The first time I heard about the Gwyneth Paltrow divorce was when I was watching the news and heard about some comments she made about being a new single mother.
Here is a quote from Paltrow from an article in USA Today:
“I think it’s different when you have an office job, because it’s routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening,” said the Paltrow. “When you’re shooting a movie, they’re like, ‘We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,’ and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult. I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it’s not like being on set.”
First I’ll tell you why I’m a little offended and then I’ll explain why I’m not.
Why this comment is a bit insulting and makes Paltrow seem clueless:
As a single mother who works full time, I can tell you firsthand that no matter how hard you try, there really is no “routine,” just like there isn’t in the life of a famous actress. There really is no such thing as a 9-5 job unless you work in a retail store or a restaurant where you have no work to do when you get home. I actually fantasize about those jobs sometimes because it would be so nice to be able to come home and your work is done. That said, having a job like that usually doesn’t pay as much as a job requiring more hours, which leads to other single mother problems. My work never ends and I know many people in the same situation. You get home and want to spend time with your kids, but there are emails needing to be answered, deadlines to meet, and of course, in my case, blogs to be written.
You never get “all the stuff” done, not only in the morning but EVER. The to do list is endless. And very much NOT like Paltrow or another famous actress, most single mothers don’t have a driver, a housekeeper, a chef, a yoga instructor, a house manager, and two nannies. (Not saying Gwyneth has all of these, just guessing.) And also, NOT cutting Paltrow down. I’ve loved her in every movie I’ve ever seen of hers (even “Bounce”) and no one is saying she hasn’t worked for it. She’s earned what she has and no one should judge that.
Additionally, many working moms, (thankfully not me) have to travel for 14 days for work on a regular basis and they aren’t being paid millions of dollars to do it. A friend of mine who has three young children just had to go to India for 2 weeks for her job.
Why Paltrow’s comments are understandable:
When you get divorced and become a new single mother, you have no idea what to expect. You are navigating an entirely new life and really, I can only speak for myself, but I was clueless. I went from having this cushy stay-at-home mom gig to the pressure of having to produce an income. I had never left my children with a sitter for more than a few hours, and the thought of that was really, really scary to me.
Everyone who gets divorced initially feels sorry for themselves and is really scared. That I can say with certainty and that’s the impression I got from Paltrow’s comments. She is trying to figure it out. She thinks she has it rough. She does! I think that’s normal and I think in time, she will get into the groove, get used to her new normal. She will see other single moms around her and realize she has it better than them. She will see other single moms around her and realize she doesn’t have it better than them.
So, I say cut Paltrow some slack. She’s navigating. She’s hurting. She’s scared. I love her and I think she’ll end up being a great single mom.
What’s YOUR biggest single mom issue?
It is offensive. I have worked 12 to 14 hour days for weeks on end and had to do ‘all the stuff’ too without a personal assistant or nanny. Divorce alters your life but having the means to do the extra things like yoga, working out certainly helps. It is sad that there is a lack of empathy or understanding for working parents but perhaps Gwenyth’s true colors are shining through.
Spoken like someone that has had all the money they need for a very long time..1%er. not minimizing her (she works hard and earned what she gets) but really at this point she has enough money that she can give up a movie role now and then… … I don’t have enough money to hire a kid to mow my lawn. So after my divorce not only do I work my regular office job which I am habitually late to b/c it’s impossible to get a 5 year old to rush in the morning, but I have the whole house to keep clean, the yard to maintain and somehow try to put a decent dinner on the table…. a little money for a housekeeper and a yard guy would be like winning the lottery for me…. she’s had money to long to really understand what it is like not to have it. Like you said, my 9-5 has an endless to do list since the corporate worlds motto is do more with less… that means I’m doing work at home that I don’t even get paid for doing just so my projects don’t get so far behind that I get fired from my job that doesn’t pay enough… If not for child support I’d be in a one bedroom apartment sleeping on a sofa so my daughter could have a bedroom. And even that is better than a lot of singles mom so I really try to focus on my blessings not hardships because I know a lot of single moms have it harder than me. Anytime you want to send about $500 bucks my way Gwenneth, that’s all I need to get me that housecleaning service and yard guy. With maybe some of those overpriced healthy prepared dinners you can get delivered these days.
I don’t think she was trying to say her life is harder than a typical working mum’s, I think she was just talking about her schedule. I’m a working single mum with two kids and although it wasn’t easy organising my childcare, I do now have a routine going with set days the kids go to nursery/ after-school club etc. It would definitely be harder of I had to travel a lot for work and even if you can afford a nanny, it doesn’t make it emotionally any easier to be away from your kids for long periods of time or take them out of school to travel etc. I believe she means well with her comments.
By the way Tamara, just wanted to say I empathise with your position. Being a single mum’s definitely not easy! Well done for all that you do every day and lots of love to you.
She’s an idiot and here’s why: who cares what she meant, how she meant it, and why she said it. Someone with even the most minimal understanding of the world around her would have thought before speaking and realized how incredibly insensitive, unrealistic, and boorish Paltrow’s comments were. It is easy to understand why she would not apply a filter to her comments in the way most sane people would: she believes her press. She thinks the whole world adores her and her rock star soon to be ex-husband. She thinks because publicists, studio execs, and assorted hangers-on swoon at her every word, we all do. This is why “yes men” are so insidious: the people who listen to them believe they can do no wrong and usually are surprised when, in fact, they can do a lot wrong. Paltrow clearly is of this ilk.
I remember this from a few years ago. Seems like it blew over but I think people still remember the “conscious uncoupling.”