Friday, 14 November 2008


As my three lovely children, relaxed husband and I carve a path with our machetes through Lala land, it's not hard to imagine why the lovely Rachael asked me to review UKFamily, a new parenting website, owned by Walt Disney. It's clearly a natural match.

Stop sniggering at the back.

Not only that, but Rachael is even offering a small payment - and asks for honesty.

Put that smile away now.

So here goes.

The one thing the UK isn't short of is websites for families. For anarchic humour, there's the Bad Mother's Club. For the reassurance that whatever experience you've had, somebody else has had it worse (or better, or in a funnier way) there's Mumsnet.

So is going to have to work hard, especially for a battle-scarred old witch like me.

I could have done with a user-friendly version of a mission statement. What was I supposed to get out of this? A bit of a laugh, advice, reduced entrance tickets to Euro Disney? All three?

In fairness, this site, as you'd expect, seems aimed at parents with younger children than mine whose cynicism is still at a larveal stage in their brains.

You can tell, because everyone is smiling. You can choose to click on a smiley couple, smiley baby, child or 'tween'.

Everyone is clean and lovely. I amused myself for a few minutes moving the mouse so the baby assumed giant proportions, looming over the mother - a much more accurate reflection of what it feels like, in my mind - and then realised that this was silly and immature and moved onto the advice sections.

The emphasis is on bite-sized, quick to read advice and then readers' feedback. It's good as an introduction, perhaps a little perfunctory. There are pieces from people like Linda Blair - a well regarded expert in the field.

Some of it feels a little glib. One expert believes passionately that 'relaxed, well informed parents produce happy, carefree kids.' Well, who'd a thunk it? And what happens to the unrelaxed ones, like me? Perhaps we're all doomed. Still, it's nothing a few rousing choruses of 'It's a small world after all,' won't sort out.

But it does attempt to cover the darker issues, too. Depression, tantrums. I'm heartened to read in one piece about tweens about 'the enormous physical and neuro-chemical (brain) changes that ... put your tweens under considerable stress...' until I realise that it's tween hormones under discussion, not mine.

Oh, try for yourselves. Just don't say I sent you. I've got my reputation to consider.

Can I have my money now, Rachael?


CrazyCath said...

You get paid to supersize babiew?

I want a job like that. Send 'em my way......

CrazyCath said...

That should be babies not babiew...
(Just noticed after I clicked publish before it disappeared.)

Marianne said...

The problem is that it's impossible to be relaxed in the teeth of bringing up children, especially those with problems, especially if like so many women, you're doing it by yourself. Mostly we're all just muddling through, doing the best we can and hoping they'll turn out alright in the end.

I shall now go and picture my alta ego, relaxed, well informed, impossibly smug. Perhaps not.

Omega Mum said...

Crazycath: Personally, I prefer babiew....And as to payment, I'd love to make a living supersizeing babies but think it may take a while (if ever...) But Rachael is my pal. And a lovely person who works for an equally lovely, lovely website. That's UKFamilies. The one with the Disney logo and looming babies, folks. You read it here.

Marianne: Never, never picture your alter ego.It leads to thoughts of alter egoicide. I think.

Potty Mummy said...

I certainly think you deserve that cash, OM. Though the opportunity to supersize a baby surely should be enough reward all on it's own?

Omega Mum said...

Potty Mummy: Thank you. I had no real idea of doing this for the money, but now I see a whole new world opening up. Possibly getting a religious group to pay me for censoring Vicky and Bad Lindy's blaspheming.....several drinks manufacturers paying not to be associated with me. Reverse marketing. £££££££££ Hurrah!

Jaywalker said...

Ok, well from your description I think this website will make me want to sprinkle crack cocaine on my children's cornflakes and send them up chimneys while I lie naked on the kitchen floor drinking gin. Well worth the money!

Expat mum said...

Well done for your honesty! I'm now a bit confused tho'. I consider myself well-informed and fairly relaxed, so what happened...?

Anonymous said...

How ODD!! I've been asked more or less the same thing by a different site and will receive various dvd's and books aimed at much younger children than Amy. What use that is to me I don't know but I'll have to wait and see.

CJ xx

Omega Mum said...

jaywalker: Don't tell me those things are new to you...I was convinced you were promoting them as easy tips for seasonal relaxation last year......

expat mum: Honestly is a wonderful thing. Yet why do I have the impression that I may not be in hot demand by similar companies?

CJ: I was so thrilled to have made any money from my blog that it was a wonderful moment, especially as they have already sent the cheque. Lovely people to do business with. Hurrah for Disney ethics - at least when it comes to bloggers. They trump mine any day.