Janet Christie: Low visibility from the moral high ground

Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015''New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie
Pic Lisa Ferguson 25/08/2015''New Magazine byline pics - Janet Christie

“As a mother,” I say to Youngest Child, echoing the many politicians who have been seeking legitimacy for their views recently on the simple basis that they once reproduced.

Their implication that those who haven’t squeezed one out aren’t worth listening to, no matter how expert, experienced, educated, able and free from the distractions of said offspring, is insulting and irritating to everyone (mothers, non-mothers, men), surely? Or is that just me? To double check, I’m trying the phrase out on Youngest Child to see how she reacts.

“As a mother,” I say, pausing for effect so she’ll appreciate my gravitas, then pressing on with something I think she may be resistant to, “I think you should have one of those new blazers your school is suggesting as part of the uniform.”

“As a child,” she says, “as a person who is actually going to school, it is my choice. And as a child, if you get me one, I will chuck it in a hedge.”

“As a mother,” I start again...

“Stop saying that!”

Ha, that didn’t take long.

“What?” I say.

“That. ‘As a mother.’ All it means is you carried me for nine months…”

“Yes, which means I have extra authority.”

“No it doesn’t. Do you think someone who is not my mother, like Nicola Sturgeon, would say “as I’m not your mother, you can go and take drugs if you want, or whatever.”

“Dunno,” I mutter.

“No. She wouldn’t. Obviously. OK, you can say “as a mother” once a month. That’s all. No more than that. Anyway, it’s not like you need to tell me off much any more...,” she says.

“Oh? Why? Have I worn you down, broken your spirit at last?” I ask.

“No, I just can’t be bothered hiding things any more. It’s not worth being grounded. And, as a child who is well behaved, a child who doesn’t ask for much, could I please get these jeans that I found on the interweb?”

“As a mother, I’ll think about it.”


Yep, it’s irritating.