Big data is everywhere! Facebook is selling the passcodes to our innermost fears and dreams to the highest bidder. Our smart phones are listening to our conversations and marketing them back to us. Every step we take in the digital world is being sifted, analysed and stored for some unimaginable future reference.
And that’s just the consenting adults. What about the pitter patter of tiny digital footprints?
So, you’re blogging away to your heart’s content about your adorable little cutie-pies, posting artfully arranged pictures of them in the snow or describing their latest supermarket meltdown in excruciating detail, when you’re struck by a troubling thought: is anybody actually reading this? And if they aren’t reading me, who are they reading? Who are the big fish in the even bigger pond that is the world of parenting blogs?
Half-term coming up? Daughters (and sons) to keep busy? Feeling the pressure to keep them edu-tained? Wishing you could encourage more girls to get involved in sciences and redress the gender bias in the field? Aware that it’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science?
Well, do I have the post for you? (Yes; yes, I do.)
If Cupid’s darts are all flying in the right direction come the 14th, then surely the pitter patter of tiny feet should be like a monsoon come mid-November, right?
All the ingredients are there – special time with your chosen lovemate, a touch of booze, maybe a barrel or two of oysters – for the soufflés to rise in the oven. Even if you already have kids, this is the one night you make an effort to spend some quality time together, and that is not easily done.
We’ve all read them (and we've included a few from twitter below). The Facebook statuses that make your teeth twitch. The Instagram photos carefully posed to bring your pituitary gland out in a rash.
The delicately phrased post about how the problem with having such cute kids is that people are always stopping them in the street to compliment them and it takes ages to get all the gorgeous clothes and other trinkets from the shops – with pictures of their beautiful little supermodels wearing half a local boutique.
So, the festive season is finally over – the last few mince pies sit neglected in the cupboard, the miasma of sprout and turkey odours is beginning to clear, the tree is dropping the last few needles into the carpet before it’s dumped outside in the backyard to rust like an abandoned battleship.
Normal life is coming back into focus – painfully, like the hurt inflicted by daylight after a long week of over-indulgence and irresponsibility – and normal life means weighing up some non-frivolous purchasing decisions. In other words, it’s January, and that means sales.
Maybe you are one of those super-organised parents that has already bought, wrapped and/or posted all of your Christmas gifts this year, but I am still on the look-out for a couple of ideas for what to get some of the little ones in my life (and their Mums).
Has the Zeit of middle-class parenthood ever been more geisted?
The rise of confessional parenting blogs in the last couple of years (with Hurrah For Gin and The Unmumsy Mum leading the charge from the blogosphere onto the bookshelves) has been mirrored on TV this autumn by BBC2’s ‘Motherland’.
So, you’ve decided to hit the road (or the rails or the skies or the high seas) with one or more of your little bundles of joy. A daunting prospect for many, but far from impossible. There is plenty of advice out there on how to make your journey, and your stays away from home, as relaxed and enjoyable as possible. Who knows? Your holiday meant end up actually feeling like a holiday!
You don’t know the meaning of the word essentials until you find yourself looking after a tiny human life for the first time in your existence. For something so small, so fragile, that never speaks and cannot even open its eyes for very long, a newborn will know exactly how to tell you when something is not right and is not prepared to wait the next morning before it’s sorted out. It has needs, and you have to meet them.