Are Hollywood Single Moms Sending the Wrong Message
May 6, 2011
I weighed in on a popeater.com blog that asked the question: Are Hollywood Single Moms Sending the Wrong Message? I’m sure a lot of you expected me to say, yes, of course! Let’s face it, they have millions of dollars at their disposal, huge homes, nannies, free baby products because companies are dying to get a celeb, any celeb to push their stroller. But, guess what? I don’t think Hollywood single moms are sending the wrong message.
"Celebrity moms going the single route are glamorizing and glorifying single motherhood," says Care.com Editor-in-Chief Wendy Sachs. "Their lives are enviable. Their jobs have a built in flexibility. They can nurse babies between takes. They can afford armies of care around the clock and that just isn't the reality for most women. Even though more professional women are having children on their own. It's expensive and exhausting and without lots of support, it can be completely overwhelming."
While I agree with Sachs, who is not a single mom, on the overwhelming point, I’m not onboard with the breastfeeding, round the clock armies of care and so-called enviable lifestyle comments—this is kind of stating the obvious. Celebrities have jobs. They go to work and get paid to act. I go to work and get paid to write. I knew going into single motherhood, that I couldn’t bring JD to the office or that I wouldn't have (or want!) a full-time nanny to raise my child—and I think most choice moms don’t look at Sandra Bullock and think, if I adopt a baby I will be just like Sandra—women choose single motherhood or proceed with unplanned pregnancies solo, like me, because they want to be mothers. Give us a little more credit please.
Ericka Souter from US Weekly, who is not a single mom, told Popeater.com "These Hollywood moms create an illusion that it is easy and women living a normal life in a normal town don't have the same luxuries afforded a celebrity." Really? I don’t think so, sorry.
You all know I’m a fan of Bridget Moynahan. Her son Jack was born one week before my Jack (and I swear Jack is named after my mother, Jacklyn—not Bridget’s kiddo). Bridget has always been very upfront about being a single mom and doesn’t shy away from the gritty details. A year after giving birth, she told Bazaar magazine: “Everyone says, you give birth, you go home, and you have this amazing baby and it’s just beautiful. I walked in and I just started sobbing. All of a sudden, you have this newborn you have no training for. It’s frightening.”
And she wasn’t hush-hush about sharing her feelings on being single and pregnant: “Going through that traumatic time of being heartbroken and then being pregnant turned my whole life upside down and inside out and just knocked the wind out of me,” says Moynahan. “But I got so much out of that. It’s golden and it’s tough and it was f*cked up. But now I have a child, and it’s the best thing in the world.”
This isn’t glamorous to me. This is real. This is how I felt. I've said to my friends Nic and Kateri many times while crying, "this is so f*cked up," regarding my ex's complete dismissal of our son and frankly, me -- my life -- my feelings. I relate easily, without force to what Bridget has to say. She described life as a single mom with her son Jack to Self magazine as being "portable" and said having more kids as a single mom would be hard. Yeah, I completely agree. I take the birth control pill now (even though I’m not in a serious relationship—I want to be prepared!)
Michelle Williams became a single mom to daughter Matilda after Heath Ledger overdosed—but you don’t see her glamorizing single motherhood—in fact, I’ve actually seen her in sneakers waiting on a subway platform for a train to pull in and bring her back to Brooklyn where she resides. This down-to-Earth celeb single mom launched The Yoga for Single Mothers Project. “The idea behind the program is that if you can clear the time, we do the rest. It provides childcare while the mum is in the yoga class, and it's all free,” Williams told Marie Claire magazine.To me, this is Williams acknowledging that single motherhood as a celeb (one also in mourning) is OK, sometimes hard, but that it's also beautiful and there are ways to manage and truly enjoy the journey! I just think single motherhood is a very special thing and you really need to be in it, be a single mom, alone with your child, to get what I'm saying. All the money, red carpets, nannies and vacations doesn't produce a partner, a love, or in some cases, a willing dad.
As a young single mom, I don’t necessarily look up to celebrity single moms, but I am proud to be a working single mom in their company. I also appear in magazines (Glamour, issue 9-08 and glamour.com gave me the ultimate platform to write honestly about single motherhood). I hope I continue to champion single moms here on parenting.com. I lead a blessed life and I'm in love with my sweet son, JD, but, I try not to always paint a bubble of rainbows that we live in. Instead one where my pre-schooler submerges my Blackberry into a cup of water, asks where his father is and spikes 105 fever at nighttime. And, I am admittedly lonely and want to marry, be in love, have more babies. I want it all! I have it all...I do.
Single moms, moms, unite. Lets all look up to each other! There is nothing glamorous about wiping a nose with your shirt (been there), catching throw-up in your hands (been there), getting a call from your child's day care that he got hurt on the playground (been there).
Discuss! And HAPPY Mother's Day, darlings! I'm headed to the Jersey Shore with my fam tomorrow!