Proving yourself as the worst mother ever means competing with other mums (online of course) to see who is the most incapable of caring for their children’s basic needs.
They pretend (we hope!) to be revolted by the reality of changing nappies or simply bored to tears by the monotonous routine of bringing up their own child.
Brighton mother Katie Kirby’s bestselling book for imperfect parents — called, Hurrah For Gin — which is filled with gems such as: ‘I love my kids always, I like them sometimes, and I want to spend time with them when I am hungover — never.’
Sarah Turner, author of The Unmumsy Mum and mother to two young boys, describes two of the fundamental adjustments required for motherhood as ‘less Jagerbomb drinking’ and ‘inevitable contact with another human’s snot/sick/s**t’.
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One blogger even happily confessed to being so lazy, she gave her toddler a fish finger straight from the freezer to eat.
Ellie Gibson and Helen Thorn told the world about opening the door to a delivery man while ‘still attached to the electric breast pump, boobs out and dripping’ in their book, the horribly titled Scummy Mummy.
Anna May Mangan shared on The Daily Mail, “there are legions of bloggers, all in a battle to prove why they are the most slapdash mother — backed up by ‘hilarious’ pictures of their half-dressed children on the school run, clutching sandwich bags of dry cereal to eat because Mummy was too busy looking at Facebook to feed them a proper breakfast.”
Once they are tucked away at school, the mothers eagerly log on to parenting forums where, under the cloak of anonymity, they compete to be the most outrageous and foul-mouthed in the pack, wrote Anna.
A recent Mumsnet discussion prompted by the question ‘What do your children do that annoys you most?’ drew some horrible responses.
‘I hate the way he prefixes every f*****g thing he says with the word “Mum”,’ whines one. ‘Jumping on the sofa and being so bloody loud,’ moans another. ‘Not sleeping in their own f*****g bed,’ adds another.
Today, it seems, you must be the slummiest mummy of them all, and pretend to absolutely hate it, to have any sort of social currency.
Anna says, “I can understand this movement. It is a reaction against the dishonesty of celebrity mums who pretend to have achieved family perfection in their artfully cultivated press and social media images.
True, the reality of motherhood is not what Hello! magazine would suggest; pregnancy is rather harder than showing off your perfect bump through green net curtains a la Beyonce, or wafting around in designerwear like Amal Clooney and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.
And I appreciate how this ‘honesty’ could make new mums feel less isolated and more reassured, and old-hand mums feel entertained.
But in a way, these books are just as deceitful as the celebrity mothering myth they aim to puncture.”
Anna explains, “It is sending a dishonest message that bringing up a baby is nothing more than a pooey, pukey, wine or gin-drinking wheeze. In this dumbed-down world you need no brainpower or compassion to be a mother, just a clock ticking down to your nightly wine o’clock.”
Has Motherhood taken a turn for the worst? Do we maybe try to dumb it down too much to compensate for the perfect world of social media?
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