Being a stay-at-home mum is easy, right? You don't have to do a proper job and you can watch children's telly and drool over the TV presenters. That's what you'd think reading the papers this week anyway.
"Mums are lusting over presenters on toddler TV" we were informed by The Guardian, whereas The Telegraph told us "How CBeebies sets mums' pulses racing". Oh and The Sun chipped in too with a headline about "Randy Mothers".
Interestingly The Guardian quoted mums from Netmum's forums while The Telegraph chose Mumsnet. See how the battle lines are drawn in even the most trivial of discussions?
Apparently the object of many mums' affections is Mr Bloom, a gardener with a dodgy northern accent who sings and dances with children and vegetables. Mr Bloom's Nursery airs on pre-school channel CBeebies and is a jaunty, educational show which my children love. At first glance Mr Bloom isn't all that attractive. But once you start imagining him without the floppy hat, scarecrow hair, tank top and wellies then maybe he has some appeal (I haven't spent time doing this. Honest).
Let's face it, Mr Bloom hardly has much competition on CBeebies. Justin Fletcher is the undisputed King of the channel but do we fancy him? Erm no. He's one of those blokes you'd like to "just be friends with".
It's not long before any self-respecting mother of young children finds herself drawn into the topic of which children's TV presenters are the best looking. I found myself joining in these same discussions on Facebook and Twitter this week. I'm not proud of myself (although if forced to choose I'd say Mr Bloom gets my vote - there, couldn't resist it).
Randy stay at home mums lusting after children's TV presenters is a journalist's dream. It makes a good story, doesn't it? It has overtones of the sex-starved housewife stereotype. But if I get serious for a moment, stories like this continue to trivialise the role of motherhood. Rarely are mums in the news for positive reasons. Maybe we don't help ourselves by talking about the merits of Mr Bloom and his fellow presenters so openly online. We do talk about important stuff too, but that often gets ignored. It reminds me of the time Gordon Brown did a webchat on Mumsnet and all everyone talked about afterwards was the question about his favourite biscuit.
What I find amusing about this story is that it wouldn't work if it was referring to dads. It just wouldn't be news if dads were gossiping about which children's TV presenters they fancied. For some reason there's something deemed newsworthy about mums fancying blokes on children's telly. It's unthreatening and it fills a slow news week in August.
I'm wondering if the abundance of sexy CBeebies presenters' news stories this week is a cheeky bit of PR direct from CBeebies. After all, their autumn schedule is due to start soon. Hmm, I wonder which hotties they'll have lined up for that?Suggest a correction