Baby Crap, I used to be fun
I walk into town nearly every day. I love taking Chops out and letting him explore the world. He takes it all in, gets touched on his cheek far too often by unsanitary looking people. We both get to evade the cabin fever that is a deadly end to an otherwise pleasant morning. This is generally a mummy/baby friendly walk unless it’s bin day, in which case I most definitely have pram rage. Other instigators of pram rage include slow walkers, fast walkers, trollies, cars parked on paths, cars over dropped kerbs, ill positioned displays in shops, narrow aisles, over grown bushes, dog poo, broken glass, road works the list is ever growing.
There’s one shop that stocks gifts, that you might find online, like earrings in the shape of gardening tools or a set of kitchen knives with cats tails for handles. Most recently a tote bag with the slogan ‘baby crap I used to be fun’.
What does it even mean?
This slogan has burned itself into my brain as if it was the personalised message wishing Stan a ‘Happy 60th Birthday’ on a solid oak chopping board from one of those websites. Perhaps if there were more clues as to how I’m supposed to read the message, I’d have a better understanding of it. An exclamation mark or comma might not go a miss here. Never mind the capital letters and full stops.
Firstly, the phrase either tells the world that I’m literally carrying around a bag full of dirty nappies. More likely it tells the world that I am carrying things I need for my baby and I therefore consider these things ‘crap’. Last time I checked, baby ‘crap’ was needlessly expensive and tested so thoroughly it would survive nuclear war (ok, perhaps the testing warrants the price). While he occasionally gets attached to an empty pack of wipes, the general quality of his possessions is far from ‘crap’.
May be I can be a mum AND fun
The leading implication of the slogan is that as a result of having a baby I’m no longer fun. If I buy this bag for myself am I telling my fellow townsfolk that I consider myself boring? Fabulous way to empower yourself. The me from 10 years ago might have considered mummy me less fun. I don’t spend my nights getting wrecked on *insert booze of choice*, losing countless hours before waking to find the stamp from the back of my hand has rubbed off on my cheek. But then, the me from 10 years ago wouldn’t give a shit about whether a mum was fun in the first place. It’s not a loss of fun, fun isn’t over, it’s changed. In my 20’s I went through a fitness lifestyle phase. Should I have purchased a tote bag saying ‘running crap I used to be fun’?
Why is it so cool to berate yourself?
It’s becoming increasingly fashionable to berate yourself once you’ve become a parent. It’s trendy to mourn your pre-baby lifestyle. While there are countless sources that capture the amusing (fun, even) reality of parenting with accuracy, comedy and humanity, could this growing trend actually deter us from enjoying our changing lives? Is regret so ‘in’ that we’d willingly wear it as a slogan? Should I actually want to feel like I’m not coping so that I fit in? Luckily in this case, I’ve never been one to fit in. Fun is now pulling faces and singing songs, family walks and Sunday dinners. There seems to be a stigma attached to coping ok, happily making changes and sacrifices to bring up a family. Is it more socially acceptable to be play the martyr than to switch your priorities?
Perhaps the anonymous designer of the bag should take a long hard look at the message they are conveying to parents and their idea of ‘fun’. Believe it or not, some parents enjoy parenting.