These glam moms make having a baby look misleadingly easy!
I remember, several years ago, a wealthy acquaintance of my parents' saying, about a housekeeper who'd unhappily enrolled her child in a sub-par day care, "I don't understand; why doesn't she just hire a nanny?" I've always wanted to believe that was an isolated bit of headdeskery, but reading this article in W, I'm not so sure. Ostensibly, the piece discusses the fact that a lot of women are not taking full maternity leave, instead choosing to return to work early. The reasons listed are legion, and nothing we haven't heard before in these debates: competition in the workplace, the economy, baby bonding versus a fulfilled mom, breastfeeding, the challenges of pumping at the office: the standard questions that each working mother addresses . As the article puts it,
In an era when France's justice minister recently gave birth on a Friday and attended a cabinet meeting the following Wednesday — and when, more famously, Sarah Palin took just three days off from her Alaskan gubernatorial duties after the birth of her fifth child-an increasing number of women are making childbirth look, if not like magic, certainly a lot easier than it was for their mothers by taking mere weeks, not months, off from work.
The issues the piece addresses may be typical; luckily, these moms are anything but! Finances do not seem to enter into the equation for any of them; while the economy is invoked to explain the necessity of staying present as a business-owner, nowhere is there a sense that the imperative is monetary necessity. The issue, for all of these women, seems to be whether or not to hire the nanny whom they can all obviously afford. Take this characteristic quote:
By hiring a nanny to help with her second child, Brooks realized how much more time she had for herself and for a job that she loved. "When Coco was born, I would never even have a babysitter on the weekend. I was really moral about it. And as joyous as those moments were, part of it was slightly miserable," she admits. "I was being too much of a martyr to the mom world."
Although some of the quoted moms deal with the typical new mother's issues that usually inspire sympathy, each one manages to work in some detail that makes it clear she has some pretty enviable advantages:
"I pumped everywhere," says Celerie Kemble, an interior designer who resumed work almost immediately after having each of her children, Rascal, two, and Zinnia, one, thanks in part to a baby nurse. "The UPS man [at my office] saw more boob in the last couple years than in his teenage heyday."
Or take this working mom's solution:
"I don't know anybody who is taking three months off anymore," says a high-profile Manhattan boutique owner who brought her two toddlers to market appointments when they were just weeks old. "You can be tired at home or tired at the Balenciaga showroom," she says.
Look, some people are fortunate enough to have material advantages, and that's great for them. And W, like Vogue, is a fashion magazine with a particular target demographic. But when the worlds of the "everyday woman" and the "aspirational" fashion mag focus converge, the results can feel oblivious. The author didn't say the article was about "wealthy working mothers," just "new moms." One gets the feeling that the author does not, in fact, know that others have it harder. For everyone's sake, including that dame from the dinner party, I do hope ignorance is bliss.
Born Yesterday [W]