Recently Angelina Jolie and Gwyneth Paltrow have been talking to the press about how hard it is to be a mother, considering their profession. Paltrow has seen a lot of backlash after saying that she believes she has it harder than most moms because she has to be away from her children so often.
“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. 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,” said Paltrow.
Many people are outraged because they take one look at the privileged white millionaire mother and think, ‘what do you have to complain about.’
In reality, this is a perfect example of Mother’s guilt. A topic that is very overlooked and rarely talked about. Mothers are demanded to balance kids and their careers and expected to do everything with a smile.
Mother’s guilt is the feeling women, and some men, get in regards to parenting and leaving your child with babysitter, or missing out on events because you have other obligations. Some people have to work several jobs just to stay afloat in this world and don’t get to spend the amount of time with their children as they wish they could.
But it is obvious that no matter what your stature or wealth, you’re still burdened with the guilt that goes along with being a parent. Yet, people are berating her because she is well-off and they believe that she doesn’t have the right to these feelings.
Think about it though. It is going to feel the same for everyone when you are away and your child is sick, or has had a rough day.. or even when you yourself are not up to par and would just love to cuddle in bed with your loved ones.
I know that it is waaaaaayyy harder when you’re working three jobs and stressed out all of the time. This is not a competition though, it is a thought process that women are programmed with telling us that we have to be at home with the kids, taking care of the family.
Society overlooks this need to care and views it as a weakness. People tend to forget that no matter how much we strive for true gender equality, it will never happen because men and women are instinctually hardwired different, mind you there are exceptions to every rule.
This is why 81% of mothers feel guilty when returning to work, according to a recent study, where as (a rather surprising) 22% of men feel the same. You don’t just grow a baby inside of you for almost a year, birth it- which is incredible emotion and hormonal, nurse them for however long, tend to their every emotion and desire and then just walk away and be without them and not feel anxiety about being separated from the child.
I think that society needs to stop judging women, no matter their status, and realize these emotional needs are priority.
Don’t get me wrong here. I think that Jolie has the far superior outlook and the fact that she has adopted so many children to give them the opportunities and better their lives is a very compassionate and inspiring thing to do. I also have to respect the good press about her, she has definitely had a difficult time in her personal life, and yet still unabashed about how lucky she is.
Though, I believe that the real conversation should be about making the transition back to work easier for mothers and trying to eliminate the burn den of mother’s guilt, that no doubt leads to resentment and depression.
A better perspective would have been rather “Stars suffer from mother’s guilt too” or “Mothers of Hollywood speak up about separation from their families.” Understandably not as catchy as some spill about Jolie attacking Paltrow for whatever whatever, but more issue aware.
If I could change one thing about the media it would be to stop sensationalizing celebrities for their stupid cat fights and highlight the real issues at hand. Society needs to divorce this fascination with the personal life of the famous and adopt a thirst for knowledge. This constant west for gossip interferes and desensitizes people from the problems that need to be addressed.
Here’s a suggestion, instead of sassing at each other, why don’t these women band together to create an assistance and resource support charity for women transitioning back into the workplace. Allow these women to have financial support so they don’t have to jump back into full-time employment right away and can take the time to adjust the family to a different schedule.
Or one that lobbies for better maternity/paternity/parental leave and fights for the rights of parents. Either way, there are far better things that celebrities, media and communities can be doing for women- underpaid, single, working class, struggling mothers, other than ranting on about who has it worse.