I am a mummy. I have small people living with me – I like to call them “children” – and I am obliged to take care of them. I am also really fucking stupid. After all, that is what being a mummy is all about.
It has taken me quite a while to admit to the “being stupid” element of motherhood (that’s possibly a symptom of the stupidity itself, but I wouldn’t know). Technically what happens is your brain turns to mush, or porridge to be precise (if you happened to be a fuckwit to begin with, then it’s Ready Brek). Thereafter you might be left with a helpless human being who’s entirely dependent on you, but best steer clear of doing anything remotely responsible. From now on you’re only capable of working on “instinct” (don’t worry if you haven’t a clue what that is – you’re not expected to rationalise it, or anything else for that matter).
In case you find this disconcerting (which to be fair you probably don’t, since that would require some thought), rest assured that this happens to the best of us. Writing in the Guardian Weekend today, Lucy Mangan reveals that “16 months ago I had a baby and lost my mind”:
Now, literally my last thought every night is that if anyone breaks into my house, I will – in my new role as maternal hellbeast – kill them first and ask questions later.Which is to say that, in certain areas of life, I currently run on pure unreason.
Now there’s being humorously self-deprecating, and there’s being – well, a total idiot. But as a fellow idiot, I’m hardly one to judge.
If I were to extend my ramblings, I’d say Mangan’s piece highlights the tendency for we mummies to become, not just stupid, but hopelessly right-wing and addicted to self-ridicule. I suppose this is something of a distortion of how the perfect mother is required to be – devoted to her child at the expense of everyone else (hence the urge to kill first and ask questions later) and utterly self-sacrificing (hence the willingness to present oneself as incapable of reason in the hope that this amuses others). I mean, I suppose all this – I don’t actually think it, since that would be a step too far.
Having come to a realisation of my own stupidity, I now find it quite surprising that mummies are still permitted to do serious things such as work. Writing columns about one’s own idiocy is okay, I guess (in fact, it’s probably ideal). But anything beyond that is a worry. Indeed, looking back on my very first “proper” job, I recall being handed a project that was in a total state and being informed that this was down to the previous employee’s new mummy status (although this was not actually written in the handover notes – they featured some nonsense about lack of investment and shifts in the market requirements – I can’t quite remember, and for that I blame my own kids).
Anyhow, get a load of me – writing words! On a computer! Don’t worry, though, none of these things are really “ideas” – it’s all just instinct.