Now Shakespeare In Love star Gwyneth Paltrow is following in the Bard’s footsteps, with yet another unforgettable phrase
By inventing words from ‘madcap’ to ‘lacklustre’, William Shakespeare gave us invaluable additions to the English language.
Now Shakespeare In Love star Gwyneth Paltrow is following in the Bard’s footsteps, with yet another unforgettable phrase.
Having already rebranded divorce as ‘consciously uncoupling’, Miss Paltrow has helped to introduce the term ‘bonus mother’ – purportedly a more positive, inclusive alternative to the ‘stepmother’ demonised in fairy tales.
Family therapist Ashley Graber wrote on the star’s lifestyle website Goop: ‘I like to use the term “bonus” instead of “step”. I find that it’s much more useful, and helps us better frame everything that comes with it.
‘Bonus parents have anxiety about not knowing their position. It can feel very uncontained when you don’t know your role.’
Miss Paltrow, who had two children with ex-husband Chris Martin, now has two step-children with her current spouse, TV producer Brad Falchuk.
The Oscar-winning actress previously told of her fears about navigating the relationship with Mr Falchuk’s children, saying: ‘I’ve never been a stepmother before. I don’t know how to do it.’
Kirstie Allsopp gave her approval to the term ‘bonus mother’, telling the Mail that the ‘lovely’ phrase avoids the stigma of Cinderella’s ‘wicked stepmother’. The TV presenter, who has two children by birth – Bay, 11, and Oscar, nine – as well as ‘bonus children’ Hal and Orion with partner Ben Andersen, has spoken of her struggle with a so-called ‘blended’ family.
Miss Paltrow, who had two children with ex-husband Chris Martin, now has two step-children with her current spouse, TV producer Brad Falchuk (pictured)
She said Goop’s phrase conveys the ‘extraordinary privilege’ of caring for another woman’s child, adding: ‘It’s hard being a step-parent, but seriously worth it. I love “bonus parent” because that’s what it is – adding to raising the child, but being mindful about not overstepping their parents or treading on toes.’
However, one expert said the term risked confusing children.
Psychotherapist Noel McDermott said: ‘This approach seems aimed at easing the step-parents’ discomfort and not looking at the child’s needs. There are hazards involved such as mixed messages. The more “parents”, the more chance of miscommunication.’
Paltrow’s greatest hits
- Actress described her own divorce from singer Chris Martin as ‘conscious uncoupling’
- Praised an intimate treatment called ‘vaginal steaming’
- Advocated brushing a shirt along your skin for an ‘accessible pleasure boost’
- Promoted a ‘bra-burning cleansing ritual’ at the full moon
- Claimed she would ‘rather die’ than let her kids eat Cup-a-Soup
- Recommended that women place a £50 jade egg inside their bodies to ‘balance your hormones’