Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This Year's Must Have Item

I was standing in line at the grocery store this evening, and was eying the magazines lined up on the rack above the conveyor belt. I counted four of them with mothers of some sort on them. Three of them celebrity moms, one with two "ordinary" women holding bouncing babies that they didn't abort, apparently, with a headline that read "We're Glad We Kept Our Babies". I'm glad for them too, and I'm glad that they live in a country where they have that choice and then can get on a magazine to hawk it. But then my eyes wandered over to the magazine to the left of that one and saw Brittney Spears, already a mother of two, who, according to this reliable (yes, that's sarcasm) source, is about to have another breakdown. I looked a little closer to the magazine to the right and see the "celebrities" with their newborns are that former Playboy Bunny with a bad dye job and some other reality show veteran. Then, there's a fifth magazine showing little blond semi-celebs thinning down after giving birth, and how you can too. In all, if I look way at the bottom of the rack, by where you set down your basket, there was Jack Bauer on the cover of TV Guide, and a few copies of Time's Year in Review. The rest were tabloid-esque magazines of young women with babies. Seriously. I thought to myself, "This is disturbing."

But why? Why am I bothered by society wanting to reward parenthood? Isn't it a good thing that suddenly having a family is a cool thing? Didn't Brad and Angelina do wonders for young mothers I know and respect like one friend, who just gave birth a few days ago to a precious baby girl, or another friend who saw her son off to his first day at Montessori School today, or the young woman who brought the idea of the art auction to us, and is the mother of a young daughter? Hasn't all that celebrity baby making made it easier for them to make their way in society as working women or full-time moms? Maybe, but as I thought about it, I worried that some 17-year old airhead is going to look at all these silicon blonds holding their babies for a photo shoot before handing it back to the nanny and think, "Hey, I want one of those."

Babies are not fashion accessories. Raising a child is not like raising a kitten (which is sometimes challenge enough). I thought of all those long nights, totally freaked out, not knowing what to do when one or both my "babies" reached their teenage years and were in crisis. The hardest job one can hope to have is that of a parent, and the stakes are high. I wonder if people like Brittney Spears really get that. I'm thinking it's a safe bet that they don't. She won't pay the price for that myopia, but there are two little boys who will.

In the end, it's a fine line, I concluded. We should celebrate Motherhood. It's the noblest of professions. But, it's not to be entered into lightly. It's not a part-time job. And, ladies, it's not easy nor is it glamorous. Why is it we never see a picture of Angelina at 3:00 in the morning with spit up in her hair? That's when the true parenting is done, in the small hours of the night when your kids need you the most. When I start to see celebrity parents do down and dirty parenting, then I'll think they're as cool as my friends are. Until then, I think we're putting the wrong people on magazine covers.

1 comment:

  1. Cheryl, you nailed it. Especially the nanny part. Sure, look how easy it is for Angelina, Madonna, Britney, the weird looking ex-playboy bunny with the weirder laugh, to balance motherhood and a career. Their careers allow them to have private jets and a person to do every task for them. I guarantee you they only do the things they want to do (you know, Baby Gap, Jamba Juice and photo shoots), not what needs to be done. All the other stuff, like watching them as they play, correcting them when they act out, washing them, doing their clothes, teaching them manners, feeding them, comforting them when they are screaming or crying, cleaning up after them, making sure they are doing their homework, etc. etc., No. That is why you hire nannies (and an agent, and a publicist, and a personal assistant, and a coordinator, and have contract riders). It just irks me to know end. Especially, Madonna for some reason. I think it is because she reminds me of the stereotypical old lady who collects cats - only for her it is children from third world countries.