Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Down with celeb mummy memoirs

Is it wrong that I can't help but feel a slight leap of joy when I see that Tess Daly's book on motherhood has flopped in the bookshops? Not that I have anything against Tess, per se, in fact I imagine she could do without another drubbing after finding out all about her husband's grubby little text habits, but I am just so sick of celebs preaching about motherhood. It's as if they are labouring under the impression that just because their pretty faces have graced our television screens they somehow know more about what it is to be a mum than the rest of us.

Myleene Klass, Jools Oliver, Melanie Sykes and Mel Giedroyc (of Mel and Sue 'fame') to name but a few, have all penned baby books after popping out a sprog or two, clearly believing that their experiences were somehow so unique that us mere mortals could learn a thing or two from them.

OK I will admit a bunch or two of sour grapes as I am sure that if some publisher had been willing to stump up the cash I would have been first in the queue to write my own little baby book. But would that have made my experiences any more valid or useful to any other mother? There are scores of mummy blogs just like mine where you can read the thoughts of other mothers, for free, and decide for yourself if you think what they have to say is worth listening to or not. Do we really need celebrities to add to wealth of chatter that informs modern day parenting?

What with Gina Ford and Tanya Byron, Jo Frost and the Baby Whisperer, there are enough professionals to guide us through the maze of bringing up babies, should we feel the need of a helping hand, without that pretty girl off the telly adding her two penneth worth. Are we really so shallow that it would make us feel better about stretch marks, or morning sickness, sleepless nights or feeding problems, just because we know that the host of Strictly Come Dancing has experienced them too?

Perhaps I am out of step, as I am no fan of the celebrity book. I was filled with horror at the queues outside WH Smith in our local shopping centre when Jordan was doing a book signing. It was made up of pre-teen girls, wobbly midriffs bared under pink velour tracksuits, hair pulled in high pony tails and lips glistening with gloopy lip gloss, all clearly aspiring to ape their idols' career choices.

Again I have nothing against Jordan, I might not want to live like her, but I admire her tenacity and clearly she has oodles of business savvy and a rare talent for self promotion, but as a role model to young girls I think she leaves a lot to be desired. I want my children to dream of becoming surgeons, astronauts, firemen or builders, not Dream Boys or Z-list celebrities who would roll up to the opening of an envelope.

Perhaps it is my old timer disgust at the current trend to court fame for it's own sake, rather than on any particular merit or talent, that puts me off these books where celebrities opine on motherhood. If I want to read about breastfeeding, or sleep routines, or how to shift my preggie belly, I want the advice to come from lactation experts, health visitors, paediatricians, dieticians and fitness trainers. In other words people who have put the effort in to learn about their subject, rather than a dizzy blonde whose experience of child bearing and rearing is probably not as extensive as my own.


  1. Oh, absolutely, can't think why on earth you'd want to read a celebrity mummy book. I'm sure they are all probably ghost written anyway.....now there might be a job for us!

  2. And where are all the celebrity Dad books on fatherhood. I vow to get famous so I can then write one. Please be kind on me if and when it gets published.

  3. NVG - Not sure I could take the navel gazing involved in celeb ghost writing, mind you, never say never.

    Goonerjamie - Don't count on it....

  4. Oh here, here. Well said. It's so bloody annoying - who buys those books anyway? I get just as bothered about celeb 'real life' interviews in the Sunday paper mags. Did you read Minnie Driver's recently -her life as a mum sounds about as real as Jordan's breasts.

  5. Hear hear. It's much easier being a celeb mum too when you have the money to do everything, nannies, people to help you cook. The tough part of being a Mum is the trying to balance everything! You are not the only one with old timer disgust going on. Bah Humbug.

  6. I certainly wouldn't buy a celebrity baby book as an informational guide - but in our celebrity obsessed culture I guess 'memoirs' of this nature do have a market within our nosy nation. I did buy one of these books a few years ago - Jools Oliver's first book. Actually - scrap that, i was given it by a friend (which doesn't really count, does it?) Anyway, I have to say I did quite enjoy reading it. We had similar styles of parenting, so I identified with her more than I expected to (no nanny at the time - tho a great family 'village' around her to help). She also had a hard time conceiving and I had a hard time staying pg, so I didn't just feel that she had gotten pg, popped out a baby and Bob's your Uncle.

    Great post tho. And I certainly have never been tempted to read any of the other celebrity baby 'bibles'!!