Saturday, 29 October 2011

What happened to the sisterhood?

Is it just me or can motherhood present a whole, new world of bitchiness? This first became apparent to me in early pregnancy when the issue up for debate was discovering the gender of my unborn child. Or not in my case. On one occasion this was met with an "Oh no! I couldn't not have found out with mine! I suppose I must just be too organised!" And that would make me what exactly? Slovenliness is clearly not next to motherliness.

Nothing does the job of administering a back-handed compliment quite like the use of the double negative. Always the most effective when delivered in a patronising manner and when you're already struggling with your status as a 'stay-at-home mom,' 'full-time mother,' 'housewife?' "Gosh! You don't work! Good for you. I couldn't not work!" Well, just you wait there one second missy and I'll grab you that Nobel Prize for services to economics. Quick. Get back to work before your head explodes with the sheer gravity of your thoughts!

Motherhood presents innumerable opinions and choices and once those child-rearing decisions have been made, more often than not, they will be defended come hell or high water! Unless you're on friendly territory, I recommend steering clear of such emotive topics as the use of a dummy. As for breast versus bottle, you're on a hiding to nothing but flared nostrils, pursed lips and a sniffy retort.

What has the world come to when a new mum feels the need to justify why she's not breastfeeding her child, having only just told you her name? I grant you, this is peculiar to the strange beast that is the mother and toddler group. An often impenetrable, claustrophobic circle of one-upmanship, unless you're lucky enough to join a group of welcoming and warm women.

I'm pretty certain though that it's not having babies that brings out the harpy in us. I too am guilty of the occasional, smug, veteran mother comment, when what I should be doing is remembering how overwhelming having your first child can be. After all, do you know of a masculine equivalent of 'bitch,' with all it's incumbent connotations? So the next time someone says to you 'thank God for Cbeebies,' don't be a wanker by replying with a disdainful 'what's that then?'

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