Saturday, 17 August 2013

I'm not old enough to be a mummy!

I turned thirty a good 8 months ago now, and I've always made a big deal out of age for some reason.

In the lead up to my thirties I was in a big stress, arrrgh goodbye twenties, hello being serious and grown up in my thirties. What a scary prospect!

I'm sure everybody feels like this to some extent, in my head I'm still 18, running around university campus trying to meet as many new people as I could and trying to do as many adventurous and crazy things as I could.

I did achieve an awful lot in my twenties (well I like to think so anyway!). I got my degree, I lived and worked in Austria, I studied in Berlin, I taught English in China for nearly two years, I went travelling around Asia, I saw Everest (a high point, boom boom), I completed a graduate management training scheme, I got a post-graduate diploma in management, I nearly got to the end of my Masters degree (just my dissertation to go now!), I met my long-term partner, I bought a flat, I got pregnant....and breathe!

Now in my thirties I've got my gorgeous baby girl and I can't wait to show her all the places I've been and let her discover the world. But, there is something about me that thinks, hang on a minute, I'm a mum, I'm the grown up now, I've got to do grown up things and be the responsible parent! It's all a bit scary, I don't feel old enough!

By the same token, in the area where I live I feel relatively young next to many other first time mums. This being London, the price of living is high, women are pursuing their careers, and have children much later. My 'sister-in-law' is about to have her first baby at 36. In some ways this makes me feel like a bit of a misfit where I live, I feel like a bit of an outsider with other parents as I feel really young next to them and often feel like I'm judged negatively for it - I look younger than my years and don't have any noticeable bling on my fingers!

Anyway, I clearly have a complex about my age for some reason and I really should be worrying about better things, age is just a number after all!


Do you worry about your age? Do you feel old enough to be a parent?! What activities should I plan for my thirties?

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Kaftans are a bit mumsnet

Reading The Guardian magazine yesterday I came across the fashion section 'The Measure'

Kimonos on the beach are where it's at, apparently, whilst Kaftans are a bit 'Mumsnet.'

Well to be honest with you Guardian Magazine, I've been loving the Kimono look for quite some time, but I'm not averse to a Kaftan either. But this isn't what irked me with the comment in this section of the magazine. The Guardian promotes itself as a liberal, left wing paper, one that features many a feminist article. However a comment such as 'Kaftans are a bit Mumsnet' has many derogatory mummy hating undertones....

For me I read:
  • Mums are not cool
  • Mums are not fashionable
  • Mums are frumpy
  • Mums are dull and boring
  • Being a mum is not trendy
  • Being a mum is not something to aspire to

Maybe I'm paranoid as I'm trying to get accustomed to my new post-pregnancy shape as well as working my wardrobe around what is practical for feeding my baby every two to three hours and which colours blend well with baby dribble. But what is wrong with being a member of Mumsnet? What makes being a mummy unfashionable? Why is it acceptable to be dismissed in this way?!

I'm not claiming to be the trendiest mama on the planet, and I'm not one to read fashion magazines on a regular basis. I have more pressing things at heart, such as my daughter, her well-being, happiness and future, my partner, my family and friends, and my career, so fashion isn't the top of my list of concerns - but why do women in fashion and lifestyle magazines feel the need to criticise other women's lifestyle choices so readily?

Anyway Guardian Magazine, there are plenty of trendy mamas out there, Thais aka Mama Dalston and Josie - Oh! You Pretty Things , to name two that I love in the blogosphere......and if you're not a trendy mummy, just a mummy trying to work out your new role in life and in society, then trendy doesn't really matter, or does it?

Musings on marriage

"So what does your husband do?"

Er, well, I don't have a husband as it happens.

"Oh..." {cue awkward silence}


I have a long term partner, we've been together a good six years, we are very happy, we just don't happen to have married each other.

When we were just a couple and not a family, not being married never seemed to raise an eyebrow, but since being pregnant and now we are a happy family, there is an assumption on behalf of many people that we are husband and wife. Unless of course I'm out and about on my own with baby wriggle pants, then there is often an initial assumption (or maybe it's just my perception) that people think that I'm a single mum. Now I'm very pleased for my happily married friends, and those who aspire to being married; I also admire the dedicated single parents out there doing a super hard job, but there still seems to be some sort of a taboo about being non-married parents.

People in my office reverted to calling my other half my partner, rather than my boyfriend, as it seemed a more fitting terminology for him. At my ante-natal appointments the midwives called him my husband. My partner's colleagues and clients started asking about his 'wife' after wriggle pants was born, and the grandparent generation have no idea what to call us! Admittedly it's got a bit confusing on the parcel and letter front, with various combinations of surnames appearing already.

The long and short of it is, we are happy as a family, neither of us are overtly religious, and we don't feel a need to be married just now. Maybe when wriggle pants is bigger and if she would like us to be married then we would think about it, but David Cameron and co's plans to give married couples a £150 tax break certainly isn't going to be enough to sway us just yet. Let's face it, it'd take a fair few years of tax breaks to pay for a wedding these days and I'd rather be saving for a bigger home for us to live in, or for the little one's education, than splashing out on a wedding.

In fact a lot of my friends in London in their late twenties and early thirties are being faced with a choice between getting on the property ladder or getting married, many are saving years for a deposit for their first home, and by the time their own property is within reach, there isn't the time or money to spend on a wedding before having children.

What do you think? Is it a taboo to be non-married parents? Is it rude for people to call us husband and wife when we have made a conscious decision not to be married? Is the cost of housing preventing people getting married before having children?