Slummy Mummies and the Daily Mail
If you were on any form of social media on Tuesday 16 May 2017, you will have come across Anna May Mangan's article for the daily mail on what she calls the proliferation of slummy mummies.
Four mothers (and their partners and children) were the targets of her tirade at what she calls 'gin-soaked shortcomings'.
If 'Mummy blogs' aren't your thing, this probably all seems like a storm in a teacup but mothers of the (blogging) world saw this as a call to arms - there was even a fish-finger based hashtag: #solidaritea (also the name of a tea company who hopefully got a few new followers) in support of the Mums who found themselves (and their families/lives) suddenly thrust into the limelight.
Two mothers give their very different responses to the Slummy Mummy Daily Mail article:
By Bethanie Lunn - award-winning blogger, vlogger and Personal Shopper.
When I first heard about that article in the Daily Mail, my first feeling was outrage.
Upon reading the article a second time, I then felt very sad. Sad for the author, sad for the content and from where it came and sad that these hard working mothers had so been heavily misunderstood.
It is easy to feel angry at Anna May Mangan's words. She refers to a 'movement' of 'gin-soaked' mothers not caring for their children, even neglecting them and raises their parenting style as a concern. Anna even suggests that these parents and those in the 'club' of similar ilk are lazy and dishonest when personally, I feel the parents in question, myself included, pride ourselves on being very honest. But then you look closer...
Anna confesses to being in hospital with cancer, suffering from chemo and being parted from her children for a month. This is a horrific ordeal to have to suffer through on so many levels. She then confesses that this moment gave her the yearning to be with her children and the realisation to cherish every moment.
What I think is incredibly unfair is that she suggests these mothers don't. Anna had a defining moment in her life that has given her this insight and it is amazing that she has come through a painful time and has that attitude. However, it shouldn't cloud her and make her judgemental to the way other mothers depict their experiences.
Stating that the wonder of children is at risk of being 'drowned out' if 'other mothers tell you you’re probably going to be a terrible parent just like them, resenting every moment your child keeps you from the gin bottle', is just preposterous. It is childish. It is wrong. As is comparing them to an 18th-century etching of Gin Lane depicting 'the horrrors' of the time.
These mothers aren't putting their kids last, they are not neglecting them or harming them. They are not lying nor or are they boasting or bragging about their 'scummy' ways. All they are sharing is how they do things, what suits them and who they are - unapologetically.
This is the 'movement' I'm proud to be a part of. One that brings us together, builds a community; a girl gang as it were and one that says it's ok to be less than perfect. Because perfect does not exist and the sooner we give ourselves a break on that one, the better.
Enjoying a glass of wine at the end of a hard day, feeling too tired to play on occasion or feeding your children less than organic produce is what the majority of parents do. It is reality. Anna misses the praise these mothers post about, how proud they are of their children, the wonderful things their kids did that day and how they've never felt a love like it.
It's all there, it is all cherished but sometimes it is also washed down with a G&T. This does not dilute the love nor does it make them any less of a good mother, it just makes them honest and real ones. If the kids are happy and healthy and the parents are too, there is no harm in my opinion. We all parent in our own ways, respect that.
My last article for this website - read it here - focused on bitchiness at the school gates and how women judge one another and tend to tear each other down. This is a classic example. Don't judge, support. Don't bitch, big up. Don't hate, like. We're all in this together.
Our next opinion piece will be from a mother who feels Anna May Mangan made some valid points. Stay tuned...