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Friday, 23 October 2015

In Defence of Slacker Mums


The word ‘slacker’ is misleading. Slacker mums are NOT lazy. On the contrary, Slacker mums are trying to be everything and do everything. We had a life once; a life we liked. Trying to keep that life going at the same time as being the best mum we can makes for a pretty busy schedule.

 Often we are juggling home and work. And feeling like we're not doing a particularly good job at either. Bolting out the door of the office as the clock ticks to 5.00 so that we can get home in time to deliver our child to Dance Club/Swimming/Beavers and then having to apologise again because we have forgotten their shoes/swimming cap/woggle. 

Rushed is our middle name. There are school mornings when we have to make a split second decision on whose hair will be brushed because there's not enough time for all of us. Trips to the supermarket are against the clock as we throw food into a trolley into which we have trapped our iPhone watching children. At parties we have to accept the 'late again' jibes from the Smug Mothers even though we think they should be grateful that we turned up at all.  

We can't do craft. Oh, we do our best. We spend our overdraft in Hobbycraft, Google "easy craft no glitter" and try to pretend that we're enjoying ourselves. But it's hard to shrug off the utter pointlessness of a task which involves spending an hour of our life creating a random monstrosity which will be littering various places in our living room or kitchen until the children have forgotten it and we can scoot it into the bin. (All the while trying not to think that that piece of crap probably cost £7 in tissue paper and stickers.) 

Some of us are a little disorganised. We may be found fishing yesterday's school uniform out of the washing basket (if it made it that far) and wiping it clean with a wet wipe. We are sometimes haranguing our children with felt tips and coloured paper at 7:30 in the morning because we’ve just found a crumpled homework sheet at the bottom of a school bag. We often meet each other frantically searching in Tesco for a superhero costume/Christmas jumper/Pudsey bear T-shirt at 11pm the night before a school dressing up day. 

But when we do see another Slacker Mum, the relief is immense. Meeting one another’s eyes in a café where at least one of our children is under the table and raising our mug in solidarity. Confessing in whispers that our child’s lunchbox includes a sandwich containing only ketchup because we didn’t have the energy to fight that morning. When we recognise one of our own, we nod and smile the smile that says, “Me too, sister.”

Because Slacker mums don't judge. We don't even treat the Perfect Mothers with disdain. No, we admire them with their immaculate school run hair and tidy "drop by any time" houses. Sometimes, for three consecutive days, we actually manage to BE them. But, hey, we're Slackers: it never lasts. 

 If we’re honest, we can’t always blame motherhood for these characteristics. We were probably not renowned for our tidiness, punctuality and organisation before having children. It was just a lot easier to hide when we only had ourselves to look after. Slacker mums are actually trying very hard: it is because we have spent 20 minutes working out beautifully coordinated outfits for our children that we ourselves leave the house looking like we’ve just been electrocuted.

And it definitely doesn’t mean that we don’t enjoy being a mum. Our lives are busy and stressful and disorganised but they are also full of moments of joy when we look at our family laughing, playing and enjoying each other and feel a contentment that makes everything else completely worthwhile. We Slacker Mums love our children so much we could eat them. It's just that, sometimes, we wish we had. 

Begin a Slacker Mum means never quite feeling like you have this motherhood thing nailed. Sometimes we try to do everything, but end up feeling that we’ve achieved nothing. Sometimes we measure ourselves against the Perfect Mothers and find ourselves wanting. Sometimes we berate ourselves because we’re not the best cook, housekeeper or creator of creatures from egg boxes and loo rolls.

But always we love our children, we do our best and we try to support the other Slacker Mums around us. And we know that, ultimately, that is all that really matters.

 

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