Help! I’m addicted to message boards

I charted both my pregnancies through the What to Expect app.

I downloaded it because through every week of pregnancy it compares your growing baby to a fruit or vegetable, and it entertained me enormously to watch my unborn children blossom from lentils into pumpkins. I was very hormonal at the time.

I still use it. According to it I am now 64 weeks pregnant – a medical miracle – but the child is still, disappointingly, a pumpkin.The reason I haven’t deleted it is because I am shamelessly enjoying being a lurker on the message boards.

The “hot topics” area is like Mumsnet on crack, an angry mob of sleep-deprived women (and a few men) who happily tear each other apart over issues like vaccinations, pornography, sexual preferences and, of course, breastfeeding.

This is interspersed with some astonishingly candid life stories, like the woman who lives in a Master/slave relationship with her husband – a real life Fifty Shades and a great deal more raunchy (I  am not making this up, although of course there is every chance that she is).

This thread has inevitably attracted thousands of comments. One of my favourites, following a detailed description of a liaison  involving nipples and a mousetrap, was a woman who replied supportively that she had been inspired by our very own Anastasia Steele to take more of a “traditional” role in the home and was now wearing eyeliner to do the laundry and fixing her husband a scotch when he got home from work.

I’m not sure she quite understood what the mousetraps were for.

My “home” group – mums who all had their babies in the same month as me,is a lot more tame.  Almost every thread has a headline along the lines of:

HELP! my baby isn’t sleeping / HELP! my baby is sleeping too much

My baby is HUGE! / my baby is TINY!

My baby won’t stop eating! / My baby isn’t eating

I HATE breastfeeding / I have 4000 bags of breastmilk in the freezer and I’m never going to stop

Whatever the issue (and it almost always is one of the above), my fellow mums consult whichever parent manual is the baby bible du jour and proclaim: “aha – it’s week 6/7/9.4… it’s a wonder week/growth spurt/sleep regression!”

I have no idea what a “wonder week” is but it appears to  excuse a multitude of baby sins. As for growth spurts and sleep regressions… I don’t think babies are quite clever enough to timetable those in, somehow.

I don’t want to piss on any parades but these babies are surely just being BABIES. Sometimes they eat/sleep/shit/gurgle, sometimes they don’t. They are growing all the time – it’s not a diary date for them.  

One theme crops up in almost every section – there are  a LOT of complaints about Mothers-In-Law (or MILs as they are known).

A word of warning to all us mothers of boys… basically we can’t win. Those that get involved are “taking over” and those that stand back are “not interested”. Every single bit of advice they give is not only wrong but dangerous and they are not to be trusted with any important task, even though they managed not to kill the furious new mum’s partner or his siblings back in the day.

A few of them seem to want to move in which is surely a recipe for disaster. I asked my mum once if she would like to live with us and she could barely conceal her horror.

“I do love my grandsons darling,” she said. “But I also like to give them back again.”



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