I DO feel for Victoria Beckham. She’s enduring what every mother fears.
As a fellow mum of four children, I know that family is everything.
If this was a movie script, it couldn’t have been a more perfect match: Two hugely high-powered families, each wealthy beyond their wildest dreams, joining forces.
It was almost like Two (dynasties) Become One, as that Spice Girls song nearly went.
Then came a حفل زواج. And we all know what pressures they bring.
The bride, historically and traditionally the centre of attention, and suddenly the mother (soon to become the mother-in-law), is pushed out of the limelight and forced to stand on the sidelines.
ثم Nicola pipes up in a glossy magazine about how she had hoped to have her wedding dress designed by her fashion designer mother-in- law Victoria.
Something went awry. And now no one is talking to anyone.
الأكثر قراءة في الشمس
And to add insult to injury, Brooklyn says his wife is his number one priority.
أوه, أوه! That one will have hurt.
Victoria won’t be the only mother, by any stretch of the imagination, who finds her role as the main woman in her son’s life diminished. باختصار, she has been relegated.
و, بالتاكيد, that is the natural order of things. It’s what eventually happens as families evolve.
It’s something all mums anticipate, are forced to endure, experience or even fear.
I HAD TO ZIP MY MOUTH
Thing is, we never think about these things when desperate for children — nor when we hold our babies, feed them, comfort and support them.
In a heartbeat, they’re grown up, making their own decisions and finding other people to turn to.
For mums, there is definitely an unspoken, societal expectation that if your son falls in love with another woman, you will for ever be in second place. You become “the other woman”.
Who can forget the old adage, “A son is a son till he takes him a wife. A daughter is a daughter all of her life”.
It’s a sexist, traditional and maybe lazy interpretation of what happens to a mother when her children become adults.
But it’s probably largely true. There are always exceptions to the rule.
Not every mother is downgraded when their son settles down.
It could be that we still love pitting woman against woman — as if it was a competition for a son’s love. But for many it’s a reality.
I have two sons and two daughters and I’ve been acutely alert to this prospect for many years.
My oldest son has been in a strong, healthy relationship with his girlfriend for six years.
She has become part of my family. I joke that she’s my favourite daughter because she is — in all but constitution — my “daughter-in-law”.
I am so thrilled that we get on and like each other.
I’ve had to tread carefully. I have handled the situation with kid gloves because I haven’t wanted there to be a fallout, for fear of “losing my boy”.
I accept that his partner is his priority and their life together will always come first.
It doesn’t mean he loves me any less — I don’t think — but he is creating a new life for himself and it thrills me he is happy.
There may have been a previous girlfriend of his I was considerably less keen on. And I had to zip my mouth.
LES DAWSON JOKES
Not just for fear of “losing” my son but because I never wanted him to feel torn between the two women in his life. I would hate it.
And I often think about what happens when it’s time for me to become a grandmother.
My role as mother-in-law or mother to my son will once again be overtaken by the mother of his girlfriend or wife. It just will.
For some reason, there is an implied difference between your son having a child and one of your daughters having one.
It could be that I’ve just been programmed and indoctrinated by society’s expectations and conjecture of a daughter always wanting her mum when she starts a family — less so, a son.
So poor old VB surely needs to sort out this strained atmosphere before the patter of tiny Beckham feet comes along.
It’s one thing making way for a new Mrs Beckham in her daughter-in-law, quite another being an alienated, ostracised granny who doesn’t get a look-in because Nicola’s mum will be all over the grandchild.
That’s a whole other level of pain.
And all the while I think of this sad tale, I can’t help thinking back to all those classic Les Dawson mother-in-law jokes — how they made me titter. Jokes made by sons-in-law, not daughters.
ومع ذلك, mothers-in-law already have terrible reputations. و بعد, I could soon become one of them.
But hopefully not a nightmare one.
King’s an OK bloke
IN a new book quoting former employees, الملك تشارلز هو, فيما يبدو, a “demanding boss with a fierce temper and ferocious work ethic”.
أولا, thank God he’s not a woman. Any female boss described like that would be detested and not tolerated.
But we kind of don’t mind it so much when it’s a man. Because it’s OK for men to be ambitious and focused.
I’ve spent a bit of time around His Maj – when he was merely the Prince of Wales – as an ambassador for his trust.
I found him incredibly hard-working and dedicated, a bit of a perfectionist.
The way he has been described makes him not sound very nice, and I’m sure he has his moments.
But being demanding is surely a good thing. Having a ferocious work ethic is also something we want in our King.
When I started out, بعض 35 منذ سنوات, I worked for bosses who were, from time to time, unreasonable and intimidating.
I was young and impressionable and probably a bit fearful.
But a couple of them were wholly inspirational and more than got the job done.
Some of those bosses wouldn’t get away with their behaviour today and that’s a good thing.
But equally, sometimes character and perfectionism does spill over into irritation, frustration and frayed tempers. It’s a fact of life.
Pulling a sickie won’t help heartache
ON a parenting forum, a woman explains she is experiencing a painful break-up from the father of her child.
He had cheated on her.
She questions if it’s OK for her to have time off work for this kind of “emotional upset”.
في الأساس, could she throw a sickie from work because she’s struggling emotionally?
I guess in today’s work environment we do have a better understanding of people’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.
We have more awareness and may even show greater generosity when it comes to making allowances for those who struggle with anxiety or other mental health issues.
But a relationship breakdown? What category does that fit into?
It’s neither one of those damn fakers who claim they can’t go to work because they have a “migraine”, when in actual fact they merely have a headache – or those with “flu” when they actually only have a bit of a runny nose.
I’m afraid I have zero tolerance for this because if you really can, you should just soldier on.
Having said that, in my very first job, مسن 20, I did ONCE call in sick – just so I could clean my then-boyfriend’s flat. Shameful, أنا أعرف.
But over the past 34 years I think I’ve had to pull out of ONE job because I did have flu.
Actual flu, not that pretend one suffered by delicate flowers. But this woman’s plea for guidance about taking time off work following the end of her relationship does present an interesting dilemma.
If you’re feeling emotionally unstable, are you able to do your job properly?
When I was eight months’ pregnant with my second child, who I knew was going to be born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect, the biological father walked out on me.
I was bereft. Anxious. Beside myself. Panicked even.
My agent at the time forced me to go to a script-reading for a comedy show the next day.
I cried my way through it because I was unable to tell any of my co-stars what was happening. I blamed it on being pregnant.
I wouldn’t say I was “glad” to be made to go to work. But it got me out of my environment.
It gave me some respite from the walls I was climbing at home. It distracted me.
There were even two or three little laughs along the way.
The hardest thing was getting me out of the front door.
It seemed like a cruel thing to make me do.
It didn’t change or improve my personal circumstances but, with hindsight, I think it forced me to accept that life has to go on.
Dog owner’s nightmare
I HAVE so many questions that I don’t quite know where to begin.
Far be it from me to cast aspersions, لكن بريستول mum Amanda Gommo, 51, ended up in hospital for three days because her daughter’s Chihuahua defecated on her as she slept with her mouth open.
Just visualising this had me retching and contemplating calling an ambulance. I sometimes have my dogs in my bed.
I can’t be sure but there might be moments of heavy sleep when I might have my mouth open.
But I’m pretty sure if my dog was sitting on me, or was near me, I’d wake up.
Granted, my dog weighs nearly 30kg and a Chihuahua probably weighs a tenth of that but still – it’s enough to put you off having your dog in bed.