyle site/newsletter GOOP, in which she purported to be your average harried working mom. In response to a reader who “emailed GOOP about finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom,” the Oscar-winner and wife of a rock star detailed a day in her life, including trying on dresses for the Country Music Awards, returning phone calls while she’s chauffeured home from the gym and baking gourmet cupcakes for a charity fundraiser with her kids.
Gabriel Delahaye at Videogum does a laugh-out-loud good job of lampooning Paltrow’s newsletter, and ABC News estimates that even a portion of a day living the GOOP lifestyle will cost you $3,606.50. I have to say, I have a soft spot in my heart for Gwynny, even when she talks about her favorite fishmonger in London (yes, she has a favorite fishmonger in London). Let’s bear in mind that Gwyneth is a child of privilege; her mother is the famous actress Blythe Danner and her late father the director/producer Bruce Paltrow. All things considered, I think she’s pretty normal – for a perfect person.
Her friends, on the other hand – fashion designer (and daughter of Paul) Stella McCartney and venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny – engender no warm feelings from this work-a-day/work-at-night mom/entertainer. McCartney is laughable when she describes a YSL beauty meeting as “hard-core.” She writes, “They have come over from Paris and we have an agenda from hell.” What is so hard-core and hellish, you ask, about a beauty meeting?
Why, approving the design of a perfum bottle, of course!
McCartney is at the very least open about the fact that she has a nanny, and says, “Jen leaves at 6:30, so I try my best to juggle the three monkeys and keep them all in one piece till bed time.” So, that’s two hours tops, right? Pop a movie in, Stella! It works for us regular folks! I’d start with something simple, like Fellini’s “8 1/2.” You don’t want them watching “City of God” before bedtime.
The best part of this particular GOOP newsletter, though, is the list of “time-savers” presented by de Baubigny. They’re too long to reprint here thanks to her lengthy additional comments, but definitely do go read the whole thing. If nothing else, you’ll learn how to use phrases like, “I bring my iPad and use the Flipboard app to curate my social media.” But seriously, there’s obviously something to be gleaned from the wealthy and successful – even my mother uses de Baubigny’s tip to make a pan of steel cut oats that you can slice from each morning, adding “a drizzle of maple syrup, milk and 45 seconds in the microwave.”
Of course it’s obvious as to what is so offensive to regular moms who are presented with Alpha moms like these three women as examples of how to live: these women don’t actually do much “mommying.” Not that any working mother does as much snuggling, cuddling, talking and interacting with her children as she’d like, but still, reading this gives me all the perspective on my own life that I need. From de Baubigny’s list:
Adapt to what works for you: I work full-time, so I can’t attend the afterschool classes or as many moments in the classroom as I would like to, but I still want to be involved. So I organize one or two key moments during the school year to have the class over for a project—that way my children see me interacting as “Mummy” and I can connect with their friends and mothers. Things that worked for us: co-hosting a Valentine’s party for the girls in my daughter’s class, doing a Halloween cookie decorating party with my son’s preschool class.
The idea that someone would carve time out for their child to see them “interacting as Mummy” and then use that time to “connect with their friends and mothers” (read: analyse the situation, who is important, who is beneficial, etc.) is more than a bit sad to me. While it’s no doubt impressive that this woman – and indeed all three of these women – are able to achieve so much and organize their time in such an amazing way, I wonder – what about just hanging out with your kids? Or better yet, enjoying your own life?
What do you think? To GOOP or not to GOOP?