Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will be aware that the Daily Mail published an ‘article’ this week about ‘slummy mummies’. The ‘article’ attacks parenting mum bloggers who air every part of parenthood, the good, the bad and the ugly. The article continues on to declare that in today’s society, it is a race to the bottom as parent mum bloggers dish out social media posts about neglectful parenting in order to gain more followers and secure book deals.
There has naturally been outcry about the post, because let’s face it it’s clearly written by someone who appears to have a stick shoved up her backside and has never had an off day as a parent. The thing is, since reading the ‘article’ I’ve been thinking about a few things and I would like to address them.
1. Only mum bloggers are mentioned. Yet I read plenty of successful dad blogs that talk about the same sort of thing and yet they don’t feature in the article at all. In all fairness the whole thing does stink of the 1950’s ideals of being the perfect suburban housewife, so I’m not sure what I was expecting really. I guess I just thought that in 2017 at least one ‘slummy daddy’ would have made the list. Or can dads get away with making difficult parenting moments funny because they have a penis and that makes them less accountable for anything in regards to child rearing? I’d genuinely like to know because as a millennial mum living in 2017, I’d like to think we’re moving forward and that sharing this parenting malarkey is becoming more of the norm… but you know… perhaps I’ve got it all wrong and should be baking muffins for Mr. C instead of being his equal?
2. The ‘article’ insinuates that working class mothers are less capable than their middle class counterparts.
“And I’d hazard a guess that the children of these resentful, gin-soaked mothers – who are, in reality, educated middle-class authors – are actually very well cared for, enjoy organic fruit and vegetables and sleep in clean pyjamas.”
Whether it was intended or not, this is implying that children of working class families are less likely to be cared for. I’m going to hazard a guess and say the woman writing it has no real experience among actual working class people. I’m not entirely sure why social class has any impact on parenting abilities. I’m also a bit confused about the middle class children actually having clean pyjamas, does she think that working class people don’t have washing machines? Or is it more that she doesn’t think working class people harbour the intelligence to use them? I’m hazarding another guess and am also assuming her perception of the working class is built solely on what she reads in the Daily Mail.
3. This last point was my favourite bit to be honest… the writer then goes on to talk about how much of perfect mum she is (because she bakes, plays and paints with her children) and how these bloggers who talk about the less perfect moments are putting down her perfectness. Now I’m one of those mums who crafts, plays, paints and does sensory play with her children. I’m one of those mums who serves freezer food so rarely, she can count on one hand how many times her children have eaten it. Yet, I’m also the mum that after giving birth to my second child, dropped my homemade shepherds pie on the floor, cut my foot open on the glass, was so sleep deprived I had forgotten to sterilise bottles that day, had a newborn with colic and reflux screaming next to me, had a partner who was working all the time, all resulting in me having to call my friend to help me. That friend got her little one back out of bed, bundled him into the car, came to my house, cleaned up the mess, sterilised the bottles and helped me with my children while I sobbed. She did that with zero judgements, no name calling, no put downs and she checked in every other day for the best part of two weeks to make sure I was okay. So it doesn’t matter how perfect and organised someone can be, there will be bad days, horrendous days actually and what makes those days less horrendous is other parents who get it, don’t judge and are honest. Parents, who don’t make other parents feel bad about themselves, because if we’re being honest, we’re normally judging ourselves harshly enough anyway, without other people adding their two cents worth.
I’m all for being real about parenting. Let’s open up the door of communication, let’s discuss the things that have always been a bit taboo, because it lets people know they are not alone. It lets people know that it’s okay to find parenting difficult sometimes. Parenting is not always rainbows, unicorns and butterflies… everybody knows it, so why not talk about it? Let’s be in this together.
Just my thoughts,
The millennial mum, without a pinafore, who really doesn’t want to go back to the 1950’s.