Sienna’s New Mum Glow
Sienna covers the Harper’s Bazaar UK January issue with a 60s-style photoshoot and interview. A few excerpts have been released and of course the quotes grabbing the most attention are about her mothering style, her “post-baby body” and thoughts on having help.
I’m seriously digging Sienna as a mom: first the nude portrait, and now this feature. She does have an almost child-like candor in her interviews -- she says a lot but is probably not meaning to say a lot. As she tells Harper’s, “We are going to get a nanny, but it felt first important to learn for myself who I was as a parent.” When do you really know who you are as a parent? I have no idea but it doesn’t sound like she does either.
But her admission that yes, they will have help, is out of step with most actresses. “I don’t have a nanny” is the celebrity motherhood equivalent of a tween pop star declaring, “I’m staying a virgin until I get married.” Looks good in print, but quite unrealistic in the real world.
Why the nanny shame? I know actresses love to talk about bringing their kids to set like it’s a giant daycare, but it is work. They are being paid a lot of money to do a job, and at the end of the day I’m sure the producer/director doesn’t give a flying f-ck who is watching your kid, as long as you are on set and ready to go.
Most celebrity moms won’t say they want or will get a nanny; few admit that they have a nanny (or three). And that’s the right word - “admit” - because it’s like confessing to something unsavory. Being photographed with a nanny? Unthinkable. The key message has to be, “I don’t want someone else raising my children.”
Well no kidding, I don’t imagine there are many people who get pregnant and think, “Can’t wait for the nanny to raise this thing!” But there’s perception and reality: if both parents work, childcare is essential. Yet the MiniVan Majority has made it clear that a nanny is an indulgence, like having a full-time eyebrow waxer or nipple tweaker. Hiring help means the spoiled mother is not sacrificing enough for her kids and she’s preoccupied with something other than total devotion to her family.
It’s the ultimate judgment moms from any walk of life can pass on a celebrity: she probably never sees her kids ergo I’m a better mom than her even though she is rich/thin/beautiful. And when a star does motherhood “right” -- is photographed dropping them off/picking them up at school, appointments, pumpkin patches etc. -- we get to say, “Oh she’s so great, we would totally be friends in real life.” That’s a manufactured view of motherhood that we’ve come to see as desirable and acceptable and a nanny totally ruins that narrative for us.
The payoff of snowballing mommy culture is that it’s an outlet for judgment without consequence: we get to be as righteous as we want without being mean to our peers face-to-face. You can turn to any mom in almost any social situation and say, “How many nannies do you think Angelina Jolie has?” and you have 20 minutes of “I know, I know!” agreement. It’s a national pastime.