What Clued-Up Mothers Know

Not quite sure where this comes from, certainly not the mums I know best, who seem lovely. Probably the darkest corner of Self, as usual. Please take with abundant salt.

Some Things Clued-up Mothers Know, while knowing better than to utter them, ever, except to very nearest and dearest.

That baby-milestones, contrary to the routine disclaimers, say everything about your offspring’s brilliance and life prospects. You need to be worried if your child is not AT LEAST six months ahead of the official guideline-schedule.

However, even if they are, you can never be complacent.

At school, popularity matters, almost as much as academic achievement.

And your child’s appearance. Even in uniform, cool gear; trainers, jacket, hair make all the difference.

It also matters if your child is overweight.

Or in any other way culturally or physically inferior (er, black).

Unless they can compensate for it by being exceptionally cool/witty/confident/good-looking.

Where you live is crucial; children in a mixed-intake school are quick to check out which classmates come from a posh conservation area terrace and which from council estate flats. Just like their parents, they know what it means, and, good heavens, why shouldn’t they?

Of course classes of 10 or 15 (private schools) are better than classes of 30 (state schools.)

Of course the children of the wealthy will always be brighter better and more talented than the children of the poor.

For the truth is there’s no such thing as talent, not really. There are just biddable children, and very determined parents.

Of course white children are brighter better nicer and more suitable playmates for your child than black children, although the occasional, suitably isolated and subdued black child is also nice for them to learn to say the right things about.

But of course some people’s children will always be unequal. That doesn’t really matter, because after all some wretched child has to be bottom of the class.

It’s my job as a parent to make sure it isn’t ever mine.


About marytuda

An accidental first time mum in her fifties reflects on all things maternal from position of perpetual outsider and prolonged state of shock. An urban odessy through parenthood plus from one who thought she'd never go there.
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2 Responses to What Clued-Up Mothers Know

  1. Angela Blair says:

    Interesting. We’re a white middle-class double income family in a conservation area, except our son is autistic and has no concept of what it means to be popular or cool But if he wasn’t I wonder if we wouldn’t always be trying to wangle some subtle advantage for him. I think though that even perfect seeming families have skeletons in closets like mental illness, alcoholism and break ups to deal with which is not to say that this evens things out, just that life offers buggerations which you can’t plan for

    • marytuda says:

      For sure! A lot of us I think are tormented by a vision of the “alpha” family, in every way we think in complete contrast to our own. Rightly or wrongly, fairly or otherwise a lot of what I write is in implicit opposition to, I suppose, some perception of a “nappy-valley” home, double-income, French nanny, private-school, all-white well-spoken friends despite the evidently-coloured masses “out there”, literally on the doorstep, with whom one never associates socially (though one might exchange a few friendly words with the cab driver, so long as he knows his place); smugly assuming one’s children will inherit the best jobs, university places etc. As of right. Irrespective of “talent” (what is that, anyway?) I didn’t quite come from this background myself (though my parents knew plenty of people who did) so perhaps this gives my dislike an extra edge. But if I knew these families better perhaps I’d be aware of their skeletons (yes, probably every family has some) and be more sympathetic. On an individual basis, at least!

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