Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Does anyone cringe at being called mum?

According to my latest site statistics report, I received no visitors in the past week. Zilch. Nada. Zip.

Recent commentators - some expressing themselves with more vigour than others - have escaped the detection powers of Sitemeter. Just as soon as I complete my tax return (31 January deadline) and notified my friends of an imminent change of personal email address - I might turn my attention to getting accurate statistics.

In the meantime, I'm being distracted from these urgent tasks by discovering a new reason for blogging.

Most days, I read the Guardian. I used to read the Daily Telegraph because I disagreed with it and I liked to test my principles and beliefs against its right wing stance. After I while I realised that I wasn't studying politics any more and it was okay to read what I liked.

And there's a lot that I like. But every now and then they write stuff that irritates. Today it was an article about whether it's okay to be called 'Mum'. Well durr... after asking lots of journalist mothers (who usually get to write far better articles on other subjects) and someone from mumsnet.com* the outcome seemed to be that it's a privilege to be a parent and to be a mum (however you got there) is to have a special relationship with another person.

At least it filled some pages (the headline was REALLY big).

The article reinforced my love of blogging. We don't indulge in weirdo, why bother debates about 'mum', 'mummy' or 'mom'. Okay, we might not like it said in a whiny voice. We might not appreciate a two-year old shouting it out at 4am. But we aren't dwelling on something so necessary as a familiar noun for being what we are.

The only credible reason for not liking being called mum was given by Zoe Williams - when its used by an adult who isn't your child. She's probably the closest to the experience of dealing with health visitors who can't be bothered to remember or use the names of adult women.

I'd prefer to see articles about research into how some mothers can abuse their children - isn't there research on this? Certainly there are mothers in prison they could interview. There have been articles about how abusive mothers/women are particularly demonised, although even that often descends into the media talking about itself again. Or what about how single parents (not just teenagers) cope with working and looking after a child: what has that done to their personal autonomy - has it made them live closer to grandparents, not accept certain jobs etc. Or how about something about the quality of data behind the frequently used height and weight charts?

That's another great thing about blogging. I can say what I like and not offend anyone. After all, according to Sitemeter, there's no one out there.

*The Guardian and most UK papers do this. It's as if the rest of blogland - or dare I say it - real live mothers, doesn't exist. 'Hey guys, I've got the non-celeb/journo motherhood vox pop covered, one person from mumsnet.com should do it'.


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It occurs to me that I might be giving the Guardian a hard time over this. Perhaps they had to pull a better article out for some reason and created this as an emergency filler.

Over the past year, I've written twice to the paper about its pitiful coverage of women in sport. The number of articles seems to be increasing to two or three a week (in its 8 page supplement). It's a bit dispiriting to discover that some of these focus more on the successes or not of the male coach or manager... but it could be the beginning of the Guardian making moves to give regular coverage of women's athletics, team sports and so on.

6 comments:

Working mum said...

I've visited in the last week!! Anyway, on the 'mum' thing; daughter calls me 'mum' to annoy me at the moment because she knows I like 'mummy' (see my latest post)!

Papers? I don't bother with them anymore. Too much unfounded opinion and no real news.

Jennywenny said...

Your meter isnt very good, I read your musings with interest on my goodle reader!

As a non-mum I have no idea whether I agree or disagree! I find it really odd when people use their parents names instead of calling them 'mum' and 'dad'

gigi said...

I'm here and have been by in the last week. May be it doesn't like me! I like being called mama. Grand daughters actually call me Gigi. Still not sure I like that but that's what my crazy son taught them to call me.

Fat, frumpy and fifty... said...

I shall hijack this thought and blog about an experience last week at work!! as l am really dry on the post front for some reason, l'm under the weather on SOO many levels..


its MAM up here...and lve had to get used to it..

email on its way with questions

Reluctant Housewife said...

I've visited (and commented) in the last week. Silly site meter - so confused.


And the story in the Guardian - maybe it was a slow news day? Weird thing to write about if you ask me. Monkey calls me Mama. Buddy calls me Mom. The husband calls me Sweetie and everyone else calls me Mel. And it's all good. I've been called "mom" by doctors or dentists (or similar), who were caring for the boys, as in: "When was the last time you took his temperature, mom?" And that's okay with me, too. Should we alert the media? :)

Adrian's Crazy Life said...

I'm still out there. I've read every post. But I use a reader now, so I won't show up on your stats. That might be part of the problem. But I hear ya. It's been a bit slow over at my blog too.