Wednesday, 17 February 2010

I'm a MIMMY

What's a MIMMY? A More Involved Mum. I cannot take credit for this little nugget - credit goes to my friend S. I started off thinking about writing an article about the misrepresentation of part-time working mums in the media. By the media, I mean Daily Mail. I confess to my dirty secret of reading the Femail pages online - purely to insence myself and get my blood pressure up. The comments are actually the funniest. Know thine enemy.


Yes, as a part-time (3 days a week) working mum, I feel misrepresented in the media. I am not a Working Mum (WM) who thinks she can have it all or puts her career above the needs of her children - nor am I a Stay At Home Mum (SAHM) who is happy to talk purées and potties all day long with similar non-stimulated mummies. I must add these are the stereotypical representations of WMs and SAHMs in the media - not my own thoughts!

I have my personal thoughts on what I think is right, but try not to judge others for what they choose to do. I don't know others' circumstances and it is unfair to push my values onto everyone else. However my choice to work part-time satisfies, for me, both sides of the ever-raging argument: I go to work to have some me-time (a hot cuppa, a lunch break, a toilet break on my own without Elf singing the Star Wars theme to me at high volume), and to stimulate my mind. I do not hold such an "important " position as pre-Elf, but it is challenging enough to give me pride and enjoyment, not enough to stress me out or to require working extra hours. I'd rather work two days, but three days is financially better.

I am a SAHM for the remainder of the week, I enjoy Mondays and Fridays with my dear little one. Mondays are for weekly shopping and a playdate in the afternoon. Fridays are for trampolening (current activity du choix) and lunch/playdate with his best friend O (Woody at the fancy dress party last week). Fridays are my fun day, oh and Elf's too!

One point I keep making to people is that the phrase SAHM has a negative connotation from the word STAY. All of the mums I know who are, by definition, STAY At Home Mums, do not stay at home! They go to toddler and singing groups, swimming and ballet lessons, have playdates arranged every spare minute. But the few times they do stay at home, there are cuddles on the sofa watching Barbie Island or whatever it's called, baking goldigger buns, making valentines' cards for their playmates.

I realise that the word STAY in SAHM refers to NOT going out to work, but given the changes in working hours and locations these days due to the business world embracing new technologies and addressing flexible working time, not all of us go OUT to work.

This lead to the discussion with my friend S, who has a career in publishing balanced with studying to be an acupuncturist, understands all too well the importance of life/work balance and she doesn't have any children. We have all wanted to become and decided we are not yummy mummies, slummy mummies, glummy mummies - whatever new nicknames male newspaper editors come up with for us to make us feel inadequate.

A MIM is a more-involved mum - the mum - and I have to say even DAD (is he a MIDDY?) who takes their children to toddler groups, attends swimming lessons and spends the whole half hour gossiping to other parents in the viewing gallery, sets up playdates based not on who their little ones' friends are, more on who THEIR friends are. No point discussing purées and potties with someone you have nothing in common with. Better you find likeminded mums or dads who you can discuss last night's Brit Awards with, or what is going to happen next in Desperate Housewives, or who do you fancy Mitchell or George in Being Human, or differing political campaigns in the leadup to the next general election.

A MIMMY balances their work and life, works the hours to keep them sane and attends to the needs of their offspring. A MIMMY will probably have to cut back on one area to improve the other, but that is what being a parent is about.

She takes her child to the relevant groups and/or childcare, to give them a variety of activities to help them develop, whilst making sure that she sees the mums that SHE likes, after all it's her time too. She takes care not to overschedule her child or get into competitive parenting (how many activities can Little One manage in a week - she's got to do ballet to keep up with the Jones).

I like to think I am a MIMMY and I ask you to let me know if you are too, or if you agree with my manifesto - Let's change SAHMs into MIMs or MIMMIES and give Stay At Home Mums (those "not going out to work") a positive label. A label I'm proud to have stuck to my coat, along with my Staunton sticker, from the local petting farm.

Well I am a MIMMY until September when it all changes, when Elf goes to school ...

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