My sister Jayne always tells me a story about my lovely, busy mum, which sometimes, I think just says it all about motherhood.
It’s one about a crazy, family tea-time back in the 80s, when mum was dishing up the findus crispy pancakes and alphabetti spaghetti or whatever we ate back then, and a man came to the door to ask mum to sign a petition about the atomic bomb. It would have been in the days of the Cold War, so obviously, it would have been quite a big deal.
He asked her if it worried her, the thought of us all being blown up. She instantly replied no, she hadn’t had a minute to think about it. She had other things on her mind that consumed her days: dishing up the dinners, the artic roll, the butterscotch angel delight, the super-noodles, negotiating arguments over the Super Nintendo, doing the washing, ironing, sorting socks, diarising netball, trumpet practice, friends for tea.
There really wasn’t all that much time to ponder nuclear fallout.
So she politely apologised, declined his invitation for a protracted discussion and got back to the chaos of family life.
Some may have accused her of ignorance, but if they did, they could accuse me of that, too. I haven’t got a clue about what goes on the world. Like the other day, I had a stand up row with Ant about the existence of the space station. I told him it was rubbish and clearly untrue. It was only when Chris Evans mentioned it on the radio that I realised that it does actually exist and that he wasn’t just winding me up.
But it gets busy, being a mum. I don’t have all that much time to refine my worldly knowledge. My children are a tad noisy and they need me. All the time.
I think sometimes us mums are just too busy for facts. Which is bloody brilliant and absolutely fine if you ask me.
It may seem like sometimes I’m consumed by the absolute minutiae of life: what’s for tea, the additives in the pom-bears, what they’re going to wear to story book day at nursery tomorrow. But it’s not. It’s everything. The day to day is every day and if we all love and support our little people, the world is going to be a nicer place to be.
I’m not saying that ignorance is bliss, but us mums are doing a bloody important job for the world, little person by little person. If we all teach our children to be healthy, kind, well-rounded individuals, I think we are being the most generous, fabulous and useful members of society.
I know it can get stressful, this mum-thing. But it’s stressful because it’s invaluable. We’re teaching the people that are going to look after tomorrow. We’ve been entrusted with shaping the future and that is quite a job in itself.
I don’t know much about the European referendum, although I did know lots about Europe once. Not any more. That now-useless knowledge has been squished out by Disney princesses, food fads and minor illnesses.
And my mum was amazing. I miss her so much every single day. Although I can see her so clearly in my mind’s eye, I can’t for the life of me remember what she thought about the poll tax riots or privatisation.
What I do remember, though is the egg sandwiches she made me for breakfast, that she knew as much about my favourite dollies as I did and that she taught me how to make dumplings.
You know. Just the important stuff.