Mother’s Day is this weekend and as we scramble for last-minute reservations and stress out about the slim pickings in the drugstore greeting card aisle, Gwyneth, via GOOP is all about Ending the Mommy Wars.
She starts off her newsletter with her usual personal note and mentions how a few weeks ago she gave an interview about being a working mom and preferring a 9-to-5 schedule, which she thinks gives women an opportunity to project their feelings about the subject onto her. Gwyneth is a casualty of the Mommy Wars! It wasn’t her comment that irked people, oh no. It was because she touched on our own insecurities. (Only Gwyneth could serve up support with a side of smugness.)
When the interview came out, I wasn’t that fussed about her take on working (click here for a refresher). I thought, and still think, she was referring to the unpredictability of her schedule, not her workload. And I also said that she needed to cut the “I have it harder” talk in any context.
If she wants to rule the lifestyle realm, she needs moms. She needs us to subscribe to GOOP, to buy her cookbooks, and to pick up magazines and click stories with her photo. We may not buy Beyoncé’s booties at the yard sale or be able to hit up the Brentwood Country Mart, but there is power in numbers. We have the numbers.
And how can she appeal to different types of moms? With a “no judgment” blanket. She’s coming from such a non-judgmental place, she doesn’t even understand the judgment. That’s how non-judgy she is! It befuddles her, really: “As the mommy wars rage on, I am constantly perplexed and amazed by how little slack we cut each other as women.”
Gwyneth then turns to Brigid Schulte, author of Overwhelmed: Love, Work & Play When No One Has the Time. Brigid answers questions on guilt, pressure, and the pitfalls of the “Ideal Mother” narrative (I’ll get to this in a minute). Some of it was a little New Age-y for my taste (work/life balance is a luxury for people who have time to worry about work/life balance), but I do think she touches on some extremely pressing issues like parental leave and affordable child care.
What stuck out at me most is the concept of the “Ideal Mother,” described as “the woman who is fully available to her children throughout their lives—who bakes, who crafts, who ferries them to myriad after-school activities.” Schulte maintains that the expectation is so high that we are bound to fail. Fair point. Are celebrities a big part of perpetuating the “Ideal Mother” myth? Yes. Has Gwyneth participated in this? Hell yes.
But a consciously uncoupled Gwyneth is no longer the Ideal. “Ending the Mommy Wars” is definitely a brand move– a deliberate turn from aspirational to attainable. Eschewing perfection for camaraderie is a good, if obvious, move. But G needs play the long game here and slowly chip away at the perception that she is elitist, out-of-touch, snobby and privileged. Maybe she will gain 15 pounds like Graydon Carter recommended. (Lainey: HAHAHAHAHAHAH)
Imagine a world with an ordinary, well-liked Gwyneth. What fun would that be? It may be good for GOOP, but not so good for gossip.
Click here for more on Gwyneth’s Mommy Wars.
Attached – Gwyneth and her mother, Blythe Danner, at the GOOP pop-up the other night.