Emma Thompson, who recently starred as the Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers in Saving Mr. Banks, took a year-long break from her acting career to spend time with her 14-year-old daughter and recommends other mothers do the same.
“You can’t be a great mum and keep working all the time,” she said in an interview with the Daily Mail published Saturday. “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.”
Thompson said she spent time teaching drama at her daughter’s school and cooking. “I highly recommend others to do the same if they can afford it.”
Luckily for the Love Actually star, she can afford it: Thompson is reportedly worth roughly $50 million, according to Page Six. Not all moms have that luxury, and some even argue that balancing work and family life makes you a better mom. Working moms are understandably upset by Thompson’s comments: “It doesn’t matter if you work, as long as you show your child that you’re engaged when you are home,” Laura Deutsch, a mom of two and co-founder of Mommybites, told Page Six.
Thompson’s comments may feel a little tone deaf — especially when taken out of context — but she’s just the latest actress to stir up controversy with her parenting advice. Gwyneth Paltrow came under fire recently for implying that mothers who work nine-to-five jobs have it easier than genetically-gifted actresses with lifestyle brands.
In fact, Angelina Jolie seems to be the only celeb mom who can make a comment about the trials and tribulations of motherhood without causing an outrage.
“I’m not a single mom with two jobs trying to get by every day,” she told the New York Daily News.”I have much more support than most people, most women in this world. And I have the financial means to have a home and health care and food.”
“When I feel I’m doing too much, I do less, if I can,” she said. “And that’s why I’m in a rare position where I don’t have to do job after job. I can take time when my family needs it.”