I wish to make a confession; my name’s Emily and I have a Mummy crush. It’s been several years since my last crush.
Back in the 1980s, carting my gangly legs and crooked teeth off to secondary school heralded the start of a series of perfectly platonic crushes on other women. How I envied the sixth formers their cool clothes and air of insouciance, and oh how I failed to mimic either. At University I adored a senior lecturer for her intellect and slightly wild hair which flew behind her as she raced between lectures. I find fewer idols in my working life but have recently developed a Mummy crush on a woman I see on the school run.
She’s always smiling. I mean always. Even when I stalk… I mean even when I see her shopping with the children, she sports a beatific smile as she glides through the supermarket aisles, filling her basket with whole-grain crackers and organic humous. I never see her dragging recalcitrant toddlers by their dislocated arms after they refuse to cross the road, or barking commands at them like a bad tempered Corporal. She and I walk the same route to school, but she is always a hundred yards or more ahead, her children meekly carrying their book bags whilst my tribe of mutinous pygmies fling their bags at me, their parental Sherpa.
I want to be her. As I’m screaming blue murder at two year old G, who’s made us late because she’ll only wear orange pants and there aren’t any clean, or the lollipop lady points out I’ve still got my slippers on, I think how nice it must be to be so perfect. I once found myself right behind my crush, shopping for cheese at the Farmer’s Market. I sidled up to her in the hope that I’d hear her muttering obscenities between clenched teeth, but she was simply humming an aria as she packed her brie into a wicker basket.
When I meet her on the school run I just know that she’s left a tray of freshly baked scones in the kitchen, covered with a damp tea towel, instead of the breakfast detritus I heaped in the sink five minutes earlier. It’s clear that she lovingly irons each child’s uniform, rather than make them eat their toast in a steamy bathroom so the creases drop out. I darkly suspect her children kiss each other goodbye in the playground, while mine belt one another round the head and leg it into pre-school. I’ve never seen her husband but I’m quite sure he’s enviably attractive and regularly serviced by his smiling wife. She is undoubtedly a leading light on the PTA, sings soprano in the church choir and makes quiche. I could never aspire to such perfection.
Of course, she could just be on drugs, and what I take for the serene beam of a perfect wife and mother is in fact the vacant stare of a valium-induced haze. Now that I could definitely achieve.