From substance abuse to aggressive parenting and annual “wife bonuses,” these women live a fascinating yet bizarre life. In fact, they are a whole separate tribe of elite primates, according to anthropologist Wednesday Martin, who spent quite some time studying these mothers from within their habitat.
As the story goes, Martin moved from West Village to the Upper East Side to raise her family and stay closer to her in-laws. However, in the process, she came across the slightly bizarre world of the multi-millionaire housewives of the gilded enclave – or Glam SAHMs (glamorous stay-at-home moms) as she calls them.
Her latest book, Primates of Park Avenue, set for release June 2, uncovers the realities of the strange and seemingly glamorous world. In fact, the memoir based on Martin’s own experiences and observations has created quite a buzz with its revelations.
For instance, as Martin claims, the ultimate status symbol among these glamorous moms is not wealth or the number of townhouses their husbands have bought them. Instead, it’s their children.
The more kids one has, the higher their status climbs – probably because it’s extremely expensive to raise a child on the Upper East Side.
“I quickly became desensitized to massive families – they were everywhere,” writes Martin. “Three was the new two, something you just did in this habitat. Four was the new three – previously conversation stopping, but now nothing unusual. Five was no longer crazy or religious – it just meant you were rich. And six was apparently the new town house – or Gulfstream Another big revelation came in the form of wife-bonuses.
Apparently, elite bankers and businessmen pay their wives annual bonuses if they're happy with how they are running the home.
“A wife bonus, I was told, might be hammered out in a pre-nuptial or post-nuptial [agreement], and distributed on the basis of not only how well her husband's fund had done but her own performance – how well she managed the home budget, whether the children got into a 'good' school – the same way their husbands were rewarded at investment banks,” the author claims.
The wives either spend this money on their beauty treatments and wardrobe updates, or extravagant trips and hotel stays with their girlfriends.
Martin also witness strange sex segregation in the elite society, as women and men are seated separately at dinner parties.
Although these mothers claim the arrangement is their own choice, Martin sees it as “where women are comparatively disempowered and dependent.”
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit was the fact that Upper East Side mothers hire disabled people to take their families around Disney World just so they don’t have to wait in long lines.
Martin also disclosed that these moms self medicate with pills and alcohol. They also take shots to numb the pain in their feet in order to walk in expensive heels.
As far as parenting is concerned, these housewives are aggressively focused on their children’s mannerisms, education and even their playmates – because it directly impacts mom’s social ranking, creating a competitive game of social jockeying.
These facts may seem stranger than fiction – and there will be a lot more of them in Martin’s book – but some Upper East Side moms deny them, citing the anthropologist’s claims as weird and unheard of.
Whatever the case might be, Martin’s upcoming released memoir has successfully managed to draw everyone’s attention.
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