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How Celebrity Parents Ruin It for the Rest of Us

I'm the first to admit an unusually unhealthy obsession with pop culture. I make the rounds online every day too many times than I care to admit (People, Us Weekly, Radar Online). I secretly judge others who talk about celebrities as if they're dear friends, all while I'm thinking to myself, "Ha. I know so much more about them than you, but instead I'm going to act like I'm way too intellectual to have a clue what and who you're talking about."

As so many bona fide stars have become "reality" stars through the gross invasion of their personal lives in print, online and TV (although often due to their own eagerness to overshare), I find myself increasingly—and grossly—interested in them as actual people as opposed to the fictional characters they get paid to portray.

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Photograph by Getty Images

The celebrities who are parents capture most of my interest, and lately, they are also the main target of my wrath. I wouldn't want to live like so many of them. I think the Jolie-Pitt family name will remain in bright lights for years to come, although not because they necessarily make spectacular films. ("Unbroken"? Meh. I broke by the third shark.) No, I suspect their nomad-like existence will ultimately come back to harm some of their kids. Gwyneth Paltrow's kids? It's not the divorce so much as just Gwyneth that I think will ultimately haunt them.

No one's life is perfect, but plenty celebrities do a damn fine job of creating the illusion.

Whether Hollywood kids are sheltered from it (like Sacha Baron Cohen and Isla Fisher's kids, who are never photographed) or pushed and shoved into it (we're looking at you, Tori Spelling), living in or near the spotlight just can't be easy.

It's not their fame but more the fantasy of what their money seems to buy, which is what looks like an easier way of life. Of course they're not immune to health problems or emotional issues or cheating spouses or catty friends or infertility or substance-abuse issues. But in terms of the nuts and bolts—like worrying about car payments, preschool tuition, finding excellent care for their kids for when they want to duck out to work and play, or even just leaving home with perfectly tousled tresses (no doubt achieved by the hair stylist who does house calls) and an effortlessly casual look (put together by a staff stylist)—those are luxuries afforded by an elite few.

The seeming ease of their day-to-day lives is the attraction (and repulsion) to me. Blake Lively, one of the newest celebrity moms, is on the fast track to find herself having daggers shot from people's eyes in her direction. Since she got pregnant and gave birth, she's morphed from a B-list star to an A-list "my sepia-toned Martha Stewart WASP-y yet warm life is quietly yet loudly much better than yours." Of course it's not (probably), but for celebrities like her—eager to give more than a peek behind the carpet and on the red carpet—I'm starting to think that is what they're selling: holier-than-thou, prettier-than-thou, richer-than-thou, so buy tickets to my movies so I can get even richer than how rich you think I am.

Sometimes, when you only get to see the beautiful people's highlights it can make your behind-the-scenes feel that much more cluttered, chaotic and meager.

My life is good—amazing, really: healthy kids, happy marriage, fulfilling career. But, shit, it's tough, still.

All the juggling, whining, finding time, wanting the time (I found myself breathing a sigh of relief a few Saturdays ago ago because my kids were going back to school the next day after their two-week winter break, only to realize there was still another day, and I was crestfallen).

Photograph by Instagram

I've seen those E! True Hollywood Stories—hello, no one's life is perfect. But plenty of them still do a damn fine job of creating the illusion. The Tom Brady making his kids pancakes and Jennifer Garner eating ice cream with her daughter—these are all things I do, too, yes. And I know that maybe five minutes earlier their kids were having tantrums because they were starving, just like mine, or freaking out five minutes after because there were no chocolate chips in the pancakes or sprinkles on the cone.

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But sometimes, when you only get to see the beautiful people's highlights it can make your behind-the-scenes feel that much more cluttered, chaotic and meager. The tube is out of the toothpaste and it isn't going back in. Yet I still feel a bit wistful for a time when so much information and so many images weren't so readily accessible. What used to be just a decadent distraction seems to have taken a turn into a more deluxe discouragement.

Image via Instagram

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