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Is complaining about motherhood a feminist act?

Telling your story honestly - and speaking up against the myth of how motherhood is 'supposed' to be - is liberating, says The Mother Hub

feminist act

"I like to be honest about my parenting experience; by honest I mean telling everyone how hard it is, how tired I am, the impact it has had on both my finances and my mental health. Don't I sound fun? I do this because I really had no idea about parenting before I had my first child. None of us really do. I felt overwhelmed and alone.

I had only one close friend who was also a mother. She was a natural mother, her child was a dream. I could not tell her how difficult it was for me, and I felt an utter failure in comparison to her. I was doing something wrong if parenting was this difficult for me.

Is it liberating to be honest about my experience ? Yes. It is liberating to tell the truth about your life as opposed to perpetuating the fetishisation of motherhood which has existed for so long, and which helps no-one, the child-free included.

Is it Feminist? Quite possibly. For me, it is certainly done in the spirit of supporting other women and it is true that new forms of social media have given a voice to women outside of the traditional structures. On Facebook, on Twitter, through blogging, women are telling their truths – they are using these new mediums to give a platform to a voice which has so often been silenced. Don't tell them what they should say."

 

Thursday's blog of the day: "Mummy, I'm bad"

A Blog about Raising my Autistic Son says she was saddened to realise how her little boy was internalising comments about his behaviour

boy stairs

"When Edward was little it seemed that he was constantly getting told off by most people he came into contact with. Back then, we didn't know that he was autistic and I think we would have been more patient with him had we known. He was forever at the receiving end of 'don't do that', 'stop it', 'be quiet', 'sit down', 'calm down' and so on.

His behaviour was often inappropriate compared to other children the same age and so he got frequent feedback that he was doing things wrong.

One day I discovered a piece of paper in Edward's bedroom and I realised that all the negative feedback he was receiving, day in day out, was taking a toll on his self-esteem. He was seven years old. On the paper he had drawn a single line with the word 'good' written at one end and the word 'bad' at the other. Above the word 'good' I saw he had written 'mummy', which made me feel ridiculously smug for a short moment. The rest of the family names were written fairly close together at the good end, although not necessarily in the order I would have predicted. Edward had written his own name directly above the word 'bad', miles away from the rest of the family. I felt so sad."

 

Wednesday's blog of the day: "Is this weird, naked puppy a joke?" Our dog's thoughts on the baby

Kitty Boing's Jack Russell is unimpressed with the newest member of the pack, who cries, interrupts walk time - and can't even bark properly

dog baby

"Butler, scullery maid,

First of all: what the actual blistering holy fuck? Are you kidding me?

Not only do you disappear for a few days, you then return with this blotchy hairless puppy that does nothing but croak and squeal and keep me awake all bastard night long.

Let me spell it out: the puppy is defective. It still can't move, there's no sign of a tail and it can't communicate properly. I've tried to help with this by sitting next to you and howling every single time it 'cries', to teach it the proper sounds, but you've been most ungrateful.

Get it together, staff. I don't sit silently behind you when you're changing nappies, waiting to trip you up, for the good of my health. It's to wake you up to reality: the puppy needs to know its place. It needs to be on a lead, not in a sling. It needs biting and sitting on, not rocking gently. Most of all it should share those lovely squeaky Sophie the giraffe toys. No, I don't care how special or expensive they are."

 

Tuesday's blog of the day: You're tube-free, baby

Write Like No One's Watching celebrates how far her daughter has come since a difficult start

daisy

"Our daughter spent six weeks and one day in hospital. Not the longest time any baby has ever spent in hospital. But long enough. In fact - I don't need to justify it, do I? It was painful. We can all imagine that.

She came home, eventually, with two tubes. A nasopharyngeal airway (NPA), and a nasogastric tube. And at that point, to have her home was enough. 

By her eleventh week, her NPA was out, and we had a sleep study in hospital, and we emerged with a baby with just one tube. She had done it. My daughter could breathe unaided. And I sobbed so hard with happy tears, because that is no small feat. She could do it on her own. She was no longer at risk. She was going to be okay.

And then we were left with the feeding tube. And at first that was amazing. Half of her face was free to kiss and stroke and see. But tube feeding is an exhausting task.

And today, my daughter is officially free of her last tube. I can see the face of my daughter for hours on end. The last time I did that was in those first three days.

How far we have come. We may have surgery, speech therapy, hearing and sight tests, and many an assessment ahead of us.

But I am so proud of you, Daisy."

 

Monday's blog of the day: Never dress your tween up as Gangsta Granny 

Having survived Roald Dahl Day unscathed, Flossing the Cat reflects on past fancy dress failures 

gangsta granny

"Last year's World Book Day started well, as is so often the case, with the ten-year-old announcing that she wanted to go as 'Gangsta Granny'.

"We can sort that in ten minutes!", I said smugly.

And so, grabbing a granny wig from the dress-up box, a cardie my mother bought me from the 'Per Una' range (oooh, thanks mum, I especially love the pearlised buttons and embellished trim), and other bits and pieces, I threw them over her, like a total pro.

"There!" I said proudly. "Gangsta Granny!" She studied herself in the mirror. "Sick", she said. "Thanks mam."

But then, the following morning, with less than seven minutes to go before we needed to leave the house for the school run, and with me fannying about looking for the front door keys using a new beeping Trackr device that incidentally is only audible if you're fucking Wolverine, there was an inhuman shriek from the dining room.

"I look ugly! Fat AND ugly!" The ten-year-old was staring at herself in the mirror, wearing the Gangsta Granny costume.

"It's fancy dress", I said lightly. "It's not a fashion show."

"I look like a pig!" she said, her face morphing into The Scream face. "A disgusting fat PIG!"
"Go as Peppa Pig then" piped up the eight-year-old, who was only half listening. The granny wig flew across the dining room towards him, knocking a cereal bowl full of coco pops out of his hand."

 

Last updated: 23-Sep-2016 at 12:14 PM