Gwyneth Paltrow hired some PR person to pen a letter on her GOOP site yesterday to try and explain that she wasn't trashing every woman on the planet who works a day job or night job or two jobs when Gwyneth said it was much more difficult to be an actress and work on a film set rather than be a working mom who has a normal 9 to 5 job.
A few weeks ago during an interview, I was asked why I have only worked on one film a year since having children. My answer was this: Film work takes one away from home and requires 12-14 hours a day, making it difficult to be the one to make the kids their lunch, drive them to school, and put them to bed. So I have found it easier on my family life to make a film the exception, and my 9-5 job the rule. This somehow was taken to mean I had said a 9-5 job is easier, and a lot of heat was thrown my way, especially by other working mothers who somehow used my out-of-context quote as an opportunity to express feelings (perhaps projected) on the subject. As the mommy wars rage on, I am constantly perplexed and amazed by how little slack we cut each other as women. We see disapproval in the eyes of other mothers when we say how long we breastfed (Too long? Not long enough?), or whether we have decided to go back to work versus stay home. Is it not hard enough to attempt to raise children thoughtfully, while contributing something, or bringing home some (or more) of the bacon? Why do we feel so entitled to opine, often so negatively, on the choices of other women? Perhaps because there is so much pressure to do it all, and do it all well all at the same time (impossible). Below is a somewhat radical piece by Brigid Schulte, which has provoked many a discussion here in our HQ, and even a tear or two.To every single mother out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day.
What Gwyneth fails to do in her post is address any of the issues that every person in the world brought up. Who do you know who works 9 to 5? Most people work 9 hours because of lunch breaks. She also forgot the hour commute or longer. She forgot that lots of people are forced to work two jobs and pay a good portion of their salary to daycare or other help. She forgot to address that families often have both parents working and that they come home and have to help with homework and fix dinner and wash clothes and dishes and get ready for the next day and fall asleep exhausted before having to do it all again the next day. Gwyneth does none of those things. Sure, she says she likes to make the school run or make dinner, but when she is tired she has a staff member pick up a kid from school and another staff member buy groceries and make dinner and all the million other errands and chores that the rest of us have to do just to survive each day. This does not even account for the fact that her acting in her one movie a year pays her more than most people will earn in a lifetime of working 40 hours a week for 20 years.