I was recently regaling a friend with a story of how I was almost bankrupted on a visit to the Disney Store in Dublin when she asked me if I was a SMOG?
I had been telling her of the gorgeous dressing up costumes, sparkly toddler sized Cinderella slippers, magic wands and twinkling tiaras. I had told her how I stood in front of them, my inner child practically wetting herself with excitement. And I had regaled how I had to step away from the princess section - which came complete with throne which I almost turfed a toddler off to get a seat on myself - before I bought everything in sight.
When she asked me if I was a SMOG, I looked at as if she had two heads. A SMOG? I consider myself fairly up with my modern day acronyms. I know my LMAOs from my WTFs and my LOLs from my IMHOs - but SMOG? That was a new one on me.
I asked her what she meant and smiled. “Claire, are you a Smug Mother of a Girl?”
I blinked back. Replied, no, sure how could I be when I had a son and all at home?
She quite rightly pointed out that I hadn’t expressed even half the enthusiasm for the purchase of some Match Attacks and a new Wii remote control than I had for ten minutes in the Disney princess wonderland wondering what I could could buy for my “little princess” at home.
I told her getting excited by the array of princess merchandise on offer didn’t make me smug to have a daughter - it just made me a bit of a big wain myself. But no she insisted that the cult of the SMOG is very much alive and well and evidenced by grown women getting themselves more excited at the notion that they have mothered a daughter than a son.
Reams have been written that is now more desirable in our society to have daughters rather than sons and many women cite not feeling complete until they have a mini me they can skulk around the pink section in Next with and whose hair they can braid and stick clips in.
I’ve been open enough in the past to admit that, since I was no age at all, I always dreamed of one day having a daughter. From the moment I cuddled my Tiny Tears on my 6th birthday I hoped to one day have a little girl of my own. One whom I could buy frilly dresses for, stripey tights for, one who would hopefully share my love of dolls houses and silly pop music and whose nails I could paint one day.
When I found out during my second pregnancy that I was indeed carrying a little girl, I was ecstatic. I did and do get a buzz out of buying pretty clothes. I do love that I’m getting to relive my own childhood a little buying her her own Tiny Tears and a dolls house.
I have a very different bond to her than I do with the boy. It’s a shared sisterhood - I’ve been a wee girl. I’ve liked doing the things she does. I can see me reflected in her more than I could her brother. I want her to be a strong and confident child so that she will be a strong and confident woman. I think that’s fair enough.
It doesn’t make me smug to love her and love doing things with her and it doesn’t make me love her brother any less. But I’ll be honest and put my hands up - I don’t get the same thrill out of buying a football kit. I don’t have the same interest in fart jokes as a seven year old boy does. Or computer games. I don’t feel the same thrill of excitement brushing his short hair into his normal sticky-uppy-seven-year-old style as I do putting bunches in hers.
It’s not considered politically correct to say such things however. I risk being called a SMOG (or worse) when I get more excited about girly things. It’s nothing to do with having a child of a certain gender and everything to do with being that actual gender myself. I’m naturally programmed to be more excited about patent shoes than football boots.
Why do men who have sons, and proudly strut about delighted at having fathered a son and heir, not get the same stick or guilt factor heaped upon them as we women who have daughters and are happy about it?
No one gives a daddy proud of his son a hard time.
No one accuses him of loving his wee girl any less. No one questions a man who stands in the Star Wars Lego section of a toyshop or accuses him of being a SFOB (smug father of a boy) if he talks about it. No one looks like him as if he has committed a godawful crime if he gets excited about buying his son a football kit. No one thinks anything of it at all.
I tend to think people have too much time on their hands if they find ways to criticise parents for loving their children - regardless of gender - and thinking the sun shines out of their own particular offspring. Sure isn’t that what being a mammy is all about? Being so madly in love with your own son or daughter you think no one else in the whole world could hold a candle to them?
In my mind there is no boy as smart, funny or handsome as my son and no girl as stunningly beautiful, clever and cute as my daughter. So yes, I’m a SMOG but also a SMOB- but more specifically I’m a smug mum of MY girl and My boy - and I see nothing wrong with that at all.