Sometimes relatable

Even Gwyneth Paltrow Struggles To Balance Work, Life And Parenting

“We as women are so programmed to be busy,” she said. “We’ve all bought this thing from the patriarchy hook, line, and sinker.”

In an interview with Bustle, Gwyneth Paltrow talked about being in her 50s, having college-aged kids...
Ellen Von Unwerth/ Bustle

Gwyneth Paltrow is embracing life in her 50s in so many different ways. She’s stepping into her power and confidence as she ages. Her company, Goop, continues to flourish while she begins to think about her exit plan in a few short years. And her kiddos are super close to spreading their wings and leaving her with an empty nest.

In an interview with Bustle, she talked about it all, starting with how she thought she was going to slow down in her 50s — but that her life is still busy as hell and full to the point of bursting.

“It’s just one of those seasons,” she explained in the interview. “It’s like this fulcrum of life. I thought in my 50s I could downshift for some reason. I don’t really know why I thought that would happen. I was talking to my friend who’s in her 60s, and she’s like, ‘Oh, no. No way. You got 15 more years.’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’”

On top of her beauty and wellness company, Goop, which is expanding to include a line of more-affordable products that will be available at Target and Amazon, Paltrow is juggling her marriage to producer Brad Falchuk, parenting her two kids, Apple, 19, and Moses, 17, and parenting her two stepkids Isabella, 19, and Brody, 17. And that’s not to mention all of the other stuff that comes with being an A-list Hollywood star.

Actually, though, when she talks about her day-to-day life, it’s pretty relatable to basically any busy mom who works and takes care of kids.

“I’m in a phase where I feel like things are just extra, extra messy because I have so much to do,” she continued. “My son and stepson are both seniors in high school, and sometimes I feel like the college process is a full-time job in and of itself. So I’m trying to keep the domestic stuff on track, and we have a lot going on at the company... So I’m just f*cking up. I’ve burned three things in the oven this weekend, just stuff like that, where you’re like, ‘What the f*ck?’”

Bustle / Ellen Von Unwerth

Like many moms with kids and work, she is also to a point where it feels like she’s forgotten how to relax.

“We as women are so programmed to be busy,” she says. “It’s like a badge of honor, and we’ve all bought this thing from the patriarchy hook, line, and sinker that we have to be busy and overperforming. I’d like to move into the next phase more from a place of discovery and gentleness. To let life unfold, as opposed to ‘I’m not doing enough.’ Because now, if I fully take a weekend off, sometimes I’ll start to feel anxious, like, ‘Oh, my God, what should I be doing?’ Even when I’m trying to relax, I’ll think, ‘OK, I’ll sit down with a great novel!’ And it’s like, Jesus, can you not just sit down and daydream?”

But things have changed now that her kids and stepkids are teens — and moving on to college. Apple is settled into freshman year at Vanderbilt, while Moses in the process of applying.

“Apple was very clear on where she wanted to go, and did everything in her power to make it happen and manifested it,” Paltrow said. “Moses is like, ‘I don’t know, I like this and I like that, and let’s go back and see this, let’s go back and see that one.’ He’s more relaxed about it. He’s kind of like ‘I’ll be happy wherever; it’s fine,’ which is a great feeling.”

But while Gwyneth says Apple uses a lot of Goop products, she’s not interested in following in her mom’s footsteps or taking over the business — at least right now. But Paltrow says she’ll support either of her kids if they want to pursue some of the same paths that she did.

“Now there’s this whole nepo baby culture, and judgment that exists around kids of famous people,” she said. “[Apple] is really just a student, and she’s been very... She just wants to be a kid and be at school and learn. But there’s nothing wrong with doing or wanting to do what your parents do. Nobody rips on a kid who’s like, ‘I want to be a doctor like my dad and granddad.’ The truth is if you grow up in a house with a lot of artists and people making art and music, that’s what you know, the same way that if you grow up in a house with law, the discussions around the table are about the nuances of whatever particular law the parents practice. I think it’s kind of an ugly moniker. I just hope that my children always feel free to pursue exactly what they want to do, irrespective of what anybody’s going to think or say.”

Sure, it can feel like Gwyneth is nothing like a regular mom, with her sometimes out-of-this-world body treatments and her not-quite-traditional divorce. But under the surface, it seems like she’s a mom like anyone else: One who cares a whole lot about her kids and a whole lot about her work.