So, the scummy mummy has been vilified in the Daily Mail and the blogging community are up in arms at the injustice of it all; but reading some of the comments on social media I wonder whether many have read the article in its entirety.
Admittedly when I started reading this piece, my initial assessment was that it was a typical Daily Mail hatchet job, but as the article unfolded I couldn’t help but wonder whether there was some substance to it and a credible argument in there.
For starters, the women who joke about getting through baby rhyme time by swigging gin from their kids sippy cup are only joking, most of us appreciate that, and, as Mangan points out, these bloggers are in the main educated middle class women dumbing down motherhood when their reality is probably quite different. The children of these bloggers look well cared for : “it’s a bit like the kid at school who pretends to not bother but secretly does all their homework and swots for exams”. I would agree.
These bloggers argue that they are rebelling against the perfect insta mummy and are normalising parenthood; creating a sisterhood with the core message that’s actually it’s ok to feel like a rubbish parent and post pictures on Instagram of your kid eating fish fingers every day, and it’s absolutely fine not to cook a decent meal because you are too sozzled on gin. Mangan agrees that the perfect hello! mummy is no more of a reality then the perception of the scummy mummy, and I for one find these blogs hilarious and identify with them absolutely.
Mangan understands how stressful it can be raising kids. She has four kids of her own and I think she is sympathetic to the fact that as parents we all have days when we are tired, exasperated and ready for a drink (I know I do), but maybe it’s important to point out that we are not doing this all the time – should we be worried that for some this will be interpreted as gospel? that it is ok to behave like this everyday? Maybe some people are unable to see through the jokey nature of the blogs which would then impact negatively on their children?
One aspect of all of this that I do find disturbing is that the rights of the child in this debate appear to be entirely overlooked; does that child photographed for Instagram with a leaking nappy having some goddam awful tantrum deserve some dignity? I think so. And do those women pouring scorn realise the impact of posting these pictures? I doubt it. I have seen countless copycat images and rants on social media that defy belief when you consider the depths that some of these scummy mummies (and daddies) are willing to descend to. These images will remain on the internet for posterity and it remains to be seen how the grown up children of these social media addicts will feel in years to come.
Mangan feels exasperated with these moaners who think motherhood is beneath them and as I read the article I can appreciate this view in light of her personal circumstances. She reveals that she had been separated for a month from her young children when she had treatment for cancer in an isolation ward. During this time she longed for the opportunity to continue to be a mother, to do the simple everyday things that we all take for granted; taking our children to and from school, cooking a meal and sitting down to share your kids day etc …
I can’t believe that these bloggers don’t appreciate those things too, or that their motivation was to set out to hurt or offend others; the blogs are funny and there is nothing malicious or inherently harmful in their witty & pithy ramblings. I would hope that the majority of people would recognise that and appreciate that nothing is one sided and the image presented on social media is rarely representative of the reality.
I never thought I would hear myself say it but, honestly, I don’t believe that this article despite being published in the Daily Mail was entirely without substance or validity and I feel that it has actually sparked an interesting debate that has raised some pertinent questions.