All The Ladies, Mum Life, Twirly Hair, Then And Now, etc

You can be anything and do anything and own anything now, because we have the internet. Hazaaaa!

Did you know, when I had ALMOST all my babies, there was no internet. I mean, there was a sort of crackle and squeal when the last baby showed up, but prior to that we had no idea the internet would ever be around, or would revolutionise and shape our lives. When people used the word “internet” it seemed like they were the type to have a little propellor atop their noggin and a dot matrix printer at theirs. Or to know that typing RUN and GOTO and PRINT and such with a clattery keyboard onto the highly pixelated screen of the FRIDGE SIZED computer at school would spit out a card that meant you knew how to type RUN and  GOTO and PRINT. Ah-mazing.

NOW we have computers that anticipate our every quirk and a world wide web that knows “why is my back sore” is the gateway search for “Percocet” or similar and serves you up Narcotics Anonymous ads before you can say Howdy-Doody. Yes I have been watching a LOT of Nurse Jackie (on the internet. Shut up.)

NOW, I can type every single thing I worry about into Google and get a reassuring/alarming/helpful result – and much more accurate advertising targetted my way – almost instantly. Oh joy! I can find out all the real and made up things that are going on with my favourite celebrities with the click of a button, even.

THEN, things were a little less click-y and instant and a page was actually a page. In an actual book or magazine or newspaper, even. THEN, I would pull the griller out before my cheese on toast caught fire, as my best friend flipped through our internet AKA Crappy Gossip Magazine and revealed that Sarah Ferguson and Prince Andrew had taken their new baby home as we wished we had freckles and a blouse and Phoofy hair and knew that Eugenie was actually a name you could give your baby. Sigh. And then we’d eat the toast and drink a LOT of tea and think EVEN MORE about freckles.

NOW, I can pop over to a news website and find out that similarly famous – and non famous – women “showcase” their “pins” and “display” their “sideboob” and for goodness sake THEN we didn’t know these options ever existed. Back then, people like me were unaware of the ins and outs of showcasing and displaying and lord help us all we could have been practising it in the mirror all this time, had we known. What a missed opportunity. *eyeroll*

THEN, being a mum/woman involved putting the front of your hair up and back in a sort of puffy quiff with a clip from Sportsgirl, pulling up your mum jeans in non-ironic style, whacking on some bracingly red lippy and thrusting your UBER fancy Emmaljunga pram that you bought second-hand out of the Trading Post (which you’d picked up at the milk bar) down the road with your naughty baby in it, while trying not to turn your ankle in your WAY Vogue platform slides or get Doc Marten blisters. (Also, we would be wearing a top. In case you were worried.)

NOW, poor mums not only have to keep their elegant nude flat neutral slides on their feet as they push their SWANK and SPORTY $1000 strollers from Yoga to organic superstore thingy, they are doing this with their special twirly, balayage hair and $400 dresses/activewear and nice nails. While drinking a bespoke sort of healthful drink in a special cup. With glowy cheeks. ALL AT THE SAME TIME, everyone.

THEN we still wore op shop dresses, and our nails were chipped because we were edgy (coughs) and we weren’t really allowed to have drinks when we were doing things, because multitasking had not yet been invented and we might spill them.

NOW mums can wear that $400 dress with the sort of beautiful print every 80s kinder kid would love AND talk on the phone AND track their steps AND drink their special drink with bits of nuts or burnt stick in it AND have special, wavy, caramel/platinum hair AND have their shopping delivered in their absence AND talk to their kiddo extremely kindly and educationally AND check in with their 345 nearest and dearest friends who seem to be doing everything HEAPS better than they are. And upload a story, documenting it all, with a cheery winking heart emoji. While cleverly customising some kind of cubby house they bought at Kmart with (actually very pretty) Liberty print curtains and its own fairy grotto. OMG.

THEN we didn’t really know what everyone else was doing. We didn’t actually have OMG, even. Sometimes you sort of found out what was going on with your friends/fam/frenemies/random types if you ran into someone at the school gate or kinder or down the shops. Generally, though, your world was what you made it and you saw and heard from the people you tried to see and hear (or they did that to you!) Sometimes you even rang each other on the phone. I KNOW!

NOW, being amazing at most things is de rigeur and actually quite normal so you sort of have to be ULTRA amazing at everything and ALSO loudly screw up a tiny bit at times, and put it on the internet in a cryptic and huffy update before anyone thinks to check in with you and go “Oh HELLO YOU ARE BEING HUMAN AND IS IT OKAY FOR YOU AND HIIIIIII!”

Then, if you knew how to have your doona inside the cover properly and your child’s face Vegemite-free, all by 11am you were practically Martha Stewart.

NOW you should probably be your best self and your child should be themselves and your pup should be their best dog self and pretty much ALL OF THE GOOD SELVES and oh my gawd.

THEN it was more about “find your perfect match” and “youse guys” than self, and also, weirdly, a lot about G Spots, which are sort of like the quick sand of grown up life – something you were told to bone up on relentlessly by the fledgling media, but in fact referred back to very little in everyday life.

NOW women seem to be expected to do so much, so well, while being so beautiful. To be so awesome and also glamorous and to be responsible and accountable for so much, while being stuck under an avalanche of moment-filling technology and pressure to measure up and best self the heck out of life.

THEN if you knew how to do liquid eyeliner QUITE WELL (and I meant not even perfectly, little jolty steppy bits were allowed) and you managed to navigate the day without losing the dog and indeed to leave the house NOT in your nightie, prior to 2pm you were revered as a total goddess, and people asked you how you did it all and offered you your own homemaker TV show, pretty much.

Sigh. Sob.

Basically what I’m saying is that we’re expecting way too much of women/ourselves now and it’d be good if women could just be cheered on for things like wearing shoes and turning the tap off properly and (sometimes) not burning the toast – and those sorts of things.

Or for NOT yelling at their 3 year old when they find them hiding down the side of the house crumbling a recent visitor’s packet of cigarettes into tiny pieces saying “I AM LEARNING SMOKING MUM!” when you ask them what they are doing and snatch said fags away with a panicked but cheery grin.

I think you know what I mean. *nods*

Love to you.

Your pal,

Pip

x

19 Comments

  • Reply
    Kristie
    May 15, 2018 at 8:28 PM

    I’m going to start feeding my baby in the bath.

  • Reply
    Fiona
    January 11, 2018 at 6:43 PM

    Totally yes! I was a teenager then and am a mum now, but I can relate to the endless phone calls with my bestie, letter writing (in notebooks that we would pass around to each other at school) and all the rest. Love it.

  • Reply
    Meryl
    January 10, 2018 at 2:27 PM

    So funny and true and I miss that world too! (No, that’s not an on-purpose poem.)

  • Reply
    Tiffany
    January 8, 2018 at 11:36 AM

    Such a great post …

  • Reply
    lois
    January 8, 2018 at 5:14 AM

    This is brilliant.

  • Reply
    KimW
    January 6, 2018 at 5:10 AM

    I will say one thing for “Now” – it’s a lot easier to see that there are others of us who aren’t Mums at this age (either because of chance or choice) so we don’t feel quite so much like weird freaky losers.

    then again, I have just as much rotten luck finding a guy to snuggle with now as I did then.

  • Reply
    Emma
    January 5, 2018 at 9:56 PM

    Great post! Loved the bit about the Kmart cubby hack! ?

  • Reply
    Rachel
    January 5, 2018 at 1:23 AM

    Oh yes, good stuff Pip.

  • Reply
    Zanni
    January 3, 2018 at 4:18 PM

    To be honest, I relate way more to that mum THEN than NOW. Maybe I am a bit dated. Hurrah! I think I will always put pressure on myself, and worry about what other people think, with or without the internet. If anything though, age makes me wiser and less worried. So I guess that’s a good thing! x

  • Reply
    Jane @ Shady Baker
    January 3, 2018 at 2:27 PM

    I remember this world Pip. Life was simpler. I didn’t even drink coffee let alone a takeaway latte and I would send my distant friends snail mail, regularly! Landline calls to my boyfriend’s parents house if I wanted to speak to him, no texting or sexting or Insta but actually making conversation. I still love Sportsgirl. Thank you for the reminder x

  • Reply
    Kerri
    January 3, 2018 at 12:43 PM

    Ahhh those were the days! Sigh…..

  • Reply
    Ellen
    January 3, 2018 at 10:03 AM

    As a new mum – THANK YOU!! Refreshing and real. Love love love.

  • Reply
    Lynn Clay
    January 3, 2018 at 6:48 AM

    Hey Pip this was fabulous!! Thanks! I was just thinking how great it was when we all just hung out at each other’s houses and the kids played and had a great time inventing their games. While we Mums just hung out and enjoyed each other’s company while drinking tea or coffee shock horror from a jar! Even if our house was messy!
    There was no competition just support as we were all in the same boat. Lucky us.

    Anyways I thought I had your number but don’t. So I’ll message you mine and perhaps we can hang out one day in real life 🙂 Lynn

  • Reply
    Kate
    January 3, 2018 at 6:01 AM

    You’ve done it again. Clearly we are of the same vintage. I did still have the same feelings of desire and sadness when I read about your Emmaljunga pram. Man I lusted after one of those babies. Never could afford one and in reality it wouldn’t have fitted in the boot of the car where my pram spent the majority of its life. Sigh.
    Hindsight, rose coloured glasses and all, I still think life was pretty grand pre multi tasking and knowing everything 30 seconds after it happened or someone had a thought.
    Cheers Kate.

  • Reply
    Sandra Kelly
    January 3, 2018 at 3:49 AM

    OMG! I remember a world without OMG! This post is GOLD!

  • Reply
    Kylie Seldon
    January 2, 2018 at 11:49 PM

    Ah, Pip. You never fail to cheer me up! Those were totally the days. The most parenty multitasking I did pre-internet was feeding my baby in the bath. Dinner and cleanup all-in-one while smiling to myself about being a total GENIUS. AND I didn’t even feel the need to share my genius with anyone. Now I feel like a failure if I haven’t managed to like and respond to a gazillion social media things and post beautiful photos of my life while being super productive at my job and a completely always available, Mum (who is teaching my children about human rights/the environment/ how to be feminists/how not to be misogynists/how to feel their emotions/be resilient/cope with puberty/not get depressed/manage being depressed/eat healthy things/not worry too much about what they eat and on and on and on!) while making time for sleep and exercise and mindfulness meditation. Exhausting. Underachievers unite!

  • Reply
    Reannon
    January 2, 2018 at 11:38 PM

    Pip, in a totally non-stalker way, I freaking love you. Seriously, the stuff that comes outta your head & into the internet’s is THE VERY BEST!!! Jesus you are smart & switched on!!
    I often look at the way I parented my first two babies ( non internet/mobile phone/I didn’t even own a computer time) to how I parent my little two ( all the screens/all the knowledge/all the time). I think the first two got the best deal, I really do. And when I take breaks from internet’s I like myself & my life WAY better but for some reason I always come back. I don’t know if it’s fomo or if I seek connection or if I’m just a Mrs Mangel but after a few months I’m back to scrolling away on the gram until it all gets too much again & I log off/delete.
    I sound like a wanker but life before the internet feels easier, realer, better. I dont think we can, or will, ever go back & maybe I’m just getting old & looking at things through rose coloured glasses, but I really miss those times….

  • Reply
    Joh
    January 2, 2018 at 11:33 PM

    Oh I love this, I grew up in the age before internet, countless hours on the phone to friends, teenage years undocumented – bliss!

  • Reply
    Annette
    January 2, 2018 at 11:18 PM

    BEST. POST. EVER.
    Burnt stick. Genius.
    Bone up. I see what you did there.

    And yes, I too remember that side-boob-free pre-internet world – and I had no clue about dot matrix printers.

    Such good, wise thinking and writing Pip!

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