Sunday, 20 April 2008

Busy mum? Not exactly.

There are quite a few things which make me wince – and yes, I know I’m not perfect, but I’m now past 40, so I feel justified in turning into a grumpy old thing. I may even become curmudgeonly. Anyway, these annoyances include such crimes as “at this moment in time” or (one I heard earlier today) “at this very moment”. What is wrong with “now”?

Clichés, those awful hackneyed phrases, are cheap throwaway language used to fill in the white space in so many dire magazines give away free by supermarkets. Actually I’m really talking about the Tesco magazine because I had a copy of it, which annoyed me, so I recycled it. Then both my sister and my mother went to Tesco, together, picked up a free magazine each and then brought them home to my house where they then abandoned them. So I had three of the blighters. All three contained the same crime: The phrase “busy mum”.

So many horrid things out there (in Tesco) are for these “busy mums”. The magazine promoted a sugar, fat and salt laden snack, the sort designed to send children to their graves before their parents, and said it was “perfect for busy mums”. The sort of mum, presumably, who was to busy to make something healthy and instead had to resort to this “Frankenfood”.

It’s a pejorative term, “busy mum”. It’s patronising; a pat you on the head, there, there phrase. It almost says “you’re a bit thick, you, so we can talk down to you. There’s a good girl.”

It’s a cop out. An “I haven’t done/can’t do this (whatever) because I’m a busy mum” get out clause.

Well, I’m sure there are people out there who are NOT mums, but are, actually, quite busy. Whereas I’m a mum and, frankly, not that busy. Nope, I’m an “I’m-okay-actually-I’ve-got-plenty-of-time-thanks” mum.

Perhaps they should be advertising unwashed, unpeeled fruit and veg and whole chickens as “perfect for the mum with time on her hands”? They could divide whole supermarkets up like that. One section for the “busy” mum full of convenience foods, pre-prepared things and cheese strings, and the rest, with packs of flour, muddy veg, raw meat and whole fish for the “time on her hands” mum.

Not that I’m a “lazy mum” (well, not all the time…) but I do wonder if these wonderful convenience foods advertised as perfect for the “busy mum” are also, if they are honest, aimed more truthfully at the “lazy mum”. Not the beautifully groomed model “busy mum” in the picture next to the article, but the fat, tracksuit clad chain-smoking Chav mum yelling at her screaming child: “Shut up Courtney-Jordan and I’ll get you some sweets!” as the check-out girl swipes pizza after pizza, smiling potato faces and microwavable burgers.

I’m fed up of seeing articles about so-and-so, a “busy mum”, juggling five kids under the age of three, a full-time worthy job, who does voluntary work and has written a couple of cookery books while she’s at it. Come to think of it, that’s Tana Ramsay isn’t it? The uber-busy mum. But even she finds time to cook, smile and look lovely, despite being married to Gordon. Actually, I think that, next time somebody calls me a “busy mum” I might follow Tana’s husband’s example and tell them to f*** off!


  1. Couldn't agree with you more, Preseli Mags. I hate the way all those parenting magazines lump all mothers up in one jolly pejorative package and palm them off with the same old patronising rubbish week after week.

  2. I agree absolutely PM - horrible phrase for a horrible approach to life, patronising and manipulative. think you version is much better!

  3. Hear, hear! Love the thought of you being stuck with three of the berludy Tesco mags... maybe you could take them back to Tesco's together with your suggestions for an amended article!

  4. Your comments echo my thoughts. I have a problem with the busy mum label which treats those who subscribe to this label as also being unable to think for themselves. PATRONISING or what?! Three Tesco magazines - if you took them apart, shredded each one and then composted them but the dyes are probably poisonous!
    Great to get these thoughts of your chest I will be back for more.


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