Hotel Maternelle

Lucy Mangan talks Hotel Maternelle

Being a mum can be emotionally draining, so what's a girl to do? How about some me-time in an imaginary hotel


Have you heard about the hotel in Japan that's offering 'crying rooms' for women? I'm torn. On the one hand: How sexist! How reductive! How backward! On the other hand: How useful! How handy! How do I book?

I cry more in a day since having a baby than I cried in my entire lifetime BC (Before Child). Pre-partum, I could give anybody a run for their money in the dry-eye stakes. Unless it was during a work evaluation. I have not yet found a woman who can sit through one of those without the urge to sob.

I tell people I stopped being a lawyer because it was boring yet difficult: a double whammy I couldn't imagine devoting my entire life to. And then I began childrearing (insert your own heavy measure of irony ) – but really it was because I couldn't face the humiliation of choking back tears in front of another boss who thought they were helping me to recognise and correct my Areas of Relative Weakness.

I do not think I am alone in feeling inwardly that I am made entirely of Areas of Relative Weakness, and therefore do not need them enumerated in forms; nor in having to head straight to the loos for a cry as soon as someone starts to do exactly that.

Anyway, as I say, these days, I'm even worse. I need that hotel. All mothers do. So, I shall take this new concept from the hospitality industry and run with it accordingly. The Hotel Maternelle (I'm Frenching it up to keep out the riff-raff) will comprise:

  1. Crying rooms – tissues, Dairy Milk, bed, pillow, high-tog duvet (even in summer) all supplied. Soulful-eyed dog who really cares available on request.
  2. Rage rooms – all come with padded walls and smashable figurines. All guests have access to gym and gun range. Please inform us on arrival which shape of paper target you will require: Mother-in-Law; Ungrateful Partner; Smug Cow; Just Everyone.
  3. Gin rooms – a range of beverages available, including Gordon's, Bombay Sapphire and I Don't Care, I'll Stick a Straw in a Petrol Tank and Drain It Dry at This Point. Tonic not supplied and rarely missed.
  4. Wi-fi and TV in all rooms. Content heavily censored and guaranteed not to contain any news stories or programmes about, or using as even the most minor of plot points, anything to do with children being ill, injured, kidnapped, abandoned or mistreated in any way. We only have a limited number of crying rooms.
  5. Rooms rentable by the hour. If you can get away for an entire night, you don't need us.
  6. Male – ahem – companions may be booked on arrival. Please choose from the following options: Someone to stroke my hair until I fall asleep; Someone to get aroused in my presence but not want me to do anything about it; Someone who is not my husband; Anyone in a Ryan Gosling mask.

Hopefully we can attract some kind of government funding, and you'll be able to pay with anything you have in your handbag. Rice cake crumbs. Lego. Half a banana. A Clinique lipstick from a lifetime ago. Come on in.


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