I’ve got to start by fessing up to feeling the teensiest bit sorry for Anna May Mangan the journalist and author that wrote about snappily titled ‘Why ARE so many women boasting they’re slummy mummies?’ article for the Daily Mail on Tuesday.
Yes, a journalist that publishes an article in a national (albeit terrible) newspaper that is so poorly researched and one sided should of course be pulled up on it, but I doubt she had an inkling of the floodgates her hideous attack on a group of Mum bloggers and authors would tear open. I have an inkling she’s not had the best week, she’s probably had a gin or two. But we won’t judge.
The thing is us mums have built up quite an army and we’ve come to realise that the best way to get through the long and sometimes tedious days is to share the not at all perfect and quite frankly heavily stained reality of our lives, fish fingers and all.
None of us are trying to glamorise being a bad mum. Every single one of those women attacked (and that is the only word to describe it) in that article and all of the hundreds of other women who test my pelvic floor online every day by publishing the most frank and hilarious snippets of their days with their children love them dearly and would walk over hot coals in an instant for them.
How do I know this? Well because they write about that too – the Daily Mail just did’t bother to read those posts. They welcome women for whom motherhood remains out of reach into their hearts and their tribes and they make secret wishes for them every night before they go to bed as though they whinge about never being able to pee alone they wouldn’t miss a single moment for all the gin in the universe.
What makes these women and hundreds of others like them (me included) different…. we’re just sick of pretending. Sick of making other mums feel inferior because we present lives that are shiny and clean day in day out when in truth that is the reality for none of us, not a single one. We’re sick of competitive conversations about weaning and educational choices and brands of bum cream and we’re at last just comfortable saying some days I get it right and some days I don’t and if our friends are having down days we hold their hands until they rise back up again however long that takes.
I’ve been a mum for fifteen years now. At the tender age of 21 when my first baby was one (see below) I was sad, lonely and depressed (though hiding it well in this picture) and didn’t allow any friends into my life for fear that their houses would be tidier and bigger, that their skin would be clearer and that their children wouldn’t pick their noses and eat their snot in quite the same way mine did. My depression left me unable to enjoy my time with him and we would drive around aimlessly just to see a different view from the same old park and the same old four walls. What was the result? He suffered because I was not the happy mum I could have been.
Fast forward 15 years and I have a one year old again but this time I am surrounded by a community of mums who I would welcome into my home at any time of day – and no it’s not cleaner or bigger and my skin has definitely not improved and as for snot…. well that’s just part and parcel of motherhood. The difference is these mums have shown me the reality of their lives…..
They’ve shown me the days when they are nailing it and have made it to swimming lessons on time with matching socks and pre prepared salmon sandwiches (for omega 3) on organic wholemeal bread in a tupperware for a picnic in the sunny park.
They’ve also shown me the days when they’ve barely slept for a week, the laundry pile is a mountain and their toddler is screaming blue murder because they have been asked to put on a pair of pants. On these days getting out of the house will be a small miracle and for some more than they can contemplate.
The result….. I don’t feel like I’m the only one finding things tough. Because that’s the truth – some days parenting is tough – even for Anna May Mangan and her editor. That’s parenting and that’s why you don’t mess with our new found freedom. We like it and we’re not going back fifteen years. Or buying the Daily Mail. Ever again.
CMHQ x (#solidaritea)