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09/20/2011

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Emily O

Refreshing post! I've not read the book or seen the film so I don't really care how she does it either. I thought SJP came across well on the Jonathan Ross show and I think she ate some jellied eels too. That said, you just can't compare a Hollywood mum's lifestyle with normal everyday lives for most mums. Enormous wealth and fame are the key differences. I suppose celeb mums are damned if they do and damned if they don't talk about motherhood. Some try to make out they're down to earth but I don't think anyone's a proper mum until they've had to scrape dried Weeetabix of a highchair, cleaned dinner off the walls or stayed up all night with a vomiting child. If SJP's done that fair play to her.

Linda

Hi Emily - my first blog was called 'Weetabix on my portfolio' as I hoped it would strike a chord! Thank you for your kind words. Maybe she has done that, but it's the holding her up as some sort of role model that irks me - give us all a few million dollars, perhaps we could 'juggle' better too. x

Carol Garrington

Great post Linda. I've not read the book or seen the film, only a short trailer for it which showed SJP tottering along in ridiculously high heels (as you do!)trying to look flustered but looking more glamorous than I could ever hope to be. I saw her on Jonathan Ross promoting the film and I just can't imagine her covered in splatters of Weetabix and baby puke. They should have made the film about us instead, it would have been a lot less glam but far more entertaining, hilarious in fact, especially based on this week's highlights!

Linda

You mean your little problem don't you? Best keep that to ourselves.

Liz

I think the thing to remember is that every woman's experience of child-rearing/balancing is different, based on their individual circumstances. What I remember about the book - and admittedly it's been a while since I read it - is that the central character actually suffers a near-breakdown as the pressure mounts up. Yes people like SJP and Allison Pearson earn a lot of money. But actually, sometimes the pressures to be the perfect mum, to try to hold it all together when essentially everything is crumbling around you, affect everyone, no matter what their financial situation.

Jude

I'm in the process of reading the book now - I haven't got that far yet, but indirectly I think it does make some very perceptive observations about motherhood today, which are relevant to lots of mothers (and fathers), and which I have found quite funny. I don't find it patronising, and I hadn't really considered that any of these people are being held-up as role-models (in fact probably the opposite) they're just characters in a book/film. It's a cliche I suppose, but it seems to me that the book is actually about the age old theme of 'material riches are a poor second to emotional wealth'. Easy to say perhaps if you have enough for your needs. No, lots of us don't have the choice about whether we should work or not, but anything that brings these issues to the fore can only be good as it invites awareness and discussion.

Oh, and I always think that SJP comes across rather well on the whole, whatever her parenting arrangements. It's a shame the film is bad (I've not seen it) so many films aimed at a female audience get panned.

Linda

All for discussion! :)
It's the media who have held a mega wealthy film star with an army of help as a role model. And yes I agree it's always good to air these topics, but I find the way the gap between what's doable by an international star and what's doable by us more mere mortals is overlooked irritating. I couldn't finish the book, it had the same effect on me as the reviewers I quote.
That's the patronising bit in my opinion - much love.

Karen Sherr

Thanks for this post Linda - it certainly has created lots of discussion.
I haven't read the book or seen the film either as it just didn't appeal to me but maybe I will now! I guess all working Mums, whatever their wealth or fame, must have their own specific challenges. Personally, I think working and having children is certainly worth all the aggravation. I didn't have twins but 3 children under 5 years of age creates its own issues and as the children grew up the issues changed.
Being a stay at home Mum wasn't an option for me - I needed more of a challenge. I know many Mums who haven't worked and now their children have left home they still don't work. They seem busy and content but I know I wouldn't be. Working and being a Mum is something I enjoy - luckily!

KimEThomas

Well said, Linda! I found the book moderately entertaining but mostly intensely irritating. I'm astounded at the number of times I've seen it described as "brilliant" in recent days by various female columnists. It wasn't even very good as a novel - poor characterisation, weak plot development, no suspense, just one long polemic about something I struggle to care about, namely rich people's childcare problems. The novel makes the point that the husband (who is completely flat as a character) earns less than she does, which to me showed an easy way to solve the problem - why didn't he just give up work to look after the kids? I think it's pretty much guaranteed that I will hate the film. As so many people commented at the time the book came out, it should have been called "I don't know why she does it."

Doug Arn

Is it me, or is SJP REALLY over-rated and over-exposed? Can't say I'm a big fan of her acting ability....just my opinion anyway

Helen

Let's not forget this is supposed to be entertainment. OK, so when SJP is used as a real-life role model, that's different, but there's plenty of films, seemingly made to target women, which I find intensely patronising and would rather poke cocktail sticks in my eyes than go and watch - but someone likes them. And if they don't, don't pay to go and see them, and the producers might just stop making them and realise women can like a film without it being full of designer shoes and glittery dresses. We can handle plots and long words too.

Ellen Arnison

I'm with you Linda. I loathed the book and have no intention of seeing the film. The sooner we get over this patronising cr*p the better for parents and children!

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