I have just read in the newspapers how a new breed of modern woman is emerging who wants to stay home and look after the children instead of going to work.
This is a significant event in social evolution. It offers convincing evidence of many aspects of human psychology (did I say female psychology? Would I!).
Firstly, it proves the human race is essentially very dumb.
Secondly, it proves there’s nothing new under the sun.
Thirdly, it proves we have the memory span of goldfish.
Staying at home and looking after the children is not a “new breed of modern woman”.
It’s as old as… well, staying home and looking after the children.
When we lived in caves it was the men who went out and argued with sabre‑toothed tigers and the women who stopped the kids falling in the fire.
Right up to 50 years ago it was the men who went out and argued with the boss and the women who stopped the kids climbing in the oven.
I was there. No mother in our neighbourhood worked… except for Mrs Murphy who used to shuffle out after dark and was popularly believed to be either on the game, or a nurse.
I can remember arriving home daily from school to find my mum in her regulation standard‑issue pinny, up to her elbows in dough or soapsuds.
Maybe she was whistling the kind of whistle that says, “I am so over this I am going to leave home and be chairwoman of AMP”. But I don’t think so. I think she whistled because she enjoyed it.
Not every day of course. Some days she hated it, and probably us. Was that a sign that she was diminished as a human being and a woman? No!
It was a sign that if you didn’t make your own bed at least once in the week, or if you didn’t turn the music down (and how-can-you-call-that-music-anyway-you-can’t-understand-a-word!), then you might find your tea in the cat.
Since then we’ve been through 50 years of women finding themselves by climbing career ladders and being breadwinners.
Now before you start queuing up to stick my head on a spike let me place it on the record that I think this is A Good Thing.
But it only goes to prove what every red-blooded male with a shed, a stubby holder, and fishing rod already knows: that climbing career ladders and being breadwinners is no more (and no less) exciting or boring or fulfilling that being up to your arms in soapsuds or dough, or chasing the kids round the yard with the copper stick.
I mean, my mum was there! Ask her! She’ll say what she always says… that back then there were fewer divorces, less stress, less drink, less crime, no junkies and Vera Lynn.
Mind you, my mum also says all black dogs are stupid and you can’t trust people with ginger hair, so I do have some reservations.
But in this case what she says is true. Back then we didn’t have any of those problems. (Except Vera Lynn, but no period in history is perfect). Coincidence? Or is there a link?
What bothers me, though, is why we’re getting this new breed of modern women.
Is it because they’ve suddenly realised what a valuable and fulfilling role motherhood is?
Or is it because they’ve discovered that life in the office is… well, not a Utopian secret society of deeply fulfilled and successful human beings; and they’ve finally decided – sod this for a game of soldiers!
I wouldn’t have a clue.
All I know is that the grass is not greener on either side of the fence. Not unless they’re spending a lot more on water.
And at least I won’t have to make my own tea any more