I don’t claim to be the perfect parent, far from it. I am happy and willing to admit to my downfalls in many a public arena – on social media, on a blog or to anyone who will listen to me over a drink … of wine.
I know I am not alone in this. For me, I do it so I may just offer some comfort and maybe a little laughter to those mums (and dads) who feel like they’re drowning. The pressure to be perfect is huge when it simply doesn’t need to be – even Mary Poppins was only practically perfect in every way and she flew off on an umbrella when things got a bit tough.
So when the Daily Mail runs an article slamming into some of today’s most iconic, celebrated and welcomed modern mums, there’s an understandable backlash from the people who revere rather than revolt their gin-swigging and fish-finger feeding ways.
The Unmumsy Mum Sarah Turner, Katie Kirby behind Hurrah for Gin and all the other mums making a name for themselves at the moment have got me (and millions of others) through some seriously tough times. I have read their books and roared with laughter at the similarities which could be drawn between our experiences as new mums. This ranges from how Sarah got also addicted to hearing white noise after using it to calm her baby to sleep and how Katie has called her child 50% dick and 50% amazing – something which echoes in my mind whenever I ask TJ to stop licking the sofa.
The horrific article claimed that we celebrate neglectful parenting, that we run our days to maximise social media opportunities and that we relish being thought of as bad parents all because we think we’re above the basic duties that raising a child brings.
Not only is that utterly wrong and ridiculous but the Daily Mail missed one vital ingredient. Parenting may drive our exhausted selves to the freezer for dinner options or the gin bottle when the kids are in bed, but not one of us would change it for a single, split second. It’s like landing your dream job, then having a really tough day in the office so you treat yourself to a relaxing glass of wine and a moan to a mate on WhatsApp that evening.
I desperately wanted TJ and, even though I was one of the lucky ones, it took me a good while to conceive and an awful birth to get him into the real world. I ache with love, adoration and happiness when I hold my little man. But that doesn’t stop me from despairing when he throws a tantrum because I asked him to stop putting food in the washing machine (true story).
The fabulous Selfish Mother hit the nail on the head by saying we need to look after ourselves in order to look after our kids too. It’s also not like we have a choice in the matter. With crushing weight on our shoulders to juggle careers, relationships, homes and little people, we would be pushed onto our knees in utter failure if we didn’t take a good amount of ‘me’ time every now and then.
In fact, I would say it’s the best mums who can relate to our famous counterparts because they are the hard workers. We know what it’s like to spend a day on the floor of a soft play centre before heading to Rhyme Time and then onto a play date so we may just need a few minutes of CBeebies respite to recharge our batteries and keep up the pace.
So, Daily Mail and all the hundreds who commented on the article, we’re celebrating our #solidaritea over a dinner of frozen tapas while our wine cools in the fridge and we won’t let you or anyone else bring us down.