Monday, April 08, 2013

Maggie - Upon Reflection

A few weeks ago we were driving along and I was chattering away telling Anna that she could grow up to be the President of the United States, because I'm that kind of mother, and she replied:

 "Mom, I can't be the President, I'm a girl"

And then I drove in to a tree. Well, I didn't obviously, but holy hell where have we gone wrong for Anna aged 7 to think that. I was truly, deeply shocked.

Whatever else I may have thought about Margaret Thatcher, she was Prime Minister throughout my entire childhood and because of that fact I never once thought that I couldn't do anything because I was a woman.

Except perhaps change down from 5th gear to 2nd gear. I still can't do that so I moved to the land of automatics.

If you grew up in the North of England like me, there were plenty of reasons to dislike Maggie. Whenever we went to see my Nanna in Barnsley there were 'Coal not Dole' signs in every window. She also made it impossible for any woman over 40 to wear a blue skirt suit without being told she looked like her. Issues people, issues.

I have nurtured a more deeply personal resentment. When I was Anna's age one of the best parts of school was being chosen to be the person to put the straws in the school milk.

Every morning a crate of miniature milk bottles was delivered to our classroom and the lucky milk monitor, allegedly chosen at random, got to spear the lids with a straw. Anyone who knows the joy of plunging a spoon through the foil top of a Nutella jar or a jar of instant coffee *English joy only* knows what I'm talking about. I didn't get to do it very often. It always seemed to be someone else's turn. Some naughty kid who'd finally done something good, or some new kid who was being made to feel special. It got to the point that I finally plucked up the courage to ask my teacher if I could please, please, please be milk monitor soon. And she said yes. And then Margaret Thatcher abolished milk for kids in schools and I never got to relive that joy.

I understand that she was trying to save money. Upon reflection I do see that there weren't a whole lot of kids running around with rickets in the leafy lanes of Harrogate BUT how was I ever going to make it to Prime Minister if I couldn't even become milk monitor? It still rankles.

So now I'm going to lecture my daughters on why America owes them a female President, and then I'm going to have a Nutella sandwich with milk.