This post was originally published on Smile Sweetly and Nod.

So I’m not sure where this idea was spawned (this idea being the most wonderful of acronyms I have ever come across) so I can’t give credit, but I do know my Mum told me about them after reading an article on Mumsnet. Therefore, some wonderful Mumsnetter is sure to comment and put me straight.

SMOG – Smug Mothers Of Girls

DEMOB – DEfensive Mother Of Boys


Before I had children I was unaware of this divide. I actually thought things hadn’t moved on from the 50’s where the baby boy was still a blessing and the girl, was, you know, bad luck. But how wrong was I? Girl worship has landed and it isn’t budging an inch.

I do know a few SMOGs. I haven’t told them they are actually a SMOG, but they are. They often say things like …”Well I have girls” and “Oh no girls don’t do that” and “Really?”.  And, I know that it doesn’t sound that bad, but it’s not what they say but the way they say it.  The look on their face, the half smile, the head placement slightly to the left and the glitter of triumph in their eyes; they’re smug – they are a SMOG!

And then, there’s the ones I don’t know. The ones at the park, or the soft play area, or the supermarket. The ones with their noses turned high and looks of pure horror as my boys circle my legs screaming, or dive bomb into the swimming pool or run through puddles regardless of what’s on their feet. The ones whose daughters stand uncomfortably in frills and ribbons and “won’t wear anything but pink”.  (She will if you don’t give her a choice though, I’m pretty sure it’s not her who holds the Next Directory account.) There the ones I really don’t like… The judgemental Smog.

And as much as I try not to be a DEMOB, I can’t help it. I love my boys; I embrace the noise, I encourage the mess and I laugh at their trails of destruction. So when some prissy Mum, dressed head to toe in Boden, daughter with matching jumper on knee, is gawking at my two year old as he he eats the chalk at playgroup and then throws it on the floor as he runs to dunk his head in the dirty paint water, it takes all my will power not to defensively tell them “to get over themselves” instead I just turn proudly and say: “I taught him that.”

But I do try to be level headed, not to resort to pantomime boos and hisses when a SMOG tells me of her woes of having to make a Snow White birthday cake, or how The Disney Store has already run out of glass slippers and there’s 5 weeks till Christmas, or how they are struggling to master the french plait. But this I can listen to, and just laugh at, because my concerns are about how to stop my youngest putting his hand into his dirty nappy to share its content with the room or explaining to a four your old why it isn’t nice to finger shoot people as we overtake them in the car.

The thing that really infuriates me and  what I really have objection to is the SMOG’s look of pity when I tell them I’m having a third boy. “Poor you!”

And before I know it I’m ranting at them “We’re having a baby,a s far as we know he is perfectly healthy. Some people will never have a baby. We are really lucky to have three boys and personally we think it’s going to be great!”

But, let’s me fair, it’s not just about SMOG’s, the DEMOBS are equally as irritating.

In the summer, whilst camping, I got talking to another Mum at a restaurant. “Do you know what you are having?” she asked eying my bump.
“Yes a third boy” I said smiling “But I’m pleased because I think pink is overrated” I joked. She didn’t respond.
“Do you just have the two bo..”
I hadn’t finished the question when she replied, in a very loud voice, “Yes and I wouldn’t have it any other way!”
I’m pretty sure she also looked up to the sky.

The conversation ended, as I wasn’t sure if she was talking to me, or someone up above. But I made a promise to the boys there and then that I wouldn’t be one of those Mothers. Ones who says things like “Well he’s a boy”  as he throws all the shoes of the shelves in Clarks or “he’s just asserting himself” as he bangs the other children on the head with a toy hammer. Or, the worse one, “At least I’ll know I’ll be looked after” as her son blows raspberry’s out the window at passers by. (No, my dear, you will be looking after him… FOREVER)

I have also had to make myself promise not to become “anti-girls”. Recently I have noticed myself raising my eyebrows or smirking as girl-worship is pushed further into my face. And the worst bit, as much of a tomboy as I was growing up, I have always loved the colour pink. But the more I see it on little girls, the more it is losing its appeal, to the point I actually wrestled a “pink wafer” off a four year old girl at a party the other day as she wanted “all the pink biscuits” and I ws adamant, my son, who couldn’t care less, also wanted one.  I think my DEMOB membership card may be arriving in the post soon.

However, if I ever was to have a girl, I am pretty sure at the age of 4 she’d get stuck up a tree, adorn a full football strip at the age of 9, and be able to down a pint at 17! Just like her Mum!


About francespringle

Feelance writer, Mum to three boys, self-confessed domestic slob
This entry was posted in Gender Diversity and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to DEMOBs and SMOGs

  1. Helloitsgemma says:

    This is really interesting – I have a boy. This hasn’t been my experience at all. He doesn’t do rough play, he has a very easy temperament. But I’ve not really come across smogs. Both genders have different draw back – the thing with girls is they want to dress as princesses till they reach 10 then they want to dress in the style of a britney spears. Then who feels smug?

    • francespringle says:

      My eldest son is very sensitive and biddable – very different from his younger brother. The baby is yet to shine. I think the child will be whatever is inbuilt but it’s the attitude of parents and their gender expectations tht can be dishertening, Your little boy sounds ace. And you must have a good bunch of mums around you – hang on to them!

  2. impeus says:

    As the mother of one girl, I feel almost the opposite – in that when Polly is playing with/near other children, usually climbing into, onto, over, through something (or the other children), charging round, imitating a fire engine… when someone’s boy goes to join in his parent will often laugh, explaining “he’s such a boy!” By this point Polly is probably using their son as a climbing frame, so I’m not sure what it makes her. Not a boy, that’s for sure!

    • francespringle says:

      It makes her utterly fabulous! And a credit to you- allowing her personality, not gender, to shine.

      I was trying to highlight that in some ways our society has moved on with gender stereotyping, but in someways it has moved backwards.

      As a mum of 3 boys I am aware that they need a strong female influence as they are comfortable in a male dominated environment… This challenges me every day!

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