Andrea Martin Unplugged: On Hollywood Babies


As an actress, I am rejected in Hollywood on a daily basis. Now I’m going to be publicly rejected, in print, as a Hollywood Parent. My assignment to write about being a Hollywood Parent has sent chills down my insecure spine. Thank goodness my sons are in their 20s, because if I had to measure my kids worth today against that of Apple’s or Shiloh’s or Zahara’s, I’d be in rehab with Britney Spears herself, God bless her. I couldn’t compete. First of all, Id have to change their names to Avocado and Nairobi just to get ANY press at all. I’ve never been big on accessories. I’ve never bought a Prada, Coach, or Marc Jacobs bag in my life. In fact, I had to call my 23-year-old niece, a stylist, just to find out who Mr. Prada was and if I could get a free bag by mentioning his name in this article.

Babies are the new accessories in Hollywood. Not that I blame the parents, entirely. The myriad of trashy, glossy, gossipy magazines that we have more trouble resisting than a plate of carbs, have to find SOMETHING to write about. And all thats left, it seems, are BABIES. We know about the sexual positions of Paris Hilton, the rehab diaries of Lindsay Lohan, the eating disorders of Nicole Richie and the everything addiction of poor Anna Nicole. We even know what her liver looked like. All old news, my friends. What is far more interesting to us voyeurs, is the Baby Bump. (Don’t you find that expression distasteful?) And aren’t we missing the point? There’s a real live person underneath that bump. A real live person who one day will be in rehab herself, if we don’t stop buying all that trash which initiates the media frenzy around these innocent babies.

My heart goes out to young parents today. Where is the support you need in raising your child? Who are your role models? Perfect Angelina Jolie and perfect Gwyneth Paltrow and their perfect babies? There’s no such thing as a perfect parent, or perfect baby, even though Access Hollywood would have you believe differently. In fact, according to a survey on kids behavior conducted by ParentsCanada magazine, over 70 percent of the parents interviewed said children today were less well-behaved than the generation before them.

I can’t believe my generation did something right. Different times, to be sure. We didn’t grow our own corn, or churn our own butter, but we were more stern, it seems, than most parents today. Our role models were our imperfect mothers, and their imperfect mothers, our church-sponsored toddler groups and the La Leche League. If you breastfed your child in public, you were arrested. The more outrageous you are today, the more our culture reveres you. There are no grandmothers holding wooden spoons above our kids heads, threatening to hit them if they misbehave at dinner. Now we put a portable DVD player in front of our two-year-olds, they pop in The Ninja Turtles by themselves, watch the animated turtles slaughter each other and we wonder why we have trouble setting boundaries.

The truth is, I was never a Hollywood parent. Oh, sure, I had the odd nanny (both figuratively and literally), and my kids accompanied me to a couple of film openings, but I never made the cover of People with or without my children in tow. I will admit that I proudly exploited my kids in a gorgeous Gap print ad that was displayed at bus stops in the early 90s throughout the United States. And once the Toronto Star printed a black and white photo of me and my son Jack, at Halloween, from a pumpkin patch in Guelph. I like to think that my career blossomed without the media attention to my parenting skills. Then again, with the right publicist, I could have admitted myself into a Malibu addiction center, sent my kids to live with relatives in Armenia, and ended up with a four picture deal.

But it’s not too late. ONE DAY I’LL HAVE GRANDKIDS. And a better publicist and lots and lots of short skirts… and no ‘Depends’ I’ll leave those at home and I’ll get out of a limo, surrounded by paparazzi, and the cameras will go off, and finally, I’ll make the headlines. Live from Hollywood, “Grandma Gone Wild!” PC

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