Dear Mum of the 80’s,
I lived in your belly whilst you smoked 20 a day.
You didn’t know any better.
You went out for a pint most nights with Dad,
A few glasses of bitter won’t do baby any harm.
You were skint and working 60 hours a week,
Just to pay the mortgage as it tripled overnight .
You were tired.
You were stressed.
You didn’t know how you would survive.
Another mouth to feed,
Another person to clothe,
Someone else to look after in the height of Thatcher’s reign.
What a bitch.
You went into labour and had all the drugs on offer.
No pool, no home birth, no tens machine, no doula, no yoga techniques.
Dad sat outside. Smoking.
You bottle fed me.
You didn’t want to breastfeed.
Your mum didn’t breastfeed you.
Dad bottle fed me, Nan bottle fed me, Aunties, Uncles, friends all bottle fed me.
I had a dummy.
One in my mouth and one in my hand.
You put a rusk in my bottle at 4 weeks old.
You hid in the cupboard under the stairs with me.
Terrified of nuclear bombs and War and burglars and all the bad things in life.
You were depressed.
You didn’t tell anyone.
Post natal depression wasn’t discussed.
There were no ‘support’ groups.
No weekly phone call from breastfeeding councillors.
No baby yoga.
No baby groups.
You carried on.
No maternity pay,
No food in the cupboard,
No gas and electric,
No warm clothes for baby.
You went back to work.
I was 6 weeks old.
Nan looked after me and I went to nursery.
6 weeks old.
Disposable nappies were a godsend.
I ate from a jar.
No homemade, organic, free range, GM free, gluten free, wheat free.
I ate chocolate and biscuits – baby led weaning at its finest.
Baby led what?
You didn’t wear a sling, a sling was for a broken arm,
But I knew you loved me
I saw it in your eyes
And I felt it in your arms.
I went in my own room and you let me cry it out.
A cuddle now and again.
I knew you were coming back.
I knew you loved me.
I lived on frozen food and E numbers.
We were the ready meal generation.
Convenience at its best.
No one knew what organic was and nor would they even care.
I wore hand-me-downs.
I wore dresses made out of curtains.
I watched TV.
I played with dolls and barbies.
I dressed up as a fairy.
I played in the street.
I played in the mud.
I got dirty.
I played football.
I did ballet.
I ripped my jeans.
I made mess.
I dressed up in your clothes and your shoes and your jewellery.
If I was ever naughty I got a smacked arse.
You chased me up the stairs and grabbed my legs through the banisters.
But I always got a cuddle when I said sorry.
I didn’t wear a seatbelt.
I sat in the front seat.
On family days out I got in the boot.
I rode my bike on the street
And didn’t wear a helmet.
I sat on your knee.
I slept in your bed.
I kissed you on the lips.
I wore a bikini when I was 6.
I got a perm when I was 7.
An actual real perm.
I loved my curly hair.
It’s different now.
The rules have changed.
Mostly for the better.
So many opinions.
But I just want to say thank you,
For being such a great Mum.
I turned out OK.
No lasting damage.
I’m moderately healthy.
I eat vegetables and lots of cake.
I don’t smoke.
I barely drink.
I don’t drink enough water.
I get headaches.
I am a sociable loud mouth.
I’m open minded.
I’m a feminist and I love a tutu.
I support other Mothers.
I know how hard it can be.
We all have our different ways of parenting.
I’m a Mum now.
One of my babies loves his bottle.
The other loves my boobs.
My husband loves them too.
One has a dummy.
The other sucks their thumb.
One eats ketchup with a spoon, eats branflakes for breakfast and cake for lunch.
One sleeps in my bed every night.
But not for ever.
One jumps on my bed every morning.
They watch TV.
And the iPad.
They play in the park and and jump in the mud.
He plays with cars and dolls and animals.
He dances with his Daddy.
She likes football and dressing like a princess.
And dancing with her Daddy.
I’m a child of the 80s.
Just one last thing 80’s Mum….
I hope I don’t see you at baby group.
You’ll be mauled by the Supermums,
With their ideal way of parenting.
They’re perfect you know.
Your 80’s Child