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blue milk also writes for The Guardian and Fairfax publications. You can read more about her at her own blog, blue milk.

9 Responses

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  1. Helen
    Helen at |

    Seriously good post Bluemilk. I’m a free range parent, but my kids have an invisible knapsack of university educated, maths loving, book reading, articulate relatives.

  2. Mindy
    Mindy at |

    I aspired to be one of those ‘benign neglect’ parents but I couldn’t manage it in practice. Although upon reflection those adults who talk about that sort of parenting seem to have had large country houses and estates to wander around in and artistic parents so there is a fair whack of class and privilege right there.

  3. M-H
    M-H at |

    Mandy, I was a ‘benign neglect mother, and I can assure you there were no country estates or acres of land! A run of suburban houses, not even quarter-acre blocks, with a bit of lawn and sometimes a veggie patch. I’m not in the least bit artistic! Funnily, my daughter is a very strict mother who home schools, and she has a tiny house on an acre of land. Make of that what you will.

  4. Megpie71
    Megpie71 at |

    I suppose my question is basically, where does “slack” stop, and “neglect” begin? Who decides this?

    (I say this as someone who was raised by emotionally neglectful parents who had been raised in their turn by emotionally neglectful parents, who had also been raised in emotionally neglectful circumstances… At some point, someone has to step up and say “enough of handing on the misery to the subsequent generation”).

    Kids don’t choose to be born. They don’t choose to come into the world. Kids shouldn’t be put into a position where they’d want to be able to make the choice in the negative for their parents.

  5. iorarua
    iorarua at |

    I was never so much a ‘good enough’ or ‘slacker’ mum – more of a ‘never wanted children but succumbed to spousal and societal pressure’ mum.

    My kids are now grown and left the nest and never a day goes by that I don’t pinch myself that it’s all over. Sure there were some nice moments in being a mother, and they turned out nice kids, but for me at least, the bad aspects of motherhood well and truly outweighed the good.

  6. Harriet
    Harriet at |

    I think the real issue is maternal anxiety and confidence. I was besieged by anxiety as a first time mum, and desperately sought reassurance from anyone, anywhere, to tell me I was doing OK, no, not like that, like this, NO, not like that… To get to the point where I can joke with my friends that I am a paid up member of the Bad Mother Club and a keen follower of N.I.P. (non-intervention parenting – no blood, no intervention…) has not been due to ideological research but to confidence. They’re my kids. They’re alright. They’ll do.

  7. Christine
    Christine at |

    Thank you Bluemilk. Low-socio economic mum drinking bourbon & coke could be labelled as “at risk” and a ‘bogan’ or just a bad mum. Middle-class and higher up the socio-economic ladder and if your drink a class of champagne whilst “juggling it all” then that’s OK.

    I’m thinking about how Mums with loads of cultural capital (and money) want to relate to being a ‘normal’ mum. Battling with all the struggles that ‘we all’ go through.

    I’m thinking about how they tell us how they connect with the ‘average’ mum. Just have a look at Gwenyth Paltrow’s Goop site. Tips on how to cook, parent and be an all round great mother. How about closer to home. Now this could be touchy. I love Lisa Wilkinson, Tara Moss, Mia Freedman and the like. But whilst they are doing it tough by juggling their work and family life comittments how many of us have access to a cleaner, baby-sitter, travel and holidays and the kinds of designer clothing that they can choose to have at any time. Do they really think they have anything in common with a mum doing it tough from the western suburbs or are they just capitalising on their celebrity by wanting to be perceived as just ‘a normal gal’ who has worked hard to get where they are?. Let’s just say that for me the gap is getting bigger and bigger.

  8. Janet
    Janet at |

    I was very saddened by the birthing choice that’s normal being painted as a liberation from that nasty pack of activists who just want women to feel bad. And I’m a mother they lurve to hate on by name over there. But mostly I’m piling on here to say, yes, that, I agree. And this is what I wrote in response to all the Birth Horror on the Freedman et al site.

    And on the hating they pile on me.

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