What’s wrong with being mediocre?!

I recently did a post on how miserable Italian women, and indeed European women in general, were about their lot in society. It got quite a lot of views, partially thanks to Mumsnet, which I only found out recently had promoted it through twitter, but also I imagine because it hit a bit of a raw nerve with quite a few women.

I didn’t get much sleep last night, for various reasons, although dread of a busy week now that my son is back at school might have had something to do with it. While desperately counting sheep, it occured to me that there is a competitiveness to women of our generation that certainly didn’t appear to be there with our mothers’ generation. It might be a London thing (apologies if at this stage I have turned off any non-London readers) but it’s almost become a embarrassing to admit that you are quite happy just being a mediocre mum, who is quite happy with her little lot in life.

There are certain pre-requisites to being a mum in London nowadays it seems to me:

1. You must have an incredibly interesting job, which means you simply must return to it as soon as possible, as it is certainly far more important than spending more than the minimum 6mnts to 1 year with your child. This is necessary to avoid being a complete bore at social occasions where god forbid you might not know about the Greek debt crisis, and instead talk about the details of how Johnny or Daisy or Poppy has just started a new school. I fall down hopelessly on this point. Yes, I have a job, but I stopped describing it as interesting a long time ago, and I definitely do not want to talk about it at dinner parties. Neither do I know the ins and outs of any European debt issues…surely someone wants to know about my son’s schooling?!

2. You must, simply must, shift that baby weight with a maximum of six months, and be back to your pre-marital figure. Anything more and you are quite frankly a lazy glutton, who deserves to lose her husband to a younger woman. I fall down terribly on this second point in particular, as it has both times taken me about 2 years to be anywhere near my pre-baby weight. Fortunately for me I have a very understanding husband, who has known better than to mention any weight gains!

3. If you do insist on not working and earning a living, you simply must be an over-achiever in another aspect of your life. Whether it be as a regular marathon runner or as a prize-winning cakemaker of a professional standard so as to be able to vow all other mothers at birthday parties. At the very least you must be preparing organic, nutritionally balanced meals for your offspring on a regular basis, and ‘popping’ them into the freezer.  Again, I fall down hopelessly on this category. I am neither the next Paula Radcliffe nor the next Nigella Lawson, and the only thing I’ve popped into the freezer of late is chips and fish fingers.

I guess the point I am trying to make is that I quite enjoy being mediocre mum. I don’t miss not having abs of steel one little bit, in fact to me my muffin/mummy top is the just a lovely reminder of my children, and that’s fine with me. As is the fact that I am kind of mediocre at making cakes or running marathons, or indeed cooking perfect little haute cuisine meals for my little darlings.

But what’s wrong with that? I love that I am not now part of the central London rat race, and I refuse point blank to be drawn into another one closer to home.



  1. Mediocrity has always suited me and, as far as I can tell, most of the other mums in my part of London. Excessive competativness suggests inner insecurity.

  2. This post made me chuckle and it certainly rings true in my part of London (p/t work EC4 – home SE). Point 2 is the worst, especially when it comes from people who’ve had kids – they know how hard it is (particularly second time round)!

  3. Laura says:

    Here here! I’m not from London, just down the road though really (Surrey born and bred I’m afraid!), but these points most definitely apply! I’ve been trying to write a post along these lines for ages now…basically, I’m fine ‘just’ being a Mummy!

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