June 22, 2012 at 10:03 AM ET
Who celebrates the end of the school year by issuing letter grades to celebrity moms? Star magazine, the mother-in-law of all tabloids, that's who.
But meddling mothers-in-law -- tabloid and otherwise -- aren't the only ones judging others' mothering skills. Maternal judgment has become a national epidemic, like obesity and texting at the dinner table. Which is why, I suspect, the report card angle sounded like a winner in some Monday morning pitch meeting.
In a merciless tease, the mid-June cover screams: "Who chooses booze over story time?" Wait -- someone is choosing? Nothing eases the pain of the fourth telling of "Goodnight Moon" like a chilled glass of chardonnay. Good thing Star's not grading me.
If Star wanted to appeal to mothers by grading celebs who have to deal with paparazzi peeking through the nursery window, they seriously misjudged. Don't they know we just want to see other mothers -- especially beautiful, wealthy ones -- without makeup? Or caught at unfortunate angles in questionable attire. We are easy that way. No fad diets, no adultery, no shocking lesbian secrets. We just want to know that the women we admire -- especially the fellow moms we admire -- wake up in the morning looking just as haggard as we do.
Good mothering, Hollywood style
According to the feature story, "good" moms include Jennifer Garner, Reese Witherspoon, and Sandra Bullock. If you play the nice girl next door, you get a good grade in maternal instincts. Got it. However, Star's judgments are not all based on fantasy. Bullock's grade is apparently justified by a comment she made about her son, Louis: "I do not want anyone else to have the pleasure of changing poopy diapers but me!"
I say stuff like that all the time. It's called sarcasm, duly noted by the exclamation point! Either that or Bullock needs an intervention. No one is that devoted. But you can't have the bad moms if you don't have the good ones, so Bullock and her saint-like cohorts (including Madonna!) are on the A-list -- for now. I'm sure these mothers won't get too comfortable on the wobbly pedestal of public favor.
Fallen celebrity moms
Star gave Christina Aguilera a D+ because her son has a black eye. Obviously, she punched him, or let him roll out of the car, or into a mosh pit. She's the dirty diva, after all. The tabloid also attacked Angelina Jolie because her clan travels too much. Nothing ruins a child like seeing the world, I always say. (This is that sarcastic tone I was talking about earlier.)
J Lo's kids supposedly cry for the nanny. Newsflash: Little kids cry all the time. For the babysitter, for their mom and dad, for the ice-cream man... doesn't mean that the guy who drives the Mr. Softee truck is a better parent.
Then we come to the bottom of the class. Teen Mom star Amber Portwood didn't get enough real report cards to finish high school, but she got an F from Star Magazine. The reality TV personality chose five years in jail over rehab, a choice that demonstrates the severity of her physical and mental challenges. Even I can't argue that this party girl will make a great mom someday. Not like, say, Snooki. Portwood said in jail she can get clean, change her life, and continue her education. As I see it, removing herself from her child's environment may be the best choice she has made as a mother so far. A for effort.
At the end of the day, I say there are far more important things to judge -- like cellulite and bad Botox. So come on, Star, leave the motherhood judgments to the mothers-in-law and give us what we want from you: Celebrities without makeup wearing ill-fitting bikinis!
Lela Davidson is the author of Blacklisted from the PTA. Her writing is featured regularly in family and parenting magazines throughout the United States and Canada. She blogs about marriage, motherhood, and life-after-40 at After the Bubbly.
Don't judge us... instead, read these stories: