I’m a real mom. And I’d take a stab that you’re a real mom, too. Like many of you I have a full-time job that I love, a family that I adore, and a laundry list of obligations that vary from the actual laundry to charitable work and everything in between. In the midst of all that, I’m conscious about my health, do my best to workout regularly, keep my daughter active and entertained, and give my husband a full eye-contact hello on a semi-regular basis. Oh, and I make dinner most nights. It’s a lot to balance.
Do I have more or less to balance than all of those Hollywood moms we all admire from a very far off distance? These days, more and more of them try to at least paint a picture of themselves in a normal mom light. Jennifer Garner and Alison Sweeney seem to have that down between movie sets and book deals, but Beyonce and Sarah Jessica Parker seem to be more on the celebri-mom wavelength. And Jenna Fischer, star of The Office, is making sure everyone knows she’s a normal mom, too.
The drop-dead gorgeous actress told People that “I think there’s the perception that every [famous] woman has a driver and a chef and a personal trainer and a nanny.” And she’d be right, but she’s trying to correct that stigma. “I don’t have any of those things. Like other working moms, I’m trying to figure out how to balance it all.” In fact, in the November 2011 issue of SHAPE Magazine, she brags about how she ditched her trainer and got her enviable body all on her own.
Like many of us normal moms, she told People that she’s grateful for a steady job and health insurance. To add to her aura of normalcy, Jenna is raising infant son Weston on with her husband, but no other helping hands. She thinks there’s a cynical opinion of her life when people see her on a jog or looking fit because of the assumption that she has a team helping her pull it all off.
“No, absolutely not. I want people to know that,” she said.
For however normal and ordinary she may be trying to sell herself as, one Hollywood expert says she’s mostly right, but still dismisses the notion that we share an equivalent definition of normal.
“Most of the Hollywood moms I know don’t have chefs or drivers or even necessarily personal trainers, but I don’t consider them to be ‘normal’ by any standards, either,” said Laura Tremaine of HollywoodHousewife.com.
For moms like you and I, our red carpet appearances are at the grocery store or the school pick-up line. That’s where we run in to the people we feel we have to look our best for. You can’t let so-and-so’s mom see you in sweats, and you certainly can’t let your hair be outdone by that kid’s mom. And what if your husband’s work-wife looks thinner than you at the company picnic? This is stuff we think about. While we hold ourselves up against one another, we’re doing it with moms on the West Coast who we don’t even know to a fault. But because they’re in our living rooms every week, like Jenna, we think we do.
Jenna’s red carpet is much, much different. So while she’s juggling her full-time job, her son, and her many other obligations, she’s also got to look camera ready all the time. I only have to look camera ready when my toddler gets the iPhone pointed in my direction.
“The culture of the entertainment industry, and especially in Los Angeles, places such a strong emphasis on physical beauty, that I think it does affect our choices of food and exercise and lifestyle,” said Laura. “The priorities can be different. Even in this economy, a Hollywood mom probably isn’t going to cut her gym membership.”
But maybe Jenna is a bit different than all those other Hollywood moms. She didn’t start trying to workout after Weston until he was 6 months old, and even when shooting resumes for The Office her goal is to just get through the day. Moms like Beyonce lost their baby weight at an alarmingly rapid rate, thanks to her live-in personal trainer; once again creating unrealistic expectations for real moms out here in the real world. Like most of us, Jenna asserts that it’s taken her every day of the last 10 months to lose the weight.
“I did it slowly and I did it moderately. It was important for me to lose it. I was a fit and active person before I had my son, but if there’s one thing I could do for a new mom, it’d be to alleviate her of any guilt or any stress over the idea of having her body look a certain way,” she said in People.
Whether it’s weight, our jobs, or being a good parent, there are a lot of parallels between life out here and life out there. I appreciate Jenna’s efforts to make the distinctions and misconceptions less grey.
“All the moms I know in Los Angeles are juggling career/marriage/parenthood, in the same way moms in Oklahoma are,” said Laura. “It looks different on the outside, but many times the stories aren’t always that different.”
When people were clamoring for Sports Illustrated swimsuit cover model Kate Upton earlier this year, her trainer, Justin Gelband, told us, “Get the best body for you. Be fit for you, don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.”
It’s great advice that, in a roundabout way, sounds like Jenna Fischer is trying to extoll, too. Be the best mom you can be in your situation, for your family, with all that you’re juggling. Who cares if it looks like Jenna Fischer or Kourtney Kardashian seem to have it easier or better than you. Deep down, they might not.
image via screened.com