EM: How do you feel about your motherhood?

Emma Thompson

According to actress Emma Thompson, you can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time.

Oh man, really? What the shit E.T.?!

Maybe she hit her head before the interview? Perhaps she was taken out of context?

I read this statement, recovered from the series of small strokes it induced, and then sought out the original Daily Mail article so I could better understand her line of thinking. After all, Emma Thompson is a goddess of epic proportions, a champion of working mothers everywhere, and a bloody great actress.

Upon further investigation things only got worse, Emma actually said: “I wanted to spend more time with my family. A year off was my birthday present to myself. I didn’t actually act or write. I was just a mum. I taught drama at my daughter’s school, cooked meals and had fun. I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it. You can’t be a great Mum and keep working all the time.”

Oh my Christ. So many emotions, which one to go with? Teaching drama?! What? I can’t even. You can’t even. She can’t even!

I think Emma Thompson’s good mother checklist goes something like this:

1. Ensure children’s emotional, physical and spiritual needs are met at all times. (Private family yoga sessions are involved here.)

2. Ensure house is always tidy and smells of lavender. (I don’t know why I went with lavender, it just felt inherently British.)

3. Feed children home cooked organic and nutritionally balanced meals. (With all fruit and veg grown in her own environmentally sound patch that the servants planted when she was being a bad mother.)

4. Perfect parental attendance of all child activities and sports. (Thank GOD the Range Rover fits seven!)

5. Impart Oscar winning wisdom on method acting to the next generation. (Ring Daniel Day Lewis. See if he is free for morning tea.)

Of COURSE Emma needed a year off to be a good mum – look at her list!

Em Rusciano with her daughters.

I think it comes down to one simple fact here, my definition of a ‘good mother’ vastly differs from Emma Thompson’s.

Let us focus on that fact, rather than Emma forgetting she was not addressing a convention of millionaires who find things like cooking, mothering and chores to be a quaint novelty.

You see, us working mothers are a sensitive lot. I don’t know about you but I am constantly scanning conversations, emails and other people’s inner dialogues for a hint of someone insinuating I am not measuring up as a mother.

Okay, I don’t really do that but I am ‘she’s a bad mother’ sensitive, because deep down my darkest fear IS that my children somehow suffer because I work. I mean, they would suffer a great deal more if I didn’t (in the form of starvation, hypothermia and general abject poverty). I don’t really have a choice; as I am sure many of you don’t either.


To be honest I am sick of this bullshit argument. None of you are actually attempting to ‘have it all’ still, are you? We’re all past that ridiculous notion, right? If some of you are still thinking you need to have it all then f*ck that shit off yesterday or adjust what ‘having it all’ means.

If ‘having it all’ means the children got out of the house before 9am with food in their bellies and the mold situation in the bathroom is improving then: congratulations! You have achieved all-ness.

Because it really doesn’t matter if Emma Thompson thinks you or I are good mothers or not. Shine the light in: How do you feel about your motherhood? Are you doing a good job in your own eyes?

Em with the ‘World’s Best Mum’ Diploma she received from her daughter on Mother’s Day.

Ask your kids what they think of you if you must. If you have raised them right they will either say “yes”, or, if they are in a bad mood with you, they will know to lie to your face and say “yes”, because they saw the desperation in your wretched teary eyes and knew you needed some positive reinforcement.


I feel pretty shitting good, but then my standards are probably lower than Emma’s.

Have you come full circle on this like I have? If I could afford to take a year off to bake, teach drama and generally be a pretentious wanker I bloody well would.

But Emma is 55 and in my opinion has an archaic view of what being a good mother is, so I can forgive her for that. I want to forgive her, I’m tired of women turning on other women, telling each other they’re doing feminism, motherhood and breathing wrong.

Now… shhhh! Let us never speak of this again and Emma can go back to taking her shoes off at awards ceremonies, hanging out with Hillary Clinton (you KNOW Hills would have phoned her the second this interview came out and said ‘BITCH PLEASE’ or something to that effect) and generally being a kick arse lady.