We like talking about babies because if we didn’t we’d explode. Unlike our days pre-mummyhood, which were semi-predictable and comprehensible in comparison (and dang it, didn’t we blabber anyway – bluddy work, bluddy tube, bluddy wobbly tummy), our days post-baby are impossible to predict and thoroughly flummoxing (bluddy potty training, bluddy buggy, bluddy wobbly tummy). If we couldn’t blather on about it to somebody else (mummy or not) we’d end up, probably, chewing temazepam to keep our mouths busy with something. Which women did, in droves, before we woke up to the fact that – actually – we COULD admit to ourselves that motherhood was just slightly more difficult than we’d presupposed.

At around the same time being a mother was accepted as a valid ‘role’, society realised that children and babies weren’t only to be ‘seen and not heard’ but little people with real feelings. Instead of leaving them at the bottom of the garden to ‘exercise their lungs’ mothers went with them to the bottom of the garden and pointed out the flowers. So sue us that we found our 10-month-old’s first word “fowa” as cute. At least we heard them. And instead of smacking them into submission we cared to find some other ways of disciplining. Ones that involved rather more thought – and, woe betide us – some discussion with others! And, for better or worse, advice gleaned from books and websites.

And we talk about babies because we have to. Modern motherhood is a talking point because today’s hi-tech fast-food world is frought with obstacles and contradictions. We are harangued to breastfeed from the off but are treated as pariahs in public life when we do. We are told to get back to work and pop the poppets into pre-school at 2 years old [never mind the finances never add up]. Next day we’re told we’re selfish cows for wanting some independence and to go home and knit some sustainable wool nappies [this time the finances definitely don’t add up]. We are told by our own mothers we’re doing everything wrong and are told by society we are doing everything wrong. Is there any surprise we have a little chat amongst ourselves?

Yes, there’s a point at which we even bore ourselves. But if you’re mothering 24/7, isolated in your corner of a big city, sites like Mumsnet can provide true solace and – incredibly – conversation NOT about babies including movies, celeb gossip and jobs. Meanwhile you’d hope your good friends would put up with your witterings in the same way you put up with their endless boyf troubles and ‘search for the perfect pair of jeans’ saga. Suffice to say, broadsheet bints who blather on about the latest glossy members-only bar or their obsession with 80s clothing would probably become the worst baby-bores of all, endlessly comparing this season’s Bugaboo fabrics and whether to update their latest armcandy, sorry, baby with the latest eco-trend.

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