This morning I had a browse of the Daily Mail – I know, I know, I shouldn’t have and to be fair I have curbed my habit of perusing the sidebar of shame quite a lot these days! But there was one article about mummy bloggers such as Hurrah for Gin and The Unmumsy Mum that really got to me. Slummy Mummies, the author calls them who have created a trend of who is the most awful mother in their blogs that now have book deals.
Let’s set a few things straight.
Reading this sensationalist article, which read like it was written only to cause the provocation that would ensue – I was transported back to the 1950’s. A woman’s place is in the house right? Raising babies, cooking the dinner, cleaning up afterwards. That’s what we’re best at (*note the sarcasm*). Except that’s utter nonsense to me. How dare we have ambitions and ovaries? Is it really that hard to imagine that most of us Mums had lives, careers and other interests before we had children? These mummy bloggers she mentions are people I have looked up to; women who have created empires for themselves and their families because it is so hard to forge a career with the flexibility needed to make your family life work. The narrow minded author implies that these bloggers are putting their children second, but in fact it is the very opposite.
To me, parenting blogs are simple – a little light relief that you’re not alone. Parenting can be isolating and daunting and personally one of the best things I did was start writing my blog, for the sheer support I have received since. The fact that there are so many of us should be a clear indication that other mums want to read the reality – they want to read something they relate to. One of my most loved posts was about leaving my job because I had changed as a person since having Emma, NOT because they didn’t offer me flexibility. That was my truth, but what I discovered was it was other people’s too.
Reading a blog is a support network – it’s okay to feel a little disgusted at a particularly foul nappy, or want to scream into a pillow when your child runs into the corner in a tantrum when you’re trying to get out the door. This is real, raw, unscripted life and how refreshing that it’s told as it is without a perfect picture of a tidy, white living room and a toddler playing quietly in the corner.
As I was reading the post, horrified from start to finish – I thought to myself “well, at least she didn’t spout some rubbish about cherishing every single moment”…oh but then she did. I know a child is a gift – of course they are. I refuse to cherish every moment as it is simply not possible. It’s like asking someone to be happy all day everyday, and never feel anything different. If you don’t accept that some days are awful, then how can you appreciate when you’ve had an amazing day and everything went a little more according to plan than usual. The phrase puts pressure on all parents that you should be parenting a certain way. The fact is there is no right way. I have always thought that the rise of blogging over the past decade can only be a good thing to let other mums know that you don’t have to be a Mary Poppins figure with all your shizz figured out.
Daily Mail and Anna May Mangan, I just want to tell you that you’ve got it so wrong. These blogs are about solidarity, women supporting women, creating a support network where some new mums might not have one. They’re about every single mum knowing that it’s okay to have a terrible day, it’s okay to find it monotonous, it’s okay to say that you need help sometimes. Let’s unite, not divide, surely we’ve come further than that by now.
I’d love your vote in the Brilliance in Blogging 2017 awards in the FRESH VOICE category.
If you enjoy reading my blog, you can vote here – it only takes 5 minutes, thank you! http://www.britmums.com/nominate-for-the-bibs2017/