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Katherine Lewis

Gwyneth Paltrow's Life as a Working Mom

By January 17, 2011

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Gwyneth Paltrow offers a glimpse into her work-life balance and shares the experiences of two of her working mom friends (fashion designer Stella McCartney and venture capitalist Juliet de Baubigny) in a recent issue of her newsletter GOOP that seems to have enraged the remaining bloggers who weren't already up in arms over Amy Chua's ill-advised promotion of her parenting book Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother. The criticism seems to be that ultra-privileged celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow should keep their mouths shut because they can't understand the concerns of real working moms who don't have personal assistants, drivers and the like.

My reaction: c'mon people, aren't there more important things to fight over? Sure, my lack of standing spa appointments or personal trainer sessions means I am unlikely to take de Baubigny's advice to condense appointments or schedule exercise with a trainer for the first thing Monday morning. But I can certainly translate her ideas into my own life -- it's not a bad idea to schedule the kids' checkups and mine together. I might actually see the doctor more than once every five years!

And it's interesting to glimpse inside Gwyneth Paltrow's seemingly perfect life to learn that she picks up her children from school every weekday except Thursday, and that she has the same struggles with her four-year old over putting on shoes that I do with mine. Okay, the daily spoonful of lemon flavored flax oil was a bit much for even me, but each to her own.

Am I the only one who finds this a bit of a tempest in a teacup? Or maybe I've gone soft because my children are the same age as hers? Please share your opinion of Gwyneth Paltrow's comments.

Photo credit: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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January 17, 2011 at 11:15 am
(1) JJ says:

Agree! Like anyone else, she can only write about her world and about what she knows. It would be fake if she was trying to pretend she had a difficult life. So what if most women can’t identify with that lifestyle. Busy is busy, whatever it is you are doing – most people can’t organize themselves (can see examples of that at work) so I’m pretty sure that same disorganized behaviour carries on into their home life. So getting tips from anyone who has some kind of general organizing ideas is fine, regardless of what they do for a living. I think most of this tempest in a teacup is flat out “love to hate” behavious and a waste of time.

January 17, 2011 at 1:00 pm
(2) Judy Martin says:

I’m with you on this one. I think it’s all relative. No matter who you are on this planet – movie star or not – you’re dealing with the same constant as everyone else… change, navigating overload and trying to figure out how to balance it all.

Yes, there’s a difference. A low wage worker who can barely afford child care will manage their lifestyle differently than a movie star with nannies. And I don’t say that lightly. There is a lot of difficult truth to that. But ultimately we’re all human.

I don’t get the feeling that Gwyneth Paltrow was being preachy, but that she was simply sharing HER story. Perhaps not many can relate to her personally, but it’s her story and you never know where a pearl of wisdom might reside.

We’ve got more important things to battle over – like workplace flexibility, pay inequity and getting more women in the c-suite. I’m more interested in women sharing their stories and solutions.

January 17, 2011 at 5:56 pm
(3) gooooooooped says:

Really…I am a working mom of a 6 year old because I HAVE to work…if I only I could have afforded NOT to be a working mom and stay home and devote myself to my child…if only I had the luxury of being home to greet my child after school instead of having her enrolled in an afterschool program that keeps her until 6 p.m. each night so that I can afford to feed & cloth her…Gwyneth Paltrow should simply EMAIL her rich friends her ridiculous tips and SAVE the rest of us from her RIDICULOUS advice that has nothing to do with the majority of working moms…honestly, the woman CHOOSES to be a “working” mom and then gives advice about how to do it when the rest of us wish we could afford to be in her position just to see our kids…..in the words of CEELO GREEN Gwyneth, “F@ck you”.

January 18, 2011 at 11:08 am
(4) Susan says:

I was actually amazed at how many moments in Gwyneth’s life reminded me of my own parenting days, or of moments dealing with the grandchildren, especially the problems getting shoes on and getting out the door, and the need to limit video game time. Also, I’m an obsessive scheduler, and I go to sleep at night thinking of how good my morning coffee is going to taste.

Gwyneth may have more money and freedom than the rest of us, but she also has more stresses. I would hate having to look good every time I’m going to be in public, and having to constantly make career decisions. It seems to me that she’s the celebrity lots of people love to hate, in spite of the fact that to all appearances she is very grounded and normal.

January 27, 2011 at 1:23 pm
(5) Lynn says:

There are lots of approaches to working motherhood. it is not “one size fits all”. There is great insight about the differnet approaches of real working mothers at http://www.primarydilemma.com.

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