Gwyneth Paltrow Wants Me To Be A Better Mom. And This Is Good For Me How?

BlogHer Original Post

So Gwyneth Paltrow has launched a new website. Which, I suppose, is better than launching yet another celebrity fashion line or celebrity perfume or whatever, but still - I'm finding it hard to feel entirely positive about this.

It's worth asking, of course, what's there to not be positive about? It's a website devoted to "nourish(ing) the inner aspect." I don't what that means, exactly - it seems to have something to do with taking care of one's self, inside and out - but it sounds good. The name of the site - GOOP - doesn't sound so good (and no, I have no idea what it means), but I could overlook that. I could overlook that, that is, the whole site didn't irritate my petty mommy soul to its very core.

This is just me and my issues, of course, but it does really bug me to have a super-wealthy celebrity mom preach good mental and physical health at me. It's one thing for Gwyneth to love exercise and good food and "clean spaces" and to preach the health and wellbeing benefits of these things (which, duh, but I digress) - Gwyneth, after all, has access to private chefs and housecleaners and personal trainers and nannies. It's quite another for the average mom. Surrounding oneself with good things - and yes, I am invoking Martha Stewart here; Gwyneth looks to be aspiring to be a wellness-oriented Martha, without the rap sheet - is desirable, obviously, and I've no doubt about the health benefits, but please: I'm functioning on no sleep and am very, very lucky if I can get matching socks on my preschooler and pick stray Cheerios up off the floor, never mind keep fresh flowers around and set aside an hour in the morning for yoga and organic fruitshakes. I mean, it'd be nice, but it ain't gonna happen and I get depressed just thinking about it.

There were some articles and blog posts late this summer about growing rates of eating disorders among pregnant women - 'pregorexia' was the term being bandied about - and the commentary largely focused on the influence of the current wave of celebrity mommies, who tend to go through pregnancy looking like stick insects that swallowed some large round berries and who brag about losing baby weight in about three days. I'm not going to debate that issue here - I think that there's much, much more to eating disorders, whether they occur in pregnancy or otherwise, than celebrity-emulation - but there is, I think, a problematic undercurrent here that is common to both partum and post-partum body image and partum and post-partum self-image more generally, and that has a potentially serious effect upon maternal mental health. I'm bombarded by media images of celebrity mothers who have it all and do it all; I'm surrounded by magazines that feature cover-mothers who are well-scrubbed and well-dressed and well-equipped to attend to their well-scrubbed children in their well-scrubbed homes and who have lots to say about the benefits of eating organic and doing yoga and wearing hemp and yadda yadda whatever. I'm surrounded by it and some days? Especially days that I haven't slept or showered or changed my clothes? It really gets me down. So, this whole Gwyneth-gone-Martha-for-moms thing? HATE.

But maybe that's just the sleep deprivation talking. Maybe once I've had some sleep I'll be able to look at GOOP and go, oh, GOOD! Gwyneth has some advice for me! HURRAH!

Or not.


Catherine blogs at Her Bad Mother and really, seriously, needs some sleep.


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