Monday, 22 May 2017

For Fish Fingers Sake! Let's stop mum-shaming! #solidaritea

I have often joked that I am proud to be an unfit mother. Of course I'm sort of joking but what I mean really is that I have come to believe that organic muesli and pre-school Japanese lessons are not essential to raise a child to become a happy, healthy successful adult.

happy children

I am writing this blog post after a few days of observing the fallout of a national newspaper piece featuring some blogger peers - they may also make jokes about being unfit/slummy mummies but like me of course they are devoted parents who are not too proud to admit that sometimes it is the hardest job in the world.

I am standing up with them and many others to declare my #solidaritea.

Yes sorry preggers people-it's not all about chubby rosy cheeked babies and toddlers with tinkling giggles and snowy white dresses. Sometimes it's shit. Both psychologically and literally, up the back of the babygro, across your sofa, in your hair yellow stinking poop.

From the second you become pregnant and are sucked into the breast is best organic yoghurt weaving baby signing tiger mummy world you are made to feel like anything but perfect is abuse.


I had a caesarian.  Fail number one. Too posh to push? No. Too un-dilated to push and my baby was dying. This fact didn't stop me feeling like I had somehow let my baby down. Someone actually told me I couldn't have tried hard enough. *bites back foul language.*

I had another 6 Caesarians and do you know what is really really sad? When I was miscarrying my 8th child, my angel baby, I was pathetically grateful that I got to experience the urge to push.  I got to join that club of "proper"mothers. Even though the only vaginal delivery I managed was a dead baby. The smug mothers really did a job on my psyche there didn't they?

Now back to this article in the newspaper I refuse to name which sneered at mums who admit they enjoy wine and serve fish fingers for tea.

fish finger #solidaritea

FFS - which in this case stands for For Fishfingers Sake!

I occasionally serve my children lovingly prepared from scratch meals which they may or may not eat. My son loves spinach. But sometimes the day calls for fish-fingers, in sandwiches, with chips, stuck into mash or with beans. They are a parent's lifeline. Well, they are my lifeline.

In my freezer you will find venison, homemade stock and soup, rhubarb and runner beans from my mate's garden. Ten mum points to me.

You will also find frozen pizza, fish-fingers, chicken nuggets, potato waffles and a variety of other "15-mins or so in the oven" items. Theres even frozen mash. Minus 12 mum points.

In my fridge you will find soy milk, yoghurt, baby plum tomatoes for snacking on, fruit juices and home-made preserves. Add three mum points.

You'll also find processed cheese, lots of ketchup and a variety of bottles of alcohol ranging from Prosecco to sickly brightly-coloured alcopops and cocktail mixes. (I have the alcoholic tastes of a teenager.) Minus eight mum points.

cocktails in Cyprus

Oh, there's a lemon too but that's for my gin. Minus another point.

Worst of all in my cupboard there's a pile of super noodles for my child with autism who will eat nothing else when he is stressed, and a packet of pop tarts I bought this weekend for my 21-year-old as a treat. Minus 25 points. Oh crap. I lost the smug mum competition.

I don't care. The only prize is exhaustion and an overwhelming feeling of superiority.

We enjoy a variety of food, some fresh, some tinned, packeted or frozen. That's the key you see. Variety. It's OK to use convenience food sometimes just like it's OK to eat takeaways sometimes. It's OK to drink alcohol sometimes and it's OK to not feel like Britain's best parent sometimes.

Prosecco and super noodles

It's also OK if YOU decided to raise your child only eating organic/vegetarian/vegan/unprocessed food too obviously. I have friends who don't allow their children to eat fast food, sweets or drink fizzy drinks. I respect their views and don't give their children stuff they aren't allowed. Equally they respect my approach. We all manage to stay friends.

I admit I'll use electronic babysitters when my inner resources are low, I'm tired or ill or just done adulting for the day. It's my life too actually.

My children are well-rounded confident individuals. They are happy and healthy. They are in not undernourished nor obese. They are not neglected nor pampered. They are not princesses or paupers.

Got a problem with my parenting? Look away, look to your own family, get on with your own life. There are enough genuinely terrible parents sadly who sexually and physically abuse their children or neglect them to the point of starvation that you need not concern yourself with those of us who sip wine on a Friday evening while grilling fish fingers.

I raise my glass to those of you who like me are doing the best we can, love our children but refuse to lose ourselves or lie to the world. Honestly? We need more honesty then maybe fewer new mums will feel like failures and succumb to loneliness and depression.

Let's all stand in #solidaritea.








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