moans that from the day she produced the first of her four children everyone expected her to be a "good mother" and assessed her every action against this impossible ideal. Any careless lapse was instantly jumped on.
But can this really be true? Surely in this day and age everyone - including non-parents like myself - knows that parents are not perfect, children are not perfect, and obviously you have to make allowances for normal, fumbling human behaviour.
Not so, says Bronwen. She's expected to make gourmet school lunches, supply everyone's favourite breakfast cereals, be a maths wizard and always have matching socks on hand. She's meant to be forever smiling and free of foibles and oddities.
I don't believe people are so censorious. Doesn't every other parent know full well how hard it is to bring up children? How demanding and awkward they are, how exhausting and infuriating, how unpredictable and startling. Do parents who know all too well the non-stop craziness of parenting and their own constant inability to measure up really expect other parents to reach some exalted standard they couldn't possibly reach themselves? Are they truly such mean hypocrites?
Even those of us who've never had children and may know little of the day-to-day turmoil and weariness of looking after them can surely imagine what it's like and sympathise with those mums and dads who're temporarily losing it or collapsing in a defeated heap while their offspring happily misbehave?
Who are all these people who expect Bronwen to be so saintly? If they're friends and relatives, then shouldn't she either keep well away from them or tell them to go screw themselves? If they're complete strangers, why take any notice of them at all? Or are these elevated standards ones she's actually setting herself, some kind of internal perfectionist streak?
This "good mother" hang-up seems especially odd for someone who's had four children. Hasn't she realised by now that there's no perfect way to bring up a child and you just have to take things as they come and do the best you can? Isn't the best response to other people's sniffy disdain a gale of raucous laughter and another glass of pinot noir?