Being a bad mum is the latest trend. I’m not even joking. Finally, a trend that I am on board with. Before you reach for the number for social services, I’m not talking about being a bad mummy in that I spend my days drinking vodka shots. I’m talking about cutting ourselves some slack: I’m talking about being kinder to ourselves. Thanks to the release of a new film – ‘Bad Moms’, everyone is talking about their parenting failures. Something I have always been very open about. This is a movie that I will be watching.
When I first became a stay-at-home mum I made some bold declarations to my mum –
“I’m going to become the most awesome stay-at-home mum ever! I’m going to keep an immaculate house. I’m going to be all over this shizzle. Arts and crafts everyday, baking healthy treats, I am going to be all OVER IT!”
After my Mum had finished laughing/choking on her mug of tea, she had admonished me on my desire to drag parenting back to the 1950s. However, for some reason; for the briefest of moments, (ok maybe a year), I really felt the need to be the perfect mother. I thought that it would make my life simpler. It didn’t. We had just moved to Jersey and we were living in a lovely rental. This rental had cream carpets. That’s right – CREAM! Everyday I was hoovering that carpet because everyday it collected dirt and fluff. EVERYDAY! It became this daily reminder of what my life had now become. It taunted me, reminding me of the grand promises I had made. Yet, for a year I persisted. There was hoovering, so much hoovering. I was even tempted to hoover the kids up at one point. They were making my house look messy and were 95% responsible for the mess 😉 . I baked – a lot. I baked biscuits, cakes and then balanced this with courgette muffins. Yes, really. Can you guess what was relegated to the bin? Yes, the courgette muffins. Then there were the lunch boxes. I had a child that hated packed lunches, so I spent hours crafting dinosaurs out of bread, creating minions out of Babybel and hearts out of tomatoes. After another day of trying to create a dinner that was:
I snapped. What was I doing? This wasn’t me! As a kid I had eaten yoghurts, sweets and bread. I have turned out just fine (sort of 😉 ). I realised that I was trying to create this perfect, healthy childhood for my children and this immaculate, perfect house for my husband. To be fair, I think Mr C enjoyed his dalliance with the Stepford wife, in that his dinner was on the table and the house was always clean. However, he didn’t enjoy the healthy food and the constant hoovering. When I told my mum that I had turned my back on housewife perfection she gleefully shouted –
“I told you so”.
However, I still sometimes feel the pressure to provide my children with the perfect childhood. I sometimes even wonder if I am failing them. I have talked about the pressure of Instagram and social media in general, how we need to take it all with a pinch of salt. I know all of this but I still find myself hurtling from club to club for Youngest and Oldest. Monitoring Oldest and her homework and checking that she has practised her piano playing. Yet, when I was at primary school, I didn’t get homework and I wasn’t enrolled in a million clubs. Did I feel deprived? No! I still managed to go to university, I managed a successful career and I (just about) manage day to day.
We need to lower our expectations; we need to enjoy the now. We need to stop worrying about the future. Parenting is hard. Some days are really hard. We need to remove those rose-tinted glasses, stop applying the Instagram filters and fess up. This is a tough world that we are bringing our children up in. Therefore, if we want to treat them to McDonald’s, we should do it! If we want a glass of cold, chilled wine at bedtime, then have it. There are no rules when it comes to parenting. There are no hard fast rules when it comes to being a mum! As a mum that blogs we have a duty to be realistic about parenting. We have a voice that is heard. We should share it, poos in the sea and all. We might not be the perfect parent. There is no such thing as the perfect parent.
We aren’t failures, we are real.
Once upon a time I was one of the Stepford Wives. It wasn’t fun. It involved a lot of plate spinning, gritted teeth and general fakery. It wasn’t for me. For a while there I thought it was. I was sucked in by the yummy mummy myth. It’s a myth for a reason, it’s impossible. There is no such thing as a yummy mummy. Yes, we might think we know them. Yes, some of us might see them on the school run. However, we no longer need to feel inadequate because yummy mummies are are no longer IT. No, it’s now about the bad mummy. We are IT. On trend. Forget the images of perfection, the immaculately coiffed hair, the clear skin and bright eyes. Now it’s about birds nest hair and skin that looks grey! Do you have eyes with bags under them? Well done, they are the must-have accessories for the ultimate bad mummy!
Perfection is boring. Bad mummies are far more interesting. Be original.
Are you a bad mum?
Ps on reading this post Mr C said –
“Those courgette muffins still give me nightmares”
That is why I will always be a bad mummy.
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