Tuesday 22 October 2019

Modern life: Have we reached peak mum?

Over it: Sharon Horgan's new BBC sitcom focuses on the 'bad mum' theme
Over it: Sharon Horgan's new BBC sitcom focuses on the 'bad mum' theme
Fiona Ness
Tom Hiddleston - the new face for Gucci
Fiona Ness

Fiona Ness

Is it just me, or has everyone else had enough of mums? Not their mum (although that happens) but every mum: the whole goddamn modern cult of motherhood. The one that says you're not a good mum unless you're making some sort of splash about it. The one where every mum who thinks they are the only person to have ever given birth to a child, also thinks they should spawn an entire industry off the back of it.

It all began with the Alpha Mums, then came the Celebrity Mums (who knew that could be a thing?), the Helicopter Mums, and the Tiger Mums. And now, just as we've all been ground down by the fantasy of perfect parenting these mums present, here comes the 'Bad Mum' to beat us down even further. If you worried you'll never be a good enough mum, worse news is you'll never be a bad enough one either.

The main character in Sharon Horgan's new TV series 'Motherland', played by Anna Maxwell Martin, is the archetypal bad mum. She self-medicates through a series of parenting fails. The eponymous 'Bad Moms' of the recent Hollywood film behave similarly.

Out in the blogosphere, bad mums are hitting a whole new level of exhibitionism and racking up huge followings by cataloguing their complete (but oh-so-cutesy) failure at being mums.

A new book, 'Hurrah for Gin', by mummy blogger Kate Kirby, is predicted to become a Christmas hit after its launch next week. And hers is just one in a long line of popular 'mummy with a wine glass' blogs.

The perfect mums send their home-baked cupcakes over to your playdate; the bad mums parent with permanent hangovers. But it's not child neglect - it's just perfectly imperfect fun!

Many babymoons ago I wrote a column about being a reluctant mum; a mum who was striving and failing to be just good enough. I too developed a 4pm port habit to see me through the day. But then my older sister (the sage) put me in my place.

She had her children a whole generation before the cult of the mum exploded, at a time when motherhood was just something that you did, not something you went on and on and on about. She met my hours of self-deprecating searching for validation with: "You had them; you need to just get on with it."

And so it is that next week I will be working through the night on a 'Teen Titan' chocolate biscuit birthday cake for my six-year-old. I will resist the temptation to proudly post my creation on social media. I will likewise attempt not to rate my cake next to Perfect Mum Friend's 'Frozen' ice palace (created with nothing but sugar, water and a thermometer) or her actual, working volcano cake. And I hope that by just shutting up about motherhood, we can reclaim it in the process.

Getting out of bed for less than $10k

A top British modelling agent recently revealed that male models are being paid up to 75pc less than women. Premier modelling agent Elizabeth Rose has said that fashion modelling is the only industry where men get paid less than women. "It's unfair for men [and] I wouldn't say it's female empowerment at all," she told the BBC.

Perhaps male models can console themselves with the prospect that they do have better prospects at practically every other career on the planet and, because good-looking people do better in job interviews too, they shouldn't have too much trouble changing careers. According to a recent study published by the American Medicine Association, there is a $10,000 gender pay gap for nurses in favour of the males. Having a few male models on the ward round would be great for patient morale too.

if Tom for Gucci.jpg
Tom Hiddleston - the new face for Gucci

I've long nursed my own theory about the Taylor Swift and Tom Hiddleston union and break-up. From the off it struck me as one of those incredibly silly romances one finds oneself in when life becomes just a bit untethered. What starts as a nice bit of fun quickly snowballs into something you'd never want your real friends to know about, but can't seem to extricate yourself from. She - at first tickled - soon becomes tried by his besotted puppy dog routine. He can't believe his luck, she thinks 'WTF?', but finds herself meeting the parents nonetheless.

And where do you go from heartbreak but to Gucci? At least, that's what Hiddleston has done, staring lovingly into the eyes of another shaggy blonde. The British actor is the newest face of the Italian fashion house's Cruise 2017 tailoring campaign. I do hope he's not getting paid 70pc less than his female counterparts for this, because those furry slippers will do more damage to his acting career than any misjudged dalliance with a pop princess.

Irish Independent

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