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Jul 26 2011

Just Like Sarah Jessica Parker, I Don’t Have a Nanny

By at 11:10 am

Mayim and Sarah Jessica Parker just hanging with the kids. (Note: Just in case it's not obvious, we added Mayim to SJP's Vogue photo spread.)

In a recent issue of Vogue magazine, Sarah Jessica Parker was quoted as saying she does not have a live-in nanny. What followed in many people’s minds and blogs was a deluge of “Wow! That’s sooo amazing! I really admire her, she is sooo awesome!” We see this quite a bit in our celebrity-infused consciousness and culture: amazement and what looks like tremendous gushing admiration for celebrities who do such things as “raise their own children,” as Deborah Kolben recently snarled–er, noted: What is so praiseworthy,  about celebrities raising their own children!?

Well, as a celebrity who a) raises my own children with no live-in nanny, part-time nanny, babysitter or housekeeper; b) talks about raising my own children without any of these things, and c) has sometimes received praise for not having any of these things, I thought I would respond on my behalf.

I don’t think that the reaction of astonishment and praise for celebrities doing things like not having a live-in nanny is simply because they are celebrities. I think it’s because they are wealthy. A lot of people think that if they had the money for a live-in nanny, they would hire one. You can take this train of thought as far as you want to: maybe if you had the money, you would hire a night nurse when you have a newborn. Maybe you would hire a live-in chef. Maybe you would also like to have a personal trainer on hand and a personal assistant to do all of your shopping, errands, dog-walking and the like. Maybe you would never work again if you didn’t “have to.”

Many celebrities can afford to do all of these things, and, interestingly, not all of them do. Why don’t they? In theory, I could afford a live-in nanny I suppose. Maybe not a very fancy one, but for the sake of argument, let’s say I could afford one. I don’t. Why not?

Well, I want to raise my kids myself. I don’t want help from someone else or input from anyone other than my husband, who is home with our boys when I am working (I was the primary 24/7 caregiver for the first year of both of our boys’ lives). I like nursing all night, waking up at 6 am to feed my sons and try and keep them content. I like the challenges because I like the results. I like knowing exactly what they are interested in, what foods they like and don’t like, and I love being there if they fall, get discouraged or punch each other. I love holding them when they cry and seeing their joy when they build something awesome with LEGO. I love being the one to hear my almost-talking Fred utter phrases he has never said before. I don’t want to hear about any of this from anyone else, and there is nothing I was put on this earth to do more than to be the mama of these souls. I am devoting my life right now to being the best mom I can be to them in all of my imperfection and struggle and that is a decision I make independent of how much money I do or don’t make.

I don’t think I am better than anyone for making the choice not to have a nanny, celebrity or not. My husband and I made the choice that was right for us, and everyone gets to make the choice that’s right for them. Full-time parenting sans nanny should  not be a luxury or anything special or praiseworthy to partake in. Northern European countries such as Sweden and Denmark acknowledge that full-time parenting is the best thing for babies, families, and society, and it is facilitated by the government offering paid maternity and paternity leaves extending into a child’s toddler years. Our country could learn a thing or two from these countries.

But until we do, in this culture, we all make decisions based on what lifestyle we want. If you want to have a lot of expensive clothes and expensive cars and a house with a hefty mortgage and you also want to travel a lot without your children, I suppose you will make life choices that allow that to happen and that’s fine for you even if it’s not fine for me. My desire to be the primary caregiver to my children without paying someone else to do the things I can’t or don’t want to do is a choice I would never back down on, even if I won the lottery tomorrow. If I had to move out of Los Angeles, live in a studio apartment with them in the cheapest part of this country, sell my car, and stop eating out or shopping at specialty markets to support being their mama this way, I would do it in a heartbeat.

And there’s not many times in my life I will ever get the chance to say this, but here goes:

This is how SJP and I roll. So do millions of celebrity, non-celebrity, rich and not rich parents all over this world. So if SJP and I are going to get praise, let’s all share it.

To all of you who stay at home: You are sooo amazing and you are really awesome.

There. Doesn’t that make you feel like a celebrity?

Check out Mayim at Perez Hilton’s birthday party and read about how Chelsea Handler mistook Mayim for a lesbian at the Horrible Bosses movie premiere.

Jun 15 2011

The Kid-Dish: Natalie Portman Gives Birth!

By at 3:08 pm

All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.

It’s the Jewish celebrity parenting news of the century! Natalie Portman and fiancé Benjamin Millepied have welcomed a baby boy. Word’s still out on whether this day will become an official holiday in the Kveller office. Word’s also still out on what they named him, or what he looks like, or if there will be a bris sometime next week, but we can be patient, can’t we?

We took a stab at naming him back in February, coming up with the ever graceful Pierre Shlomo. Does anyone else have some last minute guesses?

So, a big mazel tov to Natalie and Benjamin, and to their future child, who is surely one brilliant, talented, good-looking babe.

May 13 2011

Natalie Portman, Growing by the Numbers

By at 4:34 pm

Natalie Portman was spotted this week in NYC, and my, has that baby bump grown! As the actress nears the due date of her first child, CNN has taken on the all-too-serious question: Too Much Natalie Portman?

They’ve crunched the numbers to compare how many movie roles, awards won, google searches, and the chances you will see her in a movie since 1995, and it’s hard to deny that those numbers are on the same path as her growing belly.

As self-proclaimed enthusiasts of Miss Portman (we even offered to help name her baby, whether she wanted our advice or not), we wish her all the best with her family and career, and that those numbers keep on growing. After all, can you really have too much of a Harvard-educated, Oscar-winning, beautiful, Israeli-born Jewish woman?

Didn’t think so.

Apr 27 2011

The Kid-Dish: Gwyneth Paltrow’s Mean Grandmother, Kate Hudson’s New Ring

By at 2:16 pm

All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.

- Adam Sandler and his wife were spotted with their daughters, Sunny, 2, and Sadie, 4, in Santa Monica, CA. Can I just say, I really love those girls’ outfits? Really, they’re just awesome. (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

- It may not have happened in the order your grandmother would approve of, but Kate Hudson is officially engaged to Matt Bellamy, the father of her future baby. (Babyrazzi)

- Speaking of grandmothers, apparently Gwyneth Paltrow’s hated her guts. “She was as mean as hell,” she said in her interview on Chelsea Lately. That doesn’t sound like the bubbes and zaydes we know and love. (Babyrazzi)

- Bethenny Frankel was spotted strolling with 11-month-old Bryn in Tribeca yesterday. She clearly doesn’t take issue with talking on a cell phone in front of the baby like some of us do. (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

Mar 30 2011

Mayim Bialik at Perez Hilton’s Blue Ball

By at 12:23 pm

Mayim arriving at Perez Hilton's birthday bash.

I’m trying to mix it up. As an actress, I’m told that I “need” to be seen as young, hip, and very different from the uptight matronly character I play on The Big Bang Theory. So when Perez Hilton–who has never been mean to me and even has had me on his website in a pretty flattering interview–”personally” invited me to his 33rd “Blue Ball” birthday party this past Saturday night, I accepted.

The dress code was blue, only blue. Fantastic: I had three blue dresses from which to choose, all of them theoretically appropriate.

The party was set to begin after Shabbat was over and after the boys would be in bed; sounds good.

I chose to bring a girlfriend who has a great sense of humor (and a father who is gay…and trust me, that helped at this party), and she also didn’t mind going out and buying something blue for the occasion.

I even understood the vulgar reference in the title of the party.

I was ready to go.

Cut to Friday night. I get hit with a hellacious cold, a weak, scratchy voice, awful sore throat, post-nasal drip–everything, you name it, it was happening in my sinuses. And I knew the boys were next on this sick train, since my husband was sick too. My plan was all of a sudden not so smooth.

I almost didn’t go. I almost called my friend to tell her not to come, but my distaste for using the telephone on Shabbat helped me stick to the plan, layering a little extra foundation around my red nose, swollen with inflammation, using a little more under-eye cream to cover the dark circles that a cold delivers, and deciding that the kids will be okay. They’re not sick yet, and going for an hour wouldn’t kill me.

So I applied 76 coats of lip gloss, threw on that little navy blue dress and a big-girl bra, and painted only the toenails that showed out from my open-toed stilettos: ink blue, of course. A breath strip cleared out my nasal passages and a light drizzle fell as I entered the “blue carpet” in Hollywood. I posed as best as I could, praying that some photographer didn’t catch me mid-blink or teetering on my four-inch heels. Inside the party, blue drinks were passed out on trays (very yummy, I must say), and there was a dazzling table of blue candy that I couldn’t eat (I’m vegan and kosher, you know how it is).

There were opportunities for face painting (no thank you) and a bouncy castle (in a short dress? I don’t think so). There were some amazing musical performances, including a dude singing opera dressed like Amadeus Mozart. And a lot of manicured attractive gay men, if you go for that sort of thing.

I didn’t see any other celebrities except for Melissa Rivers who I have met several times and even did a live interview with online last year, but she didn’t seem to register that she knew who I was. Oh well. Time for a second blue drink.

I went up to Mr. Hilton, who was wearing a denim blue mechanic’s playsuit of sorts with an enormous afro wig. He was super soft-spoken and very sweet, and we took a picture together (I forgot to put down my coat for the photo so I look like a dork holding my coat with Perez Hilton). He asked if my dress was black, since the rules were only blue. I reassured him that it was navy and that I follow rules well.

Then we left and I erased my make-up and threw my hair into a bun and had a really nice nasal irrigation session. Fred was asleep on Mike’s lap, and all was fine. I see online after the fact that many actors, porn stars, and reality stars arrived after I left the party in various permutations of extremely short and very revealing dresses, sparkly make-up, and pouffed up hair. There was also bull-riding on a stage, and a woman in pasties on aforementioned bull. I don’t know that I would have enjoyed that so much.

So all in all, it was a success, I suppose. I made it to the party, I did my best to look good, and I got home to no one screaming or crying for me.

Who says it sucks to be blue?

More Mayim Bialik? Read about her at the Golden Globes, pumping at work, and what do if your kid wants to be an actor.

Feb 28 2011

Jew-cy Celeb Gossip

By at 9:07 am

After the birth of my son I gave up my beloved subscription to US Weekly Magazine. Our glossy relationship ended in part because I felt like a voyeur contributing to blatant disrespect for individual privacy but MOSTLY because the piles of unread magazines lying around the house were giving me anxiety. I also unsubscribed to People.com in my Google Reader when I opened it a few days after my son was born to find 489 unread feeds! I’m way too OCD to “mark all as read” but the posts, much like the trashy magazine pile, were making me want to snort Xanax.

To be honest, at first I really didn’t miss my little window into Hollywood. My husband claims reading that stuff makes people dumber (thanks hun!) and my (nonexistent) free time was spent eating, peeing, shaving one leg reading books about “how to get your child to eat mush off of a spoon” and googling images of pooh-consistency to check for baseline normal.  But a few months ago I emerged from my 24/7 baby-love-fest only to find out that Sheryl Crow adopted another baby and Christina Aguilera filed for divorce!?  And all of a sudden, I’m the last to know.

Thankfully, now Kveller satiates my cravings for Jew-cy celeb gossip with a side of non-secular parenting advice. It’s like dinner and dessert with one click. Not to brag, but the highlight of my week was a 2-reply Facebook convo with Mayim Bailik about how we both like to sit around the house all day topless in the days and weeks postpartum. I mean we’re not exactly buying BFF necklaces (yet) but if she adopts a baby or two from China, I’m GOING TO KNOW ABOUT IT! I’ve even caught the Nat-Port-girl-crush-fever that’s spreading like wildfire over here.  I thought the Hebrew interview had me hooked and then I was browsing the Sesame Street website and there she is hanging with Elmo and rockin’ an elephant trunk! I’ve come to the conclusion that she is quite possibly the most adorable pregnant person EV-AH and this chick is going to be one awesome Mama ( dancing with a celebrity puppet is a pretty good start!)

I’m going to lay it out there and just say that I WANT MORE. I want to know why Idina Menzel decided to eat her placenta and how Isla Fisher likes to spend Shabbat. I’m curious to know if Adam Sandler can read the Passover cards his kids bring home from Hebrew school and if CoCo Arquette is dressing up for Purim. Where else in the World Wide Web can you plan a bris while reading about the Porsche Lisa Loeb bought for her daughter. Somehow, over here it’s less creepy stalker-ish and more like ‘checking in on family’ and somehow I get to be a (very, very tiny) part of it all! But don’t you worry; I haven’t let my celeb status go to my head just yet.  I’m still a full-time Mama and that’s always going to be my top priority – but now that my son has solid poops and takes two naps a day, don’t be surprised to see a photo of me having decaf peppermint tea at an open-air market with Blossom and Punky Brewster. We’re probably kvelling about the dress Natalie wore at baby Pierre’s bris.

p.s if you happen to see the picture in a magazine, please clip it for me. I don’t get those anymore .

Jan 26 2011

The Kid-Dish: The Jewish Parent Oscar Nominees Are…

By at 12:14 pm

The Oscar Nominations have just been announced, and I was happy to spot a good number of Jewish names on the list. And even better than that, there were several Jewish parents (and parents-to-be) on the list, as well. It surely isn’t easy to be a working parent, so getting nominated for the most prestigious acting award in the world certainly deserves a few pats on the back. So, without further ado, a few pats on the back and congratulations to the following nominees:

- Natalie Portman. Learning that Natalie was nominated for Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in Black Swan was sort of a “duh” moment, but we’re kvelling, nonetheless. The freshly-engaged expectant mother would be the first Israeli-born actress to win the award, and who knows, maybe if it’s a boy, she can name the kid Oscar. (Got a better idea? The deadline for our Name Natalie Portman Baby’s Contest is fast approaching!)

- Helena Bonham Carter. The English actress who comes from a wide range of international Jews was nominated for Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in The King’s Speech. Helena has mentioned taking parenting classes in the past to become a better mother, but she clearly doesn’t need any further education in acting.

- The Coen Brothers. My absolute favorite pair of Jewish film-making brothers have been nominated (along with fellow Jew, Scott Rudin) for Directing and Writing (Adapted Screenplay) for their remake of the classic Western, True Grit, which was also nominated for Best Picture. Joel and his wife, actress Francis McDormand, have one adopted son from Paraguay, Pedro McDormand Coen.

- Aaron Sorkin. Jews prove to make some of the best writers, and Aaron Sorkin did not fail to deliver with his screenplay for The Social Network, which was also nominated for Writing (Adapted Screenplay). Sorkin and his ex-wife have an 11-year-old daughter, Roxy, who I just tried to find on Facebook to no avail.

- Hailee Steinfeld. Ok, so the 14-year-old who is up for Actress in a Supporting Role for True Grit is NOT a Jewish parent, but she does have a Jewish parent who is no doubt beaming with pride right about now. The teen has been acting since age 8, and her sudden star-status has not only landed her the Oscar nomination but the chance to present with Justin Bieber at the Golden Globes a few weeks ago, which to me seems like punishment but to her was probably pretty cool.

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