One of the best things that ever happened to me was becoming a mother.
I can’t imagine what I would have found to do with my time without children to fill my every waking minute. They still try do it, and they’re (allegedly) adults now. Although, these days I do sometimes manage to snatch a few hours free from them demanding what’s for dinner, or where are their socks/phone chargers/car keys (delete as appropriate).
It sounds like there are dozens of them. It only feels like that sometimes – they are just two, one of each, as they say. A son and a daughter, neither of whom has properly left home yet.
My own mother, pictured here with me many years ago (before my sister arrived on the scene), is now 93 years old. She lives in a care home and is quite frail and forgetful, which is sad because she used to be a very busy, capable, fit woman, who taught me loads.
She wrestled with barrage balloons at the tail end of the Second World War (as a member of the WRAF), succeeding as a feisty female in a male-dominated workplace. I have her to thank for my brand of feminism, which has never let me accept failure just because I’m a woman. At an early age I realised there were different rules for boys and girls, which just served to make me more determined to succeed. Women have to work harder in their careers to prove themselves – I was no exception, and was often bitter about such inequality. I like to think things won’t be so hard for the next generation.
My mother also taught me how to strive to become a domestic goddess, and I can still rustle up a Victoria Sponge, or sew a fine seam when the occasion arises.
These days, I have my mother to thank as a source of some of my more popular poetry. She’s at the heart of my attempts to blend pathos with humour.
Here you go: Fur Coat and No Knickers (just in case it’s slipped past your attention so far).