Do you have a group of friends who support each other? Friends who know you’re not perfect and love you anyway? Wouldn’t it be great if we, as women, treated each other like that as a matter of course?
Years ago, I watched a series of The Apprentice. What was fascinating was the men worked together as a team. They agreed to support each other no matter what. On the other hand, the women bitched and back-stabbed until Donald Trump’s hair fired them.
Of course this was just one TV show. But I can see this element of competitiveness among us mothers. And I am sick of it.
I know people who were made to feel second rate because they had c-sections. The same goes for people who *gasp* fed their babies formula. I don’t care how you feed your babies, honestly, I don’t – what’s important is they are fed. There’s the working mother verses the stay-at-home mother. At the school gate there’s the Yummy Mummy** verses the Slummy Mummy.
I thought we had enough to bitch about, with online forums where we can all get stuck in. But now, apparently, there’s the Smug Mothers of Girls (SMOGs). Really? So if a woman has daughters, and she isn’t used to being around a boisterous little boy, we’re going to bitch about her now?
What next? Can I start bitching about:
– Mothers Whose Young Children Call Their Bottom Their Bum (MWYCCYBTB)?
– Mothers Whose Children Wear Ironed Clothes (MWCWIC)?
– Organised Mothers Whose Children Always Have Cut Fruit In Tupperware Containers When They Are At The Park (OMWCAHCFITCWTAATP)?
I don’t know of any Dads who bitch about other Dads. Do you?
I learnt an important lesson when I was eleven and home from my first term at boarding school. I saw a girl I recognised from when I used to catch the school bus just the year before. She was much older than me, and I thought she was terrifying. I walked past her without saying hello – because I was scared. But as I walked past, she called out, “You snob.”
You see, I don’t think I was being a snob. I never thought I was better than her in any way. I was scared she was going to bash me over the head, so I was trying to scuttle past without her seeing me. But she thought that when I didn’t say hello, especially since I was now at some fancy school, that I was being a snob. I can see why she thought that.
Similarly, I think that some of this divide between mothers is about perception. When your kids are being feral at the shops, you might think other mothers are staring at you in horror. Maybe they are – and if that’s the case, it’s a real shame. But maybe, just maybe, they are not. They could be staring at you, without seeing anything, wondering what they’ve forgotten to buy. I do that. I’d hate to think that a mother having a horrible day thinks I’m being a “smug bitch” because I’m facing her general direction with a blank look on my face.
Just as a so-called Smug Mother of Girls might just be looking at your son, quietly wishing they had a boy too.
As mothers, we do the best we can. I don’t care if you work / are fat / don’t work / have epidurals / are thin / drink coffee / have a nanny / breast feed etc. I care that you are happy and healthy.
And just so you don’t think I’m getting all “self-help book” on you, I will still make fun of Gwyneth Paltrow.
So what do you think? It’s not just me, is it?
**I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I loathe the phrase “Yummy Mummy.” Argh!! I want to ban it, although, yes, I realise others love it. I also want to ban this whole “having it all” thing. You can’t read an interview with a successful women without her being asked about “having it all” and it drives me nuts.