Now Showing… Celebrity Parents
Celebrity moms and dads raising their children have it really tough – every move is scrutinized by the camera’s lens. So why does it appear to be so much easier for Gwen & Gavin, Brad & Angie and Heidi & Seal to raise their kids than it is for me?
Their children are beautifully dressed, walking hand in hand down the busiest streets in a cosmopolitan city, gleefully assisting Mom or Dad at a charitable event, or frolicking about on the most deserted beach. They all look as though they just stepped out of a magazine, which, indeed, is where they’re going to be. And they all appear to get along and revel in being a big happy family.
Why do I find it so much harder? Most of my child raising is behind closed doors, both structurally and vehicularly. And now I remember to shut windows, too, ever since that episode when I scared the nice neighbour lady walking her dog with my overzealous parenting advice delivered to a wayward child.
And we all know that Parenting In Public (PIP) is much more difficult than in the privacy of our own homes. Most of us don’t like having to reprimand our children in front of a supermarket clerk, nosy colleague or tongue-clicking mother-in-law. But luckily, for most of us, that’s the only ‘public’ that’s watching us.
Nevertheless, just once I’d like to see Lourdes turn around and smack one of her two youngest siblings, just to put a crack in the oh-so-perfect Madonna-as-mom image.
Granted, most of these little kids seem to have a soother stuck in their mouth well past the sell-by date (hello Britney’s tater tots), which perhaps stops them from not only screaming but also revealing some of Mom’s little transgressions.
SOME GET IT WRONG
As a mother of four, I feel somewhat qualified to give some celebrity parents out there a bit of advice:
1 If you have a son, letting his hair grow long does not make him or you look cool and carefree. It makes him look like a girl. Listen up Celine and Kate.
2 Baby names – where to begin – almost too easy. Will Bronx Mowgli forgive parents Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz, or Kal-el (Superman’s birth name) thank Nicholas Cage? Or Sage Moonblood, Sly Stallone? Listen, your child is already going to grow up feeling special and privileged, which could lead to some bad behaviour (exhibit A: Redmond O’Neal, Cameron Douglas, Paris Hilton). You might want to think about starting off with a more normal name.
3 Demi Moore raised her young girls in Idaho. Great decision, Demi…out of the limelight, living a somewhat normal, if secluded, life. But, surprise! At least one of your girls, now grown, loves the limelight and has rushed back to the more exciting life in L.A. and, in fact, has appeared in several movies.
4 Oh Billy Ray! Your daughter is talented – and kids love her. But why oh why did you let her grow up so fast and dress like a 21-year-old? I’m not concerned about Miley’s future success (she’s probably worth almost as much as Oprah), but I am worried about the young girls who think it can happen to them, too. I guess a guy whose major career win was launching the mullet into the mainstream can be excused from not having the best parenting instincts.
5 Tori and Dean. Just admit that your kids are props, the way that I admit mine are for my writing material, and move on. It’s fine.
SOME GET IT RIGHT
There are celebrity parents who appear to be dealing with parenthood in a normal way (Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford, Gwen Stefani, Gwyneth Paltrow), but these specific women seem to have a concentric relationship with good parenting and flat stomachs, so I don’t like to give them too much praise. They have enough already.
Others who seem to have found the right balance between Parenting In Public and yet not overexposing their kids include Jennifer & Ben, and Reese & Uncle Daddy Jake.
I will be very curious to see how the generation of Hollywood Adopted Babies turns out. In fact, I’m expecting a Reality Show based on them. Imagine if this genre existed when Joan Crawford was in her Mommie Dearest prime?
Get ready Madonna, Angie, Sheryl, Hugh and Tom. Give the kids their inheritance now so they don’t need the money later. And make them sign a nondisclosure contract immediately – I’m sure the crayon ‘X’ will hold up in court.
NEXT: REALITY SHOWS?
Some kids become reality stars while some parents are reality stars because of their kids. You know the ones I’m talking about; Jon & Kate Plus Who Cares (now just Kate Plus 8), whom I don’t blame for going a little nutty with their hair (in her case) or girlfriends (in his case) after dealing with eight children aged five and under. Most moms I know slobber over George Clooney, Hugh Jackman…heck even that dimpled mailman most of the time. Imagine what would happen if we cut loose from the chains of our family?
Then there’s the ever-smiling and ever-reproducing Duggars – I believe they’re up to child #247 by now. Maybe they can start their own society if they move next door to Octomom.
Well, maybe all these kids will wait until their teenage years to rebel, in a perfectly normal non-celebrity kind of way, like most kids do. I’ve got loads of advice I can share with these guys…with the windows closed of course.
“The BlackBerry Diaries: Adventures in Modern Motherhood” is available at bookstores everywhere. Kathy is hard at work on “Shut Up & Eat: Savouring the Joys of Family Bonding Time”, which will be released by Key Porter Books in March, 2010.