I forgive them for being beautiful. I forgive them for having rich husbands. I forgive them for having big houses, megawatt smiles and successful careers. That's OK. As the pigs in Animal Farm said, some are more equal than others. I can live with the fact that their sense of style has been praised everywhere from Vogue to Heat. I can cope with them being so gloriously photogenic you can almost hear angels singing. I can see why their husbands stare at them in awe, as if they can't quite believe their luck.
And then they go and spoil it all. First it was SamCam and Florence. Then it was Jools Oliver and Buddy. There they are with their brand-new babies, and I am suddenly irrationally and murderously jealous.
And I hate myself for it. I don't even know these women. They are probably lovely. If we sat down in Starbucks, we'd soon be swapping sisterly stories about skinny jeans and mangetout. It's not even as if I don't have babies of my own. (Teenaged babies, admittedly, but still the fruit of my womb.) So I have no defence. Babies should be a cause for celebration particularly as the Camerons lost their much-loved son Ivan, and the Olivers had difficulty getting going in the first place.
So I'm cross with them, and cross with myself, and I think if one more person tells me Endellion is a Cornish village, and Buddy is a bit flowery like Petal and Daisy, I might have to stop biting my tongue, and then it will all come out, this great huge splurge of irrational rage, like projectile frogspawn.
Because what it says, this new baby, is that you really can have it all. You can work, have a blissful relationship, look a million dollars, and produce huge numbers of children including a very exhaustion-making newborn. No problem. In the 1980s - with role models like Tina Turner and Nicola Horlick - we knew it was all possible, but thought you had to be a pretty rare woman to achieve it. In the 1990s, everyone became a bit more doubtful and started talking about glass ceilings.
In this century, we've had earnest debates about feminism and young City women secretly wanting to be stay-at-home mums. And we all rather smugly came round to thinking that the whole concept of 'having it all' was all a bit shallow because life - global warming, peak oil, religious fanaticism - was so much more complicated than that.
And then Samantha Cameron, wife of the British prime minister, creative director of Smythson, has her baby, and Jools Oliver, wife of the British national treasure, ex-model and published author, has hers - and your jaw drops. Because it is, clearly, perfectly possible to have it all. And if you're not simultaneously a) beautiful b) rich and c) the mother of multiple offspring, you're simply not trying hard enough.
Oh, the shame of even expressing it.
I'd better book myself in for a facial.
By: Marianne Kavanagh
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