As much as most normal people hate sending traffic towards the Daily Mail, there has been an article published this week, written by a mother, berating the current “trend” of mum’s writing about a different strain of parenting.
This different strain? Reality. The reality of sitting on the toilet sobbing when your husband comes home because your Velcro baby hasn’t let you have a second to yourself. The reality of juggling a small child, a sick pet and household chores. The reality of just putting a wash on because you’re out of vests and then your baby does an explosive pooh that reaches every inch of his body. The reality that sometimes you need to be more than “just a mum”.
The article implies two things –
- That by writing about these things you are not embracing the privilege of being a parent.
- Giving new parents an unrealistic view of parenthood.
Personally, as a Mother, I was relieved the first time I stumbled upon such a blog. Surrounded by all those glossy images of mothers in the press, who have brushed their hair. Their children in matching outfits while they cook up another batch of sugar free quinoa maple gluten free bread. I felt like a failure. My house was in utter disarray. BB had probably eaten the same concoction of purée for three days in a row and I couldn’t remember the last time I ran a brush through my hair, let alone styled it. And I had a “good” baby! Spare a thought for those women who have colicky/reflux/high needs/non-napping babies.
For most women, or men (Actually, scrap that, for most carers of children), the second scenario is the most common. For most people, the reality won’t be perfectly groomed children or freshly baked breakfast muffins. But, this doesn’t make us any less of a mother.
And any normal, sane person can see that anyone who blogs about hiding away in a corner snaffling wotsits or desperately longing for a glass of wine to take the edge off a week that has been days blurring in to each other isn’t thinking in this way 24/7. But, the fact that they are talking about this, means that the mother who has had a similar day realised she’s not on her own. She’s not weird to think this way. She doesn’t love her children any less because she thinks this way.
Let’s just say that I’m not the cleanest, tidiest or most organised person in the world. And no one tells you that having a baby basically requires a degree in logistics.
Having a baby is seriously hard work. There are highs and lows. Just because you’re mainlining gin and giving cereal for three meals one day, doesn’t mean the next day you’re not creating amazing culinary masterpieces and high-fiving yourself for finally getting to the bottom of the ironing pile.
The worst thing about the article for me, was the fact that it was written by a woman. We get a hard enough time from men who aren’t in our shoes, so where is the sisterhood? The authors argument was that it made women who are on the top of their parenting game feel like they’re doing something wrong by doing something right. How about we think of it this way – there is no rule book. No one knows how to parent. We do what gets us through the day and what works for us as a family. Our children grow up loved.
I don’t know a single mother who doesn’t sometimes feel like they can’t do this any more. If that thought hasn’t crossed your mind I’d be surprised.
In this generation of women, we have been bought up with messages that we can do anything and we can be anything. This has raised our own expectations of ourselves. We are expected to do everything. And we can’t seem to do anything right. Society will always have an idea of what we should be doing and when, so why aren’t we showing society that regardless of how we do it, we are doing the best we can.
There have been many times that I’ve wondered how my Mum’s generation did it. No tumble driers, possibly no microwave, no perfect prep, no Ewan the Sheep, no CBeebies. But, every now and then, I get asked how I do it. This is the first generation of mothers who return to work full time after having children. It’s because we evolutionise. We adapt to change.
We can have it all. We can be mothers and retain a semblance of our old life. And there is not a chance in hell that any body can tell us other wise.
Organised Mummies, tired Mummies, organic Mummies, breastfeeding Mummies, formula feeding Mummies, working Mummies, stay at home Mummies, sweary Mummies, and of course slummy Mummies, I salute you.
We are all in this together.