Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I never thought I would write this sentence:

Perhaps it is time to lay off Britney Spears.

I was as appalled as anyone else that she drove with her baby on her lap, and then was brainless enough to install his carseat incorrectly later. (Side note: it's difficult where I live to find an "expert" to help make sure you have your carseat in correctly, but I can't imagine that is true for good ole Brit. Although, now that I think about it, maybe she was just trying to call attention to carseat-safety issues in her own clumsy way?) Clearly, the story behind her son's skull fracture is a little wobbly as well.

However.

If we are at the point where a mom of an infant can stumble and make tabloid headlines, well, I think we've gone too far. I have personally done worse than stumble with my child, and I'd be surprised to hear from a parent who hasn't. There was an awful time when I looked over to the high chair at a restaurant and saw only Rocco's hair, as he had slid out of the chair. Luckily he was propped up somehow, since he can't stand on his own power yet, and luckily, I'm not famous so no one remembers except for DT and me.

Clearly, there's a bit of parent oneupsmanship going on here. Those of us who raise children without the advantage of huge amounts of money and unlimited nanny services like to feel like we're still doing a better job than someone who has, practically speaking, no excuse for ever making a mistake. I know that when I hear about celebrity moms, I tend to have a moment of thinking that they don't really know what motherhood is in the same way that I do - they don't have to figure out how to get through two bedtime routines at once so that no one gets overtired, they don't have to schedule dentist and doctor appointments in such a way that traffic won't cause problems on the way from one to the other, they don't have to think hard to try to remember the last time they had a night away with just their spouse. There is a part of me that thinks that yes, all they have to do is wear clothes that won't cause them to trip. Is that so freaking hard?

But the fact is, when we criticize famous moms for doing the same thing that any of us might do, we're only making it harder for all parents. The modern expectation of perfect parenting helps no one, and when that expectation is coming from within, it can be especially damaging. We will all make mistakes. Those of us that are lucky will not cause permanent damage and will only have the scene replayed in our own minds perpetually, not in the public's.

Ugh, defending Britney Spears. I didn't even get into my pet peeves about people making fun of her for not losing her baby weight immediately, and I still feel like I need to shower.

1 comment:

Cousin Amanda said...

HI - I'm popping by from Tertia's blog after I found you in the blog list. I'm glad you wrote this - I totally agree (and I'm really not a Britney fan either), last weekend our paper had this same story about tripping, above the fold on the front cover. I read the story and thought, good lord, that's not even news.

Imagine if a news story was written every time a mother stumbled with baby in hand! It's really unfair to her and as you point out, all moms and dads. Thanks for pointing it out.
Amanda Lynn