Gwyneth Paltrow has received a lot of press recently for her ‘Day in the life’ Newsletter from her website Goop. I have never visited said site until now, so I suppose she can comfort herself that there is no such thing as bad publicity and, if millions of other curious readers like moi are providing her with more hits, so much the better. I visited, of course, because of her hilarious ideas of “normal motherhood” and the trials and tribulations involved in being a global superstar and, oh yes, I almost forgot, a mother of two kids. In case you haven’t read her newsletter (and I urge you to if you need cheering up) you can find it here. Just to prove how difficult it is “finding a good balance between having a career and being a mom” she also invites two of her mates to share their manic days with us too (gosh, thanks). If you thought Gwyneth was well, extraordinary, you just have, HAVE to read a day in the life of Juliet de Baubigny (just her name makes me feel inadequate). It is littered with super-events and yes! exclamation marks by the thousand! Stella McCartney also makes a contribution and comes across as endearingly normal (even if she does have friends like these two). I love the bit about her 3 year old shouting that she needs a poo and Stella trying to put her off the idea in order to grab a few more minutes in bed.
Anyway, I reproduce below some of Gwyneth and Juliet’s traumas and nuggets of advice and contrast them all with the plebeian existence that is life at Crap Cottage:-
CHEZ GWYNETH: When I got downstairs this morning at the crack of whenever, the coffee machine said “ERROR 8” and wouldn’t let me make the cup I had been dreaming about.
CHEZ JULIET: I'm an early bird—so I try to seize "Juliet time" first thing in the morning. I get up between 5:30am - 6am and quickly scan my email. Then my priority is exercise.
CHEZ CRAP COTTAGE: When I eventually shuffled downstairs this morning, the coffee machine said nothing because I don’t own one. I own a kettle and some tea bags. The exercise bike, however said “ride me, ride me!” but as it is an exercise bike and not George Clooney I ignored it.
CHEZ GWYNETH: ... I made him a quick breakfast of eggs and toast followed by a spoonful of lemon flavored flax oil that I try to remember to give them both every morning... The kids indulge in a super sugary cupcake before bed but I don’t feel too bad because they had a brown rice stir fry for dinner with baked sweet potato on the side. It’s all about balance!
CHEZ JULIET : Breakfast: super important and always super-rushed .... I start the day with a protein smoothie, which can be made in minutes (a handful of organic berries, a large scoop of Greek yogurt, a squirt of flaxseed oil, 2 scoops of protein powder, organic pomegranate or cranberry juice and blend).
CHEZ CRAP COTTAGE: (CQ makes smoothie as above and proffers large glassfuls to children) Children: "Why are you giving us sick to drink? We want Marmite toast." In the evening, CQ creates a delicious dish of couscous with roasted vegetables, steamed salmon and a yoghurt dressing on the side. Child1 (inspects dinner) "Bleurgh! Woss this?" Child2: "It’s puke mixed with puke, dressed with puke" *
CHEZ GWYNETH: Getting everyone into the car on time was a challenge; we’re going through a phase where no one seems to be responding to me...
CHEZ JULIET: My Day: Is a blur from the minute that I arrive in the office...
CHEZ CRAP COTTAGE: CQ: “GET UP! NOW! OKAY, STUFF IT – YOU CAN GET THE TRAIN, I DON'T CARE HOW MANY BOOKS/FILES/FOLDERS/SPORTS BAGS YOU HAVE TO CARRY...” (flings handful of coins for train fare onto kitchen table and stumbles out of door with odd shoes on and no eyeshadow on one eye).
CHEZ GWYNETH: Rehearsed with the band from 11:30 to 12:30 and then scooted back out to the car and had kind of a big interview on the phone while trying to subtly check/reply to well-overdue email.
CHEZ JULIET ... I bring my iPad and use the Flipboard app to curate my social media...(eh?)
CHEZ CRAP COTTAGE I may be able to grab 5 minutes to check my email on my steam-driven PC in the evening but it’s unlikely in between cooking for everyone, feeding animals because nobody else can be bothered and helping out with homework. (child: "Mum- I need help with my Maths." Me: "er, um..." child: "Why are you so useless?")
It is also vital in such essays to ensure that you name-drop zealously. For example; it is not good enough for Juliet to say “My great friend, Sheryl Sandberg,” she has to go one step further and say “My great friend, Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook”. Gwyneth gets in on the act with”voice lessons with my teacher, Carrie Grant,” and even Stella finds it necessary to mention “Artist Dinos Chapman is my taxi date...” and “...my advertising campaign too with Kate Moss and Ryan McGinley. “
As for moi, I did once see Trevor McDonald in the Toy Department of John Lewis. I didn’t recognise him until the Shah said something insightful like “that black geezer looks familiar,” and it took a good three minutes of discussion along the lines of “It is! No it isn't! Oh whatever, who cares?” before we gave up on the whole thing and left.
I may be taking the mick here, but any woman who can run her life on spreadsheets and ask herself “did I spend my time in the right places, right meetings, impacting the highest upside situations?” with a straight face at the end of every day earns my respect. I would try it if only I knew what an upside situation was, which one was the highest and how to impact it. I am inadequate and a total failure and remain in awe of people whose children "arise from slumber" when the fruit of mine and the Shah's loins stumble out of stinking pits sometime after midday.
*this is a genuine transcript of an actual event – my children are ingrates.