Maybe she had a headache or some important phone calls to return, but that didn't stop people from judging Angelina Jolie harshly for sitting in her SUV watching as her paid nanny played with twins Vivienne and Knox at a Santa Monica park Saturday.
Photos of the Jolie-Pitt outing published on the Just Jared celebrity website drew negative remarks from people who disliked the "Salt" star delegating her mommy role to hired help.
On a British chat forum, one woman fretted, "Those poor kids! However, I think they're better off with nannies then with Angie."
Another sniffed, "Even Gwen Stefani goes to the playground with her kids."
Good Mommy vs. Bad Mommy
The good mommy/bad mommy trope is a popular way for the media to pigeon hole celebrity mothers, and no A-list mom is under the microscope more than Jolie. A Yahoo search for Angelina Jolie Bad Mother yields multiple pages of articles and blog posts on the subject.
Ironically, the actress was herself afraid of being a bad mother before she adopted her first child, Maddox. "I hadn't held children before in my life," she admitted. "I was always considered so dark and I thought maybe I shouldn't be someone's mom because I'm not so sure about myself."
However, upon holding her little boy, her feelings changed. "The fact that this little kid seemed so at ease gave me the courage to feel I could make him happy," she added.
Gossip Mags Paint Jolie as Dark and Mysterious
The tabloids, however, have preferred to perpetuate the former goth's dark image and cast doubts on her ability to properly mother her children. In Touch, the magazine currently being sued by Tom Cruise for claiming he "abandoned" his daughter Suri, concluded from a convo with one of the family's alleged body guards that her "yelling fits and unreasonable demands deeply hurt Brad and their six children."
The body guard, who was suspiciously identified by only his first name, said his employer was "not moved by tears" and had a "quirky habit of giggling when one of her kids would start crying."
Should Jolie Have to Choose Between Children and Career?
Meanwhile, a parenting "expert" basically told Us Jolie should choose between motherhood and career. "Angelina's behavior may cause problems because it's hypocritical," she said. "Either you want to build a stable family or you want to be a woman with the career who's flying off here, flying there, doing this film, doing that film. But you can't have it both ways."
Tell that to Jennifer Garner and Reese Witherspoon, who are held up as model Hollywood moms who patiently play with their children and teach them good manners, yet manage to also make movies. Of Garner, one blogger wrote, "(She) is probably the most likely to pull up a seat next to you during the local library's story hour and sing along -- mercilessly out of tune -- to 'Old McDonald Had A Farm.'" Another described Witherspoon as a "great mom" for giving her children equal attention. Gushed Perez Hilton, "She has a brand new baby boy, but she's still making a point to spend time with her bigger kids."
Watch Out Kris Jenner -- There's a New Momager in Town
The bad mommy label is saved for Jolie, who has been accused of using her children as props for publicity and allowing them to eat too much junk food, including (gasp!) diet soft drinks. More recently, there were suggestions the megastar is turning into that most feared of Hollywood female monsters -- a momager. Three of Angie's and Brad Pitt's children will show their celestial faces in her upcoming movie "Maleficent."
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