For my brethren on the mañana side of the Atlantic: 'Iceland' in this instance means Britain's premier budget frozen foods shop, not that other rainy island. You can buy a hundred differently-packaged bags of fish fingers at Iceland the store, and a lifetime's worth of ketchup.
I had a few questions to ask of this lorry. Like: Was Boudica a big fan of frozen chips? Does the purchase of bulk freezer peas transform a mum into a some kind of Odysseus, tied to the mast of a death-star buggy, braving the siren call of fresher foods? Are mini-vans as sexy as bat-mobiles? Have us mums really got as little fashion sense as Wonder Woman?
|THIS IS SPARTA!!!|
The apparition of this motto in my morning left me thinking of that scene in The Princess Bride, where the dashing hero Wesley is captured by Prince Humperdinck and strapped to a super-duper-evil torture machine in the dungeon pit of despair. As the film makes abundantly clear, the super-duper-evil machine process is quite painful and screamy, and it extracts years off Wesley's life in the blink of an eye. He leaves the dungeon a broken, aged, near-dead sort of hero.
The super-duper-evil machine process definitely has some similarities to this parenting gig. Kids will give you a backache in place of a social life. They are the world's most effective antidote to youthfulness in adults. Of course, they also infuse life with a deep, abiding sense of purpose - something you normally can't purchase on the frozen foods aisle.
So if I was a Motto Creator instead of a Soup Developer, I'd suggest this revised wording for the orange lorries, to better reflect the general experience:
Bog Standard Woman be warned!: children will turn YOU into that frazzled woman at Iceland at 3 in the afternoon: bad posture, no obvious hairstyle, shockingly ugly footware, ketchup-spattered ex-maternity shirt, gripping a trolly with white knuckles, yelling childishly at a rabid pack of short people to STOP BEING SO FLIPPING CHILDISH.
Because yes indeed - mums CAN be heroes. But madness is compulsory. And fish finger procurement is highly likely.
However, take heart Bog Standard Woman: a mama is a sort of whisky priest - she soldiers on through the Icelandic jungle, hounded by short creatures on all sides. Aisle after frozen aisle, no spending money left in her holey pockets (it has all gone on battery-operated bubble-blowers and other awful plastic tat). All she has left is a grain of hope, a truckload of caffeine, and a nearly-spent flask of brandy if she's lucky. Seriously uncool, flawed, duty bound to her calling, even to the death.
A grumpy, exhausted and very well-disguised hero.So here's a Mothering Sunday toast to dishevelled heroes with maternal battle scars - join me in raising a chipped sippy cup to tough days gone and a brighter, taller future. I hope to heaven that I may one day wear an obvious hairstyle, discover good posture, and a luxuriate in a calm demeanour. For now, I simply want the day off. I plan to spend it napping, heroically.