I’ll tell you something for free: if I was young and childless, there’s no way I’d be signing up for parenthood, and not even because of the kid factor. The kids are the easy bit; I swear to god! No, if I was young and childless, all pert of bosom and unlined of forehead, I’d be running a fucking mile from virile semen, for one simple reason: other mothers.
I first fell pregnant in the heady, wayward days of 2005. It was a simpler time – the only internet I had access to was at work, and our social media consisted of an email noticeboard dedicated to lost Nokia phone chargers and inconsiderate users of the disabled toilets. Simpler times, man!
When I was expecting Ben, I had no idea what to expect. I was the first of my friends to have children and I’m not entirely sure I’d even met another mother. I mean, I’d obviously MET other mothers, but oh, you know. My first exposure to a mothers’ group was a very civilised affair, via an NCT antenatal group that met in a charming little room above a pie and mash shop in Bethnal Green. It was ace. The mothers were ace. They still are ace! I thought that all parents would be like this. I thought everyone would be lovely. If I’d known the reality, I might’ve viewed impending parenthood slightly differently.
Young, childless women must look at us – the warring, weary mothers – and think, FUCK THAT SHIT. Because look at us! We’re fucking destroying each other and managing – in the process – to suck all the joy, humour and fun out of parenthood. WE ARE NOT THE BEST ADVERTISEMENT FOR PARENTHOOD. Contraception, maybe, but not parenthood.
Where’s this rant come from? Let me tell you. Yesterday, my mate Carmen copped a load of grief from another mother when her small sons hurt a little girl on a playground. Long story short: although Carmen made the appropriate apologies and meted out the appropriate discipline, the mother of the little girl lost her shit and abused the crap out of my pal. Carmen wrote a blog about it, I shared it on my Facebook page, with the suggestion that perhaps – JUST PERHAPS – we mothers should all start being kinder to each other. Go easy. We don’t know each other’s back story, so let’s be nice and go from there, eh?
Well, apparently not. Apparently we should destroy first, ask questions later. Your kids hurt my kids, I hurt you! According to the holy mothers of Facebook, it’s entirely acceptable to abuse the SHIT out of someone who’s trying to do her parenting best.
Oh, fuck off. Fuck off fuck off fuck off fuck off.
What the fuck have we become?
I’ll tell you, shall I: we’ve become a miserable, sanctimonious group of fun-sucking fuck-trumpets. Otherwise known as: mothers. Would you want to be one of us? Seizing the first opportunity to belittle other mothers? Wading in on Facebook threads to point out, “Ooo, well, I wouldn’t use suncream on a small child anyway; I’d knit my own protective sun-gear out of yoghurt and marzipan.” Being so fucking lacking in humour that we’re outraged by a small child calling his older brother a dickhead in Woolworths?
THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH Y’ALL?
Here’s the thing: it’s okay to think these thoughts in your head. I’m the most judgemental motherfucker of the lot, when I want to be, but I keep these stupid fucking thoughts in my stupid fucking head. I don’t feel the need to share my stupid fucking judgements on social media (she says, sharing her stupid fucking judgements on social media).
And of course, we’re not just giving ourselves a bad name on social media. Bitch mummas are everywhere – tutting in the shopping centre, muttering in the carparks, abusing in the playcentres. I don’t know why mothers do this. Perhaps it makes us feel better about our own shit parenting if we make others want to drown themselves.
Here’s what I want to tell the young, childless women of the world: we’re not all like this. Some of us don’t take ourselves – or parenthood – that seriously. Some of us still manage to laugh at the stupid shit, and the stupid parents, and the stupid kids. There’s so much fun to be had with parenthood – I promise you, there is – but most mothers miss out on it because they’re so busy reminding people that they baked an organic loaf of dust and quinoa for breakfast, and shame on those who didn’t.
Prospective mothers: I want you to know that we’re not all like this. Find your tribe, and find your fun, and don’t forget to fucking laugh. We’re not all sanctimummies, and the world IS sunshine and lollipops, so fuck you.