Lay Off The Mama

The New York Daily News recently ran a front page photo of Madonna’s 15 year old daughter smoking a cigarette. Oh. My. God.

Hold the frick’n press. A teenager did something stupid somewhere, people.  The Daily News breathlessly reports “Wearing a black-and-white dress, Ray-Ban sunglasses, and sporting a nose ring, the Material Girl’s girl appeared to puff like she’d done it before.”

And since this photo was published, people have been aiming some pretty harsh vitriol at Madonna, criticising her parenting skills and making assumptions about her relationship with her daughter. 

Now, before I go further, I must admit my own initial reaction to this story was to roll my eyes and say “Well, what did they expect?” But then I thought about it some more. That could be 15 year-old me in that photo. Really, she’s just another teenager. And what if this were my 15 year old daughter?

This could be me. This could be my daughter.

I’m not really a fan of Madonna in terms of her music or celebrity status, but that doesn’t mean I can’t empathise with her as a parent. Parenting is a level playing field. Madonna is just another mum. Widespread criticism in the media of Madonna just because Lourdes was seen smoking is pretty unfair. Neither of my parents have ever smoked, but I took it up when I was 13, only stopping when I fell pregnant with my first child seven later. Yes, smoking is stupid. But hands up who never did anything stupid when they were 15? Hands up the mum whose kid has never done anything stupid?

God forbid my own mum had been vilified in this way for the things I did when I was Lourdes age. It wasn’t her fault. I didn’t then, and don’t now, hold her responsible for my ridiculous and often outright dangerous actions.

This is not about smoking. Look, it’s not easy to find someone who hates smoking more than I do. You know what really bugs me about Lourdes and Madonna being hated on for this? Those people in their glass houses. Sooner or later Lourdes will grow up and realise how stupid she looks with that thing hanging out of her mouth, and wonder why she has to stop and bend over and hack her lungs out when all her friends can run the cross-country without a problem, and she’ll come across someone who has cancer and suddenly not doing something that would ever do that to your body will be more important than giving your mum, and everyone else who tells you what to do, the finger.

Give her some credit. And some grace. She’s 15, people.

You may think your own kids are perfect, but just wait until they grow up. Then you’ll find out what they really got up to while you were bragging on them, and criticising everyone else’s. In the end, even with all the resources she has available to her and her public profile, she’s just another mama. Would you want people ripping on you like this if they saw your daughter smoking in the street?

I say lay off the mama.


4 thoughts on “Lay Off The Mama

  1. Oh my goodness, my kids are 18 next month and 15, and if they were front page news every time they did something “wrong” or “out there” I would die of embarassment!!!! And they are basically pretty good kids but like you say, everybody makes mistakes especially as teenagers!

  2. Oh my poor mother. I was actually in the newspaper smoking myself at 15. A story on who was selling cigarettes to minors. It was on the front page of our major city newspaper. My poor poor healthy eating wholesome mother.

    You are bang on. Teenagers make some bad decisions and we can only hope that as mothers we are equipping them with the skills to move past these mistakes and grow into happy healthy adults.

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