The recent Daily Mail article bemoaning the rise of the ‘slummy mummy’ movement really got me thinking. I don’t often say ‘Daily Mail’ and ‘thinking’ in the same sentence, but there’s a first time for everything.
It didn’t get me thinking because the author has a point – she doesn’t, and The Unmumsy Mum explains why far better than I ever could – or because she’d said anything new (the Guardian covered the ‘slummy mummy’ movement back in September with fewer references to gin-soaked Georgian mothers killing their babies). I got me thinking because it made me wonder – am I one of these slummy mummies that she’s moaning about?
I never really labelled myself as a parent before, but I’m arguably more on the slummy than yummy side. Like 70% slummy. Slummyish.
I feed my kid fish fingers and lots of baked beans. She can go an entire day without seeing a vegetable.
I don’t do Pinterest-worthy crafts with my daughter. I don’t even have a Pinterest account. My idea of crafting is letting her put stickers all over the coffee table – or herself.
We don’t bake together. I let her watch TV – and it’s not always age-appropriate. I bathe her only occasionally and sometimes forget to brush her teeth. I often enjoy – and feel like I’ve earned – a glass of wine in the evening. My blog is less “Isn’t parenting lovely and precious?” and more “Isn’t parenting kind of weird?”.
This isn’t me going, “Haha, look at me – I’m a bit shit at this, aren’t I?” I’m not proud of it – but I’m not ashamed of it either. It’s just how it is. I’m glad that there’s a community of mums out there who aren’t afraid to embrace their imperfections, and I love that I get to be part of it.
And as for those mums who want to flaunt their perfections? There’s space for you too. Post pictures of your well-behaved, Instagrammable kids, the ridiculously adorable lunches that you pack for them and the matching outfits you made for the whole family out of organic cotton. It’s not my thing, but it’s a lot of people’s thing. You’ll get a lot more followers than I ever will moaning about having to take out the bin bags with my toddler.
I’m okay with my slummyishness. It fits me like a pair of old, stretched-out leggings. It doesn’t mean that I’m a bad parent. Actually, I could argue that being able to see the humour in the less-than-perfect aspects of parenting (like when my daughter ran away from me in the middle of changing her nappy and peed on the carpet) makes me a better parent. Rather than crying over spilled pee, I laughed about it. Then I scrubbed the carpet while my daughter tried to steal the brush and demanded raisins.