Ihave often wondered what it would be like to be a mum. According to Persil being a mum involves doing a lot of laundry, and not being able to afford pretty hats. Persil’s centenary ad  features Marion, a single mother of two sons, and five daughters. Marion has just been mugged for the last packet of Birds Eye fish fingers and she is now lying prostrate in the washing powder aisle in Asda; her whole life is flickering before her like a series of old TV commercials.
Marion’s five daughters never needed much care – they never got grubby, and all were born with an innate understanding of intelligent dosing and how to handle excessive foam – it was in their jeans. The girls were neatly washed and scrubbed and dispensed out into the world shortly after their fourteenth birthdays. Unfortunately, Marion’s two sons, now 45 and 48 respectively, still live at home, and neither has the ability to set foot outside the house without being covered in mud/strawberry milkshake/banana/Bacardi/lipstick or baby oil. And, even though both became quantum physicists, neither have ever mastered the art of how to pour Persil into the soap powder drawer. Instead they have learnt that the laundry room is out of bounds – it is their mother’s secret, private, place where they must never venture – curiosity may leave them badly scolded.
Marion is tough but gentle and knows where, and how, to seek Comfort. Sometimes late at night the ‘boys’ hear the rumbling of the much loved washing machine accompanied by their mother’s squeals of delight as she deals with stain after stain whilst also making good use of the extra spin cycle.
Regaining consciousness, Marion smiles to herself… to hell with pretty hats…. the rewards of motherhood come thick and fast depending on the washing program.
First published on The Scarlet Blue Archive 13th May 2009 – edited and revised 2022