This week’s big news, apart from Big Bother, is the fact that a high-flying City worker is expecting her eighth baby. “Supermum” cried the headlines as everyone marvelled at this woman’s capacity to breed and earn more money in a month than most of us do in four years.
I beg to differ. Anyone in her position has enough money to employ help; lots of it. I bet she hasn’t seen an ironing board since her early twenties. Does she even know that the Dyson has taken over the world? Also she has what sounds like a husband who was genetically modified in the womb by a radical feminist group. He is a Zen Buddhist monk who has given up any hope of a normal life to look after their children aged 18 months to 15 years. In their household it is the saintly Mr Morrissey who deals with nappies, gym kit, adolescent tantrums and emptying the dishwasher (I would imagine around four times a day, unless they have an industrial one).
For me the real supermums are the ones who do it all the time. As I changed my son’s sheets this morning I thought, thank goodness I don’t only have this to do. Children are lovely; but let’s be honest, looking after them on a daily basis is often drudgery. Imagine if you had nowhere to escape to, no civilised adult conversations on the horizon, no decisions to make that didn’t involve which brand of nappies to buy or what to cook for the little angles to throw all over the kitchen? I, for one, would go mad. There is nothing I love more than my children, but I don’t need to be with them at all times. I haven’t told my husband (though I think he does the same) sometimes when he takes them all off to school in the morning and I’m left alone with only the prospect of work ahead of me I jump for joy. I feel like a bit of a prat jumping around the kitchen on my own shouting ‘yippee’, but Max the cat seems to enjoy it.
I think most working mothers if they were honest would admit that at times getting to the office is an absolute joy. One working mother I know, now retired, said she used to look forward to Monday mornings. I wonder who in the Morrissey household shares that sentiment?
Copyright: Helena Frith Powell 2007