Like most mums in the UK, Saturday night usually consists of a take-away and a glass of wine watching Strictly Come Dancing. God it sounds naff when you write it down, but there we are.
I don’t mind, going out usually results in a god awful hangover. And I stopped being able to function with a hangover in about 2010, add kids into the mix and its a MASSIVE no no.
Anyway, so this Saturday like no other, I was watching Strictly with the 10.7 million others with my usual judgement on footwork, judges comments, which dance partner fancies which celeb. The usual. But what, or should I say who, got the most comments on the show that night completely took me by surprise. Susie Verrill, journalist and wife of long jumper Greg Rutherford.
Actually, that’s a big lie. It didn’t take me by surprise at all. In fact I was pretty much on the look out for the mum judgement army, peering over the hill with their judgemental tweets at the ready, waiting to strike.
And strike they did. Why? Because Greg and Susie’s son Milo was ‘dressed like a girl’.
Are you kidding? How have we not moved on from this kind of conversation? What are girls clothes and boys clothes for a 2 year old? And who the hell cares?
Someone actually commented (and I quote) ‘Greg, tell your wife to grow up, she’s not a Kardashian trash bag, get the boys hair cut and put some boy clothes on him, the child looked a mess. Like as if she wanted a girl so she’s going to mess with his head!’
Don’t get me started on the fact that its so assumed that Susie is the only one with any say on what little Milo wears. Let alone whether Greg needs to give poor old wifey a talking to and make sure she gets back in her box and start mothering properly.
Sadly though this is just another example of mummy shaming.
And it is so OK in our society its almost expected. I’m not writing anything new and ashamedly I have caught myself mummy judging before. Wondering why friends have made the choices they have with their kids, why they breastfed, why they bottle fed, why they went back to work, why they didn’t.
But I had a big epiphany myself 6 months ago and I decided it had to stop. I also decided I would never stay quiet when a mother was being judged.
The woman on the train with screaming toddler, that was me calling out the guy who was grumbling. I explained that nothing makes a toddler scream like a stressed mum so quit sighing.
The woman in John Lewis who was trying to sort out a tantrum while her friend was embarrassed trying to get them to move out of the way. That was me who smiled and waited patiently and told you if we weren’t patient with each other, who would we be patient for?
I almost questioned writing a post on mum shaming. In my industry its known as a very ‘done’ topic in the press without much media value. But is it if these incidences keep happening? I’m a big believer that if you keep quiet, you are part of the problem so here we go. Susie Verrill has thick skin and has written her own great piece on her blog Milo and Me, but the next woman you sigh at or comment on may not.
So please, seriously quit the judgement. Zip it. End it. Enough. Now.
Who the hell cares?