Mumsnet, a website for mothers in the UK, has launched the Mumsnet Academy to teach women new skills. The reason for this is because the founder of Mumsnet, Justine Roberts who has four children herself, was appalled when her husband suggested to her that she had no ‘hinterland’, meaning that she was not preparing herself for a life beyond when her children would not need her so much. With time Justine says that she has come to realise the wisdom of his words.
Work and kids are not enough, she says, and women need to learn more skills. I have looked at the Academy’s website and am impressed by the courses on offer. There is a cookery bias which feeds into the stereotype of mothering but the concept of mothers looking after themselves is to be welcomed.
I recognised the ‘mother hinterland’ some years ago and my CV is now crammed full of various things that I do. I often have to wake up extra early to get through my list but something hit me when I read the rational behind Mumsnet Academy. If you extend the concept of ‘mother hinterland’ to the logical end it is about preparing yourself for the day when your child/children leave home. It is about equipping yourself to assume a new identity when your mothering is not needed 24/7. Then it struck me, that not even an overflowing CV could ever prepare me or compensate me for the moment when that happens. I will simply hate not having that little voice constantly call out ‘Mummy’.