For the first time in many years – since I had children, actually – I felt quite good about myself this week. It lasted about as long as an English sunny spell, but I definitely felt a little spike of optimism in the dark and dusty pit that is my psyche.
After years of skulking around shamefully on school runs and sobbing into my Chardonnay, I’ve finally found my soul mates – fellow bad mums who, though they love their children, find parenting to be wildly overrated.
In the US a flurry of new parenting books has hit kindles and bookshelves like a viral infection sweeping through a nursery. The authors are mums who “curse a lot, drink to excess, reveal scary truths and draw twisted little stick figures of their kids pooping and whining relentlessly.”
Fifty shades of parenting
These ‘scary, dark and funny’ mums seem to have hit upon the fifty shades of parenting – their expletive-infused, boozing, warts-and-all anecdotes of what it’s really like to be a mum – are hitting a nerve!
I’ll drink to that!
Share the grief
Finally, it may be time to ditch the anti-depressants and share the grief openly in stead about the seemingly never-ending daily grind of raising ungrateful little brats.
Maybe that will finally shatter the perfect mum with perfect children, perfect husband, perfect pets and catalogue homes illusion we all partake in at coffee mornings and school gates.
Perhaps it will be safe soon to own up to nasty rows flavoured with unwholesome language with our other halves about where the money will come from and whose turn it is to unpack the dishwasher – sometimes even in front of our kids.
‘Not-so-proud’ mummy moments
What a relief it would be to see a fellow mum post a ‘not-so-proud’ mummy moment on Facebook in stead of yet another carefully censored postcard glimpse of a perfect family leading a candy floss life.
Maybe we’ll soon be able to have real discussions about the mind-numbing boredom of building Lego spaceships or reading stories about dinosaurs, when all you want to do is check your email, play Candycrush or read a book about bad mums.
Shouting very loudly
Could we dare to come clean about shouting very loudly at our children in stead of gently guiding them to the right behaviour in soothing tones – in line with parenting guidelines from childless experts?
Would you admit to fantasizing about life before children – all the time – not dreams about steamy sex (though that would be nice) but going to the toilet with the door closed, having a lie-in and spending money on yourself in stead of on football boots or swimming lessons?
I wouldn’t want to push it – but perhaps we could even admit to a less than perfect pelvic floor and how easy it is to lose yourself in the pursuit of being everything to everyone else.
At some point I considered putting a health warning for doe-eyed first-time mums on my blog like the ones on cigarette packs for fear of shattering their dreams with my honest accounts of parenting.
But now that I know I’m not alone, I won’t. I only wish that my own library of early parenting guides had included a few titles from scary, dark, bad mums.
It would have comforted me so much to know that I was not alone in my moments of weakness when I couldn’t find anything to love among the tiring tantrums and endless whining.
It would have made me realise that I didn’t have to be perfect – and that guilt, bitterness, jealousy, frustration, cursing, shouting and drinking too much wine are as much part of being a mum as happy snappy moments of love and fulfilment.
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