STFU, Russell Brand
In case you were wondering who out there could possibly want to perpetuate the notion that fathers are completely inept, you’re in luck. No, it’s not some guy who used a time machine to travel here from 1955. It’s Russell Brand!
Brand is the father to Mabel, 2, and six-month-old Peggy — quite a handful, having two under two. But not for Brand! Because he admits he leaves most of that child-rearing stuff to his wife, Laura. Charming.
The Forgetting Sarah Marshall star and, more infamously, Katy Perry’s ex-husband, recently opened up to The Sunday Times Magazine about what he contributes in terms of parenting. (Hint: it’s not a lot.)
“I’m still of a romantic and reflective and, possibly, to give it its proper name, a religious disposition,” Brand says, explaining his reasons for not changing diapers. “That’s my world view. That’s not necessarily what you want organizing pragmatic, bureaucratic, managerial stuff.”
He freely admits his wife does basically everything kid-related. “Oh totally, Laura does all of it,” he says. “It turns out that she is extremely well versed in the nuances and complexities of child-rearing.” Ah yes, the emotional labor of women. It comes at the expense of our mental and physical health but hey, at least guys like Russell Brand get to take a load off.
Annoyingly, there’s more. “Me, I am dedicated to it, devoted to it, but I am still surprised when it’s like, ‘Oh my God, this is fucking really hard and it’s so exhausting.’ The younger one, I just feel inept so quickly, like with the crying.”
Brand also admits that he’s never spent a full 24 hours alone with his own children. When asked how long he’s ever been alone with his kids, he admitted it was, um, not long. “That’s a good question, isn’t it? Well, OK. The two of them? Well, not long, not long… Um, I’ve done like, a night. But they’re asleep then,” he says. That’s Laura’s fault, too, because, “She wouldn’t go away for 24 hours, Laura. She respects and cares for their safety too much.”
To leave them WITH THEIR FATHER.
He also shares his ridiculous thoughts on playdates. Ridiculous because from the sounds of it, this isn’t really his jam anyway and poor Laura is the one doing all the schlepping. “There is nothing playful about a playdate,” he says. “It’s an unrestrained, unmanaged, dangerous experiment that places my precious, perfect little girl in the company of anonymous, unvetted, potential arseholes.”
Lots of people reacted to Brand’s, uh, parenting philosophies on Twitter.
Russell Brand embodies brocialism. Wants credit for being all woke and sensitive while still expecting the women in his life to do the actual work.
— Tom Doran (@portraitinflesh) January 20, 2019
Basically Laura has 3 children pic.twitter.com/GJsMbTtXgy
— Sarah (@sbl1976) January 20, 2019
Decca Aitkenhead's Russell Brand piece in the @TheSTMagazine will make your eyes roll clean out of your head. I cannot BEAR men that openly admit to not doing their bit with kids and dressing it up as "oh, you know me, I can't do that stuff!!" "She's so much better at it!"
— Jamie East (@jamieeast) January 20, 2019
BABY: "WAH! CRY! WAH!"
RUSSELL BRAND: "That's enough about you. Let's talk about me!"
— David Quantick (@quantick) January 20, 2019
Russell Brand’s approach to parenting reminds me of that time Rupert Murdoch tweeted that he was babysitting his own child https://t.co/Ao28N7DsyK
— anyabike (@anyabike) January 20, 2019
Russell Brand attempting to do basic parenting while also being sensitive. pic.twitter.com/NFjNylT2hG
— Tom Neenan (@TNeenan) January 20, 2019
Russell Brand pitching himself as some New Age, all new, mature and sensitive dad – and then saying he’s too sensitive to do any actual parenting is the most Russell Brand thing I’ve ever read in my life pic.twitter.com/T0KSObnWXo
— Hadley Freeman (@HadleyFreeman) January 20, 2019
It’s all especially ironic given the fact that Brand is a sort of self-help guru these days, with books and his own 12-step program under his belt. But he can’t help himself in trying not to sound like a complete ass who doesn’t hold his weight as an equal parent and partner, I guess?
The invisible workload of mothers is exhausting. It’s bad enough that we have to train our husbands and partners to stop referring to it as “helping” and instead, just get them to do what they’re supposed to be doing without being told. Hearing a famous guy with a huge platform say things like “lol my wife is just better at this” and shrug it off like it’s somehow endearing is just so…old. And depleting.
I don’t think anyone looks to Russell Brand to enlighten them on the nuances of parenthood and married life, but man — there aren’t enough eye rolls and sighs for this:
“I’m very, very focused on the mystical connotations of Mabel‘s beauty and grace. Not so good on the [diapers] and making sure that they eat food.” Astonishingly, he comes off as even worse while sharing a quaint anecdote about just how much he sucks at basic dadding:
“When I looked after Mabel on her own, she dropped two social classes in an hour. In no time at all we’re in a coffee shop, she’s just got a nappy on, she’s covered in stuff because I’m not willing to fight any of the battles. I’m like, fuck it, it doesn’t matter whether she wears trousers, no, I suppose it doesn’t matter if she does that. So it looks a bit Shameless within a couple of hours,” he shares.
OK, the pant-free toddler in public part is somewhat relatable. Brand’s utterly backward and dated views on what parent should have to get the situation under control are not — or at least they shouldn’t be.
“Laura’s able to sustain and maintain domesticity in a way that’s astonishing. I didn’t have much experience of how to organize domesticity. I do whatever I’m told.”
He did have a moment of self-reflection and concern for how he’s coming off at the end of the interview. “I would hate for you to leave with the impression that I’m sort of sat watching television, peering over the armchair at what’s going on. I’m not. Yesterday, like, I drove Mabel to the playschool and I drop her at the playschool. But I’m sensitive and awake and aware, so I have to dial a lot of shit down to go through normal life.”
The only thing we can say to all of this is…