I have something very important to tell you, so I need you to listen up.
Are you ready for it?
Celebrities are not experts on anything other than being a celebrity.
They’re not doctors. They aren’t psychologists. They aren’t researchers, or social workers, or childcare providers. They aren’t chefs (though they have them). They aren’t home organization gurus (though they employ them). And they definitely aren’t pediatricians (though they take their kids to them).
So why are we taking advice from them?
Now don’t get me wrong. I would love for Alicia Silverstone to tell me the secret to an amazing audition. Or what it was like acting in one of the biggest teen movies of all time. Or how to get the perfect beachy blow-out (scratch that, I’m sure her hairstylist did it). And let’s be honest. If Jenny McCarthy could tell me exactly how to get a body like that, I might even let her convince me to pose somewhere in a bathing suit. But why would I ask these ladies how to parent? They’re no more of a parenting expert than the lady behind me in the Starbucks line, and we all know what happens when you take parenting advice from nosy strangers. And yet Alicia Silverstone and Jenny McCarthy, both actors, have written books about parenting. The internet is buzzing today about Silverstone’s book “The Kind Mama”, and her (non-professional, hardly researched, completely subjective) opinion on how being a “kind mama” can save mothers everywhere from things like postpartum depression, infertility, even disposable diapers and cancer.
It’s made it to #4 on the bestseller list.
Because moms like you and I are terrified.
We’re terrified that we’re doing it wrong. We’re terrified that someone knows better than we do, that someone out there can see right through us. We stay awake at night wondering if we listened enough, made them wash their hands enough, turned off the TV enough, made healthy enough dinners, answered enough questions about death and bugs and where poop comes from and why flowers need sunlight. We re-live every moment of every day, as we question if we are good enough, nice enough, patient enough, crafty enough, kind enough mothers.
Alicia Silverstone is smart enough to know that scaring people sells books. People like to be told what to do when they’re scared. People want to feel like they belong. Nevermind celebrities being “just like us”. We want to be “just like them”. So to my kind mama neighbors, listen up. This is a big one.
You were kind already.
You are kind because you wake up seven times at night to feed your tiny baby, the best way that you know how.
You are kind because as soon as the baby goes back to sleep, your toddler wakes up. And instead of pretending that you don’t hear her, you climb in to bed with her for one more snuggle. Even though it cramps your neck to squish into her little bed.
You are kind because you made breakfast, lunch and dinner for three kids and your husband, and did the dishes after the kids went to bed.
You are kind because you drove 2 friends in the carpool today, and you only yelled once.
You are kind because you recognized your postpartum depression, and you asked for help.
You are kind because you wipe noses and water spills and bottoms.
You are kind because you look out for other mamas, and offer hugs in the preschool parking lot.
You are kind because you survived IVF, and you’re waiting white-knuckled for a birthmother to choose you.
You are kind because you listen to your 4 year old sing “Let It Go” thirteen thousand times a day, and you try really hard not to roll your eyes or wince. Mostly.
You are kind because you were on bed rest, and you brought your baby safely into this world.
You are kind because you are fighting addiction one step at a time, so that you can be present for your kids each day.
You are kind because you are wearing a stretched out bra and jeans from 6 years ago, because every last penny pays for field trips and school supplies and a surprise ice cream cone when your 4th grader aces a math test.
You are kind because you knew what type of birth experience was best for you, and you fought like hell to have it.
You are kind because you remember to take your medication every day.
You are kind because you do your best. Over and over and over again.
You are kind because you hold my baby when I have to pee.
You are kind because you pay attention, and ask questions, and trust your instincts, and do your research.
You are the gatekeeper for your family. You. You are the memory-maker, the argument-settler, the cheerleader, the security guard. You are the cuddler, the lover, the forgiver, the leader. You are beautifully flawed in all of the right ways, and perfect whenever you need to be.
So put the book down, Mama. You don’t need it. You’ve got this. I see you, we all see you. And your kindness shines brighter than the shooting star of celebrity. Trust yourself. Trust your experience. Trust that the love that you have for your children is stronger than the fear that you have of failing. Don’t let the airbrushing and the designer clothes fool you. The real expert is behind the wheel of your minivan, scarfing down a sandwich in the carpool line. Actors get paid to pretend. Your worth is measured in the kindness that you share with your children. You know what you can do with the money that you were going to spend on that book? Give it to the real expert. You deserve it, Mama.