Some of my closest friends are mums – amazing mums. One of my closest friends is my mum, and it goes without saying that she’s one of the best mums there is.
My mum stayed at home for 10 years, she had us 4 1/2 years apart so she could spend the same amount of time with each of us. We could read and write and knew the top two lines of the periodic table before we started school. She cooked, cleaned and baked, and played cards and coloured in with us, but it was all wasted because she couldn’t post it on Instagram.
In the times since our mums were staying at home (or not), there’s been a big movement towards online interest groups, in particular online groups for mums. With rising levels of PND in new mums the increase in support networks for these ladies is invaluable, helping alleviate feelings of isolation and loneliness.
Perhaps as a result of this social media support, more and more mums who are at home with kids are also running a small (or not so small) business. This flurry of #mumtrepreneurs has seen groups popping up on Facebook that are ONLY for small business owners with offspring, and it’s the exclusion that I take exception to.
Let’s apply the same logic to a real life situation. My aunty has an annual lunch with her two daughters and five daughter-in-laws, but this year she’s decided that only the ladies with kids can come. So the one who’s been desperately trying for babies for four years is uninvited, as is the one who’s been too busy getting a PhD in pig welfare. Seems legit.
A friend of mine runs a small business and was approached about taking part in a “Mum Giveaway”, she said she’d happily supply her products, but that she wasn’t a mum. She was promptly uninvited to participate, and was even accused of “being one of those women that chooses a career over kids and thinks they’re better than stay at home mums”. Wow. Just wow.
Truth be told, this friend is a mum, to three angel babies. Just let that sink in for a sec, she’s given to birth to not one, not two, but three babies, and they have all died. Medical professionals have strongly advised her not to attempt to carry any more children, so it’s highly likely that this friend will never be allowed access to the exclusive small business club.
Here’s the irony, not only is she a small business owner, she is a professional services consultant, she knows her shit, she’s a genuine #GIRLBOSS. Does she hustle? Yes, she hustles, and if anyone was going to make a valuable contribution to a small business group, it would be her.
Now, this isn’t the first time that I’ve been up in arms about something that has nothing to do with me (and why I need the Give Less Fucks jar). A couple of years back three of my close friends were trying to conceive. All three of them got pregnant about the same time, but one of them lost her baby near the end of the first trimester.
This was during the year of the cleanse, back when I used to eagerly accept every invitation, even if I knew it was going to be long, painful and awkward. So I found myself at dinner with one of the pregnant ladies and her mum friends. The entire conversation was about labour, breastfeeding, sleep training, potty training, time out, and those fancy re-usable nappies – the exact conversation that the pregnant friend had refused to sit through pre-conception. My issue: the friend who had recently suffered a miscarriage had to endure three hours of baby dribble (no pun intended).
The next day I got a text, “Sorry about all the baby chat last night, must have been pretty boring for you”. I said that it was OK, I got through it, but that I felt for our friend, we both knew about her loss and it was unfair that the entire conversation was about kids. The reply: “yeah, well it’s not my fault that people want to talk about their kids, nothing I can do about it”.
It’s not my fault that people with closed minds and open mouths are so opinionated about mental illness, suicide, abortion, domestic violence and homosexuality, but if there’s someone in the room who will be upset by an asshole’s line of conversation, I will politely tell said asshole to stfd (sit the f*ck down) and stfu (shut the f*ck up). That approach definitely hasn’t earned me a lot of friends, but it’s earned me the right ones.
By all means, celebrate your successful attempt at reproduction, be proud of the mini humans that you’ve created and that they can use a knife and fork and complete a sentence, because, honestly, that shit takes commitment. Full credit to people that raise little people, I’ve said before that I can’t even look after myself, let alone a dependent or three, and even more credit to people that are raising little people and running a business. All I’m saying is, this ain’t no country club y’all, support and include small businesses, whether the owner has children or not.
So I’ve decided to have a party and everyone is invited. It’s The Good Bitch Group on Facebook, where the only condition is that you have to be a good bitch. I don’t care if you were breast fed or bottle fed, if you get paid to work or you’re a volunteer, if you went to university or you didn’t finish high school, if you’re a good cook or a terrible cook, you just need to be a good bitch. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t have good chat – just leave the chat to me!