Feeling challenged

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‘Naff’, ‘cringe’, ‘patronising’, ‘uniting’, ‘beautiful’, ‘positive’ – these are a few words pinging about The Internet about the ‘motherhood challenge’ – a Facebook push that asks mothers to share five photos that define motherhood to them and then ‘tag another 10 awesome mothers’ to do the same.

I’m talking about this solely because a guy from BBC Radio rang me up yesterday and asked if I’d debate this thing on air. Until this point – like many other things in the world/ supermarket/ Snap Chat (what even is that?) – it wasn’t really on my radar. There’s so much white noise out there I can rarely sort the buzz from the feed.

But regardless, it was a shameless opportunity to be on The Beeb so like a media hungry daschund, I dutifully slobbered on. My initial thoughts after a five minute stalk were thus:

  • Kids? Good? Motherhood? Good? What’s the issue?

 

  • A quick reference in a dictionary and I felt ‘challenge’ was the wrong word. Dealing with a reflux infant on two hours of sleep is a challenge. Posting some pics doesn’t fit. But that’s just a pedantic point, really and makes me look like a bit of a dick.

 

  • Tagging 10 mates who are ‘awesome mothers’? Bit naff but so is most of the Internet, so nothing revolutionary.

 

  • No charity angle? Could have been nice.

 

  • Not sure anyone feels a deep sense of loss if they’re not tagged as an ‘awesome mother’. We’ve all hoofed-out urchins out – we can take it.

 

  • Insensitive to people struggling to have kids? We’d be here all day if we tip-toed around the internet with that in mind. I’ve had three miscarriages and while it’s tough, I never got hacked off with my mates having succeeded where my ovaries seemed to have kicked back.

But what I said on air wasn’t the above. Along with many other ‘edgy’ ‘modern motherhood’ ‘cool mum’ ‘instamum’ words I simply said it was a ‘bit naff’. I got my dictionary knickers in a twist and blindly missed the overarching point – once again the world is set on dividing us.

On dividing the motherhood. The dude from the BBC just wanted a tale of two sides. He wanted breast pad flingin’, cupcake rammin’, with one side touting placards of ‘breast is best’; the other waving a White Company flag.

Once more, you’re a type of mother – you either wear Stan Smiths and boyfriend jeans and rock the world with your ‘I’ve not changed’ ways and Mac Lady Danger lipstick, throwing the ‘naff’ card at folks who, for whatever reason (post natal depression? A need to look at the positive bits because there are whopping great negatives) want to post five pics of their spawn.

Or you’re swathed in Cath Kidston and spouting terms like AIU (Am I Being Unreasonable or NYANBU (No You Are Not Being Unreasonable). The comments on my Instagram post this morning ranged from: ‘Vom inducing’ to ‘too many middle class judgy instamums thinking they are too cool for school.’

The Internet doesn’t want us all to unite and realise there’s room at the inn for mum bossing and mum gossing. Room for lipsticks and dipsticks; Room for faf, naf and everything inbetween.

All I know is that it’s the stuff that would have bra burning Emmeline Pankhurt develop a significant eye twitch.

Because dividing a bunch of women who are working on life is more than a bit naff.

Anna Whitehouse

Founder of Mother Pukka, Anna Whitehouse likes super hero cape-making classes and dislikes the naming of celebrity couples (TomKat, Brange etc.) She tries (and often fails) to parent the shit out of life.

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Turns out I’m not an afternoon person either.

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