7 ways growing up with Martha Stewart wasn’t ‘a good thing’
In a couple of weeks, radio show hosts Alexis Stewart and Jennifer Koppelman Hutt of Whatever with Alexis and Jennifer will see their new book Whateverland: Learning to Live Here on bookshelves around the world. Recently released excerpts of the book reveal that for Alexis, growing up as Martha Stewart’s daughter was far from an idyllic childhood. Alexis speaks candidly of her mother’s flaws, which vastly contradict the domestic do-it-yourself perfect woman image Martha is known for.
Curious about just what it was like to be in Alexis’ shoes? Here are seven ways that having Martha Stewart as your mother might not have always been ‘a good thing’ — and how the domestic diva is just as human and imperfect as any parent.
She peed with the door open
Yes, the women known for superior taste and class left the bathroom door open when she was using it. Alexis writes that she remembers “saying, ‘You know, now I have friends over! You can’t do that anymore! It’s gotta stop! My friends’ parents don’t do it! Give me a break here! I don’t feel like being embarrassed! It’s exhausting! I’m a kid! Stop!”‘
She made Alexis wrap her own Christmas presents
Alexis writes that “she would hand me things right before Christmas and say “Now wrap these but don’t look inside.”‘ We assume this was her way of teaching her daughter to wrap the perfect present, but couldn’t she let her practice on presents to other family members instead? Seems a bit extreme to take the joy out of opening Christmas gifts for lessons in domesticity.
No costumes and no celebrating on Halloween
Yep. Halloween was no better. In fact there was absolutely no recognizing it in their home. Alexis reveals that “There were no costumes. There was no anything. We turned off all the lights and pretended we weren’t home.” It makes you wonder where she gets all those creative and crafty Halloween ideas for her show and magazine, no?
No prepared food in the fridge
Another brutal rule for a kid: there was never any prepared food. Many ingredients, but nothing Alexis and her friends could just grab and eat. Everything required a recipe and significant prep and cooking time. “There was never anything to eat at my house. Other people had food. I had no food … There were ingredients but no prepared food of any kind” she says.
She refused to buy her a bra when the time came
On the subject, she admits “My mother had bra issues, [she] told me that her mother wouldn’t let her buy a bra when she needed one… so some of her friends gave her some bras. When my grandmother found the bras in the closet, she screamed at my mother and slapped her for having them.”
She gave terrible dating advice
She writes about a woman who lived near them and married a quite wealthy but very unattractive man. “My mother actually told me when I was a small child, ‘Now Alexis, if this ever happens, you make sure you have sex with somebody else to have their baby. Don’t have his baby.’ She was very practical about it. It was a survival skill – you have someone rich and ugly who takes care of you, and you have someone who’s hot and makes attractive babies.”
She is quite a hoarder
On the topic, Alexis notes “My mother would go to tag sales constantly. She owns hundreds of tablecloths. She won’t let go of anything. She takes things from New York City, then puts them in her house in Westchester. Then she takes them back from Westchester to the city again, then she puts [them] in the Hamptons. And then she hires another truck that takes it to Maine… In some weird way she thinks she’s saving money because she’s not wasting anything.”
Despite the tell-all book revealing a few skeletons in Martha’s not so pristine closet, Alexis did dedicate it to her mother, and freely admits that she wasn’t the most hands on or affectionate parent most likely because she was one of six kids and so she didn’t receive that style of parenting herself.
When all is said and done, no one should be shocked to hear Martha wasn’t the perfect homemaker and mother, because who is? Her control issues are what built a billion dollar empire, and without her quirks there’s no way she would be Martha Stewart the brand. After a divorce and a stint in jail, we all know the perfect image she portrays is not the reality. I still can’t help but wonder if Martha has read the book, and what she will have to say about it, if anything.
Was your childhood less than perfect? Tell us about your parents’ quirks in the comments.