Crisitna Odone: Thanks Gwyneth ... at last we know what makes a happy family
GWYNETH Paltrow is telling women who want a family to stay at home. Even if she is "a big deal" (presumably, like Paltrow), a woman who wants a happy family must learn to put herself second. In the "equation" of marriage, first place must be reserved for her husband and children. Compromise is the name of the game.
Women all over the world will issue a collective sigh of relief: oh thank goodness that Gwyneth has finally revealed the secrets of playing happy families. Without her we would never have guessed that life is about a big ego making the necessary adjustments to accomodate another big ego — not to mention the unbridled egos of a brood of mini-mes. If Gwyneth hadn't told "Harper's Bazaar" that she thinks children need Mummy to be around a lot, and that husbands really like to have wives cooking supper for them when they come home, we'd never have known it.
But hang on: before I rush to the kitchen and don my pinny, I'd like to ask a question of perfect Miss Paltrow. What about HIM? My understanding of an "equation" is that there are two elements. If the same is true of marriage, where is Gwyneth's advice to hubby that he too must compromise? If wife drops her big career to cook him shepherd's pie (more like mung bean loaf in the Paltrow home) and to read Where the Wild Things Are to the toddlers, what's on his must-do list? If marriage is the great and wonderful adventure that Gwyneth claims it is, then husbands have to be engaged participants, not revered icons. He needs to have invested something in the family — or he'll take it for granted, grow bored, and take off.
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