Mum economy

I’ve been thinking about our mum economy; the way mothers share what they have.  We look around our baby’s toys and items and realise, “I don’t need those anymore.” and pass them on.  Almost everything my child is wearing and using has come from other mums.

This is the beautiful gift of mother sharing.  We notice another mum at a different stage of parenting and think about what we have that might help them. If it’s tangible we pass it on, no questions asked, usually with little or no money changing hands. 

It’s not limited to things that have financial value or are tangible. It’s so much more. It’s the support, advice and empathy. For me it’s been the phone call late at night when I needed breastfeeding support; the encouraging messages in chat; the visit with an experienced mum on Boxing Day when I thought “It’s just too hard. I have to give up on breastfeeding”, the cleaning other mums have done for me, and the reassurance that this difficult stage of babyhood is going to pass.

These gifts of wisdom, presence and listening are an extremely valuable part of the mum economy.

You may wonder if your part in the mum economy is worthwhile as it may seem small and insignificant. Whatever we think about ourselves, we all have something we can offer to others.  When I was struggling with postnatal depression it was another mum describing her experience of needing and seeking help that reassured me that I could seek support. 

The richness of sharing what we have and the mutuality of giving what we have is one of the most beautiful aspects of my experience of motherhood. I’ve found it’s these acts that makes the mum life so much richer. And it transforms the more difficult reality that “nothing is hers” in the way it used to be, into generosity through the mum economy.

(c)  Joy Campbell

May 2021