May 9th, 2014
03:33 PM ET
This Mother's Day, Gwyneth Paltrow is hoping parents all over the world can just get along.
The actress and mother of two has faced criticism for a prior statement she made about being famous and a parent at the same time, saying that she has a "one movie a year" rule so her work doesn't infringe on raising her kids Apple, 9, and Moses, 8.
"If I miss a school run, they are like, 'Where were you?'" Paltrow told E! in March. "I think it's different when you have an office job, because it's routine and, you know, you can do all the stuff in the morning and then you come home in the evening. When you're shooting a movie, they're like, 'We need you to go to Wisconsin for two weeks,' and then you work 14 hours a day and that part of it is very difficult."
And then there was this part that really irked some working moms: "I think to have a regular job and be a mom is not as, of course there are challenges, but it's not like being on set."
Apparently, Paltrow's observations of the challenges of parenting haven't gone over so well. One person wrote a barbed open letter to the actress, sarcastically commenting that she "couldn't agree more" with Paltrow's words.
"I know all my fellow working-mom friends feel the same," the author, a mother of a toddler, wrote in the letter published in the New York Post. "Whenever I meet with them at one of our weekly get-togethers — a breeze to schedule, because reliable baby sitters often roam my neighborhood in packs, holding up signs peddling their services — we have a competition to see who has it easier. Is it the female breadwinners who work around the clock to make sure their mortgages get paid, lying awake at night, wracked with anxiety over the idea of losing their jobs? Or is it the mothers who get mommy-tracked and denied promotions? What about the moms with 'regular' 9-to-5 jobs, who are penalized when their kids are sick and they don’t have backup child care? Those women are living the dream, I tell you!"
It's unclear if the letter prompted Paltrow to clarify her earlier remarks, but she's done so just the same on her website, GOOP.
What she was trying to convey is that film work takes one away from home, "making it difficult to be the one to make the kids their lunch, drive them to school, and put them to bed," Paltrow writes. Personally for her, that makes signing on for another movie "the exception" and her "9 to 5" job - which we're taking to mean being a mom and running GOOP - "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," Paltrow went on. "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)."
Seemingly hoping to change the course of the discourse, Paltrow ended her note with a positive sign off: "To every single mother out there, have a wonderful Mother’s Day."
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