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Please stop mum-bashing

1
It’s funny in this time of modern feminism, that I even have to write this post. But I’ve noticed recently that ’mum-bashing’ is rife. As if, by the simple act of having children, then we are fair game to take whatever criticism comes our way.

Despite the fact that we’re still the same intelligent women we were before we conceived, it is as if the label ’mum’ or ’mother’ sums us all up as one homogenous lump that has few brain cells, and no diversity of thought. We come as one: the MUM.

This week alone there have been two articles in the

SelfishMother.com
2
press that have found mothers fair game; one on older mothers (which I’ll share a post on tomorrow), and the other, rallying us to turn our backs on the ’trend’ of motherhood. Because, apparently it’s a trend (nb: motherhood has been a thing for hmm over 200,000 years. I’m not sure that it can be defined as a trend simply because someone added a hashtag).

Doesn’t this feel so… out-dated? But I get it, I do, because, well; everyone else is off limits, right? The media are in a sticky place right now. They can’t make fun of ethnic groups, or

SelfishMother.com
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body sizes, or mental health. They can’t objectify women.  Even men are off-limits after the torrent of #MeToo allegations, as the press doesn’t want to seem, too ’down with the patriarchy.’ Old people of course are no-go, after all the ageism stuff a few years ago, although it’s probably their turn, soon. And gingers? Watch out!

Mum-bashing. It’s happened before of course. There used to be those awful articles about ’wars at the school gates’ and do you remember how when Mumsnet were invited by Tony Blair to Downing Street, it was reported

SelfishMother.com
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with such a smirk in the media? As if it was funny. Because, once you’ve had a baby, you can’t be taken seriously, right? Even if you are advising the Prime Minister.

And the thing is, we are many things as well as mothers. We know that! Some of us might wear my T-shirt that says MOTHER (created to support other mothers in war-torn countries) – but I doubt we wear it every day. We might also wear one that says WOMAN, HUMAN or we might not like slogan T-shirts and stick on a leopard-print dress instead. Each to their own. We are all different.

The

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reason this mum-bashing has particularly riled me is that it bands us all together as if we are one mass; ignoring the powerful community force and the ways in which it does good (for society and each other). And it isn’t even just a community of mums! It’s a community of adults weaved together via blogs, social media & real life interactions. And yes, many of us happen to have kids. Lots of adults, do.

And what’s cool is that this community is doing good in its own unique ways. It challenges norms. It sees women as breadwinners and men as

SelfishMother.com
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school runners. It takes us to the Houses of Parliament, Ted Talks, appearing in column inches and a whole heap of podcasts. It sees hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to charity – by me and many others!

Some of us are fighting the system one post or event at a time; Anna Whitehouse, Matt Farquharson and Joeli Brearley on flexible working. Candice Brathwaite, Nicola Washington and Sarah Gregory, shining a spotlight on diversity; championing awareness around disability, Sally Darby; and mental health chats c/o Bryony Gordon, Fearne Cotton,

SelfishMother.com
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Lauren Derrett and Jamie Day.  And raising funds for baby loss awareness, such as Elle Wright and Pete Goodchild; trekking for charity, Giovanna Fletcher; or writing books on bereavement, like Mark Lemon; or starting awesome charity initiatives such as It takes A Village and The Beauty Bank.

In an age of government cuts to public services and sparse on-the-ground support, these individual grass roots campaigns and voices add up to so much more – they do good on an individual and group scale, and they inspire others to do the same, too.

Every one

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can make a difference in a unique way. They don’t have to suddenly want to topple the system the second they give birth; they might simply want to pop on a cosy sweatshirt and snuggle up with their newborn. The diversity and power of motherhood is only to be celebrated… and we celebrate that of fatherhood, parenthood, grandparenthood, and all the other hoods, too. And if you knock us down? We’ll simply get up stronger than ever before.

 

 

SelfishMother.com
Molly Gunn

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- 4 Dec 18

It’s funny in this time of modern feminism, that I even have to write this post. But I’ve noticed recently that ‘mum-bashing’ is rife. As if, by the simple act of having children, then we are fair game to take whatever criticism comes our way.

Despite the fact that we’re still the same intelligent women we were before we conceived, it is as if the label ‘mum’ or ‘mother’ sums us all up as one homogenous lump that has few brain cells, and no diversity of thought. We come as one: the MUM.

This week alone there have been two articles in the press that have found mothers fair game; one on older mothers (which I’ll share a post on tomorrow), and the other, rallying us to turn our backs on the ‘trend’ of motherhood. Because, apparently it’s a trend (nb: motherhood has been a thing for hmm over 200,000 years. I’m not sure that it can be defined as a trend simply because someone added a hashtag).

Doesn’t this feel so… out-dated? But I get it, I do, because, well; everyone else is off limits, right? The media are in a sticky place right now. They can’t make fun of ethnic groups, or body sizes, or mental health. They can’t objectify women.  Even men are off-limits after the torrent of #MeToo allegations, as the press doesn’t want to seem, too ‘down with the patriarchy.’ Old people of course are no-go, after all the ageism stuff a few years ago, although it’s probably their turn, soon. And gingers? Watch out!

Mum-bashing. It’s happened before of course. There used to be those awful articles about ‘wars at the school gates’ and do you remember how when Mumsnet were invited by Tony Blair to Downing Street, it was reported with such a smirk in the media? As if it was funny. Because, once you’ve had a baby, you can’t be taken seriously, right? Even if you are advising the Prime Minister.

And the thing is, we are many things as well as mothers. We know that! Some of us might wear my T-shirt that says MOTHER (created to support other mothers in war-torn countries) – but I doubt we wear it every day. We might also wear one that says WOMAN, HUMAN or we might not like slogan T-shirts and stick on a leopard-print dress instead. Each to their own. We are all different.

The reason this mum-bashing has particularly riled me is that it bands us all together as if we are one mass; ignoring the powerful community force and the ways in which it does good (for society and each other). And it isn’t even just a community of mums! It’s a community of adults weaved together via blogs, social media & real life interactions. And yes, many of us happen to have kids. Lots of adults, do.

And what’s cool is that this community is doing good in its own unique ways. It challenges norms. It sees women as breadwinners and men as school runners. It takes us to the Houses of Parliament, Ted Talks, appearing in column inches and a whole heap of podcasts. It sees hundreds of thousands of pounds donated to charity – by me and many others!

Some of us are fighting the system one post or event at a time; Anna Whitehouse, Matt Farquharson and Joeli Brearley on flexible working. Candice Brathwaite, Nicola Washington and Sarah Gregory, shining a spotlight on diversity; championing awareness around disability, Sally Darby; and mental health chats c/o Bryony Gordon, Fearne Cotton, Lauren Derrett and Jamie Day.  And raising funds for baby loss awareness, such as Elle Wright and Pete Goodchild; trekking for charity, Giovanna Fletcher; or writing books on bereavement, like Mark Lemon; or starting awesome charity initiatives such as It takes A Village and The Beauty Bank.

In an age of government cuts to public services and sparse on-the-ground support, these individual grass roots campaigns and voices add up to so much more – they do good on an individual and group scale, and they inspire others to do the same, too.

Every one can make a difference in a unique way. They don’t have to suddenly want to topple the system the second they give birth; they might simply want to pop on a cosy sweatshirt and snuggle up with their newborn. The diversity and power of motherhood is only to be celebrated… and we celebrate that of fatherhood, parenthood, grandparenthood, and all the other hoods, too. And if you knock us down? We’ll simply get up stronger than ever before.

 

 

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Molly Gunn

Molly Gunn is the Curator of Goodness at Selfish Mother, a site she created for likeminded women in 2013. Molly has been a journalist for over 15 years, starting out on fashion desks at The Guardian, The Telegraph & ES Magazine before going freelance in 2006 to write for publications including Red, Stella, Grazia, Net-A-Porter and ELLE. She now edits Selfish Mother and creates #GoodTees which are sold via TheFMLYStore.com and John Lewis and have so far raised £650K for charity. Molly is mother to Rafferty, 5, Fox, 3 and baby Liberty. Molly is married to Tom, aka music producer Tee Mango and founder of Millionhands. They live, work and play in Somerset.

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