There are some odd new blogs out there encouraging pregnant women and new mothers to “retain [their] sensuality and femininity” and look stylish, even at the school gates. Please, give us a break. Will never be free of some boss-pot or other “advising” women on how to behave and what to look like?
All right, Romy and the Bunnies is aimed at super-high-end creatures, The Glow goes for “mommyhood inside the [fashion] biz”, and School Gate Style is more MS and Zara, but the message still coming down from on high is that it really won’t do for any women to slob about looking frumpy, at any time.
Why not? Who are women, stinking rich or not, meant to be trying to charm in their every waking moment? Partners? Husbands? Any old passer-by who might be thinking: “That pregnant woman lumbering along across the road really ought to try to spruce herself up a bit?” Perhaps she can’t be fagged, and why should she? If she feels like approaching the school gates in big sandals and a shapeless robe, or going shopping in a T-shirt spattered with baby sick and food blobs, then that is up to her.
Not that I have anything against mothers looking fabulously smart, brandishing their exquisitely beautiful babies/toddlers, or wearing lovely spotless garments, wafty scarves and dangly jewellery at the school gates, if that’s what they fancy. And the bloggers probably think they’re only offering advice, but we are up to our eyeballs in “advice”, thank you very much. And it’s not really advice – just a faux-chummy way of criticising. It really means “could do better”, or “you’re not making the most of yourself”. So what if we could? We may not want to. We may have other things to do, such as gardening, writing a novel, watching telly, hoovering or watching puffy white clouds float across a blue sky.
I thought I’d escaped all this nagging, now that I’m 71, but perhaps not. Because where will it end for women? With death-bed chic and designer shrouds?