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The Viper's Nest

Say what you like about Mumsnet (goodness knows plenty of people do!) but when the chip are down, these women (mostly women) rally around like Lewis Hamilton at Monaco. (For those who are just here for the craft, skip to the bottom!)

Mumsnetters have been accused of being a nest of vipers, bullying and terribly middle class. The reality is it is filled with a diverse range of astute, articulate and funny women. Yes, you get your horrors, your trolls, and your hierarchies, just like you do on any other large forum. For the most part Mumsnet is fabulous. it has made me the parent I am today for better or worse. Yes, I may have neglected my kids on occasions while I have been ‘working’ at my laptop. Then there was the infamous Moldie-gate secret splinter group saga Christmas 2008 which saw DH nearly divorce me over my obsession. Not that I’d have noticed at the time. But without it’s support I’d not have breastfed for so long, not have discovered Baby Led Weaning, which wanky as it sounds, was a fantastic way of feeding our children.

Mumsnet is, unusually for a large forum, mainly self moderated and self policed. This means you can use the phrase “Tescos are cunts” quite freely, but describe someone as a ‘spaz’ or a ‘mong’ and you will, quite rightly, be rounded on quite harshly for your use of disablist language. The large community of Mumsnetters managing special needs and disabilities have certainly opened my eyes to the challenges they face on a daily basis.

Vipers, bitches, bullies; call them what you like, Mumsnetters have compassion and empathy in spades. More than that, they take action. From supermarket deliveries sent to the door of someone in need, to the annual Christmas appeal, where Mumsnetters send presents to the families of those for whom Christmas might otherwise be a sad affair for whatever reason, Mumsnetters give an enormous amount of support, both real and virtual. Sadly this means they have been caught out on occasions, by vile people trading illegitimately on the goodwill of people who give everything they can, emotionally and physically, even when they have little to give. These tenacious women continue to give, just in case they can make the difference in someone’s life.

This is why I try and contribute when I can and for a few days this week I put my frivolous yarn bombing on hold to do something useful for a change. It has become a recent, sadly all to regular, tradition on Mumsnet to make a crafty project for those who have recently been bereaved. It started out with a couple of blankets for the children of a Mumsnetter who lost her little boy very suddenly. The blankets were for the boy’s sisters to give them something comforting and memorable. As well as the crafty Mumsnetters who made knitted, crocheted or quilted squares, there were those who donated money so crafter with skills but little money could be sent wool to contribute the project. Since then there have been too many blankets made and constructed by Mumsnetters to support other Mumsnetters.

The latest project is for a Mumsnetter whose daughter was recently born prematurely with a severely under developed brain. Baby Beatrice Primrose is tenaciously fighting her corner in the SCBU. Those crafty Mumsnetters are making floral garlands for Beatrice and her sisters and this is my contribution:

I’ll give you details of the pattern tomorrow, for now I just want to say that I don’t know if you can send energy via yarn, but if you can, I spent every stitch thinking positive thoughts about baby Beatrice. Another Mumsnetter is collecting them all and stringing them all together to send in yet another attempt to give some comfort and support to a family suffering horrific sadness.

So you can say what you like about Mumsnetters, just don’t say they haven’t got heart.