Thursday, 8 October 2015

Why I am So Happy that Nadiya won 'The Great British Bake Off'

Is it because of her incredible baking skills?

Partly, but not completely.

Is it because of her even more impressive array of facial expressions?

Well, a little bit.

The main reason I'm so delighted that Nadiya was crowned the winner of this year's Great British Bake Off is this: I can relate to her.

I remember when she first won Star Baker (not well enough to say which week that was, sorry) her response was something like this: "It's weird, I'm never proud of myself, but now I'm proud of myself."

And as a stay at home mum, I get where she's coming from. I feel proud of my husband for the hard work he puts into his job. I feel proud of my daughter for ... well, loads of things. I feel proud of my friends, my family - but I rarely feel proud of myself.

Now I know I may come in the firing line here so I'm just going to say this right now - I know that no matter what side of the stay-at-home/working mum divide we fall, we get flak for it. But in the current climate, with the constant talk about 'hard working families' as if this must necessarily mean both parents in employment, it's hard to feel pride in being a stay at home parent. So when Nadiya said she was never proud of herself, I knew what she was talking about.

But of course, however you do it, parenting is something to be proud of. It's relentless, it's all-consuming, it's permanent. And it's shaping the lives of fellow human beings, for goodness sake! A parent not only has to keep their children healthy and happy, they have to teach them about morality, justice, social norms, relationships ... the list goes on. It's a huge undertaking. But society as a whole seems to have such a low opinion of it that, if you choose to devote yourself exclusively to the task of parenting, you are made to feel somehow insignificant. You can start to doubt your capabilities outside of story-reading and bottom-wiping.

But look at Nadiya. She is a stay at home mum who has just achieved not only acclaim but national fame for a skill that she has honed over the many years that she has cared for her children. She has shown that she is capable of huge success. Her words after winning the Great British Bake Off were inspiring: "I'm never going to put boundaries on myself ever again. I'm never going to say I can't do it, I'm never going to say maybe, I'm never going to say I don't think I can. I can. And I will."

I'm glad that Nadiya is proud of herself now. She should be. She has raised three lovely children (and I loved how her husband acknowledged her hard work in raising them for the last ten years) and whilst doing so she has developed a talent for baking that has now earned her the recognition she deserves. She can, and she will. And she's shown us that we all can.

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