Emma Thompson: ‘You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time’

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Emma Thompson did the awards circuit earlier this year when she got some nominations for her work in Saving Mr. Banks. These are some pics of Emma and her family at the BAFTAs – that’s her teenage daughter Gaia, and that’s Emma and Greg Wise’s adopted son Tindyebwa Agaba, who is 26 years old now. Emma considers herself Tindyebwa’s mother/guardian/friend since they adopted him when he was a teenage refugee. I’ve always been pretty jealous of Gaia and Tindyebwa because I always imagined that Emma as a mom is probably pretty amazing. In the past, Emma has swatted away the idea that women can have or should want to “have it all” – but in a new interview, Emma does say that she gave herself an unconventional birthday present: a year away from work, where she was “just a mum.”

Emma Thompson has urged parents to take a year off work to spend more time with their children, saying: ‘You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time.’

The actress recently put her Hollywood career on hold of 12 months to look after her children … but with a wealth estimated at about £30 million, she is better placed than most to be able to afford the time off.

The 55-year-old said: ‘I wanted to spend more time with my family. A year off was my birthday present to myself. I didn’t actually act or write. I was just a mum. I taught drama at my daughter’s school, cooked meals and had fun. I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it.’

The Love Actually actress – who has a 14-year-old daughter, Gaia, and a 26-year-old adopted son, Tindyebwa Agaba – said she had come to the conclusion that it wasn’t always possible to juggle parenthood and a career.

She said: ‘Sometimes in life you’ll have some things, at other times you will have other things. You don’t need it all at once, it’s not good for you. Motherhood is a full-time job. The only way I could have continued working would have been by delegating the running of the home to other people. I never wanted to do this as I find motherhood profoundly enjoyable.’

The star who recently played Mary Poppins creator P.L. Travers in Saving Mr Banks, also described her husband Greg Wise as ‘a great aesthetic pleasure’.

She said: ‘He is the only luxury I can’t imagine ever being able to give up. Because he can cook, wash up, clean, entertain children, understand maths homework, put up shelves, take them down and put them up elsewhere and repair the little holes left behind, garden with a purpose, drive sensibly but very fast on motorways and let me get on with my life.

[From The Daily Mail]

I hate to ask this (especially about Emma), but is there a little judgy-motherhood in this interview? I mean, she throws in the appropriate caveats (“if they can afford it”), but it does seem sort of out-of-touch with the real struggles of working mothers who, for the most part, work because they have to, because their families need the income. I didn’t enjoy this blanket statement: “You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time.” Emma just stepped into one of the most fiery of all of the Motherhood Industrial Complex’s flame wars. Think of it this way: what would we be saying if it was Gwyneth Paltrow who said this?

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Photos courtesy of WENN.

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144 Responses to “Emma Thompson: ‘You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time’”

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  1. Wanda says:

    My thoughts exactly Kaiser. If Gwyneth had said the exact same quotes of “If people can afford it” people would still be hating on her.

    I mean people already ridicule her Goop site for telling people to buy 20 dollar pencil sharpeners, but doesn’t Goop market itself towards rich people? Gwyneth never told the average person to go buy her stuff.

    Plus Emma’s whole “you cannot be a good mom and work all the time” implies that even if you want to stay home but you can’t for financial reasons, you’re not a good mom.

    But anyway, some celebs always get away with everything because they’re so likable in other aspects….see Jennifer Lawrence.

    • BangersandMash says:

      I don’t agree with her statement. I’m a child of a working mom, and my mom has been working since I was born, I’m now in my late 20s and I dont feel robbed in anyway of having the presence of a great mother.

      • bettyrose says:

        I was raised by a working mom who was a crazy stressed out nutcase, but I never blamed her job for that. She just wasn’t meant to be a mother. Financial independence is important for women and it’s good for children to see a healthy balance between home & work life.

      • wiffie says:

        I hate to admit, but I was in daycare from six Weeks old and I hated it. I always had a knot in my stomach and missed my mommy. BUT we wouldn’t have eaten dinner every night if she hadn’t worked, and she hated it too. I cannot blame her for making the hard, but best decision at the time.

        It makes me happy that i’m home with my daughter, but it’s because we can’t afford to have me work. With the cost of daycare, I’d only make a buck an hour or beak even, and if i’m going to come out the same financially VB I’d rather be the one with her all day.

        It’s not moms with money stay home, poor moms work. Sometimes staying home saves money.

      • bettyrose says:

        Wiffie – you make some excellent points, especially about very young children.

    • We Are All Made of Stars says:

      $20 dollar pencil sharpener? I must have missed that one since I stopped reading after her crappy lentil meatballs and the $269 dayglo orange plastic serving tray big enough for two glasses that she was selling last year.

    • megsie says:

      I’m the child of a working mom too. She worked part time when I was very young, full time when I was older. I don’t begrudge her this at all. She saw me off to school most mornings, and was usually home for dinner. She was present and accounted for in my life and I don’t feel I was neglected in any way. She wasn’t a movie star though. She didn’t film in far off countries, she wasn’t on set for 18 hour days, and she wasn’t away from home for months on end with promotional tours. In Emma’s world, “working” is a very different proposition than it is for most women. In fairness, she might tend to forget this as often as we do.

    • paranormalgirl says:

      I think she should have said “I cannot be a great mother and work all the time” or something of the sort. I love Emma Thompson, but she can have a bit of the foot in mouth disease.

    • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

      20 dollar pencil sharpeners exist?

    • Ani says:

      I think it sounds a bit rough the way she puts it but in my personal experience she is absolutely right. My mum worked from 9am to 9pm since I was a baby and until I left for university, that meant that I was raised and taken care of mostly by grandparents, neighbors, my brother and eventually no one, and I felt very lonely most days of my early life because I didn’t understand why other kids got to spend their afternoons at home having dinner made by their mum but I couldn’t. And in the end she did do the best she could, she was good as a provider, she loved us but by no means she did a good job as a mother, she didn’t have time for that.

  2. maria says:

    And what about the fathers?

    • Kiddo says:

      Maybe she doesn’t speak for fathers since she isn’t one.

      • maria says:

        yes or she thinks it’s the mothers job to take care of the kids.

      • Kiddo says:

        She said she wanted to spend that time with her family. That would seem to indicate that the husband took off as well. They can afford it.

      • kri says:

        These types of posts are a bit difficult for me as I do not have kids, so I can’t judge. My mum stayed home, and it was tight financially. Raising a family (single or two parent) is hard for everyone in some ways. All I can say is if you are a parent (single or partnered) you have my utmost respect for doing the hardest job in the world. As For Emma, have always liked her wit and charm, and her family looks happy and lovely.

    • Johanna says:

      Yes exactly. I don’t understand why people can’t use the word *parent* when saying stuff like this. I really thought Emma was more progressive than to attribute special weight to the word “mum”. Kids have first and foremost parents and those parents should share the responsibility. Also I don’t really agree with her statement as such. But maybe what she really meant was that you can’t be a good parent if you are away all the time (as in travelling for work and not seeing them at all for long stretches of time).

    • Original Lee says:

      This – why is it always the mothers who are shamed for working or not working? (Not that I’m necessarily saying Emma is doing this). Is there any controversy about fathers returning to work after the baby is born? I never seem to hear about whether fathers should stay home and raise the children or whether they should return to work. Is this because (at least in the US) there is maternity care, but no real paternity care?

      I think the few times I have heard about stay at home dads they were heralded as these above and beyond men. Almost like they were some mythological creature for staying at home with their children. It’s both insulting to stay at moms (who don’t seem to garner this type of praise) and also to the stay at home dads (wow! he can actually be a parent!).

      • Pepsi Presents...Coke says:

        We’re still in an age that calls men looking after their own children ‘babysitting’, which just makes everyone look stupid.

        I can’t remember where I read it because I don’t like Kevin Hart at all, but at some point last week he was engaging in that passive-aggressive ‘I just wish her the best, I’m all about positivity and I hate drama, I hope she finds peace’ Twitter stream bunk as a response to something his ex-wife said about the demise of their marriage. In one of the posts he mentioned that he goes ‘above and beyond’ the court-ordered requirements in relation to his parental presence, and I thought, what is it with these types of dudes who think they should get a Purple Heart for the courageous act of not abandoning their own children? Wow, Kevin, you’re such a hero, here’s five extra inches for your sacrifice, do with them what you will.

      • JessMa says:

        @Original Lee. Do you mean maternity leave. It is actually FMLA and can be taken by mothers and fathers. It is a minimum of 12 weeks. Your workplace can offer more time. I got six months and my husband had a two year option. With two kids back to back we were able to avoid daycare all together by stacking our leave.

  3. Kiddo says:

    I think there is a big difference between working all the time out of necessity and working all the time for vanity projects, and hiring help to avoid parental responsibility to indulge in said vanity projects.
    I think kids know the difference, at least eventually.

    • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

      Good point.

    • Erm says:

      This.

      • nnire says:

        totally agree. Emma has never been Goop-ish. i can’t help but believe that she meant this comment towards women such as herself who really can afford to take significant time off now and again to be at home because their work can be seasonal and they have enough money. i don’t think (or don’t want to believe, anyway) that she meant to shade all working women.

        and in her case, ‘working all the time’ usually includes being away from home, filming. there is a big difference with being away from your child for literally weeks at a time, and being away from your child for 8-12 hours at a time where you’re still usually in a position to do a bed tuck in or a school drop off.

    • bettyrose says:

      ^ This! Most kids will someday be working parents themselves. Working parents can model a good work/family balance their own children will respect. It might be different for wealthy parents who deliberately plan time away, I really wouldnt know.

    • Zimmer says:

      Agreed.

    • LadyAnne says:

      Absolutely.

    • Sabrine says:

      A year off? Whoop di doo. The child will miss you even more if you go back to work then. At least if they go to the sitter from a few months old, it’s all they know. I find this to be flawed logic. Both my sons went to daycare and they’re just fine. It was never a problem.

      • Ginger says:

        My son has mainly been cared for by family but there was a short time that he attended pre- school and during the Summers he’s in day camp. He is a lovely, well rounded individual and well cared for. I see no shame in working or having others look after him for short periods of time. I want my son to have different life experiences. I see his day camp experience as a chance to make new friends and meet new people to broaden his world view. It is not simply about my having to work.

    • claire says:

      Agreed. I don’t take offense to what she said. She’s speaking for herself and people of her wealth and work schedule. And let’s not forget, her work schedule means being out of town on location for weeks at a time – it’s not the same as a 9to5er, who is going to see their kids nightly.

      • ol cranky says:

        I think the “if you can afford it” caveat was her way of trying to avoid coming off as the out of touch rich person and the “really everyone should take a year off, most of us can’t afford that” reaction. Her intent seemed to be, at least to me, trying to indicate that she recommends it to anyone lucky enough to have the luxury to do so.

    • megsie says:

      Absolutely.

    • JJ says:

      I wouldn’t call actors work vanity. It’s their profession, just like everybody else has a job which is their profession. Just that actors, at least the famous ones make a lot of money from it. But at the same time actors quite often are not at home for months because their job takes them to a different country or far away from their families. I think it’s the lack of routine which makes it a bit more difficult for actors or people in the military or any other person who has to travel a lot, to be there for their kids.

    • eva k says:

      If you already have an amassed wealth of 30 million pounds, aren’t all projects “vanity projects”?

  4. Nighty says:

    Her comment was totally out of line… And one person can actually be a great mom and still work all the time… The most important aspect about being a great mom (not a mom here, but so many of my friends are) is loving your children and show them that…. There are many “moms” who take years off and still aren’t good moms… Let’s look at the rich-y who are more concerned about loosing weight than with their babies (they have the babysitters….)

    • Naye in VA says:

      Maybe we should break this into parts. “work all the time” is where I give her some slack. Her type of career requires that she be away from the kids for extended perios of time and basically leave her household to someone else. In that respect I can understand what she is saying. I work 40 hrs per week. I assume once I’m well into my carreer it would be about 60. Making what I make now I would not take up any extra regular work because I would lose valuable time with my daughter. Between sitting in traffic and going to school It’s not worth it not to have that time with her. But if I was making a much higher salary I wouldnt mind those extra 20 hrs a week because they allow for a different quality to the time that I have with my daughter, in us being able to go places outside of our town, or get involved in those costly childhood activities, that I can’t provide her with what i make now. But as far as the “great mom” part goes? To my daughter I’m ALWAYS a great mom, even when i’m not quite the mom that I want to be. That’s where Emma gets it wrong.

      • original kay says:

        It’s the line I have drawn. I refused to fall into the materialistic side of our society, where we work 20 extra hours so we can send our kids to costly childhood activities or out of town vacations.

        to what end? I work 60 hours a week so I can vacation in the Caribbean, but if my child is sick I need a sitter to take care because I have to work 60 hours a week to make my monthly nut and afford my lifestyle.

        no thanks.

        granted, we are different. we home school, are 1 income and we never vacation more than a night. we do free things at the library, like that.

        I’m not judging you, whatever you think is best for your kids is your business.

      • Naye in VA says:

        When I say costly child activities I don’t mean the high-brow kind, I mean like letting her take advantage of whatever sport or activity she want’s to do because I can afford it. I mean being able to ride rides at a stupid expensive amusement park all day long, and I do include out of town trips, not the kind that involve sitting by a beach but that involve getting to see my country at it’s best and most beautiful. Right now working pays my bills, and doesn’t allow me to do that sort of thing. At some point there is a concession that money buys different types of experiences. I didnt grow up rich but we were comfortable enough that I got to see more than just my small little world, something I think children, especially Black children need to experience in order to show them that they can be bigger than their environment. Nothing I listed was materialistic. I didnt say I want to make more money so i can deck my kid out in jewelry, I want to make more money so I can spend the time I have with her differently. i busted my ass at three jobs at one point to make ends meet, so yea if 20 extra hrs a week brings me $40k more a year I’m taking it, if only to give her every opportunity I had. And when my child is sick I ALWAYS take off.

      • original kay says:

        chill

        I said I wasn’t judging you, and I’m not. If I was I would say so.

        It was a good place for my comments about MY life and choices. yes, I was comparing to your post, but not you personally; rather, the trappings of my society that make it seem like material items and vacations are needed to make a happy life. I simply refuse to subscribe to that notion.

        Though I am curious why you felt the need to use “black” children. Weird comment to make. But never mind, I am sure you didn’t actually mean to be racist.

      • Naye in VA says:

        Ahh I always throw “black” in there, when I reference my life. Because I’m black lol. But I mentioned it because I was one of those kids who hung around at home after high school, so naturally I hung out with the perpetual townies (trouble trouble trouble)(townies is the nicest word I could think of). I learned that the townies tend to be perpetual because that’s all they know. There is no notion of there being a better life out there somewhere, only the bullshit they see on television. My parents did a good job of creating a balance where we valued experience over possession even when we had the means, and that’s all i intend to pass on to my daughter. sorry for the red-face moment, I was responding more to the “to what end” portion of your statement.

  5. Maxine7 says:

    I have no problem with what she said. I think the ideal would be if BOTH parents – both mom’s and dad’s could be at home with their children 24/7. So that’s the true ideal. We always talk about mother’s staying home, but a child having both parents around to raise them 24/7 – IDEAL. FANTASTIC! AMAZING!!!!!

    Ideal – but not realistic. So going back to the land of reality, someone usually has to work. So less ideal one parent (Mom or Dad works) another parent is home. Even less ideal is both parents working. But because this is not the ideal doesn’t mean people can’t make it work or that individuals can’t grow up to be perfectly amazing individuals. I know my mom was a professional as was my Dad and my Mom stopped working when I was born and started working again 18 years later the day after I went off to college. My Dad re-ordered his schedule to always be home by 6PM and always dropped me and my siblings off at school – with us so that was pretty close to ideal.

    But let’s not kid ourselves. YES it would be great if parents could be home with their kids all the time but not realistic so you have to do the best with the situation you have. She’s saying she didn’t have to work and wanted to spend time with her children. BRAVO! Some people like to work – good for them. Do their children suffer – I don’t know but having parents around if they can be around to raise children is . . .well . . . optimal for . . . well . . .. raising children.

    • melior says:

      I wonder about these situations where women can go back to work after 2, 5, 18 years … Where I live in France gaps in a CV need to be ‘explained’ to potential employers and the market is so competitive that leaves of absence of more than the granted 4 month maternity leaves are extremely penalizing (you are demoted or you won’t be able to find anything at all). I think all this talk about women balancing work and motherhood often belongs to the realm of wishful thinking. Society is still very judgemental towards working mothers and employers don’t generally care about accommodating work schedules or advancing women in their careers

      • SpookySpooks says:

        Maternity leave is just 4 months in France?

        You get 45 days prior the birth here, and then a full year. Three years for a third kid. Unemployed mothers also get a certain sum of money for at least six months.
        My country has one of the lowest fertility rates in the world, so the government tries to encourage people to procreate as much as they can.

      • melior says:

        Spooky, where is that? I may move there!

      • SpookySpooks says:

        Croatia.
        Don’t move, things aren’t as rosy, unemployment is quite high, but we have free health care ( really good health care, actually) a really good public school system, free university education and low street crime. If only we had more jobs :D
        We, as a nation tend to be very pessimistic and think that we have it bad, but when I read things like these ( or no maternity leave, like in the US), I realise that I’m actually quite lucky to live here.

      • We Are All Made of Stars says:

        Huh? I thought France was the place to be for working mothers? Don’t they hold your job for you for five years?

      • melior says:

        Actually, I wonder why people have this positive view of France when it comes to women rights. Maybe because they compare it to the US?

        There are of course public childcare facilities but more and more couples struggle to find a place in a ‘maternelle’.
        Maternity leaves go from 4 to 6 months depending on the number of kids you have. Women go under scrutiny at job interviews with employers wanting to know if they plan on starting a family ‘soon’ and I know more than one case of professional demotion when returning from a maternity leave.

      • Nighty says:

        in mine is also just 5 months… and that’s it… And afterwards, even when your kid’s sick there’s a limit to being able to stay home.. more than a month in the total year implies a cut in the salary during that leave… (here, when one is on leave for being sick or so receives the salary from social welfare, not the employer… )

      • Beregorl says:

        SpookySpooks:

        off
        I find it amazing how similar Croatia is to Hungary.

        * Free and relatively good health care? check
        * Good public school system? check
        * Free universities? check (Well, that changed in the last few years, but it’s still affordable. I got my law degree for free, now I’m paying for my postgrad degree.)
        * High unemployment rate? check
        * VERY low fertility rate? check
        * An incredibly pessimistic nation despite all the good things we have? check :)

        It seems the countries from this region of Europe (Poland, Czech Rebublic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and so on) share very similar experiences and have similar traits.

        ***

        In Hungary mothers get 3 years of maternity leave. And guess what’s the typical age gap between siblings in Hungary? Yes, between 2,5 and 3,5 years. So if you have two kids, you may stay at home for 6 years.
        But if you want to stay at home for a longer time, then you’ll also have to explain the gap in your CV to your future employer.

        But because of the length of the maternity leave employers are afraid to hire women who are between 25 and 35. And I can’t even blame them.

      • A.Key says:

        “It seems the countries from this region of Europe (Poland, Czech Rebublic, Slovakia, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Slovenia and so on) share very similar experiences and have similar traits.”

        LOL, you don’t say? Them all being neighbors and having shared history, culture and political circumstances for many centuries might have something to do with that ;)

      • Beregorl says:

        A.Key:

        That’s true, but being neighbours and sharing certain historical experiences, like being under the influence of the Soviet Union for decades doesn’t necessarily determine that the region is homogenous. These countries are very different in many aspects (religion, culture, work ethic, and so on… not to mention that we Hungarians with our crazy alien language are mostly surrounded by countries who speak Slavic languages :) ), not to mention that unfortunately one of our favourite free time activities is hating each other’s guts, but when it comes to free education, healthcare (+ the high tax rates to support them) and stuff: yep, similarities everywhere.

      • Lollipop says:

        @Beregorl – yeah, we are pretty similar, just one thing – ex-Xugoslav countries weren’t under the influence of the Soviet Union and had a much more open type of communism ever since the Tito-Stalin split.
        And I wouldn’t say we hate eachother’s guts, considering some wars ended less than 20 years ago, we’re doing amazingly.
        And Hungarian is crazy hard.

      • Lollipop says:

        My mom’s from Croatia so I know. I’m actually jelous of my cousin who has maternity leave because I will get none here in the Us.

      • Beregorl says:

        Lollipop:
        I stand corrected. Thanks!

      • A.Key says:

        Actually I was thinking about the Austro-Hungarian Empire more, less Yugoslavia. And of course the region isn’t homogeneous, but it’s very intertwined in many ways, historically, culturally and geographically. There’s bound to be many similarities, it’s logical.

  6. Nya says:

    UGH EMMA. Anyone can be a good mother if they love their children. It doesn’t matter how much or how little you work.

  7. Luca26 says:

    Disappointing that she would spout out this B.S.
    Some working women are better mothers BECAUSE they get to do something they are passionate about not just for economic reasons and that is a great role model for their kids especially their daughters. Some women are able to be home financially and able to give their best to their kids which is a beautiful thing. Most women fall short of those ideals which is OK. Oh and fathers are just as important as Moms.

  8. GoodNamesAllTaken says:

    I think it was an unfair comment. Maybe she felt that worked for her, but you can’t generalize that way. My sister had to work all the time her children were growing up. Her husband died when her children were very young. She was an excellent mother, and raised two of the finest people I know. Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you’re a good mother. It doesn’t mean you’re not, either. Things just aren’t that simple.

    • Kiddo says:

      I like Emma, but I think that she pulled a Paltrow and made a comment specifically relating to other privileged actresses who really have the option of setting time aside for their kids.

      • Hiddles forever says:

        She definitively pulled a Paltrow here. How disappointing!
        She sounds as out-of-touch as Goop here.

      • maichan says:

        I rather think, personally, that when she said “if they can afford it” kind of made this easier to take (for me, anyway.. I can’t afford it. But hey, if you can, great) I’d imagine if Paltrow were to say the same sentence she would opt for something along the more judgey line of “every good parents should do what I do and only work two hours every day and take holidays with the children once a week”. Now that would make me want to throw something at her…

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        No the “if they can afford it” doesn’t make it better, it makes it worse for me.
        The implication there is that if they can’t afford it due to economic circumstance then they are somehow automatically a bad parent (I mean, according to her).

        Also women shouldn’t feel ashamed or like they’re failing at motherhood because they choose to have a job while raising kids, even if they CAN afford to not work.

      • Kiddo says:

        O’Kitt, that’s where I may take some bit of exception. I have no problem with people working: fulfilling themselves with careers or working to make ends meet.

        But people who spend NO time with their children, have others hired to do all the duties, but have the ability and wealth to spend more time, are acting more like sponsors than parents. And perhaps those people would have made a more judicious decision not to become “parents”.

        Let’s face it, if you never showed up to work, you aren’t a good worker by sending a substitute in your place ( I’m not talking about delegation and chain of command).

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        How many parents really fit your description here? Sounds like you’re describing the 1% and even then, there’s no guarantee that the nanny doesn’t do a better job of raising that kid than the parents would. Just because a person has the money, time and endless resources to raise a kid does not guarantee that they’ll be a good parent.

        People have children for a variety of different reasons, not always with ideal, loving, or pure motivations. Personally, I don’t GAF how people choose to delegate their time between raising kids or having the help do most of the work.
        I just see that as their business, really.

      • Kiddo says:

        @TheOriginalKitten. I get what you are saying, there are no guarantees in life, period. But people should make decisions with the hypothetical consideration of others, meaning those under their charge. I think some people are more interested in passing on genetics, having heirs and the continuation of namesake rather than being parents, and to me, that is a pretty shitty reason to bring a new person into the world. And we know that it isn’t always entirely their business, because eventually whatever offspring they unleash upon the world will have an impact on everyone else. Not to mention that it can be horribly unfair to the kids in the first place.

      • TheOriginalKitten says:

        Yes I think we all agree on that–but again, you’re speaking in ideal terms. Of course, the preferable scenario is that considerate, emotionally-equipped, loving people bring kids into the world because they genuinely WANT to be parents, but that’s simply not reality.

        “there are no guarantees in life, period.”

        …and that’s exactly my point: there are no guarantees in life, period. Just because a parent is not present, does not mean that their offspring won’t grow up to be amazing people that DO contribute to the world.

        It starts to get silly when we impose our own often-limited perception of “optimal parenting” on other people, especially when you consider the myriad of complexities and variables that dictate the development of a child into an adult.
        I mean, a 16-year-old could have a baby and drop out of high school so she can be with that child all day long. So we could agree that that’s a “hands-on” parenting style, yet is that better for the child or even better for society as a whole?
        If a woman is a brilliant scientist, who is very successful financially yet wants to have a child, should she be forced to stay at home with the kid all day and stop contributing what could be valuable research for the betterment of society? Personally, I’m ok with her working and having the nanny tend to her kid.

        What about African tribal societies that share the responsibility of child-rearing with others? Exposure to different people shows children different ways of thinking and doing things. True, this is not the equivalent of a rich woman who would rather work than raise her child, but I still stand by the idea that just because it’s not The Perfect Parenting Circumstances does not automatically mean that the child is doomed and I think it’s a mistake to assume so.

  9. mkyarwood says:

    My mom is around Emma’s age and this is a sentiment she shares. I think they were sold this ‘have it all’ concept when, in reality, it’s just not possible. She’s kind of flawed in her babble, though. Motherhood IS a full time a job, but like careers it can change and evolve over time. As the Dowager Countess says, ‘There is more than one type of good mother.’ I object to the ‘just a mom’ thing. I’d like there to be a mass draft of dads to do the stay at home thing for a year — that’d change opinions in a hurry.

    • SpookySpooks says:

      Why wouldn’t it be possible? I can’t see why women like Emma or Cate Blanchett say that “they can’t have it all” when they have amazing careers, seem to be great mothers, etc. What more is there?

      And why doesn’t anyone ever say that fatherhood is a full time job?

      • GoodNamesAllTaken says:

        I think you can’t do it all perfectly. Sometimes your job suffers, sometimes you miss the school play. But I thing you can do it so the you’re good at your job, and an excellent parent. My sister did.

        Agree about fatherhood. Both of my brothers made parenting a priority and are very good parents, but I think our society still places most of the burden or responsibility on the mother, in spite of how unrealistic that has become. Silly.

      • mkyarwood says:

        I imagine it has to do with wanting to be fully involved in your kids’ upbringing/lives, but still wanting to pursue a career and in the end feeling like there are not enough hours in the day. Also, they may seem to the outside world to be great mothers and not totally feel that way. Mom guilt is a strong cultural power. My mom told me recently that she used to drop us off at school some days, after particularly trying times at work or in her and my dad’s relationship and just cry all the way to her destination because nothing seemed to be getting her full effort, but she still felt totally drained.

      • Eleonor says:

        I think nobody can be a perfect parent, people make mistakes, and parenting is so difficult: sometimes people who have amazing loving parents turn out a total mess; other ones who have crappy parents turn out decent and solid persons.
        I will take a working mum over one who stays at home and is unhappy because she is not working.

      • Birdix says:

        People say that less about fathers because of stereotypes f women as being more nurturing, and because in general, men make more money, so if one person is continuing to work, it’ll often be the man. It’s changing, but glacially.My hope is that as women ascend to power, they will make changes that make it easier for women to stay at work with a small child, or return to work after a break, or support their partner in staying home.

      • Kiddo says:

        It is a cultural phenomenon, but we can’t dismiss biology entirely. In most, not all species, the mother parent does spend the most time nurturing the offspring, particularly in mammals. I would theorize that being the incubator for that being does create a bond that can’t be matched (barring bad mothers in all species). In fact, rather than a detriment there is also an inherent power in the ability to directly create life. Outside of IVF or surrogacy, females know the babies belong to them, males might/can always have the insecurity that they may not belong to them.

      • stacat says:

        my mother has always expressed the same sentiment to me and she worked all my life. Now as a working mom myself- I totally get that feeling–you cannot have it all. You can’t be all things to all people.

        The part where she says “if you can afford it” is what differentiates her a great deal from GOOP. emma does seem to realize how lucky she is. Goop never really acknowledges that she has help or can afford to just be a mum. That is the difference for me. Goop said there “is no excuse” for women to not work out. I don’t think she is considering moms who work 2+ jobs and literally barely have time to sleep. It’s the lack of consideration of the realities of the 99% that is lacking with her statements, imo.

        Stay at home or working moms/dads…NO SUCH THING as the perfect parent. You just do the best you can with what you have.

      • Ronia says:

        @Kiddo

        I absolutely agree. There is a bond not to be matched. I, for one, dislike this attempt to equalize mothers and fathers. To me there is a difference. Judging by my own motherhood, the way I felt each pain, each cry of my children, was physical, literally. It could never be felt that way by my husband and he is a good parent. He just doesn’t feel it. My children say “I recognize that aroma of the skin, mom” when they cuddle, I think it’s a bond formed in the uterus, it’s a pure instinct and this is why it’s in nature too, because nature is built on basic and most solid instincts without any “modern” attempts. I am very traditional in this. I still remember my mother’s aroma and the feeling of it. Always will.

  10. Vera says:

    Emma is one of my favorite actresses and all, but her statement was just as clueless as Goops.

  11. SpookySpooks says:

    My mum worked all the time and was the best mum ever. Thankfully, working hours are 7-3 here, so she was home the entire afternoon. When I was a kid, I was incredibly proud that she’s working.

    I like Emma, her over-the-top personality is a bit much for me at times, but she shouldn’t make such generalizations.

    • Lollipop says:

      Both of my parents worked and they were amazing. I had a very happy childhood.

      I don’t like Emma. I don’t like her over the top quirky English lady persona, nor her constant need to be the center of attention. She’s like an older, albeit smarter and more talented JLaw.

  12. M. says:

    I don’t know. I’m a latchkey kid of a criminal lawyer single mom. Great person, sh*t mum. Three hours between coming home from work and my sleep-time isn’t enough. Her working schedule combined with her personal issues, which we all have, contributed in a childhood in which I grew up alone. I’ve remained a somewhat reclusive person with dysfunctional relationships, because 1) I don’t know how to bond and 2) I don’t even feel a need for closeness.

    Mum’s my best friend these days, but even for all her flaws, if she simply had had the time for me, I would’ve turned out to be different. I’m happy in my isolation though I understand that I’ll always teeter on the line of extreme poverty because I can’t bring myself to build connections and interact and acknowledge superiors, but I keep wondering: what if mum had had time for me?

    Children don’t live out of love and air. They need a hands-on approach, guidance, boundaries. I did not become miraculously happy and good at life, because my mother, despite her absentee status, loved and loves me to bits and is only now when I’m in my early 20s finding time to school me when I need it. I am depressed, reclusive and utterly ill-equipped to deal with life that involves more than me, solitude, and my cat. Don’t kid yourself, people. Love is not enough.

    • Eleonor says:

      I grew up with the opposite person: stay at home mum I was nearly suffocated by her. I had to fight the hell out to cut some bonds, and I turned out very insecure.
      I’ve always asked myself “what if she had something else outside the family” ?
      On the other side I could never be a housewife, I go crazy if I have to stay at home. I am not a career person, but simply I like to work.
      I think there can be a good compromise between these two excesses.

      • SpookySpooks says:

        I couldn’t be a stay at home mother either. Having a career was something I always thought I’ll have, I would be disappointed if it wouldn’t happen. Not to mention how disappointed my family, especially my mother would be if I would choose to stay at home.

    • melior says:

      M, i’m no expert but it kind of seems you’re placing all the blame for what you perceive as your failure to relate to others on your mother. Sometimes a personality type is just a personality type (even though an external factor can aggravate it, of course). Maybe you’re being reclusive is not all about your mother and now that you’re an adult I’m sure you can take steps to change the things about yourself that you think might need changing

      • Shannon1972 says:

        I really hope my kids don’t blame me for how their lives turn out when they are adults. I’d like to believe that the vast majority of parents do their best and have good intentions. My mom was a full time mom, but wasn’t particularly hands on with us. We had to fend for ourselves. I resented her a lot for it, for years. My parenting style is much more hands on, but unfortunately, there is no handbook on raising kids. We fumble along and do what we think is best at the time. I’ve screwed up many times, but I own it and try to learn from my (many) mistakes. I can admit when I am wrong.

        Turns out, my mom’s mother smothered her, so she thought that giving us freedom was a better way of parenting. Her intentions were good – she wanted her daughters to become independent and self-sufficient (which we are). She never had that chance. My point is, it’s not productive to blame your mother for what you perceive as your shortcomings, or the things in life that you find unsatisfying. Perhaps therapy would be helpful to you…I know it helped me to see my strengths, rather than what I saw as her maternal weaknesses.

        Edit : sorry melior, this was for Eleanor and Spooky Spooks.

    • Eleonor says:

      @Shannoon1972: I know my mum did all her best, and I don’t blame her. Probably I did not explain well: she was too present, and I really had to fight with her and all the “no you can’t do this, let me do it for you” attitude, which for me meant “you can’t do this”. I’ve managed to overcome most of my insecurities, but it was tough.

    • mayamae says:

      @M., I’m not going to chew you out for stating how you feel. I’m sure you know better than anyone why you are the way you are. I am concerned that you state you’re “happy in my isolation”, but then state you’re depressed. It sounds like you’re a little ambivalent about your situation, rather than accepting of it.

      I have tendencies to isolate myself, and I’ve learned that the more you give into it, the harder it is to fight the impulse. I have found that while the need for human interaction is not enough to overcome my isolation, committing myself to an animal rescue, and knowing the animals depend on me, is enough.

      Knowing why you have these tendencies is huge – but don’t just accept the consequences. You now are 100% accountable for your actions, but that also means that you are the only person standing in your way. If you feel you are depressed and aren’t currently getting treatment – please seek out anti-depressants and therapy. If your mother acknowledges her part in your situation (or doesn’t), work on forgiving her.

      Please don’t simply accept your fate. It will only get worse. Fight for yourself – you are worth it. Good luck and best wishes.

  13. Gwen says:

    This makes me sad as I tend to think of Emma as flawless :( It’s quite a Goop-y statement. Not one I would have expected from Emma at all.

  14. TheOriginalPuppy says:

    I’ve always worked permanent part-time primarily because I’m too lazy to work full time, but I tell people I work permanent part time to spend more time with my kids because it makes me look good. :)

  15. kyzmet says:

    I do not think Emma is being pretentious, I share the same sentiments ..I like to pick up my kid and spend time with her. I am crap at housework but I work casually and bring a bit in for the household as well. I am very lucky, but also….no overseas holidays for the last 12 years, no obsessive beauty appointments, and we live in a modest home. If you are fortunate enough to live in a two income household, you choose what you sacrifice when earning less. I think she has proved herself to be a cool lady, I will take her at face value.

  16. eribra says:

    I would love to stay home but can’t afford it. I’m the best working mom I can be but I think I would be a better one if I was able to stay at home.that’s why I don’t shade Kate, cause if I was rich I would stay at home and do nothing but be a mom.

    • TheOriginalPuppy says:

      Like Pete Sampras. All he does is work out and hang out with his family. What a life that would be.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        Lol…I’m a full time mom and I WISH my life was just working out and hanging out with my family.
        Must be nice to have that kind of free time. :)

  17. bammer says:

    Well. I don’t think she was trying to shade anyone. I honestly don’t think you can be a workaholic and be present for your kids. That goes for men and women. I think she was referring more towards wealthy people who really don’t have to work at all hours.

  18. Ellen says:

    I wish she hadn’t said it. And what she describes sounds less like at-home parenting than a really lovely long vacation. Teach a bit of drama, cook, hang out at home — those are things she did for herself. It was a nice side-effect that she was also more relaxed and “present” for her kids.

    Not exactly on point, but I had an aunt who went back to work after six weeks’ maternity with both of her kids, and she quit her job when they hit middle school. She thought that teens would benefit more from an at-home parent than little kids, because they needed more supervision, the scheduling hassles were more intense, and also she wanted to be around and alert during the increasingly-rare times when they wanted to open up. She went back to school when they graduated and got a job in a different field. She thought she was a great mom when she worked and a great mom when she didn’t.

    • TheOriginalKitten says:

      Exactly to your first paragraph–that annoyed me as well. She made being a mother sound like a cakewalk, framing it as her “birthday present” to herself, as if taking a year off to be a mother is a fun vacation but acting and the like is tough work.

      I don’t wanna harp on her too hard because I like her and I think she means well but these statements were loaded with elitism and judginess.

      • Suze says:

        Exactly. Lovely that she could take a year vacation and be fully present for her family, however, that’s not the norm for most families. Even if you are not working outside the home, there’s housework, grocery shopping, yard work, shoveling, bill paying, budgeting, and general schlepping. It’s no vacation and there are still competing demands on your time.

        Celebrities would do themselves a favor by prefacing these statements with “I” or “In my situation” to keep themselves out of situations they know nothing about.

      • Shannon1972 says:

        +1. Perfectly put, TOK.

    • L says:

      THIS. I get that people want to bend over backwards for Emma because people like her-but it all came off as very entitled. “Oh I highly recommend taking a year off to cook and hang out at home, it will make you such a better parent dahhhllling”

      Mothers/fathers throughout the world and history have worked while having children. (with the exception of some of the elite) Some were great parents, some weren’t-but being a good parent is more than about clocking in X number of hours with your kid, but the quality of the time that you spend.

      • I Choose Me says:

        Agree with both you and Kitten. I love her but she does not get a pass from me on this.

        Look, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I don’t expect people to qualify their statements all the time but even if she had said imo, she still comes off as judgy and a bit out of touch.

  19. Hannah says:

    I disagree. Gwyneth wouldn’t have said if you can afford it. It’s a normal enough statement. If you can afford it stay at home for a bit. People seem to have forgotten that being a mum is a job too so why not give it 100% every now and then if you can afford to.

  20. aenflex says:

    Ahh, which is exactly why when my baby is born, I’m quitting my job and staying home for a year! I’m lucky enough to be able to do so, and I’m so grateful for it. Selfish as it is, I’m looking forward to not sitting in an office any longer almost as much as I am looking forward to our child joining us.

  21. KodochiiR says:

    “I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it.” and I agree with her. She’s not telling ALL mothers to do this, just the ones who are lucky to afford it.

  22. Sarah says:

    Kaiser please – PLEASE – on behalf of adoptive families everywhere……”she considers herself his mother because they adopted him…..” She IS his mother. She is not his “adoptive mother.” She is his mother. Period. Families don’t put those qualifications on their children and it isn’t helpful when others do.

    Regarding your question – yes it was judgy mother stuff and if GOOP said it we would be all over her. I expect better from Emma.

  23. Chiara says:

    the awful true is that all this debate work vs. motherhood is based on the assumption that fatherhood hasn’t the same responsibilities as motherhood. THis is true to any economic class: working class or rich, is always supposed to be the woman that spends more time with the children. Why nobody asks male actors if fatherhood was challenging for their careers? if they had to do painful choices? if they considered lesser fathers for raising their kids by nannies? no, it’s always the women.

  24. Cartwright says:

    is it possible that “”working all the time” means beeing away from home for long periods of time quite often, or working 16 hours a day, or working every weekend? in my opinion it makes you not a bad, but nonexisting parent.
    working like that you can be provider for your children, and that’s it.
    but if you can work normal hours and spend time with your children on your off days, that shouldn’t be a problem. here where i live, working moms are quite normal and i am working mom myself so i know firsthand that it is quite possible.
    From Emma’s perspective working all the time probably means something like doing a play in new york and beeing away from home six months.

  25. nicegirl says:

    This is difficult for me to weigh-in on, because I am a mother, I do not work ‘all the time’, and yet – still feel as if, for the most part – that I am NOT a ‘great’ mom. I am not sure if other mothers feel this as profoundly as I do, but geesh, it is super difficult for me to consider my mothering anywhere in the realm of ‘great’. Usually I feel like a total failure. (Although my kids are WONDERFUL). I thought that was normal?

  26. PerfectDate says:

    I took it more like she is giving permission for moms of older kids (14+) to put a pause on their career and be more involved with their kids. The common perception is that once your kids are in school full-time (K-12 in the US), then what does a mom have to do all day since they’re gone? She took time to volunteer at her older daughter’s school, and while that might not work for all families with teenagers (Mom don’t come anywhere near my school! lol), I admire her for giving back. You may think “volunteering” means you just show up for an hour, easy, but a lot more could have gone into it, preparing things, directing things, etc.
    Sometimes it’s when your kids get to be teenagers that they need you the most, not that they would admit it!

  27. Sherry says:

    I’m a single mom working two jobs with the odd morning and day off. I won’t know if I’ve succeeded a s good mother until my son is an adult with responsibilities he’s taking care of. So Emma is out of line and talking out of turn…. But can we talk about her hubby Greg Wise? Man is fine, fine, fine, and he dresses so well. Sigh…. lucky lucky Emma.

  28. AmyLynne says:

    I read this article this morning over breakfast which I ate after getting up at 5 because that’s the only chance I have to work out- then it’s work and baseball games. It made me feel like crap. I work full-time and I have four little kids. I do the best I can but I instantly felt like a terrible mother for working. I would have dismissed it from someone else but I love Emma. Ouch. I don’t know exactly what she meant but it sure sounds like she meant- you shouldn’t work and should just fulltime be available for your totally old kids.

  29. CrysMeth says:

    Just stop with the good/bad mom crap. It’s not a competition. Unless kids are completely neglected and abused, it is not up to anyone to determine who is a “good mom.” Every mother (and father) struggles to be the best mom they can, and it’s stupid to label people a bad mom. Do you understand how deep that cuts? Any parent always has their child’s best interest at heart, and will do anything they can to afford a great and better life for their child. I am so sick of this stupid judgment that is so freely thrown around. Say anything else, but it should be off-limits to say “bad mom.”

  30. Cupcake says:

    You’re always going to ruffle some feathers when you assert a strong opinion. I think she’s right! Full-time jobs are usually way over 40 hours and often involve long commutes! Kids need parents as much as makes sense! Sounds like she did a wonderful thing for her family for a year :-)

  31. MSat says:

    I didn’t get that at all from this. I read it to mean that Emma herself felt like she wasn’t being the best mother she wanted to be and was in a position to be able to put work on hold for a while so she could fill that need.

  32. lisa2 says:

    I have worked with children most of my life.. that they want is a parent to be present when they are with them. They want parents that show them love and care.

    My mother worked my whole life. But when she was home she was all about her children. She played with us. Did family things with us; put us first. She didn’t spend hours on the phone or going out with her friends. She and my father made sure we got to be just kids. If they were stressed about bills we never knew. If money was short we didn’t.

    mothers/fathers have to work. Children understand that. Just be there with your children and be present in their lives when you are with them

    that’s all they really want.. .

  33. lisa2 says:

    I have worked with children most of my life.. that they want is a parent to be present when they are with them. They want parents that show them love and care.

    My mother worked my whole life. But when she was home she was all about her children. She played with us. Did family things with us; put us first. She didn’t spend hours on the phone or going out with her friends. She and my father made sure we got to be just kids. If they were stressed about bills we never knew. If money was short we didn’t.

    mothers/fathers have to work. Children understand that. Just be there with your children and be present in their lives when you are with them. Even not as an adult.. I remember the TIME my parents spent with us; even if it was when they came home from work.

    that’s all they really want.. .

  34. feebee says:

    C’mon Emma, you’re old enough to know about the land mines in this topic field.

    I want it to be a topic that can be rationally discussed but there are so many differentials (if that’s the right word) that there’s no right or wrong. We just need to support each other. Whether you’re a mum or a young woman starting your career… (if you’re a late 30s+ who has a successful career and chosen not to have kids then you’re on your own :) except of course if someone’s giving you s^^t about the kids thing then hey, I’ll help you out).

  35. Manjit says:

    I think its important to know that in the UK certain media outlets (e.g. Daily Mail) have been campaigning to encourage women and men NOT to take their full government approved maternity/paternity leave in order to “help the economy”. It’s a nasty campaign to guilt people into returning to work before they need to after the birth or adoption of a child. I read Emma’s comments with this in mind and feel (imho) that she’s quietly letting (mostly) mothers know that it’s okay to take what they are entitled to.

  36. ycnan says:

    People are allowed to comment on their own circumstances. She is speaking about her life.

    I agree with her. If you are mega rich and don’t need the money then I think it’s the right thing to do to have a parent stay at home with the kids. Most people can’t afford it and that is a whole other topic of discussion.

  37. Andrea says:

    This disappoints me, because I love Emma, and always imagined her to be too wise and fulfilled in her own life to make comments like this.

    It’s not even so much that it offends me (though I do find it surprising when extremely privileged women seem to think the rest of us have the option to “take a year off,” or not work at all, and still be able to pay the mortgage, tuition, bills, etc.). It’s that, whenever I hear a woman comparing herself to other women like this, it makes me think she must be deeply insecure and dissatisfied with herself in some way.

    Why do so many women feel the need to opine on something so very, very personal? If something is important and meaningful to you — great! But why is it necessary to preach about it to the rest of us, as if we’ve never given it a second thought or don’t already feel torn in a million different directions. Meddling statements like this are the reason many women can’t stand their mothers in law…

  38. lambchops says:

    No, she’s not fanning the flames, you are by posting this as something super controversial so you can get page hits and watch women start throwing mud at each other parsing words to death. She says, ‘working all the time,’ not ‘working.’ That is not controversial. How can you be a good parent, if you work ALL the time? How can you have good friendships if you work ALL the time? It’s impossible.

    • lunchcoma says:

      She’s saying it in the context of taking a year off, something that almost no parent or friend can do.

      I also suspect that there are some people from families that really struggled financially who have what they feel was a good parent who worked all the time in order to keep the family afloat.

  39. lunchcoma says:

    Oh, Emma. I like you, but that’s lousy phrasing. Parenting choices are one of those areas where it’s generally a good idea to stick an “I” in the sentence so it’s just about you.

  40. paranormalgirl says:

    I think she fell prey to the dastardly “you.” So many people use “you” when they should be using “I.”

    • lunchcoma says:

      Yes! The first person you is overused, and it’s a great way for people to get themselves in trouble – and not just celebrities giving interviews.

  41. JenniferJustice says:

    As soon as I read the title, I knew Emma would get massive grief over her quotes. Sometimes celebs don’t think to say “if they can…” and that simple addition can make or break people’s perception of them. I don’t think she’s saying everybody should do it the way she did or they suck. She was asked why she did what she did and she basically said because it’s what she thinks is best. Most of us probably would stay home with our kids if we were rich and could do it, but it’s not an option for many. That doesn’t mean she’s saying you suck because you worked or because you had to work.

  42. janie says:

    Children want their parents. It seems to me like it is taboo to say this, but you can’t have it all. When I was home with my kid, my career took a hit. When I was at work, my kid suffered. It is like anything else, the more time you put in, the more benefits you reap, both with a job and with your kids. There are no shortcuts either way. But you can’t have kids and not expect your life to change, male or female.

  43. siri says:

    My mother was a working mom, so was I. But I guess Emma was talking about HER profession, and the extended travel involved- just she shouldn’t generalize then. Sometimes, she comes over a bit lecturing, but this is such an individual choice, and not always depending on one’s will entirely. Being a good mother doesn’t really depend on the amount of time you spend with the kids, but HOW you spend it.

  44. LaurieH says:

    Oh boy. Well, it is a rather blanket statement and with enough caveats and astericks and commas, I could probably believe it. So much more goes into being a “great mum” than staying at home. It is true that the greatest gift we can give our children is our time and that if we limit that time with work or anything else, we’re doing them a disservice. Unless, of course, that time is not quality time. And we can’t ignore the fact that MOST women with children do not work out of desire, but rather need, so there is nothing productive in making those women feel worse about a situation they may already feel guilty enough. People can only do the best they can do. And certainly, women who can afford not to work can still find fulfilling things to do that don’t place such constant demands on their time, but again – such women are the minority. It is impossible for to pass blanket judgment on this. I know working mothers who spent quality time with their children and foster healthy family relationships (though admitedly they are exhausted). Likewise, I know women of leisure who can spend all sorts of time with their kids, but instead farm their care out to nannies and extracuricular activities so they had more time for lunches and shopping. For women, it had always been and will always be a difficult balancing act.

  45. A.Key says:

    This woman has always annoyed me to no end. She’s a good actress, yet I can’t quite put my finger on what it is exactly that irritates me so much about her.

  46. joan says:

    Well, what does “work all the time” mean? She may be thinking of herself having to travel and be on location for weeks at a time.

    Working 9-5 isn’t “all the time” — you may be gone when the kids are at school — but if you’re working 40+/week and your kids come home to an empty house and no one caring for them, that’s different.

    But let’s all argue without specifying our terms, right?

  47. Hautie says:

    I took her comment more as she just felt that “she” realize that she could not be the Mother she wanted to be… working all the time. Missing fun and important moments of her children. Yet, realizing she had the income and means to do it. I see her more just yacking away about her own personal experience. And I don’t care she said it. I hope she had a nice year off.

    If I had the choice of having saw my Mother more as a child, over all her time dedicated to her medical career. I would like to have had her home more. Period.

    But it is nice to see, that all the judgy girls came out screaming about the comment. Kudos! Never stop being you.

    Seriously, all I can really take from this entire post, is that she married Willoby! Geez, I loved that movie. And her poor husband is always going to be Willoby to me.

  48. ann says:

    Working part time gives everyone best of both worlds.

  49. Emily C. says:

    She is completely wrong and also sexist and also classist. Blech.

    I mean, unless she means a Cat’s in the Cradle type thing, that you can’t be a workaholic and be a great PARENT, period. But that’s not what she said. And so I no longer love her.

  50. Marianne says:

    I like Emma, but Oh My God shut up. I mean, sure its probably easy for Emma to not work all the time because she makes millions of dollars for 1 movie. She can afford to take more time off. Not everyone is blessed that way. There are plenty of mothers that have to work full time hours or several jobs to put food on the table. It doesn’t mean they aren’t good moms. Besides, you can be a mom that is available 24/7 and that doesn’t mean they’re great.

  51. Ginger says:

    I love you Emma but I can only afford to take about 2 weeks off every year and I’m very blessed to be able to do that. Do most Europeans still get six weeks off every year? Or is that a thing of the past? I know without a doubt that I am the very best Mom that I can be to my son. There is sometimes (and I stress SOMETIMES) the ability for families to allow a parent to stay home (usually the Mom but not always…it may be Dad or even Grandparents) and that certainly helps but don’t discount the Moms that enjoy working or in my case, I’m the main breadwinner. That may change later on if my hubby and I are fortunate after he completes his degree. Emma is a smart lady so I can’t give her a pass here. She knows that plenty of families HAVE to work no matter what.

  52. Sarah says:

    i dont understand the fuss. she said very cleary “if you work ALL the time” which is obviously right, if you dont see your children how can you be a good parent? then she added “if you can afford it” which says that she is aware that lots of people HAVE to work, some even two jobs, to support their family.

    she is talking about the women who work 80 + hours each week, with no weekend and no time for dinner together. or actors like her who travel all around the world, shooting a couple of months, then promotion a couple of weeks. no time for the kids at all. that cannot be good parenting and quite frankly i dont get why people like that even have childeren. if you never see them why do you have them?

    what annoys me so much is that women seem to be made into 1950s males. how about women work a little more and men work a little less and everybody wins? women are financially more independet and fathers actually get to see their kids. contrary to media portraying men as not wanting to be involved there are so many fathers who WISH to spent more time with their children but cant.
    it is not only a male problem, but a female too. if you want your men to provide and earn more he will be away for longer periods of time.

    the pressure should be on men to work less and not make the job their only identity and the pressure should be on women to not make a high salary such an important box on their dating list.

    • Suze says:

      If she had just said “I”, or “women in my situation” – which is what I think she meant, none of this would be an issue.

      • Ducky La Rue says:

        It would be still be an issue. She had quite a number of caveats, and people are still parsing them to pieces and finding them lacking. In fact, I would like to see the legalistic, weasel-word statement that would actually make everyone happy.

        Some people seem to see her statement as judgey, and yet we all weigh in with our own judgements. We are all pots and kettles, and we’re all black!

        (Disclaimer: This is the belief of me, a woman in my particular situation of having no children, and my comment here does not necessarily endorse any particular opinion or not.) ;)

      • Suze says:

        I still maintain that if she had simply said, “I can’t be a great mum if I’m working all the time” things would have played out differently.

  53. Aqua says:

    So does that statement also apply to dads.

  54. Little M says:

    I just want to share something. Both my parents worked full time and still managed to be very involved in our lives.

    Then, when I was 9, my mother had to take a 3 months sick leave because she burnt her hands and her face. I can say those were the happiest months of my childhood. Even my brother, who usually does not remember anything, remembers those 3 amazing months we had with mom.

    The same with my dad. We got to really know him as a dad when he retired. We love him even more now than when he was working.

    I guess I think Emma is right. The problem is working moms and dad cannot really afford it, at least not here in Spain.

  55. Amy says:

    I’ve always thought of my family as an unusual example of two full time working parents. We had nannies when I was young but after some bad experiences (something to do with the last one getting arrested for having a gun in her car and never showing up to pick up me and my sister one day after school leaving us stranded for hours) my parents refused to hire nannies since they all lost all trust in anyone caring for us after that. They made it work with their crazy full time schedules which included car pool with an insane family (oh the stories I could tell of those years!). It was not easy and my sister and I did not enjoy the carpool at all (the mom of the other family was very strange) but we never felt like we were neglected or unloved. All these years later I still don’t know how they managed it!! It seems so exhausting from my point of view!

  56. Travis says:

    All other opinions aside I have to say that her husband is a fox.

  57. Mia says:

    That’s so untrue! I have a 3 year old son and I’m a working mother same goes for my husband I have stayed home with him for the last 3 years of his life and it was all worth it! My sons not robbed of anything he has a amazing life with two parents who live him more then anything that statement is BS cause I good mother a very hard working mother who wants nothing but the best for my son people are so dumb! Not everyone world is peaches and fairy tales real world here wake up people have to work how else are your children gonna go to college? So annoying to say working moms aren’t good moms what a joke! Anyways I’m a good mommy let alone a damn good mommy at that and everything I do is for my son to better his life! Just like 1000000% of us working mothers out there