Hooray! I’m a British mum

February 4, 2011 § 15 Comments

Britain is a much maligned place, especially by the British. But I love her even more now I’ve joined the ‘mum’ sisterhood.

Membership simply involves popping out a sprog or two. As a mum that resides in London, I have come to love the country of my birth, and my fellow mothers and their eccentricities. In the words of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, herself a fine British mother: “How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…”

1. Want to let your child watch TV all day long without guilt? Britain is the place for you. So convinced are we by the outright decentness of the BBC that to hear some mums talk you’d be forgiven for thinking that sitting our children in front of its children’s channel CBeebies is akin to them having a one-on-one tutorial with Stephen Hawking. “See, there are no adverts!” we cry evangelically, as a man dressed as a psychedelic teddybear intones words we don’t understand.

2. Want to develop your stiff upper lip and make the best of everything? Look no further than the fine tradition of a British picnic. We are blessed with beautiful countryside and fantastic urban parks. Want to enjoy them from the inside of the car as the rain hammers down, or behind a windbreak on the beach shivering beneath a pile of flimsy towels? Britain is the place for you.

3. Which brings me to the weather. It is possible we are a little obsessed by it. I concede this point. But doesn’t its unpredictability make life exciting? And my goodness it makes us organised. The British mum’s day bag is a thing to behold, crammed with all manner of summer clothes, winter clothes, umbrellas, sunscreen. Mary Poppins was not British for nothing.

4. Competitive parenting? Forget it. We have competitive non-parenting. My twitter feed is full of mums sharing their best failures. “Whoops out of bread we’re having crisps for breakfast again!” is greeted with a collective sigh of relief that we’re not alone in our lack of perfection. Our children are not exempt from this either. I was delighted at my 3 year old son’s swimming lesson last week that he was the only child in the pool able to swim a width unaided, yet I found myself laughing to the other mum’s “don’t worry, he doesn’t even know how to hold a pencil!” Cue collective pats on backs all round.

It’s good here. We support each other. Over tea and biscuits we’d come to the aid of our worst enemy if we felt she was having a crisis of confidence. And for that, British mums, I salute you.

Article first published as Hooray! I’m a British mum. on Technorati.

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