Listen up, mofos.

Y’all know I’m a mum. Moo came out of my vagina which I’m pretty sure qualifies me for motherhood, yeah?

However – and this is what I’m TRYING to get my brain around – I am not JUST a mum. Cut me in half like a bastard tree and you will not find M-O-T-H-E-R carved through my core. Fuck knows what’s written there. Maybe B-A-D-A-S-S-M-O-V-O?

Erm. Don’t cut me in half to find out if that’s true, though.

Doing the mum stuff is fundamental to my being BUT I am not defined by it. Most days, I don’t have a buggering fuck of a clue who I am. There are many things I do, but again, why should I be defined by that? I’m a HUMAN PERSON (last time I checked). Scientifically speaking: a complex amalgamation of neural impulses contained in a skin bag, powered by gin and biscuits and voodoo, innit. That’s BIOLOGY, right there. That’s QUINTESSENTIAL LIFE.

Yet, I like being contrary; you may have noticed. Get asked to define myself and I immediately bristle and look for the opportunity to break the rules.

I’m a mum and… what? Can I be everything and anything? Damn straight. I claim it all. ALL OF IT.

I’m a mum, and a noble knight on a shining steed, and a helpless maiden locked in a tower; and a deviant, a maelstrom, and a bottomless pit of anger. I’m a mum and a coward. And a fierce outlaw. And a nurturing beast, an exhausted academe. I’m a mum and I’m a lazy cow. I’m a total bitchface. I’m a bastard cunt. And I’m the loveliest, kindest woman you’ll ever know. I’m a absolute nightmare. I’m a mum, and a recalcitrant police officer, and a ghost, and a harpy. I’m a grubby sophisticate and a floundering gypsy. I’m a mum and a feminist, and I’m a backwards judgemental imbecile, and I’m clever enough to know when I’m wrong. I’m a pretender, and I am a purveyor of truthful stories. I’m a mum, and a qualified airline pilot. I’m a beautiful woman. I’m a cipher, a virago, and a total fucking conundrum. And I’m a mum. I am a mum. And not JUST a mum. 

I’m a…

Story of mum pic

…and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off and do one.

This mardy outburst is brought to you in association with Story of Mum, who encourage creativity in mothers and who asked me to curate this exhibition for them. In doing so I’m including not just my words but words from other mums as well, using part of the epic Mums’ Poem that grows and spreads and and celebrates many facets of motherhood:

Stumbling tweeting loon, warrior worrier.
Little foot tickler. Singer of songs.
Cheek kisser. Overwrought, frazzled and shouty.
Super sorter, life giver, the rock that never crumbles.

24×7 customer service.

Strong. Peace Maker. Wet wiper.
Respirateur and goddess, snot rag, fun magician.

So who are you? Are you definable?

story of mum exhibition

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  1. blueglassboy

    That marvellous writer Judith Martin, better known as Miss Manners in the Washington Post, has this to say on the subject of “Just a…” to a correspondent:–

    I’m a secretary – not the cute, young kind, but a mature woman, married forty-four years, who spent twenty-five as a housewife. I was always careful to avoid qualifying my title, as in “*just* a housewife.” I’m equally carefull to avoid saying “*just* a secretary.”
    However, it seems that either title demans one socially. The other night, a young woman asked where I worked and was very impressed when I told her the name of the prestigious institution. She immediately wanted to know what I did there and when I said I was a secretary, you would have thought I had suddenly come down with a terminal disease. Even worse were her parting words, “Well, even though you’re just a secretary, it must be an interesting place to work.”
    Miss Manners, I’m so tired of wearing this scarlet S. Can you suggest any way to avoid this situation?

    “Just a” is, indeed, an offensive qualifier, and the only sure way to avoid hearing it is to stay away from rude people. That is hardly possible in this world.
    You know that MIss Manners does not allow her readers to answer rudeness with rudeness. But you might say, with polite pride, “Oh no, you’re mistaken. I started out as just-a-secretary, but now I’m a full secretary.”

    And hey, from one backwards imbecile to another, I wholeheartedly concur with the desire to break out and smash other people’s assumptions. I would much confound people’s views of me than confirm them – whatever they are.

    Being ‘pinned down’ as anything smacks too much of the butterfly collector, and his jar and his pins, and his neatly labelled board. “And this one is a Mum. And this one is a knight. And this one is a damsel.” Be who are, and try and be who you want to be, and let other people have the headache of working out what that is.


  2. sandinmytoestk

    That’s one fantastic expression of a woman’s soul! You should get t-shirts printed of that graphic!

  3. Pippa

    I love this! Such a wonderful collection of words and wisdom, capturing the many contrary and beautiful and challenging parts of being who we are, mum and all. The poem is fabulous too, as are you. Thanks so much for joining the exhibition xx

  4. Random Woman

    Hooray and stuff. How many times do I hear woman say ‘Oh I’m just a Mum” . Firstly no one can think being a Mum is “just” anything because it’s too farking hard work to be “just”, and secondly no you’re not. You’re a person. A woman. With thoughts and feelings and opinions and stuff. So no one is “just” a Mum, or a Dad or a plumber or a brain surgeon. We are all lots of complex things. You are the Queen of the World for the day MoVo for this post. I declare it. (and I have the power and stuff) and I’m aware I’ve used to many ” ” in this comment and they make me look like a twat.

    • motherventing

      There can “never” be too many “”. I say so. Thanks for the Queen of the World thing. I self-deprecate ALL THE TIME and I shouldn’t. Being a mum is v important to me and needs recognition, but everything else I do is as valid and as valuable too. Women need to stop devaluing themselves!

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