Heater, Mother of Lance

Since she first did a back-hand-spring into my heart

My next piece about Britney Spears is up at Alpha Mom:

“It was once Britney got pregnant, though, that I really had a hard time believing what I was seeing: the many, many times she was photographed barefoot in public or looking like she hadn’t showered since last century. Why would someone as rich as she is, with as much fame and attention, walk out of the house looking like that when she knows a picture of her bra-less nipples are going to show up the next week in magazines across the country? It was less a disapproving reaction than a confused one, and I was fascinated with the anthropological implications of this superstar showing up in photographs screaming: PLEASE JUDGE ME HARSHLY.”

I’m going to open up comments here because I think there could be an interesting discussion about this. And also because I’m crazy.

  • Valerie

    2006/06/29 at 5:25 am

    Part of me thinks that she knows what she’s doing. You know, the whole “no such thing as bad publicity” thing. But, then I also think that it’s her way of sticking it to the world. After years of being molded and guided and handled, she’s letting us know that she can do whatever she wants and be whom ever she wants to be. If that’s the case, I’m all for it.

  • wealhtheow

    2006/06/29 at 6:24 am

    I read an article the other day that posited her slovenly appearance during the Matt Lauer interview was a bid for sympathy. If so, it was genius. I’ve always hated Brit, but when I saw photos of her during that interview I just wanted to give her a hug, wash her face and say “Come with me. We’ll go to the store and get you some nice new clothes, then I’ll take care of the baby while you have a nap, and when you wake up I’ll show you how to make dinner.” I feel so bad for her that her mother or sister aren’t stepping up to the plate to help her out with her life. Of course, there’s always the possibility that they tried and she’s told them to fuck off.

  • cvarkey

    2006/06/29 at 6:24 am

    The fact that this was posted at Alpha Moms is telling that you wanted to point how equalizing motherhood can be. Everytime I go to the pediatrician’s office and they go over things with me – don’t let your baby eat paint chips, don’t smoke around the child, don’t let your child sit in the sun without protection – I think who is stupid enough to do those things to their child. But then my holier than thou attitude gets a swift kick in ass when I realize that my son is chewing on a hair dryer that is about to tip off the edge of the counter while I get ready for work.

    While I agree that riding in the car with no car seat is beyond acceptable for me personally, I do have to say what I love about motherhood is that no one mother is perfect. I have met some lovely women who I previously had nothing in common with and enjoy seeing how they tackle common problems with parenting whether it’s sleep tactics or how to get puke out of sheets. Wow, the VP of sales has spit up on her shoulder too, sweet! I get a kick out seeing Britney with the same jogging stroller and wonder if she’s has the same issue getting it in and out of the car (ok she probably has a “manny” to do that. I need to get one of those.) I feel like I joined a club and as mom in this crazy world, I need all the help I can get.

  • Amanda B.

    2006/06/29 at 6:23 am

    You so traaaazy.

    From what I’ve observed, I think Britney has very few people in her life who she can really trust (including in her immediate family) and very few places where she is safe. I think it’s a situation where she will have to learn to parent herself and that takes a lot of time and a good bit of trial and error. At least it did for me.

    When I saw the picture of her with her pregnant belly hanging out of her tube top- lighting up a cigarette, I thought to myself that this is a young person who has not been protected and cared for, and therefore has very little idea how to care for herself and others. I think she’s in a very emotionally and mentally vunerable state right now and that people should be kind to her. Having money doesn’t make life shit free nor does it exempt a person from deserving to be treated like a human being.

    Also, Britney’s just a big ol’ hick. She’s a beer drinkin’, chicken wing eatin’, 4-wheeler ridin’ girl from Kentwood. There’s nothing wrong with that.

  • Meretrice

    2006/06/29 at 6:22 am

    I actuslly wrote a piece on my own blog about the interview our little Brit-Brit did with Matt Lauer. It was like watching a horrible train wreck, but you can’t look away. The saddest part (for me) was the retrospective shots the program did when she was younger. The difference was startling.

    I think the reason that we, “ordinary,” people judge her so harshly is because we assume that she does have handlers, nannies, publicists and stylists to keep her from making the same mistakes that we do every day. You are absolutely right that almost all mothers have looked the way she does lately, stumbled while holding the baby, and made shocking misuse of air quotes.

    However, the thing that I cannot let her skate with is staying with He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named when she found out two months after they were seeing each other that he had been cheating on his pregnant girlfriend with her. That is just low. Not to mention, it doesn’t bode well for his likelihood of being faithful to her. He just isn’t the kind of person you should want as a father to your children, let alone as a husband.

    I sincerely want the best for her and her children. I think she is treated cruelly by the paparazzi. I also hope that her marriage to You-Know-Who doesn’t blow up in her face. I think it would be a good thing for her to get out of Los Angeles and away from the media circus for a little bit, at least until her 2nd baby is born.

  • Goooder

    2006/06/29 at 6:20 am

    Hrmm. Lately the thought of Britney just makes me want to vomit. I find everything about her really disgusting.

    Maybe motherhood is about not caring about your appearance, or anything but your child, but I have this inkling that she isn’t spending every waking hour with her baby. She isn’t waking up every two hours to feed the baby or change the baby’s diapers. The kid has at least one nanny at all times, I assume. Does anyone know the details? And if that’s the case, I’d say she doesn’t illustrate motherhood at all, just the ability to pop kids out of her vagina. And if she does have a nanny or multiple ones then what the hell is her excuse for her haggard appearance?

    If she doesn’t have a nanny, I retract this statement. Well, maybe not. Ha.

  • mdstblz

    2006/06/29 at 6:12 am

    I completely agree on two things:
    1) other mother’s can be the harshest and meanest critics that hearkens back to clique atrocities of American adolescence… sometimes I find it downright evil, what mothers can say…
    2) The mistakes that Britney makes endears her to me (Especially since I was a closet lover of her pop songs and a mom who thinks she (as in I) is making mistakes and therefore bringing motherhood mistakes to a whole new artform – the Britney reminds me it is merely human after all).

  • jennifer

    2006/06/29 at 6:18 am

    Personally, i just can’t wait till she drops K-fed, gets a makeover, creates another pop album that sells millions and confesses all with Barbara Walters. Not to mention the 5 page Vanity Fair spread and E True Hollywood Story. You all know it’s right around the corner. This phase is just a bump in the road.

  • NikkiB

    2006/06/29 at 6:11 am

    Thank-you! Thank-you! Thank-you!

    I also am a Britney fan. I am so sick of everyone chastising her and calling her a bad mom, especially other mothers. Anyone who is a mom knows how hard those first several months, especially when it’s your first child. You don’t sleep, eat right or have time to do anything that may resemble taking care of your personal needs. You are consumed with taking care of this small, helpless wonder that you made. Children do not come with manuals, even for the rich and famous. All we can do, as mothers, is do our best, give all our love and keep our fingers crossed that they don’t need to much therapy as adults. Britney may not always make the wisest decisions, but I do believe she’s doing her best (considering she has a loser for a husband), is a good mom and more than anything else, loves her child very much.

  • rivetergirl

    2006/06/29 at 6:06 am

    I believe that with our intense hunger for details of celebrities lifes, we’ve created a generation of stars who are motivated by staying at the forefront of our interest. So in Britney’s attempt at the uber-white-trash-mommie look, she created an spectacle of herself that we were compelled to watch. Out of sight, out of mind. The question is: Is she so smart as to sacrifice her dignity to stay in the limelight or is she that desperate?

  • Dilara

    2006/06/29 at 6:08 am

    She never finished high school. I bet she doesn’t know how to do a load of laundry. I don’t think that makes her a bad parent…actually, that makes her parents bad parents for not teaching her the fundamentals of life. I just hope that Britney has the insight to realize what she didn’t get as a child and she makes sure her kids get it. I am sure one of the reasons why she wanted to get married and have kids so early is because she craved normalcy and love and affection…something that was put on the backburner in order to advance her career. I wish her well.

  • Jamie

    2006/06/29 at 6:36 am

    I was never, ever a Britney fan, but then she and I got pregnant at the same time and I spent my entire pregnancy feeling puffy and ugly and sweaty and gross and I resented the hell out of her because I thought she’d probably pop that kid out and be back in her size 2 designer jeans on the cover of every magazine in the country two weeks later. She’d have a whole team of people making her life easier while I leaked breast milk onto my ratty Tshirts. The fact that she’s not perfect, she makes mistakes as a mom, she has bad hair days too… Makes me have a little soft spot for her in my heart. I ache for her now when I see a nasty tabloid headline at the grocery store. I mean, being a mom is hard! Being married is hard! And she’s pregnant AGAIN! I wish I could just call her up, eat tuna sandwiches while our boys play in the sandbox and tell her that I know it’s hard and I know she’s trying. Being a mommy is hard enough without the whole world criticizing you.

  • marian

    2006/06/29 at 6:34 am

    Bravo. When I watched that interview with Matt Lauer I was stunned at how she allowed herself to look like a normal person. A person with bad taste, but still, she was looking puffy and very pregnant and her makeup was bad, and she was chewing gum and she just looked so real.

    You’d think the women’s movement people would be kissing the ground she walks on for not present the anorexic’s version of a pregnant body and acting as though the whole childbearing mess can be accomplished without a lot of embarrassing leakage and swellings.

    Instead, as you say, everyone’s attacking her for doing something that when I grew up was what your parents did with you for fun — put you on their lap when they were driving.

  • NikkiB

    2006/06/29 at 6:34 am

    In response to Goooder… I’m sure she does have nannies to help her, but as a mother, I know the haggard look of another mom who hasn’t slept for days, if not weeks, and Brit’s got it. You can see the look in her eyes, even on the occasions you do see her made up.
    Personally, I feel, until you’ve been a mom to a new baby (yes, a 6-month old still qualifies) you’ve got no business judging. You have no idea how hard it is. Now, top that off with being pregnant again and having your every move documented….I can’t imagine.

  • susanb

    2006/06/29 at 6:34 am

    Heather, I am a long time reader of your site, but this is my first time making a comment. I have never been a huge fan of Britney…but, as a mother I wish people would back off! Everyone is so critical of her every move. I can not imagine trying to raise my kids, and every move we made being photographed my a bunch of photographers. And as far as the mistakes she’s made, join the crowd of mother’s who are not and never will be perfect. She was criticized for almost dropping her son, because she was holding a glass of water. My twin boys snuck out of their window(at the age of 3!) when I thought they were taking a nap..my neighbor came over when she saw them in the front yard by themselves! I am so glad no one was photographing that shining moment of motherhood.

  • Muffin

    2006/06/29 at 6:33 am

    I was never a Britney Spears fan but lately I am actually liking her more because I feel a sympathy and an empathy for her. I don’t think she’s done anything better or worse than other first time mothers, but people want to take every little thing and make her look unfit. Babies don’t come with instruction manuals, and you have to learn about them while sleep deprived.

    I know that she has a nanny, but also that she was breastfeeding, which generally implies getting up in the night for the first several months. And frankly, when your breasts hurt like that and there is the possibility you are going to leak all over what you wear, what is the point in trying to be all prissy and fixed up?

  • Goooder

    2006/06/29 at 6:34 am


    I disagree – you do not have the right to not immunize your child. It is dangerous to them and potentially a lot of other people and children. It’s like saying you have the right to dangle your child off of a 5th floor balcony by its pinky toe (which you can also apparently get away with, if you are Michael Jackson).

  • TurkeyWalk

    2006/06/29 at 6:32 am

    I don’t understand why people care that much about celebrities. The media seems to overload us with info on Britney, Brad & Angelina, blah, blah, blah … But why would people fall for that when there are so many more important things to care about?

    Is a celebrity couple’s having a baby going to make anyone else’s life better or solve some of the world problems?

  • Jessica

    2006/06/29 at 6:30 am

    I mean it,
    That was one of the best written perspectives on what it means to be a Mother.

    I love it when people are finally being “real”.

  • Me

    2006/06/29 at 6:30 am

    dang a langin, sorry about the long post, dooce!

  • Ang

    2006/06/29 at 6:32 am

    I think the “appearance exhaustion” comment probably is accurate. I saw a biography show on Britney, and her parents had her in talent shows and such from an early age, and, according to the show, they really pushed her into that career. Not much of a childhood and not much chance to just be herself. . .kinda sad, really.
    Also, I think Britney is keepin’ it real–lord knows us normal folk have made a quick run to the grocery store without our makeup and hair done. She just has photographers stalking her when she does it.
    As far as K-Fed — EW! But, I’m guessing that she is the type of girl who is thinking that she’s made her bed and now she has to lie in it. Sure wish she and JT could hook back up. (They looked so good together!) From my experience, tt’s hard to leave a person after you’ve had a child with him/her. I’d imagine it’s the same for some celebrities.

  • Pioneer Woman

    2006/06/29 at 6:28 am

    In addition to my thoughts above, I might add that I’m pretty judgmental about people who judge other people’s mothering skills. Them’s fightin’ words.

    First, no one who isn’t a parent can judge another mother (short of flagrant physical/emotional abuse). You just don’t get it.
    Second, no mother can be accurately judged by tiny photographic snippets. Look at the photos on my blog of my 3-year-old asleep naked on our sidewalk. I thought it was cute and didn’t want him in the house, so I just left him there for an hour. Oh, his face was dirty, too. Glad no one cares who I am or I’d have been crucified by now.

  • Me

    2006/06/29 at 6:28 am

    Aw, heck, I’m not trying to start a war here. Just pointing out that we are a product of what we grown up in. Brit grew up country, so she naturally does like her parents did. Right or wrong…

    Does she make mistakes? Heck, yeah. Do I, as a mom, make mistakes? heck yeah.

    Let’s see: I know certain groups here in the USA that advocate for not immunizing their babies. Do I agree? No. Do I think they probably have valid reasons, and is it their right? Yes.

    There’s a myriad of other issues available: Dressing an infant like a teenager in hoochie clothes? Pacifiers? Nursing past teeth? Allowing 15 yr olds to drive? Allowing tv/video games in childhood? Homeschool/private school/public school/unschool?

    My Point: She isn’t perfect, she’s doing what she was raised up doing, and it isn’t any of your business, so quit.

    Look at Dooce’s point: Moms are more critical than anyone else. We (as a mom) all have made decisions about our kids’ upbringings (some with assistance of another parent, some without). We didn’t make those decisions lightly, we made them because we believe in them.

    But instead of being supportive and encouraging, moms seem to be like a group of vigilantes, harshly condemning all non-conformers, “educating” (eg Bible thumping/brow beating/propoganda pelting) the non-conformers, etc.

    Imagine how much different this world would be if the moms in it all started supporting each other, allowing the USA-given freedom to parent in the way that best suits them, offering assistance when requested, and taking a stand against abuse/neglect NOT by calling Channel 3’s Reporter Andy Wise-@ss, but by stepping in and being a friend and demonstrating another way to parent through those particular circumstances that would avoid abuse.

    Can you imagine how cool it would be if moms could relax, enjoy being a parent, enjoy being a spouse, enjoy the moments of their child’s life, without having to feel like they have to be “supermom”, “miss perfect” blah blah?

    We share a bond- motherhood. We share a common interest- to watch our kids grow up and be productive, loving members of society (and to give us grandkids that are preshus!). We ought to be the most supportive group that exists, more than any religion, because we’re all going through the same thing.

    But it seems like most moms just want to pretend they NEVER have accidents, NEVER make mistakes, and NEVER EVER go without a bra to the Winn Dixie because the underwire is pinching the hell out of my swollen, leaking milk producing mammary glands.

    Much less barefoot because I can’t stand to stick my puffy, aching feet into anything that requires lacing, velcroing or a piece of plastic between my toes.

    But if clogs came with a velour lining, I’d surgically attach them to my feet.

  • Ibeejd

    2006/06/29 at 6:27 am

    Sometimes I think people bash her so hard because it somehow makes the mistakes they have made in their lives seem a little more reasonable. Its so easy to say “Oh my god look at her, she looks terrible” and when you look at yourself in the mirror you feel a little better about your roots and lack of make-up. We can sit back and say “yea I have done blah blah blah but AT LEAST I wear a bra”…..

    I think she has always been this way we just wanted to believe the illusion. Personally I think I like this Brit better. She is one of us……..

  • wordgirl

    2006/06/29 at 6:26 am

    Dooce–You’re not asking anything I haven’t already asked myself. The only answer I can come up with is the one I hear when celebrities talk about just wanting to be normal people. They want to go buy coffee or shop for baby clothes or get the paper from the end of the driveway in pair of ancient gym shorts and some rainboots. Whatever. The thing is, and this should come as no surprise to Britney or any other famous person, we live in a culture fascinated by fame. See those photographers sqatting near your garbage cans? Annoying, yes, but you flaunt all your good stuff out in public for us day in and day out. Your image is distorted because you pay people to help you achieve a perfect package to sell to us in the theaters and on the red carpet and on television. We want to believe it’s true, but we know it’s not. Celeb magazines are onto you, too. That’s why there’s one sleeping in your kid’s treehouse right now with a telephoto lens. It’s heartbreaking, sure, but all that money should compensate for the inconvenience. And it’s a little bit of the “be careful what you ask for” thing in that you wanted to be an actor and you are and you’re paid heinous amounts of cash to pretend you’re someone else having sex with George Clooney. I say it all evens out somewhat. I don’t take the pictures…I just buy the magazine. Uh…occasionally.

  • lawyerish

    2006/06/29 at 6:26 am

    Excellent piece, Heather.

    I, too, developed a Britney crush from the first swish of her schoolgirl pleated skirt. The spangly outfit at the VMAs almost did me in. And I went to her live show – they are REAL, people. I swear.

    Anyway. Although I get sucked into the mindless giddiness of celebrity gossip as much as the next person, I think we all have to be able to separate the performer from the person. Britney is a fabulous performer. She commands a stage in a way that few people can, and she’s done it ever since she was a tiny little kid on Star Search. As a person, though, I think she is a very young, small-town Southern girl who, without her talents, probably would have stayed in Louisiana and raised a family and sung in the Baptist choir (not that there would be anything wrong with that, either).

    And so, because as a person she is who she is, she is imperfect and she chews gum on TV and gets mascara blobs in the corner of her eye and her bra straps show and she makes mistakes as a mom. SO WHAT? All of us have done things we’re not proud of, whether as parents or just as people. Why is she held to some different standard than the rest of us?

    (And I don’t buy the “role model” thing. Give me a break. She is a pop star.)

  • Goooder

    2006/06/29 at 6:26 am

    Yeah, yeah, I know she’s only human.

    I may have been harsh. I would probably feel more sorry for her if she didn’t have millions of dollars.

    I save that sympathy for my sister who makes less than $10/hr and has 2 kids under the age of 3.

  • momtolivi

    2006/06/29 at 6:25 am

    Heather, you’re so right. Other mothers are the meanest, toughest critics out there. You have no idea how many times I’ve cried or felt like a bad parent after reading posts from other moms, particularly stay-at-home moms. Asking why anyone would ever have children if they’re not going to stay at home with them, etc. It’s horrible. Being a mother is the harderst (and most wonderful) thing I’ve ever done. I’m constantly second-guessing myself enough as it is–I don’t need strangers doing it for me.

    As far as Britney goes…she’s a young mother just learning how to deal with everything–and it’s a lot. Nannies, mannies or not. Everything you knew before you have a child is thrown out the window. I have a wonderful, involved husband and it was STILL hard those first few months. Imagine having K-Fed as your husband–no help or emotional support at all.

    I honestly feel that if you don’t have children, you have no business criticizing other peoples’ actions when they are raising theirs.(actually, no one should criticize, they should try to understand and help) I know Brit has done a few dumb things (mostly car-related), but she’s trying her best. Please stop being so judgemental.

  • Danielle

    2006/06/29 at 6:24 am

    Wow guys.

    I think many people missed the “she’s only human” aspect of things. Who are we to say what is or isn’t excusable? There is no way – even with the 24 hour paprazzi coverage, even if she did 20 Matt Lauer interviews – that anyone could ever understand the whys of her behavior (especially as far as mothering goes).

    We’ve been walking with her for so long. It’s terrible to think that when she stumbled it boosted our egos to laugh. The polite thing would have been be to turn our heads respectfully and let her collect herself with dignity.

  • The Gimme A Buck Guy

    2006/06/29 at 7:07 am

    I think Britney Spears is pretty much the female version of Michael Jackson.

    Both are completely out of touch with “normal” reality.

    It’s not their “fault”, since neither knows any different. I’m surprised someone hasn’t done a PhD paper on the relativistic normality of reality for people who became superstars at birth.

  • Jennifer

    2006/06/29 at 7:10 am

    Well, I agree with you. If anyone has ever had a microscope as well as a telephoto lens perpetually focused on her, and millions, no, billions of people judging her parenting decisions, it’s Britney Spears. And I feel sorry for her. No one deserves to be judged so harshly. I think the worst of it was when she stumbled with Sean in her arms. She stumbled, people! She clearly felt terrible about it and yet people took it as proof of her poor parenting skills. Please. When someone gets a photo of her smoking a crack pipe while pregnant and Sean, nearby, licks some white powder up off the floor, then I think we can all say that she’s a bad mother. Until then, she’s an average mother. With lots of help.

  • Jenners

    2006/06/29 at 7:04 am

    A month after I had my son in 1991(it was a horrible non-textbook c-section)I was holding him at a store when a friend walked up to me, patted my stomach and asked when I was due with my “next child.” I was mortified. Did she NOT SEE THE BABY IN MY ARMS? If some paparazzi took pictures of me like that and circled my stomach and said something along the lines of “Pregnancy Bump Alert” I would have become postal. I wore those ugly stetch pants–you know the kind that hooked under the heel–and I felt ugly. I was exhausted from my toenails up.

    I also remember the time I changed my son lightning-quick in the booth of a restaurant. Granted I laid him down on the seat and I used the wet wipes I always carried to clean the seat and my hands, but the point is I DID IT. Hi, my name is Jenny and I am a public diaper changer.

    I watched both Britney Spears and Christina Aquilera go from pop princesses to grown women trying to find their niche and style in life. They have evolved more than once, and they will again. While I am not particularly big fans of either, they have both cranked out some kick ass tunes,and I’d love to have their set of pipes.

    I found your piece about Britney to be wisely written through the eyes of an experienced mom. I watched the video clip of where she stumbled while holding her baby. It was not a near miss. It was a stumble and she didn’t even come close to dropping him, but drama and sensationalism sells while “Oops She Stumbled Again” does not.

    The one aspect of Britney’s life I cannot condone, however, is when she hooked up with a another pregnant woman’s man. He should have been off limits, no if’s, and’s, or butt’s. And as she stated herself ‘she’s not that innocent’ she knew what she was doing. But I shall not be the one to cast the first stone; I am not perfect or innocent either.

    Kudos on your piece. I enjoyed it.

  • Jamie

    2006/06/29 at 6:58 am

    I joke about being slightly obsessed with Britney on my blog. But you know what I think many of us overlook? She is 24. She’s about to be a mom to two very young children. She’s had an incredible amount of success and wealth come her way at a very young age. When I was 24 I was single, selfish, going out with girlfriends, and still three years away from marriage. I’m not even sure I was ready to be a mom at 34! In some ways I find it refreshing that she is not uber perfect (think Brangelina) and isn’t afraid to be a quasi-normal young woman from Louisiana who eats Cheetos, smacks gum, and goes barefoot in public restrooms. I can’t imagine having two children at the age of 24. I cut Miss Brit some slack. Let her enjoy being normal for a while. I think she deserves it.

  • Lynnlaw

    2006/06/29 at 6:57 am

    When asked by Matt Lauer about changing her baby on the floor of Victoria’s Secret, driving around with the little tyke on her lap and chewing gum during interviews, I believe she responded:

    “We’re country!”

    Doesn’t that cover it?

  • motherof2

    2006/06/29 at 6:56 am

    Wow, what a response this post got! I tried to read all the comments but ran out of concentration at #57!

    Britney is human, she is a young mum about to have baby number 2 and people expect this to be over? When I had my first, I fell apart appearance-wise for a few months, then pulled myself together. Then I got pregnant with my second (21 months between them both) and it all went out the window again and it’s only now TWO AND A HALF YEARS LATER that I have started to take any interest in my appearance again! I had my first haircut in 3 years 2 weeks ago!

    Britney is doing great,let’s not be harsh and criticise but let her be. I would like to see an article praising up a young famous mum, rather than those pulling her down. Great article Heather, been reading for ages, but this is my first comment!

  • Trish D

    2006/06/29 at 6:53 am

    Great post. Not a fan of Brit, but that’s not the point, huh? Thanks for the reality check.

    Even as a 25 year-old “young mom” of a 16 month old, my knee-jerk reaction is to criticize her and say, “What an idiot”, but I have to stop myself and think about what horrible things people would say about me when they saw me shut my 5 month old’s foot in the car door bc I wasn’t paying attention. I was horrified when that happened and I probably would have wanted to commit suicide if I saw a picture of that on a magazine cover the next day.

    Just from that experience alone I have realized how horrifying being a superstar parent must be.

    I wish her all the best!

  • Jordan

    2006/06/29 at 6:50 am

    I have never considered myself a Britney fan. I never bought one of her albums, and I don’t know that I ever will, but I can totally give her credit for her getting songs stuck in my head. She’s catchy and lovable and I feel kinda’ bad for her. The mistakes that come with motherhood are just exacerbated by press attention. I think it’s cool that she’s not trying to be something she’s not. If her hair is dirty or she’s not wearing a bra or shoes, at least she’s not trying to please some tabloid reader 8 states away. Can you imagine trying to live your life to someone else’s standards like that? Yuck!!

  • plantain

    2006/06/29 at 6:50 am

    Dooce, you got it right!
    I met Britney once on a music video shoot… she was a very friendly sweet young girl (this was about 3 years ago… right around when she married her friend in Vegas).
    http://tmz.com had video of her crying in a restaurant after she had tripped holding her baby in NY… and I really felt for her…
    I heard that her Matt Lauer interview did not involve any of her publicists/ managers/makeup or hair people (the last two being pretty obvious)….
    I get the sense that she’s at least trying to live as ‘normal’ a life as possible.. still going out to restaurants/ driving with her son/ playing on the beach…. if she and her kid were cloistered away in some compound in Malibu… and never saw the light of day for fear of being paparazzied to death…. she’d be freakin’ Michael Jackson…

  • amy Jacobs

    2006/06/29 at 6:47 am

    First off, I have to say just how much you amaze me with your ability to see such the subtle things about life’s “this and that” and translate it so well in your writing. You are a great talent.

    Secondly, I have to agree with ya on this. I’ve thought the EXACT same thing about Mrs. Federline. You can’t judge her really. She is what she is, despite being famous. She’s soooo young. She is rather country and simple in many ways. And she’s traveling life’s road, just like so many like her, just in front of the whole world. I don’t like her music at all. I will say it’s catchy. But, I agree totally with the fact that she captivates you with her ease of being so amazingly beautiful while she performs and such. She’s got that “it” thing that draws us all in.

    But when that glossy image becomes scratched by REALITY, we all go, “Hey…where’s our polished pop icon that helps escape our own realities?” When she refelects back what we already live and relate to, we, as a society, grimace collectively. We want to be fooled into the assumption that if you only could look wonderful and move like a cat, you’d have a better life. I’m guilty, for sure. Not that I envied Britney really. She just provided a very nice distraction from life on the outside.

    I was very unsettled by her recent interview with Matt Lauer. Mainly cuz she looked so bad…her fake eyelashes applied incorrectly, her hair like a really bad dye job at the local redneck beauty salon…her horribly fitting trailer trash maternity wear…and that gum, Lord help us having to watch her smack that gum. I figured it MUST be Nicorette…since she was a smoker before getting pregnant. I know my poor husband flicks that gum like Chiclets when he’s under stress. Talking to Matt Lauer about how everyone thinks you’re one step away from living in a raised house in some swamp in Louisania because you just can’t swing real life and super stardom, calls for a dose of nicotine.

    But as I got over that initial reaction, I imagined what it must feel like to be her right now. Hugely pregnant, AGAIN (we all know she didn’t mean for that to happen…truly an Oops, I Did It Again), probably feeling like a hippo, still reeling from post partum hormones, trying to cope, as you said, with what motherhood brings…and marriage (if you can call it that). And then, in the midst of this having to put on some “fancy” clothes, do your hair up good and go on national television to talk about yourself in some detached manner. I can’t imagine how upsetting that must be.

    Or like the time she tripped and all the cameras caught her nearly drop her son. Hell, I’ve had my child fall down a full flight of stairs while I was sitting on the couch. As upset as I was, and no one saw me when it happened, poor Britney was seen by hundreds and then when she tried to retreat to a local coffe shop the patrons and wait staff just leared at her like she’d just crapped in the street…her crying with her child. People are so cruel. It’s harshly obvious how she was, is and will be fodder for our entertainment, and nothing more. When she got the lush praise of being a teen princess, she had no idea that’s what she was. But now? Now, it’s painfully obvious. A very harsh thing to realize in the midst of experiencing some of life’s most draining experiences…becoming a parent. But, it happens to all stars eventually…when they get old, get divorced, suffer a drug problem, get AIDS, or simple go out of favor. No one is a darling forever.

    So, like you, I see her in a much different light. And in all truth, I don’t envy her fame or fortune. Rather, I feel sorry for her and hope, someday, she can live her life in some kind of peace. And mostly, that her children can.

    Thanks for such an entertaining column. So glad I have you to read every day. And I know YOU know all to well how an “adoring public” can be so judgemental.

  • Me

    2006/06/29 at 6:46 am

    Goooder…I’m not going to start a war here. My point was, its America, technically, you DO have the right to not immunize your children. I believe you just have to sign a waiver at the dr’s office saying you understand the risks. Then you take a note from the dr to the school, and its accepted. (I think it became an option when they first started linking increased autism rates to increased vaccination rates, from an article I read). Anyway, America = freedom. Mostly.

    With that said, my kids and my dogs have had all their shots, even the Lyme vaccine one.

  • Me

    2006/06/29 at 6:44 am

    Goooder…I’m not going to start a war here. My point was, its America, technically, you DO have the right to not immunize your children. I believe you just have to sign a waiver at the dr’s office saying you understand the risks. Then you take a note from the dr to the school, and its accepted. America = freedom. Mostly.

    With that said, my kids and my dogs have had all their shots, even the Lyme vaccine one.

  • Mary Jo

    2006/06/29 at 6:44 am

    I loved your article. I agree with what you wrote about Britney. I feel awful that she has to withstand the judgement of the world like she does. I know it was her choice to go into entertaining, but every person deserves respect. I think that she’s a young mother, making normal everyday mistakes, and yet she’s persecuted for them. People are so judgmental.

  • Alexandrialeigh

    2006/06/29 at 6:42 am

    I completely agree with you, 100%.

    I was watching the “My Sweet 16” reality show on MTV last night (can’t believe I just admitted that, but there you go), and I am constantly amazed at the way reality television and the Internet are affecting teenagers now. Imagine the tweens whose MySpace accounts will still be on the Internet when they’re 22 and trying to find their first jobs out of college — you better believe employers will make use of Google, and probably search other web sites, too, to find out everything they can about potential employees.

    I shudder to think of the things I would’ve put on a blog had I started one in my teens. And just thinking of how much I’ve changed as I’ve gotten older is enough to make me frightened of how technology will affect me later in life, too. There’s much more of a record of everything we do now. And Britney came of age in the public eye–remember when she claimed she wouldn’t have sex until marriage? I’m sure when she said it she really believed it; but how can you know how your opinions will change as you get older? It’s impossible to predict. It’s like having someone follow you around and record every single thing you say, just so they can prove you wrong about everything later on.

  • Lisa V

    2006/06/29 at 6:39 am

    I think she worked so hard to become famous, and she doesn’t have the maturity -she is so young- to see what she needs to do. If she hates the stalking of the photogs and tabloids, she needs to give it all up. If she moves back to Louisiana she might start seeing part of a normal life again. I think it’s awful the way she is treated- and believe me I am no fan. But she has to do something to stop it rather than complain about it.

  • Me

    2006/06/29 at 6:39 am

    Amanda B. hit the nail on the head:

    “From what I’ve observed, I think Britney has very few people in her life who she can really trust (including in her immediate family) and very few places where she is safe. I think it’s a situation where she will have to learn to parent herself and that takes a lot of time and a good bit of trial and error. At least it did for me. ”

    I love that. Exactly.

  • smoness

    2006/06/29 at 6:39 am

    Kick-ass article! …Come on, what mother or babysitter on this planet hasn’t left the baby alone for 43.8 seconds to brush their teeth or pee for the first time in two days?? All the while willing the baby not to ingest clorox or bonk its head on the coffee table while you’re wiping your ass. Babies are soft and squishy so that we can learn from our mistakes without killing anyone.
    I have no doubt that Brit loves her baby and wants the best for him. She’s learning just like anyone else who has their own or taken care of someone else’s children. It’s just the price she has to pay for being in the public eye: If we’re not hating her for being talented, rich and beautiful then we have to hate her for going and starting a family instead of entertaining us with her shiny outfits… how dare she!!!

  • Sandy

    2006/06/29 at 6:39 am

    I have 3 kids..ages 7, 5 and 22months and there have been a million different times that I have stepped out my front door in a t-shirt, sweat pants and flip flops. Did I care? Not really. The baby was going to spit up on me whether or not I was dressed nice, or sloppy. The girls were going to wipe their snotty noses and hands on my clothes whether or not they were “nice” or otherwise. Did I pray that nobody I knew saw me? Oh hell yes!

    I have made plenty of mistakes with my kids, a fact that I’m sure they will tell me when they are 16 and hating me. But was it in the public’s glaring eye? Not unless you count the checkers at Wal-Mart. Does that make me any different or better than Britney? I don’t think so, but it doesn’t change the fact that I don’t like some of her excuses. She sat her child on her lap while she was driving. Wrong? yes. Should she have attributed it to being Southern? No. I’m Southern, and my dad did the same to me when I was little. Does that make it right? No. Would I do it with my own children? No. Why? Because I freakin know better..and I was 22, 24 & 28 when my kids were born.

    If she’s going to act they way she does, (which is no different than 1,000 non-famous people)and if she’s going to dress the way she does, and she’s going to be married to who she’s married too, then by God, OWN IT! Don’t make excuses. Admit when you’re wrong, don’t play it off.

    I try my very best not to judge her. Sometimes it’s hard not too, but I still try.

  • momma 2 angels

    2006/06/29 at 8:00 am

    oops 2 many typo’s. must slow down defend britney

  • Korey Beyersdorf

    2006/06/29 at 8:01 am

    Here’s the thing I love about Dooce – she always makes me think. Britney has been such a disappointment to me, after having been such a huge fan. I can’t stand to even watch her these days because she has not lived up to her potential, and it seems that she has no one to blame for that but herself. Which makes me very sad.
    But after reading Heather’s article, I can see Britney’s side. Not that I agree with her side, but I can see it. And I appreciate having someone make me see her side of things. It makes me be not so judgemental. It makes me be more understanding and compassionate. It makes me be less of a snob, and more of a human being.
    So while I still can’t stand the new and un-improved Britney, I can at least try to be less of a hater towards her. I think that is progress. For me.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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