Monday 18 December 2017

Don't worry, mums -- even A-list kids can get the blues!

NEW YORK - MAY 25: Suri Cruise, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes seen on the streets of Manhattan on May 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)
NEW YORK - MAY 25: Suri Cruise, Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes seen on the streets of Manhattan on May 25, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

Heidi Scrimgeour

Seeing Suri Cruise's tantrum cheered up mum-of-two Heidi Scrimgeour

Navigating your way through a child's temper tantrum is surely one of the toughest assignments of parenting, but can you imagine having to do so under the gaze of the media?

Suri Cruise, daughter of Tom Cruise and actress Katie Holmes, was pictured earlier this week, in the midst of what appeared to be a mini meltdown.

One moment Suri was happily tucking into an ice- cream cone; the next, her face was contorted into something resembling Munch's iconic 'The Scream' painting. Her mother, meanwhile, was left holding the ice-cream, looking decidedly tight-lipped.

With sons aged five and seven I know all too well how quickly a child of Suri's age can turn from a happy camper into the kid from The Exorcist, so I feel for both mother and daughter.

It can't be easy knowing that in the most testing of times your parenting skills will be subject to the scrutiny of anonymous global onlookers, and being followed everywhere by the paparazzi must be a suffocating experience for a child.

But the pictures of Suri throwing a wobbler brought a strange cheer to my heart.

Not because it pleases me to see a child crying, but because in a world where some celebrities seem to act as though they invented motherhood, I find it reassuring to see that kids will always be kids, regardless of who their parents are. Or how much their shoe collection might be worth.

It's heartening for 'normal' mums to see that not even fame and fortune can tame the temper of an irate kid.

Most mothers would agree that giving a child everything his or her tiny heart desires is not, in the long run, a recipe for a happy child, so it's simply reassuring to know that even kids who surely want for nothing still throw temper tantrums.

We're taunted by celebrities making every aspect of motherhood look easy. They're super slim within seconds of giving birth, and coiffed to within an inch of their lives and fully made-up at a point where 'normal' mums fail to shower on a regular basis.

Maybe it's sour grapes, but I'm simply glad to know that celebrities aren't immune from the less dignified 'Swallow me up, ground' moments of motherhood.

Most mothers do the best they can, but the quality of that 'best' can vary along a continuum affected by everything from how much sleep and coffee we've had to whether we're worrying about paying this month's bills.

Celebrity parenting just isn't affected by those kind of quality-control issues, so when famous mums bleat on about the joys of motherhood it's enough to make the rest of us feel like failures.

Of course, any mother worth her salt knows not to pay too much attention to the 'wisdom' of celebrity parents. But from Alanis Morissette and her faith in the power of infant attachment to prevent addiction in later life, to Mayim Bialik singing the praises of potty training without using nappies, it seems we are beset by famous faces peddling parenting advice, whether we want it or not.

I've never felt that I've had anything much in common with celebrity mums. Until now. The next time my lads lose the plot in public I'm going to resist the urge to hide from them and pretend they're not mine. Instead, I'm going to smile and remind myself that Katie Holmes and I aren't so very different after all.

Irish Independent

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