Foray into the Muffia
Kate Reddy, the heroine of Allison Pearson’s I Don’t Know How She Does It , has a high powered job in the world of finance, a yen for a Yank that supposed to be a client, and an enormous guilt trip about leaving her kids so frequently. Her number one enemies, though, she terms the “Muffia,” the self-righteous, kid pushing matrons of her London neighborhood. Their lives sport drug problems and anorexia, and are far from perfect. Yet Kate feels obligated to them somehow, assuming that their ability to stay home with their kids makes them better mothers, even as her erstwhile paramour assured her that his mom, who’d bear the acronym “SAHM” on the internet, spent her days playing cards and swimming around the bottom of a martini glass with her friends.
All of this I consider as I sit in an overcrowded, stuffy walk-in clinic with a 5 year old who is probably suffering from bronchitis. A few Y chromosomes have made their appearance, but they’re pretty rare. And these men somehow manage to have a look of boredom in their eyes, as opposed to the women. These ladies faces radiate concern, aggravation. I’m starting to believe most of them are considering homicide in order to move up their place in the queue. Their cubs are sick, and they have lives, can’t the rest of us understand that?
I wonder who these women are. What do they do? I hear smatterings, bits and pieces of their lives. These two graduated from the local high school together, this one works 2 days a week at a hair salon, this one waits tables at a bar. They’re as different from Kate’s from the Muffia as Ness is from Capone…yet not. Woven in among the trivia, day care centers are compared, sicknesses (length, severity) made to measure up. It’s competition, just at a lower scale.