Sunday, 9 March 2014

Heels or Flats? The great motherhood divide...

SAHM or working parent?
Cry it out or co-sleeping?
Baby-lead weaning or Annabelle Karmel?
Gentle discipline or 'smacking never did me any harm'?
Breast is best v formula?
Buggy or baby-wearing?


The media would have us believe the world of mumdom is divided over big issues. They pit us against each other with emotionally-charged politics of sleep, food and childcare. Yes, we all lose sleep over these things and tie ourselves in knots over what's best for our children. But we all know you can't judge anyone till you've walked a mile in their shoes.

So what I want to know is; are you a mum who wears heels or a mum who wears flats?

For those of you who've never met me, I'm gonna throw this out there straight from the off: I am most definitely a Mum Who Wears Flats. It's not that I don't want to wear heels or judge mums who do - the opposite, in fact - I'd love to kick off my practicality and work the nursery run in a bangin' pair of heels, but no matter how hard I try I just can't step away from the Converse. And I can't get my head round mums who do.

It's become a bit of an obsession if I'm honest. In moments of doubt or crisis, when I'm feeling-down-at-heel, I often find myself wondering, what would Heeled Mummy do? How would Heeled Mummy manage? In my mind, Heeled Mummy has this parenting business down, and takes it all in her stride.

How come Heeled Mum's children always look scrubbed, even though they're getting up to just as much mischief mine? It's as if they're wipe-clean, water-repellent, Teflon-coated. For some reason, when it comes to their clothes, mud doesn't stick. And when they're strolling through town, how does Heeled Mummy get her children march along with her rhythmic clip-clop? No diving into puddles for them. No tripping over games of hopscotch or stopping to pick out worms between cracks in the pavement.

Flats Mummy, on the other hand, is a walking, talking oxymoron, in that she's never actually on the flat. She's halfway up a slide, pushing a buggy up a hill or bouncing on a trampoline. Never mind heels, she's lucky if she's not in wellies. Out and about, her kids are the ones lurching in different directions, making a beeline for gutters, drains, puddles and the grotty bits of sludge in shady corners. Flats Mum's children have been known to trash a freshly-laundered, ironed outfit in the few metres between the front door and the car seat. Mud and crumbs magnetise to them like iron filings. Her kids hair - in my experience - is always on the frizzy side of curly, and probably has the odd dread lurking near the hairline.

How does Heeled Mum manage to keep such an immaculate house? Her shoe cupboard is her house in microcosm. Shoes are in racks, the more expensive pairs cosseted in cloth bags or Heeled Mum's pride and joy: perspex boxes labelled with Polaroid shots of the shoes inside. Everything about her house makes you want to relax and put your feet up, and when she joins you, Heeled Mum's toes are always pedicured.

Flats Mum, on the other hand, kicks her shoes under the bed to gather dust and chooses her footwear based on those she can find a match for. Usually Uggs, which have the benefit of being slippers and outdoor shoes in one. Her house follows the same trend. Yes, she does her best and she's no slob. The flats give her the edge on Heeled Mum when it comes to 'blitzing' the house, but despite her amazing speed, she always seems to be playing catch up.

How has Heeled Mum not let motherhood change her? She still enjoys regular date nights with her husband and can hold intelligent conversations about things outside the family. She has regular hair cuts, even the occasional blow dry, and knows her beauty therapist by name. Heeled Mum eats at the table most nights. Her food isn't always home-cooked, but it is beautifully presented and incorporates more than one food group. There is usually 2 courses and a glass of wine to go with it. When she's out, Heeled Mum takes things to even greater heights - she wouldn't be seen dead in less than six inches.

Flats mum, on the other hand, takes 'day into night' wear to new levels; she's never out of her pjs unless she's leaving the house, and when it comes to evening wear, she just about manages to throw a scarf over offending stains and 'dry shampoo' her hair. No, that's not perfume you can smell, it's the vapour trail of air fresher she blasted the house with on her way out in the hope the baby sitter won't notice her house smells of wet dog. She does own a pair of heels, but can only find one of them. Besides, she's late and she can't run in them. On the rare day she does dig them out - weddings and birthdays - she spends the whole time feeling like a try-hard and wishing she'd remembered to buy cushioned insoles.

Heeled Mum manages to make heels look empowering - she refuses to let age-old sexism get in the way of her right to work a sexy pair of stilettos. Heels make her groomed and in-control. A bit of extra height does wonders for her confidence and puts a spring in her step. She's the sort of woman who makes those in flats look like quitters.

Flats Mum has always been a tiny bit suspicious of heels anyway. Since she's had a little girl, she's started worrying about things like wearing pink and the long history of patriarchy tied up with stilettos... surely just one step away from foot binding? Heels don't make her look powerful any more. They slow her down and make her walk like a child in dressing up clothes. And they're bloody difficult to step over Lego in.

So tell me Heeled Mums - how do you do it? How do you push a double buggy up an incline without a gripped sole? How do you carry your baby in a sling without losing your balance? How do you run across the playground without your heels sinking into the grass? How do you carry a car seat, changing bag, buggy, scooter, picnic and two children in and out of the car on a pinprick heel?

Please, Heeled Mummy, tell me how to walk in your shoes...