Surviving Mummyland

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Jospephs Gate

Have you met the Stepford Mum? Or Mumzilla? How about Mumm-ra? Being a mum is like stepping into a whole new world. Here’s a little help with navigation

Stepford Mum? Mummyland? What are we talking about?

The Stepford Mum is not to be confused with ‘The Earth Mother’—who doesn’t own a pram and wears baby all the time, breastfeeds on demand, uses cloth nappies, epitomises attachment parenting, and could be heavily made up or wearing no makeup at all. Now, the Stepford Mum comes in many forms and can be closely related to ‘The Mumzilla’—who does everything by the book and to a very tight schedule. If there is a programme for the week’s activities, from which she will never deviate. Needless to say her baby goes down perfectly in its cot, and sleeps through at night to boot—it says so on the schedule.

Oh well, not everyone you meet in Mummyland will be a bosom bow for all eternity. That’s okay. But what is Mummyland?

Mummyland is the place you land around 3-4 months post baby, when you stick your head above the parapet and start to think about your mummy-life as something to live rather than something to just grit your teeth and stumble through.

“I am mum just like you and me, but somehow manages to have it all together. I may never yell and always act so calm and collective and possess perfect patience and house”

And let’s face it—It is NOT the same as parenthood—that’s a quite different ‘hood’ to negotiate. And the Stepford Mum comes in many forms but there are a few that you may have had the pleasure of meeting. I know I sure have—in fact I am one of ‘them’!

Perfectly turned out and made up, probably back in my size from before pregnancy, sporting a super-organised designer change bag, with my baby dressed beautifully in trendy wee outfits, always well behaved, extra polite, and just don’t seem to ever act out. Sometimes, put together, my baby and I seem to have just popped out of a catalogue. Try and get yourself invited round to my hoovered and dusted house that is always spotless and organised—even when you randomly stop by for a visit! I may be annoyingly perfect, being the ultimate perfect women, perfect wife, and perfect mother and just has the ‘perfect life’!

But, don’t let any of this put you off!

I am mum just like you and me, but somehow manages to have it all together. I may never yell and always act so calm and collective and possess perfect patience and house. But, eventually you may discover a messy drawer or other proof that I am human and a kindred spirit underneath. I am an image that most of the mums have created in their heads of what they think it means to be the “perfect” wife, mother, and women.

Being a parent is hard—doing it to ‘PERFECTION’ is even harder.

But let’s face it, have you noticed that in today’s society there is this certain ‘standard’ that us women are trying to live up to—and to be honest, it’s EXHAUSTING. It’s a never-ending battle of trying to be perfect. Our society has pushed upon us the pressures of wanting and desiring to be the “perfect” woman, but what defines perfect? Our looks? Our clothes? Our parenting style? Our relationship with our significant other? With social media presenting a false sense of reality we have become discontent. Kind of sad right?

Well guess what! I have a brilliant idea! What I propose is for us all to drop the facade of perfection and let’s get real with one another! I say we stand against this level of false “perfection” and show one another what real life REALLY looks like.

“The heels that I’ve traded in for flats and the designer jeans that I’ve traded in for yoga pants—because let’s face it, running after my toddler in heels was just ridiculous.”

Honestly, at the initial stage, I really didn’t know what to do with the new baby, and how to play with it. Left to my own devices—desperately dangling stuffed animals in front of her face—I felt I was slowly going mad (possibly you will understand if you have already dipped your toes into Mummyland with such experiences’). I hadn’t had much to do with babies, and I needed other people to show me what to do—preferably without having to admit to my failings. To this day I often find it easier to be a good mother when we’re out and about. They help myself, I got out of the house, got some semblance of my life back, and yes, met some friends who were able to offer solidarity and sanity. Entering Mummyland is not something to be taken lightly!

Having support from other mums is incredibly important. Yet having said that, I also made the most of the lazy days that I stayed in my PJs because that was all the energy I could muster after a long sleepless night, or the messy house that I just can’t seem to keep clean even though I try. The heels that I’ve traded in for flats and the designer jeans that I’ve traded in for yoga pants—because let’s face it, running after my toddler in heels was just ridiculous. And resorting to the ‘messy mum bun’ and eventually getting my hair cut really short because my hair becoming tangled and knotty, and not to mention the piles of laundry that seem to be endless. Now that’s REAL.

The problem in Mummyland is that a lot of other Mummylanders, amongst all groups—could be quick to clump and close. But fact is we simply can’t make friends with everyone who had a baby in the same quarter year we did. Moreover, the second-time mum might not be that interested in expanding her circle either—but she’s not being rude—she’s probably just busy and rushing round while her Big Kid is in childcare. I actually found that the first time mums are busy bonding over their new experiences, and are too busy to join in on the new Mummy cafe culture. Swings and roundabouts.

“The good news is that if you pick your Mummyland friends with suitable care, they will in fact help you pick your way through parenthood, and if necessary any personal demons or personality failings exposed by procreation”

So always keep your options open. At the same time, if initial attempts at infiltration are rebuffed, give it up and move on. Trust me, it will work. You don’t want to be a MUMM-RA. That’s the one who is never-sleeping and taking a zombie-like form. You’ll be lucky if you have brushed your hair, and be wearing random combinations of maternity clothes and your husband’s sportswear. The baby is never out of sleep suits. On particularly bad days, the bottle-feeding variety will have four old bottles in the change bag that have yet to make it to the sink back at your chaotic home.

A Mumm-ra is also the only type of mother who will admit to being pissed off with the baby, and with motherhood in general.

The good news is that if you pick your Mummyland friends with suitable care, they will in fact help you pick your way through parenthood, and if necessary any personal demons or personality failings exposed by procreation. Mummyland can help you meet people, and motherhood can actually help you form some very strong bonds. I’ve been lucky enough to meet some very wonderful women in Mummyland—from Mumm-Ras to Stepford Mums—who are now friends for life.

As a matter of fact let’s throw out the ideas of the ‘stepford mum’ and let’s embrace and encourage one another in the craziness of motherhood. This life we live is so beautiful so why not laugh at our mistakes and praise each other in our triumphs? If we all band together I am positive we would not only uplift one another, but we would find that we could learn a thing or two along the way!

And if I can do it, so can you.

Good luck out there, soldier.

 

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