I once watched an episode of Martha Stewart Living where, as she laid out a wet cashmere sweater on a towel, she measured each part of the garment to ensure that it would still be the correct size when it was finished drying.
“You’re kidding me!” I yelled at the TV.
A sweater of mine should be so lucky, to be dried flat on a towel and not tossed in the dryer with a wish for “good luck”. There’s no way I’d ever measure my sleeves.
It turns out however, that Martha might not actually measure her own sleeves either. The woman, who made domesticity cool for a generation, has been taken to task by her daughter, Alexis Stewart, in her new book, Whateverland: Learning to Live Here.
“Martha always says she changes her sheets every day,” Alexis muses. “But what she really means is that she has her sheets changed every day.”
Martha Stewart has given homemakers, around the world, a lot to aspire toward…and a lot of hidden shame. We never seem to live up to the standard she sets. And the same was true for her daughter, growing up.
“Martha does everything better? You can’t win!” Alexis says, adding, “If I didn’t do something perfectly, I had to do it again…I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head.”
Perfectionist she may be, but Martha’s image as domestic goddess and holiday enthusiast didn’t translate into reality very well, at all.
“She used to make me wrap my own presents.” Alexis recalls. “She would hand me things right before Christmas and say, ‘Now wrap these but don’t look inside.’”
Well, that’s a relief. It looks like most of us, normal moms, are actually doing just fine.
The book isn’t a total bash-fest though. Alexis, 46 (she looks 25) and her mother, 70 (Whaaaa? I thought maybe 55) have a mature, adult relationship these days.
Alexis empathises with Martha’s upbringing, in a less than wealthy family where she was one of six children. She also appears to have come to terms with her own, unusual, childhood.
The book Whateverland: Learning to Live Here, has all the earmarks of a funny and revealing look into the life of a very wealthy and influential woman, and the daughter she raised. I smell a bestseller. – Jen R, Staff Writer