Deborah Ross: Who knows why some kids grow up to be crack addicts?'

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The Independent Online

If you ask me, I do wish working mothers and stay-at-home mothers would stop scrapping as it is very tiring, boring and pointless and it also makes a terrible racket if they happen to scrap in your street, as they do in ours. Many a time I have had to stick my head out the window and shout: "You, working mother, and you, stay-at-home mother, just pack it in. There's a mother who is meant to be working but is watching Cash in the Attic up here and I can't hear a thing over this row about what's best for children and it's not as if it is ever going to get you anywhere, anyhow. Who knows why some kids grow up to be crack-addicted, maladjusted losers? Now, be off, or I'll throw a bucket of water over you both. There's a decent-ish picture frame in that attic and, goddamn it, I want to know what it's worth."

Things may quieten down for a bit after this but do not be fooled – they're only gathering strength for yet another round of name-calling while looking all superior and quoting the evidence that supports their case, although, just as there will always be evidence to support their case, there will be as much to contradict it, as these studies are no respecter of the immeasurability of this sort of thing, and appear to exist solely to wind everyone up, which they do. I've witnessed hair-pulling, kicking, pinching and often have to stick my head out of the window again to shout: "Listen, just muddle through as best you can, and as women have done for generations. What makes you think you're so special? If you want to work or have to work, work. If you don't want to work and don't have to work, don't. Either way, just get on with it and shut the hell up. That decent-ish picture frame could go for as much as £7, and I'm going to miss it."

Sometimes, I can get the stay-at-home mother and the working mother to shake hands, albeit rather gingerly, but the pact never lasts much beyond the next piece of wholly unnecessary research or someone like Emma Thompson saying you can't have it all, which is patently nonsense. I once had it all for 10 minutes on a Tuesday, but you know what? It's not all it's cracked up to be, and it is also quite itchy.