Mummy Rant


There’s this Yummy Mummy at our school.  She’s stunning and sexy and she wears gorgeous clothes.  She always looks good – all the time.  Never a hair out of place.  And her kids are lovely and clever and talented too.  She drives a fancy new BMW of the latest range and I’m reliably told that she has a home to die for.  I think she might be an Alpha Mummy actually.  (Yes, apparently there’s an Alpha Mummy too.  More labelled mums to follow in next post).

Anyway, it reminded me of the time I was off work a few moons ago nursing my poorly daughter and we got to watching some dire morning TV show together.

On This Morning there was a discussion about whether it’s possible to be the perfect wife and the perfect mum.  In short – is it possible for women to have it all?

The discussion covered the 1950’s stay-at-home housewife and how everything then had to revolve around the hardworking husband.  The kids had to be clean and immaculately behaved.  The house had to be spotless and the husband absolutely had to have all his needs tended to.  I mean all his needs.   If he wanted to have sex with his wife, there was little tolerance for any sudden headaches.

We have of course, moved a million miles away from those days.  For a start, the woman works now.  That is an accepted fact that most of us are resigned to.  Mortgages, lifestyles, changing social attitudes…women work.

And the male is much more family-involved.  He interacts more with the kids.  He is much more active around the home and he has accepted that the subservience of the wife is a thing of the past.

So the 1950’s housewife has long since been liberated.  But,as the programme questioned, have we really gained any independence?  Is it fair to say we’ve simply replaced all those sink chains with some sort of social, I-can-have-it-all desire that is just as equally restrictive?

Me?  Well, like most other great and wonderful women, I’m wired up to multi-task.  But I malfunction.  A lot.  I work part-time.  I try to keep myself fit.  I try to keep up to date, both socially and politically.  But I shout and I stress.  My home is often messy.  My kids don’t always get their meals on time.  I am often ironing their damp uniforms at 8 o clock in the morning while screeching at my little boy to brush his teeth and eat his breakfast (yes at the same time – we’re late aren’t we!).  His shoes aren’t always polished.  I’m often rubbing his mucky face with a damp cloth while he’s putting his coat on and passing him my comb while sat at the traffic lights on the way to school because I’ve just spotted his dishevelled head of hair from my rear-view mirror.  And we ususally discover that we’ve forgotten his PE kit when we’re just five minutes away from school.  I always beat myself up by comparing myself to Alpha Mum and Yummy Mum.  And after a fight with the kids, I often go to work with a great big guilt cloud hovering over my head which follows me around until 3.30 pm when I collect them from school and give them lot’s of conscience-relieving goodies a big hug.

For sure, there have been times when I’ve felt an almost unsuppressable urge to walk out of the door and not come back.  I’ve been known to tell my kids that they’ll see my face on the side of a milk carton one of these days….that I’ll be one of those women who go out for a loaf of bread and is never seen again.  The other day, I ran into my bathroom and screamed out to the oblivious tiles that….I’m only asking for my kids to keep their own f*$&%ing rooms tidy!  Is that too much to ask?

But it’s ok because that nice agony-aunt, Denise Robertson from the Good Morning team said that it’s fine for us mums to momentarily lose control.  To swear at the plants.  That it is, in fact, good for us.

So, I guess I’m not Wonderwoman.  That’s clearly been established.  And my kids certainly aren’t perfect.

But this super-duper Alpha-Mum thing?  Why do we strive to be her?  To be the perfect cook with a spotless home and perfectly behaved grade-A kids who simply must be members of every after-school activity going whether they want to or not?  Are we still juggling the PTA event with our yoga class?   Do we still have this bestial competitive urge to try and look as good as that perfectly-shaped, immaculately dressed, gorgeous bitch goddess who turns up at school every morning looking like she’s just stepped out of Vogue?  And let’s not forget, the fantastic, high-flying job we absolutely must keep hold of while rushing home every lunch time to breast-feed our babies.  Oh, and we must catch that documentary on Radio 4 all about changing gender roles because the other super-mums are sure to be discussing it when we meet up at Starbucks later (and of course to ensure that everybody knows there’s more to us than a pretty face).  Then we really must make a dash for it!  Off to pick the kids up from school.  It’s clarinet tonight isn’t it?  And rugby training for little boy.  Or is it Beavers?  What day is it?  Oh, it’s Tuesday.  That means swimming.  And dance class.  Oh, and we did so want to try that new wine bar with the brand new super-friend we met at the Ancient Art class that we just enrolled on.

Well really!  Shouldn’t all that perfect mother, wife, friend, colleague, modern Ms. thing not have been deeply sunk in the bottomless pit of impossible agenda’s long, long ago?

Sometimes I am some of the above.  Sometimes I am all of the above.  Sometimes I am none of the above.  But I know one thing.  I am a REAL Mummy.  And us Real Mummies – in all our dysfunctional mayhem . . . our chaotic lives and stresses, our bad hairdays and crappy monthlies, our self-inflicted guilt and our insecurities . . . we are as happily normal as normal can be.  And we love our kids dearly.

So would all the Real Mummies please stand up.  Let’s give ourselves a huge congratulatory hug . . . and a break.

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Hi earthpal. Interesting post, as is the next one. There are categories for everything. I think we just need to see them for what they are – totally not applicable to real people, even the ones we label as yummy mummys.

    Such women place a lot of importance on their appearance. They have to get up a couple of hours early to groom themslves and their children. To them its worth it. But they are also real. Imagine living in a world where you judged everything including yourself this way? You would be a diferent sort of creature to you and I. The friend of my Romeo and Juliet post was like this. She was emotionally pretty screwed. Parenting scared her. She dreaded being alone with her children, and spent many days and evenings with me if her husband were working late. I put it down to her lack of mothering as a child. Her own mother was a bit absent from her ealry years and consequently nurturing children didn’t come naturally to my friend She was aware of it and worked on it to her credit.

    Reply

  2. Hi Bindi.

    Good comment. I agree with you. Outward appearances are never reliable and we should be wary of pre-judging people by appearance.

    My point is, there’s really no such thing as an Alpha Mummy or a Yummy Mummy. No woman could realistically live up to all that. The Alpha/Yummy Mummy I mentioned from our school isn’t really so perfect. You should hear her yell at her kids. She’s as human as I am.

    There really isn’t a single woman who can exactly fit the role of any of those labels. We are mostly just a healthy mix of bits from all the so-called labels. Everywoman.

    Gosh. I hope I didn’t come across as cruel. I was having a poke at those who like to try and label people and also to expose the unrealistic expectations that society sometimes has of women.

    Reply

  3. Hi earthpal. Not at all. Your point that we need to question these labels before we start taking them for granted came across clearly. Without reflexive thought you are right, women could become stereotyped. Individuality and open appreciation of eachothers differences could be shrouded in a cloud of ignorance. I agree with you and the example of my friend illustrates this from the other side, I hope. Thoughtful post, thanks.

    Reply

  4. Thanks Bindi. Sad about your friend there but it’s good to know she tried to deal with it. We’re a pretty screwed up lot in many ways aren’t we. It’s called being human. Lol.

    Erm … perhaps this is why I’m always on the last minute for school and work – sneaking in here in the mornings. Shh. ;-).

    Have a great day Binds – or a good nights sleep in your case at this time.

    Reply

  5. thanks mate. yes just about to hit the sack. hope you have a good day too!

    Reply

  6. Thanks Binds. 🙂

    Reply

  7. Mothers’ auras are felt not donned.

    Reply

  8. I like Jose’s comment.

    Reply

  9. Me too Bindi. Jose is always wise.

    Reply

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