A bit of a shock today. I was having a cappuccino with the lovely S after our usual gruelling twice-round-the-park training schedule when we chanced upon a fellow mummy who shall be known only as D. Talk moved, as it inexorably does, to the question of work. Apparently there are those who consider that the consumption of creamy coffee in parks is not enough to keep a woman going!
But seriously, a lot of us mummies have been made redundant recently. In my book group of six, exactly 50 per cent of us have been given the chop since the bankers went bananas. In fact, economists could do worse than use our group as a quick litmus test giving the financial health of the nation. While two of the group have never worked since marriage, one cheerfully admitting that even before she wed, her closest brush with employment was as an assistant to the assistant dinner lady, the rest of us have bobbed in and out of work as the demands of family life, pregnancy, small babies, country relocation and the vagaries of the economy have allowed. Things must be looking up, though, as one of us has recently landed a plum job. Sadly, it wasn’t me, but I’m working on it. Sort of. In between cappuccinos.
Which brings me back to the park. We were all chatting about another mum, who is about to re-enter the labour market in a spectacular blaze of glory. ‘Of course, she’ll regret it. She was dumpy before she stopped work and started running round the park every day. Once she’s back at work ….’ D tailed off. I was surprised. The mother in question has always seemed enviably svelte. Had she really had a dumpy past? ‘Oh yes, she was dumpy. Like us. Well, me. Well, normal. Normal, I meant!’ said D quickly. Luckily she then had to go. Otherwise I would have hit her. Obviously. Harrumph.
It’s possible that drinking cappuccinos in the park may be counteracting our strict walking regime. I don’t know. But dumpy? Pah!