Wednesday, 25 January 2012

How (not) to be a good mother

Life is busy.  So busy that weeks can go by without me adding anything at all to my poor neglected blog.  But it’s not only the blog that suffers.  I don't seem to have time even to watch the odd few TV programmes I follow, so I’ve taken to recording loads and watching them as and when I get the odd half hour.  (God bless you, series link!)

One such was a documentary called “How to be a Good Mother”.  There were various reasons why I chose to record this, viz:-

The desire to wind up a pregnant colleague, nervously expecting her first.
It was bound to feature some total freaks which would make me laugh.
It was presented by Sharon Horgan who definitely makes me laugh.

In this programme, Horgan visited six mothers and basically interviewed them about their attitudes to motherhood.  Somehow, she managed to find a bunch of disparate housewives, each one more loony than the last.  Compare and contrast the following freak show, friends:-

Mummy 1.  This lady is a 27 year old mother of 6 with another on the way - all home birthed and all home schooled. That is, if your idea of home schooling is to wander round the garden saying things like "shall we write wood pigeon down anyway? I think we heard one!" All 61/2 children are called a mix of their parents’ names (Charlene and Terry) Consequently, we have Chante, Techa, Chatelle, Charma, Cherie and Telsie.  She is now pregnant with number 7 and presumably that one will be called Terylene.

Mummy 2 was a stalwart of The Elimination Communication Group who believe that they can tell when baby needs a "peepee" or to "go potty"(ghastly term).   They seem to think that if they see a certain look cross junior's visage, they can tell that the time for a wee is nigh and they start to whisper ‘pisspisspisspiss’ or ‘poopoopoopoo’ at the child who then obligingly sits on one of the zillions of potties dotted aromatically around the room.  One intense, bearded individual said earnestly that he thought it had changed their entire relationship with their child because they were constantly observing him and learning sooo much about his character as a result.  Well, yes, you probably are watching the little love like a hawk otherwise you'd be ankle deep in wee by now, you moron.

Then we had Placenta mummy, Lynnea.  She proudly announced that when she "pushed her placenta out" (talk about TMI) she "grabbed a piece of it off and put it inside of my gum" that would be the gums in her mouth?  Oh yes siree.  When Sharon Horgan went to visit her, she had specially defrosted a friend’s placenta.  It was stored in an ice-cream tub.  Horgan gagged visibly and spoke the magic line "that's not Carte D'or, that's a pint of gore." Lynnea started by making a "placenta print". "What, like a Potato print?" I hear you cry.  Precisamondo, mi amigos, only incalculably more disgusting.  In essence, you take the placenta, slap it onto a sheet of A3 and, hey presto, you have, erm, a repulsive bloody blob.  All the while, Lynnea carolled on about how it had a "lovely blood smell" as Horgan stood well back and tried not to retch too obviously on national TV.  Lynnea declared herself to be “in love with placentas" which clearly means "in need of psychiatry" when translated from the American*.  She went onto claim that she had no emotional bond with her mother because she had been born by Caesarean. No love, it's because your mother thinks you are irredeemably weird.  To add to our enjoyment, we were then treated to the sight of her making a charm out of the umbilical cord. (I kid you not).  She fashioned it into a heart shape and bunged it into a dehydrator. "If you can make a charm out of that, it'll be magic”, announced Horgan dryly – “cos that ain't charming!”  “Oh yes”, trilled Lynnea – “some people hang them in the window - you can see all the veins and the vessels!” Horgan heaved a little more.  The placenta then got steamed - probably in the steamer she does her carrots in. When it was cooked, it had shrunk considerably. "It looks like a giant poo" remarked Horgan acerbically but accurately.  This experience gave a whole new meaning to Midwhiffery.

As if this were not enough for one viewing, we were treated to a visit to the house of Izzy who had invited Lynnea over to make a smoothies out of her freshly-delivered placenta and, um, bananas. By this stage, Horgan looked as though she would cheerfully panfry her own innards and serve them up with a few rashers of streaky bacon and a plasma jus if she could be allowed to get away from this lunatic.

Next stop was Technology Mom who schedules a video conference with her insanely cute 2 year old every lunchtime and carries a photo of his first poo in her camera.
She showed Horgan round her kitchen and they stopped by a huge, busy blackboard.  “It’s not a blackboard, it's a communication hub,” snapped Techno Mom unattractively whilst the two year old hugged Horgan furiously, probably mistaking her for his mater – well any woman with long brown hair will probably do – I expect they all look much the same to him.

Pole dancer mum with her fake boobs, fake tan, fake hair, rigid face and lips manufactured by Dunlop, worked in a particularly sleazy-looking club and offered Horgan pole-dancing lessons.  Her mobile phone had a ringtone of someone having an orgasm.  She said (rather creepily) that her 14 year old son was “mine and he will always be mine.”  No wonder the poor little sod looked as though he wanted someone to shoot him and put him out of his misery.

Finally, came posh double barrelled mum who had a bizarre mix of careers – part trained stuntwoman and part designer dress maker.  Go figure.  She reminded me of nobody more than French and Saunders ‘stuff and nonsense’ old women.  She freely admitted that, prior to ending up with three of them, she had found children “a bit creepy” but was now well into her stride, lashing the baby to the handlebars of her bike (slight exaggeration but only slight) and steaming off down the road with the others in hot pursuit – no safety helmets, naturally.
I sat watching this with the daughter who was particularly repulsed by the Placenta bits.  She asked me what happens to all the placentas delivered to normal people who don’t want to take them home and curry them.  I told her (truthfully) that they are sold off for research or to cosmetic companies who put them in their products.  Which led to a look of abject horror and the funniest line of the night:  Are you telling me I have placenta on my face?

*Not wishing to come across as a complete xenophobe but, yes this lady was American. Sorry.


  1. Isn't potty training too early supposed to lead to deep-seated being fucked up and will result in hours on a psychiatric couch in years to come? That's what I always heard. Could explain a lot about America though... (jk)

  2. Haha Sarah - you're probably right! I think these things go in fashions. I can remember my mum encouraging me to hold my kids over a potty when they were six weeks old (yes, six weeks!) so that they "get the idea". she wasn't impressed with my view that a six week old is little more than a foetus and that I wouldn't be wasting my time doing that. Pass the Pampers!

  3. Thanks for making me LOL three times before breakfast, that doesn't happen often around here. Also for some memorable images to see me through the rest of the day ...

  4. Tim - thank you for your kind words. To be honest, I think you are a brace man to be reading this sort of stuff at the breakfast table!

    1. Actually, Tim that should read BRAVE man! (sorry!)

  5. I read every bit of this and then read again, fantastic - have to somehow get my paws on this. Doesn't having kids bring out the best in us all. Mind you, if anyone filmed me, the social services van would be right behind them. I just think having kids is a career anyway, I don't want to make even more out of it. Homeschooling? shoot me now...

  6. Jody - thank you for kind comments as always! You may be able to view this on the Internet by going to Do let me know if you manage to catch it and do please write your own piece about it - it'd be fascinating to see your take!

  7. Oh jeez yes - it was "must watch tv" in a repulsive-compulsive-"I cannot believe this" type of a way...
    I was trying to be tolerant but they all just breached my tolerance levels.
    Those desperate poor wains!!
    Made full sense of larkins - "they fuck you up, your Mum and Dad..."
    Great post.

  8. Oh I watched this....I don't know why because spending an hour of my life I will never get back muttering 'WTF?' makes no sort of sense .... but I do know that I cannot wait to be a grandma.

  9. Hi LML and welcome! Repulsive-compulsive is just the perfect way to describe was horrendous. And I loved the bit (which I forgot to mention in my post) where Placenta mum was asked if she ever doubted herself as a mother and replied a sincere, straight-faced 'no'!!

    Hi Libby - good luck with your grandma your kids know about this?!

  10. Brilliantly witty review which should have been in the Guardian or independent!
    Disparate Housewives!!!

  11. Hi Rog - thank you for you very kind words! *blush*


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