Guilty much girls?

I have discovered something. Nothing shocking, life-changing or even that interesting but it is still a discovery. Since deciding to write a blog I did a few quick googles like you do to see what was about and decide what direction my own rant should take.
Now my major discovery was of the sheer volume of mum-written blogs available to the world. Women just like me – unfulfilled, tired of cbeebies, looking for a creative outlet so our brains don’t shrivel up and die.
Now this is not an attempt to make you read my blog over anyone else’s – I imagine this shall become lost to the back pages of google within a few days and I am genuinely fine with that. Writing it is making me feel better and that was the whole point. No, there is actually quite an important point coming – trust me.
So I’ve found all these thousands of mum-blogs, some are clearly more read and successful than others and some, just like mine, are purely an outlet for the one woman writing it. But they mostly seem to follow a similar theme. Honesty about parenting.
A lot of these blogs have struck me as a way to tell the world that none of us mums are perfect. We all shout, we all (however briefly) consider packing a bag and walking out the door, most of us have been known to hide in another room with a strong drink and it doesn’t seem any of us are abusing our children, hindering their chances in later life or scarring them for eternity when we walk off mumbling something about getting on our last nerve.
Some bloggers paper over what I consider to be normal parenting with humour and others turn their last line of text over to an apology and a guilt ridden statement of how much they love their children. (I am clearly setting myself up as paper over the cracks with a joke kind of blogger – bloody kids, ha ha)
Now my question is this. With so many honest accounts of parenting, the straight from the horses mouth point of view on the struggles we all go through and the complete concrete back-up that these blogs can give us, why then do we still feel the need to carry that tonne of guilt around with us? Why do we question our every move with our children no matter how many people tell us they do the same half-parenting?
It is because there are actually only 2 types of mum and because I can’t be the only one that has noticed this, I am going to try to help us all let go of the guilt.
Type 1 is competitive do-er – they are (on the surface) by the book parents. They’ll tell you they don’t shout, their house is always clean, their children eat everything offered to them and they appear to live in a perpetual state of mania, always looking like they’re about to either burst into tears or laugh hysterically too close to your face. Type 1 mother is competitive about how much they do with their children. Toddler groups, reading books, activities and amount of quality time spent together.
Type 2 is competitive also but in complete reverse. I am a type 2 mum. I discuss at length with other type 2’s how little I do with my children. We compete about who has been to the least amount of structured activity, who hates toddler groups the most, who has the messiest house and so on. Type 2 mums rarely look polished so when we do make a touch of effort it is noticed by all – trust me, it was quite the playground frenzy last month when I put on some mascara and brushed my hair. As a long-standing member of the Type 2 brigade and being related to many in the Type 1 group I can tell you one thing for sure.
My God do we feel guilty. All of us. Every single one, without exception. We ALL feel guilty about something.
I blame society. I blame Type 1’s and Type 2’s. When I was pregnant with daughter I foolishly believed I would enter into a secret sisterhood of fellow mums. A circle of trust where no-one judged each other because we were all knackered and we were all mothers and we were all women. Battling against the men of the world who could never understand the physical and emotional change we have gone through. Standing up to our childless friends with all their free-time and disposable income.
Well ha bloody ha to that.
Women are bad enough for judging but mums are like the devil – judging not only you but your relationship with husband and children, your appearance, your lifestyle choices and all neatly justified by the mother tag we carry. I know it happens because I do it myself.
And I feel bad for it.
At least I do now that I’ve admitted it.
Now this bits important so sit up straight – you are NOT bordering between type 1 and type 2. You may think you are but please read on. If you think you’re both, then you’re type 2. If you disagree so strongly with that statement that you’re puffing out your cheeks and going a little bit red then you’re also a type 2 and that’s the real kicker and the wonderful twist to my story.
We are ALL type 2. To one degree or another we all wish our children would leave us alone, be it for 5 minutes or 16 years. We all have a dirty bit in our house – if you’re like me its in every room but if you’re trying so hard to be seen as type 1 then its probably the cupboard under your stairs or some other hidden place. And nobody enjoys toddler group, crafts that we spend 3 hours clearing up for the sake of 10 minutes activity or having the same conversation about why vegetables are good for you over and over and over again.
Its time to stop thinking we’re different to other mums because of what we do or don’t do in our homes, with our children, at our work. We are all mums, we are all women and therefore we should all try and point the finger at each other a little bit less and look to the root of what has made us so competitive in one form or another.
Some believe the answer lies with the men in our lives and the men all around us. Living up to our husbands imaginary standards because we feel ‘less’ since we had children. Rebelling against our husbands because we feel done over in the groundhog day ritual of housewifery. And for those single mums out there, do you secretly feel like you’re trying too hard in order to become a non-single? We all, with or without partner, puff up our feathers a little when we see a fit bloke, don’t we?
Well here’s the thing. We can easily blame our hapless men because let’s be fair – they’re not going to argue with the crazy woman in front of them. Its an easy pill to swallow for us mums when we lay the blame for our ruined bodies and dirty houses on the men around us.
But the actual problem is us. The sisterhood of mums that exists only to male us feel inferior. If we could only band together and be as honest as the thousands of blogs tell us we can be then perhaps we would all be a little more comfortable with ourselves and a little more forgiving of each other?


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