This evening I registered to vote, I’m pretty sure I’m already registered but in all likelihood (or possibly wishful thinking) there could well be another general election on the horizon and I wanted to be sure I had a say
….. it may surprise you to learn that I took A level Politics at college…. I didn’t pass, unless you count the rather rubbish D I obtained, but that was probably because i was lax, preferring instead to party. I rarely looked to my future then….. I didn’t think about children, about the world they would be born into, I cared about having fun…. but luckily I’ve remembered just enough of my politics lessons to not make a total fool of myself as an adult.
And now, I’m a mother, and mothers voices often get lost in a sea of privilege . Those charged with making the decisions for ours and our children’s future couldn’t be further removed from who we are. Mothers don’t seem to have a voice, or if we do we certainly don’t have the time to be using it (aside from baby talk).
We just can’t head to parliament, with a boob hung out and vomit in our hair, running on too much coffee and too little sleep. We certainly couldn’t afford the childcare……I’ve often felt as a mother, very removed from society, and the decision makers.
So who does represents us?
Social media is both a godsend and a curse. I have some arguably sensible friends who barely engage….and then there are others, like me, who have whole worlds inside our phones. Friends and forums…. a villiage of people to connect with….. share our ideas with, mothers who are all over the country and world even, connecting, supporting and empathising with each other. Some from armchairs, feeding bottles, some on the school run, some pumping milk in an office…… some rushing from work, some taking a break, or co-sleeping at night….sat on a bench in the park, some crying into their coffee….. or snapping a photo at soft play. We all talk to each other, worlds and miles apart…. different ethnicities and social classes, different parenting styles and ideals, but with two important things in common: motherhood and the desire to connect.
But even here, as utopian as it sounds, there’s a hierarchy….an almost pyramid like scheme of influence in this secret world. One that is controlled by brands, consumerism and ego
…… those who step beyond the diversity of the forums and want to speak out, may unexpectedly find themselves in this odd world of privilege, where a follower count is less about genuine connections than it is about creating aspiration……
I find it hard to pallet the idea that a voice has less value if you don’t own the correct equipment to create a polished video ….. or that your experiences are less important if you don’t have your own domain or a microphone for your camera…. that your point of view will be dismissed if your home doesn’t look a certain way or indeed you yourself don’t look or weigh how you should …. your post will be skipped over if your grammar isn’t perfect or your photography sharp
….and these barriers leave only a very narrow view of what motherhood is or should be.
I don’t blame these mothers at the perceived top, or suggest in anyway that they haven’t worked hard. Because they have, every single one of them has grown and worked bloody hard and has every right to a voice…… but there’s a silent majority who also deserve to be heard.
I fear that if all we see is this narrow view of motherhood, we may begin to think we are doing it wrong…… that if the only voices we hear or faces we see representing us belong to people far removed from ourselves, we may begin to feel alone…. how can this be healthy? This constant looking up…. when instead, we could use even the smallest influence to one: empower every mother to find their voice……. and two: more importantly, we can look beyond social class and privilege to actually listen to other mothers. Regardless of platform, skills or grammar.
While others are working to remove barriers in the real world…… I want to remove them online, for all the mothers who need this community…… for the new mother stuck at home breastfeeding constantly. To the mother of toddlers asking if this is ok or normal…or those with teens who don’t have friends to ask advice…..
I thought for a long time about how this could be done, I saw pockets in this community saying the same thing, whispers on stories and memes on Facebook and I wanted a place to draw them all together.
I liken it to the B team, for those mums who like 70s nostalgia
To Mance Rayder uniting the Wildlings, for the geek mums into Game of Thrones
I tell mums, ‘on Wednesdays we wear what ever the hell we want’ to appeal to those who feel down trodden and forced to conform or fit it
And I used a Greatest Showman gif on twitter to call out to any fat, hairy mums who wanna join the party.
And together, we formed a group on Facebook with the aim of:
Supporting each other to grow our platforms and develop our personal voice
Diversifying social media by each discussing and publishing our unique take on a monthly topic
To inspire others to join our cause.
Our September task was, well this!! ‘If I ruled the world’….. the world I have written about here may not be the physical earth…. but it’s still part of who I am….. As as for the #OtherMothers? You can read their varied responses all over the social internet,
(click an image to interact)
If I ruled the world I’d like every person reading this post to see themselves represented in the OtherMothers community and if you’re thinking, but none of these mothers represent me. then come and join us, so your voice can be heard also with next months task!
October: Things that scare me!