We all know her (and many of us, including myself, used to be a bit like her). I came across her last week, sitting at a table right by me in a small café.
I was doing some work. She was chatting to her friend, leaning towards her like a flower bent by a breeze. She was lovely: Jasper Conran top, satin skirt and soft leather boots. She had clear, peachy skin, glossy auburn hair and thin, crescent-shaped eyebrows.
As she talked, she lifted her coffee up with a freshly manicured hand; she had red nails and I could imagine her in a bar, tapping a cigarette over an ashtray, then pursing her pouty lips around it.
I really didn’t want to hear their conversation, but they had a lot to say to each other, loudly. They’d barely finished one sentence before they were tumbling over the next.
They were talking about mothers.
“If you have children, you should look after them yourself,” she said. Fair dues. They’d covered trips to Sri Lanka, plans for the weekend, a new line of makeup; and after exhausting these topics were conspiratorially discussing a mother they’d met who had hired help.
It was the tone that caught my attention: a little bit sneering. I could see the word LAZY captured in a bubble above her head. Why can’t mothers do it ALL themselves?
I was tempted to give her a look (and maybe I did!), but realised that in her childless state, she’d have no clue what it’s like to find yourself far from home, with a new baby barnacled to your boob, a job to go back to, 20km school runs, half as much sleep as you used to get, a household to manage and someone judging whether it’s right or wrong to hire a nanny.
One day, she’ll find out!