The nappy cake: A metaphor for modern motherhood

What’s the ideal present for a new mum? Personally I’d recommend a cabbage. Your breasts hurt to buggery in the first week and, having tried all the remedies available (including that massive gel soother that my sons now think is a necklace), I truly believe nothing beats a good chilled cabbage leaf in the bra. Buy it for all first-time mums you know; they’ll thank you later (hell, if they haven’t thrown all the “warmed” leaves away, they could even make you a thank-you soup).

Do not, however, on any account buy them this. It is a nappy cake. A cake made out of nappies. What better metaphor for modern motherhood could there be? But that’s not a reason to buy it. We don’t want metaphors. We’ve just been through labour. We’re hungry. We want REAL CAKE!

The nappy cake looks nice – how thoughtful! Something pretty but you’ve also considered the practicalities – but don’t be taken in. Don’t try eating it, for starters (or for mains – cakes are for pudding). And don’t try putting it on your baby, either; you need to unwrap it first. And yes, it’s in the unwrapping that such all metaphors come to life:

Motherhood: pretty on the outside, possibly overlaid with some disturbing stereotypes (that “yummy mummy” sign, for instance), but overall, it looks ace. And cute. Then you truly get into it and find things don’t fit back together how they used to, and suddenly it’s all full of shit, and you’re left alone with it and no one cares because they still just remember the original cake.

It’s a bit of a bugger really, isn’t it? But hey, don’t despair. This is only because you had the original cake to begin with; if you’d never had it, it would never have fallen apart.

*waits a few moments for everyone to digest this deep philosophical observation*

Well, having given it careful consideration, I’m not going to extend this torturous metaphor any further. I had been hoping to eventually reach the conclusion that motherhood is, ideally, more like a cabbage. But alas, I can’t. I know when I’m defeated.

What I’m really trying to say is, nappy cakes look rubbish, a crappy retrosexist dream of a present. What we actually want is a colossus pack of disposables and an even bigger slice of real cake. That and a cabbage. Don’t forget the cabbage.

Motherhood: the more I think about it, it’s actually just like the end of Crackerjack.

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One thought on “The nappy cake: A metaphor for modern motherhood

  1. A freecycler came here earlier this week to pick up my old nappy bucket (they’ll take any old shite on freecycle). She said she liked cloth nappies but her husband wasn’t keen – I said something trite about showing him the difference in cost. She said that he’d just had a new motorbike “and maybe nappies can be my treat because they are so cute”. I shut the door in her face 😉 wtf?

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