couples

Elizabeth Banks: you're not a 'real mom' until you have two kids

Whoa, Elizabeth Banks has angered mothers of only children by saying she only felt like a 'real mom' now that she has two children.

The Hunger Games actress – best known for her television roles in 30 Rock and Scrubs – told People magazine:

“Two is very different from one. When you have one kid, you feel like you can jet set around and you can throw him on the hip and you get your life done.” 

“You don’t realise how easy one is until you have two. Now I’m really a mom. Oh, I am a mom now! This is for serious — I am responsible for two people now.”

As you may have guessed, that statement hasn't gone down too well with mothers the world over. On US parenting website, The Stir one author writes:

"It's so rude and so insulting to parents of only children. Whether she meant it that way or not, it's incredibly insensitive. I had only child for more than five years while we struggled with secondary infertility, and for years I thought my son would be an only child."

Laura Beck on Jezebel takes a different point-of-view:

"I think Banks was just talking about her individual experience, not the experience of all moms everywhere in time and space. I don't think she was casting aspersions on the second-class mothers of blighted single babies, I think she was just being funny when talking about the difficulties of two kids."

As the mother of only one child (wait, for it) I'm going to have to agree with Beck, I think we can put a pause on our outrage. Why are we so incensed by something a celebrity has said about their life? Their lives don't resemble anything close to our everyday experiences. They have help, they have nannies, they have stacks of money, they have really really white teeth.

I get what Elizabeth Banks is saying -with one child you only have to endure one round of nappy changing, toilet training and sleepless nights – but whether you have one child or a people mover full of them, no (non-celebrity) mother is blithely 'jet setting' around. Even a short venture outside the house requires strategic planning around nap times and the energy to lug around armloads of stuff: bottles, nappies, wipes, strollers and snacks – god forbid they get hungry in the 10 minutes you intend to be out for.

Of course you are a 'real mum' if you have one child. There is nothing more real than being confronted with a screaming baby at 3am or having to scrape poo off the couch/floor/wall or taking your toddler to the emergency room in the middle of the night. If you take a closer look at what 'real' means to Elizabeth Banks you can take what else she says with a fairly hefty dose of salt. This is what she said about her holiday with her husband when they had no help for 10 whole days:

“[We] had no help, no nannies, no babysitters. It was crazy. You forget how difficult it is to wake up in the middle of the night, how exhausting it is,” she admits. “I lost all my nails. I did dishes and cleaned bottles for 10 days so I lost all those nails!”

Broken nails aside, that's the reality for most of us. It is exhausting and I like that she admits that.

Do you find Elizabeth Banks' comments offensive?

00:00 / ???