Halle Berry is stalking my karma. I see her everywhere: the park, the dry cleaner and, now, the grocery store. I used to see Jeremy Piven everywhere. Then, Jennifer Grey. And now, Halle. It's like girls who hang out together too long and start getting their period at the same time. When you live in L.A. you will, undoubtedly, have some celebrity on the same schedule as you who is, therefore, stalking your karma.
So currently Halle and I are on the same schedule. I recognize that she is probably not currently writing a blog post about how she sees me everywhere, but she's easy to spot. It's not just the movie star good looks: It's the entourage of 500 photographers that follow her everywhere she, and I, go.
When Jeremy and I used to go to sushi at the same time and there were photographers waiting for him to walk by with yellowtail in his teeth, I felt like the annoyance was a small price to pay for the good fortune the photographer's interest afforded him. And when I used to see Jennifer Grey at the hair salon and someone snapped a photo of her getting her hair highlighted, I felt no empathy. After all, no one asked her to be famous. Any celebrity should be grateful someone cares at all.
What if all of us had to be photographed out and about with our kids?
But today, Halle and I are at the grocery store. I'm kid-free and she's brought her kiddo in for a (presumed) post-school snack. No less than 40 photographers have followed us into the parking lot waiting for something (embarrassing?) to happen the moment Halle and her kid go inside.
And while Halle seems cool as a cucumber—even oblivious—I'm not. I'm pissed off. What if all of us had to be photographed out and about with our kids? At any given time, things can go wrong, through no fault of our own. And the whole world would bear witness to our parenting low-points, courtesy of a weekly tabloid.
Truth be told, my time with Halle has made me appreciate what she, and every celebrity mom, must go through. Photograph me at any point in the day and here's what you might see:
7:11 a.m.: I'm woken up to the sound of my 2-year-old screaming my name. I'm wearing mismatched sweatpants that I may or may not have worn to the gym yesterday. I don't remember falling asleep in them. But, then again, I don't remember falling asleep.
7:13: On my way to get my daughter from her room, I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, only to notice, in horror, that one my eyes is surrounded by day-old mascara that I must have forgotten to take off. My 5-year-old comes running out of his room, screams and goes back to his room scared because I "look like a zombie." I'm thrilled no one is nearby with a camera.
7:14 a.m.: My 2-year-old conks her mouth on her crib. I wonder how long it will be until she gets a fat lip. I can't find anything to soak up the blood, so I use a diaper. It looks like her mouth needs to be toilet trained.
8 a.m.: After getting both my kids dressed, both kids get completely undressed and decide to run around the house playing "Naked Pirate." I use the time to check my emails. My 2-year-old uses the time to pee on the floor.
9 a.m.: After dropping my big one off at school, I stop at a coffee shop to get a latte, which I immediately spill down one side of my white blouse. I look like one of my boobs is lactating, or weeping soy milk. I don't have time to go home and change, nor do I have a jacket. I'm hoping I don't run in to anyone who knows me.
10:30 a.m.: I get into a "minor" verbal altercation with a gentleman who steals my parking spot at the grocery store.
11:15 a.m.: I realize I've forgotten to eat today. Since the only food I can reach in the car are kids' snacks I've stowed in the glove box, I grab a bag of Chex mix and a fruit roll, and I chow down. At a stoplight, I notice a car full of teenage boys watching me inhale kid snacks. I write myself a note to get tinted windows.
2:30 p.m.: Pulling into my son's school for pickup, I forget my car windows are open when I join Neil Diamond in a perfectly pitchy rendition of "Holly Holy." Walking my son to the car, he says he prefers when our babysitter picks him because she doesn't "embarrass" him like I do.
2:31 p.m.: My son starts screaming that he doesn't want to leave school yet and runs back onto the playground. I finally catch him and tell him he can either walk or be picked up. I then attempt to pick him up, splitting my pants in the process. I walk backward out of his school to the parking lot.
4 p.m.: I start making a turkey meatloaf for my kid's dinner, realizing halfway through the preparation that I've bought everything at the store except turkey. I head back out to the grocery store, realizing just as I'm at the end of my driveway that I've also forgotten my kids.
6 p.m.: While taking a bath, my kids play "Splash Mommy" causing me to look like I've entered a wet T-shirt contest for women hoping to showcase their "post-breast-feeding-two-kids" endowment.
7 p.m.: My daughter goes to sleep, but not before burping a cup of milk onto my lap. I now look like a wet Rorschach test.
8 p.m.: My big one goes to sleep, and I finally get a moment to change my clothes and brush my soaking wet, filled–with-spit-up-hair. My husband walks in from work, takes one look at me and says, "You look pretty." I laugh, thankful no one was around to capture the rest of my day.