Ladies (and the men who love them), this weekend I read the absolutely definitive statement on how to achieve balance and harmony in my life as a mother. It came from that wise fount of knowledge, Gwyneth Paltrow, in Vogue magazine. Now I don't have any axe to grind in general with Gwynnie. I don't particularly love her movies or anything, but I am not a hater. That said, her advice? To "simplify."
Yes, Simplify. As she is driven around New York City by a driver, chatting with a magazine writer, dropping in at a designer store (where she is ONLY buying Balenciaga mini dresses this summer, as part of her effort to "simplify," because who can take the time as a working mother to figure out what to wear?!), and then heading home to relieve the nanny who has handled her kids for the day.
Aw, bless. I understand that Gwyneth Paltrow has a vastly different life than I do. But to tell me to "simplify" in a breezy, blithe way as if that is what working mothers (the kind who work in an office, or sometimes the kind who work in a house without contact with other humans for a year....) can do to achieve such a state of grace is a bit like me telling Gwynnie that she should throw in small loads of laundry throughout the week to avoid that big Saturday Laundry Day I know she struggles with mightily.
To be fair, I get that Gwyneth Paltrow probably didn't call up the mag and say, "I have advice for working mothers; come take dictation." I also get that Vogue is not Ladies Home Journal or whatever. But it's just the ludicrousness of the whole notion that any celebrity has any useful advice for any person on any topic whatsoever that might be even remotely relevant to those who do not get driven around NYC, feted at designer stores, and provided workouts for 2-3 hours a day with famous trainers. How about someone famous just saying, (a la Sarah Jessica Parker [god bless her] who famously said that celebrities don't even look like themselves in real life so real women should not get sucked into that trap, and that she has a nanny and a trainer and she's paid to look a certain way which is why she does but that no real person should think she's normal),"you know what? I'll tell you what I wear to my estate in England and to the Hamptons, but my only advice for any real women reading this magazine is to cancel your subscription. Even if it was free, E."
Now THAT sounds simple enough!