If you thought your mom was hard on you, consider what it was like to be raised by Martha Stewart.
"I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head, " writes Alexis Stewart, the craft queen's 46-year-old daughter in her new book Whateverland: Learning to Live Here, co-authored with Jennifer Koppleman Hutt.
In the memoir-dappled lifestyle handbook, out Oct. 16, Stewart offers a window into what it was like growing up under the rule of the ultimate perfectionist. At times, she makes Joan Crawford seem like Mrs. Brady.
Here's some wire-hanger-draped skeletons from Alexis' closet:
- 'If I didn't do something perfectly, I had to do it again". This included gift-wrapping on her own presents. "She used to make me wrap my own presents. She would hand me things right before Christmas and say, 'Now wrap these but don't look inside.'"
- Forget the themed birthday parties and creatively decorated cupcakes. That was for show, not for kids. "Martha was not interested in being kid friendly," claims Alexis, according to the Daily Mail's sneak peak at the book. That was especially true in the kitchen. "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."
- And hand-made Halloween costumes? Forget it. "There were no costumes. There was no anything. We turned off all the lights and pretended we weren't home."
- Martha didn't bother playing the perfect mom in front of her daughter's friends either. "Mother always peed with the door open," writes Alexis. "I remember 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!"'
- And when it came to offering motherly advice, Martha took a very non-tradtional approach. "A woman who lived near us when I was little had married someone very wealthy and very unattractive, and 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.'"
- Now that Alexis, now a mom in her own right, is all grown up, she still struggles with her mother's judgmental impulses. "My mother will occasionally complain that I don't invite her over for dinner, But can you blame me? Because, sometimes this is what will happen: whatever I serve, she'll sip it, taste it, make a face, and push it away."
Alexis dedicated the book to her mom, a woman who's willingly been the butt of Alexis' jokes on her cable show "Whatever, Martha." In fact Whateverland is more than a tell-all, it's a handbook for how to live imperfectly in the shadow of a perfect Martha Stewart model.
For the past decade, Alexis has built a career by chipping at her mom's immaculately sculpted pedestal, and Martha couldn't be prouder. After all she didn't have it easy as a kid either. "[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," writes Alexis. "When my grandmother found the bras in the closet, she screamed at my mother and slapped her for having them."
No one escapes childhood unscathed, not even Martha.
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