Monday, August 11, 2008

The Reality of Lies

There seems to be a sudden rash of twins developing in Hollywood circles. That in itself seems a little strange, but there's another phenomenon happening as well that's not only strange, but entirely untrue. (I know. I said that as if most other things in Hollywood are true. I know better.) Anyway, those of us in the real world understand the concept of women wanting to "have it all" as in a family and career and hobbies and playtime and everything good in life all at the same time. While not feeling so stressed that we cannot enjoy it. We all know that we can't have it all, but somehow we keep trying to grasp for that elusive dream. That dream is reinforced when we read about or see stars who apparently give birth to twins and pose for magazine covers three weeks later. Within a month we're hearing how they've shed all their baby weight and, in some cases, are getting dangerously thin.
I read of one "star" who had twins. She lost all her baby weight (of course!) and was training to run a marathon. That was in between putting together her latest album, and shooting a new movie. Oh, and the article also went on to state that this woman was amazing because she didn't have nannies, personal chefs, fitness trainers or any of those other staff that help you pretend you're doing it all yourself. I was truly amazed at what this woman can accomplish. How does she do it? THEY'RE LYING, THAT'S HOW!
People read that stuff and think that somehow these famous people are some sort of super humans. If this woman really is training for a marathon, she's having to spend hours a day at it. Unless she's strapping those twins on her chest and her back while she runs, someone is watching them. The same with recording an album. Can't have a baby crying in the background. And I haven't seen too many movies where actresses/new moms have their infants in the scene. You may not call them nannies, but you have some kind of caregivers there with you. Then you can run hold the children for a few minutes when they yell "cut". Or you can carry the infant as you walk through the airport so all the camera shots show that you have no help and you do it all yourself. That's not motherhood. That's photo opportunities.
You can't tell me either that these women fix meals for their family all the time. Then again, how long does it take to make a little pasta and steamed veggies? LOL I doubt they spend much time doing laundry either. Maybe they just toss the dirty clothes out and buy new ones all the time to save laundry time.
It bothers me that we read this stuff and accept it as gospel truth when reality says there's no way they can do it all themselves. It's bad enough that so many people look up to these famous ones and use them as role models. Since when does an acting career make you a good mother?
So for those of you that have been sucked into this lie and are maybe frustrating yourselves wondering why things aren't that easy for you, let me help you out here. This is some real truth from the real world.
Without makeup artists, professional hair dressers and professional photographers, no one is ready for a magazine cover in the month following the birth of a baby. Even when you have all those things, remember that wonderful miracle called airbrushing.
If you eat more than pasta and steamed vegetables in miniscule quantities, you are not going to drop seventy pounds in your first post-pregnancy month. And most of us will have to cook for ourselves and all of our families soon after we get out of the hospital.
Even when you drop seventy pounds, there will be bulges and ripples there that weren't there before. Don't believe someone who says in an interview that "they just worked really hard" when they're asked how they got back into shape so quickly.
Taking care of newborns requires a lot of time and a great sacrifice of sleep. The real world doesn't have nannies or caregivers that work in shifts and get up with the baby during the night. We don't normally get to hand junior off to someone else after we've fed him. That's not motherhood either.
Real children are not playthings that you can pay attention to for a few moments when you have the time. Real children also typically aren't named after food (Coco? Apple?) or eighteenth century characters (Phineas?).
Here's a little snapshot of the real world about a month after the baby:
You get up every two hours because the baby is colicky and won't sleep. When he finally dozes off, the two-year-old wets the bed. YOUR bed that she came to sleep in because she has nightmares and hey! You weren't using it anyway. You strip the bed and bathe and change the child, but you can't put the soiled things in the washer because it's full from who-knows-when the last time you had a chance to change the wash around. You settle for dumping the stuff in front of the washer to be dealt with later and crawl back in bed only to be awakened fifteen minutes later by the baby again. After feeding him, you don't bother to go back to sleep because you have to get the other kids up and off to school. The early morning passes in getting breakfast and making lunches and two more feedings. After the kids leave and you clean up the spilled milk, comfort the crying two-year-old and feed the baby again, you have to skip your shower and pull on some clothes so you can make it to the pediatrician for the one-month checkup. While you're out you also plan to go grocery shopping, but you have to wait so long in the doctor's office that you end up grabbing only the absolute essentials at the store and hurry home. Feed the baby again, put the two-year-old down for a nap and struggle to clear your way through the mess in your house. Just as you contemplate lying back down, the kids get home from school and you're absorbed in supervising homework and chores, fixing dinner and feeding the baby three more times. After dinner we have dishes, finishing up homework, baths and making sure everything's ready for school the next day. The kids are finally tucked into bed, the baby's fed again and you stumble to your own room hoping for more than two hours of sleep. You stare at your bare mattress, suddenly remembering that you never washed your sheets from the night before. While you're convincing yourself you really don't need a sheet in order to sleep, the two-year-old climbs up on the bed beside you and then the baby starts crying again. Welcome to reality.

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