Thursday, 18 October 2012

I-Spy

The government, this morning's news tells me, is launching an apprenticeship scheme for would-be spies. Until now I've assumed that, should redundancy claim me, my future will unfold behind a Tesco check-out. How else is a middle-aged mother, who no longer recalls what an isosceles triangle is, to earn the mortgage repayments?

But today middle-aged mothers must have jubilated, for who could be better qualified for state espionage than our nation's parents? We've spent years outwitting our children, decoding body language, sweet-talking officials and suppressing our  pre-parent identities. Who but a parent could secure unquestioning co-operation with a jelly bean? Glean, through deft reconnaissance, the contents of other children's school lunch boxes? Infiltrate the closed ranks of a toddler group?

I've been hastily redrawing my CV to highlight my requisite skills and I suggest that you all do the same for when the secret service comes calling.

Adaptability I react unfalteringy to my official pseudonyms - 'E and G's Mother', 'Father's Wife' - without ever betraying my true identity.

Cunning I can sneak spinach undetected into every known culinary dish bar Cornflakes.

Planning With an invisible sleight of hand I can alter the vicarage clocks so that the children's bedtime arrives an hour-and-a-half early.

Discretion Monthly I infiltrate my offspring's bedroom armed only with a black bin liner and remove, untraceably, possessions that could lucratively be sold on eBay.

Memory I can store in my head three dozen vital pieces of information, including the date of next week's netball match, the price of patio roses at Nottcutts, the number of Haribos left in the oft-pilfered bribery tin, the sum of years until my kids will leave home, the digits of my overdraft, the next three months of the Sunday School rota, the start times of Strictly Come Dancing, the birthdays of twelve key 9-year-olds, the Vicar's blood pressure readings and the expiry date of Waitrose's special offer on Bendicks Bittermints.

Sleuthing Confronted with a stash of sweetie wrappers inside a Co-Op bag inside a shoe box inside my 7-year-old's wardrobe I followed the trail to the depleted contents of the aforementioned bribery tin and laid appropriate traps.


Courage I knew one explosion had gone off and another was imminent. Yet, steely-nerved and oblivious to the toxic gases, I knelt down and prised off the laden knickers of a friend's toddler last week. 


Manipulation I can persuade my recalcitrant children to master their weekly spellings/endure a muddy hike/swallow a portion of peas with the power of a single word: MacDonalds.

Poise I can balance a lager, shaken, not stirred, in the midst of a vicious infant brawl and not spill a drop on the parquet.

Commitment Ten years of unreasonable demands, unpleasant threats, lengthy overtime and toxic substances have not quelled me. I remain unwaveringly devoted to my small charges.

PS Right on cue, the James Bond 007 fragrance has been launched which should convince your interviewers of your suitability should the fumes of Napisan skew their judgement.

So what skills can you offer MI6? Any disclosures will be treated with strictest confidentiality.

28 comments:

  1. Absolutely brilliant! I have such a big smile on my face right now. Well my skills would have to be bribery, finger pointing, and a poker face! X.

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    1. All those are very distinguished qualifications. And I think you should add wisdom..

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  2. Hear that? That was MI6 knocking (undercover of darkness and disguised as the Tesco delivery man) on your front door. They NEED you!

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    1. You got my hopes all up - but it was a man flogging dusters!

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  3. lol x I think my CV will read only...'twitter' as both skills and experience... and in fact what I've been doing with the entire of my maternity leave... Pah! xx

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    1. Heavens, Twitter with its politics, brevity, cat-fights and decoding and navigational challenges qualifies you perfectly. Glad I didn't know about it when I was on maternity leave else I'd never have got around to rearing my children!

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  4. I do not fold under extreme pressure and even torture. A 3yo can scream in my ear, "YEEEES MUUMMMYYY I WANT CHOCOLAAAAATE!!!" for up tp several hours while pummeling my upper body with her fists, digging her elbows in me to try and heave me out of my chair and pinching my face to try to get it to say yes.

    I can also survive the torture called extreme sleep deprivation. I do it weekly and I still don't give in to demands of chocolate. Have I got the job?

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    1. Sounds as though we're going to be evenly matched in that interview room!

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  5. love it, very funny. I have also changed clocks before bedtime.

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    1. It's a favour to our children. They don't realise how much sleep is good for them!

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  6. This made me lol, I will go and adjust cv accordingly!

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  7. Oh, you are definitely me. Though I'm afraid the bin-bag contents are not worth eBaying (mostly consisting of snipped-up bits of forests of paper), and are secreted to the wheely bin. I'm amazed that my son hasn't cottoned on to the clock trick yet...

    (Though I do hope you are heading for a career on Waitrose tills rather than Tesco ones, should M16 miss you when the time comes...)

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    1. I thought eBay made me sound a Woman of the World. Actually I horde half all for the church bazaar and bin the rest. And yes, I've always dreamed of those quilted Waitrose jackets but fear their candidates are better at geometry than I am.

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  8. I do look forward to your posts. I always whizz straight to them when they shine like a beacon in my inbox. Love this one. You've got me thinking, but youve most of it covered. Am transferring my subscription to my Dashboard so you'll see me unsub, but havne't gone, just want you earlier! V well done on this. Exquisite.

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    1. You are so lovely to know! No idea what a dashboard subscription means. Does that mean I lose your portrait?

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  9. Within your point about Memory, you hold the key to my desires. Nuff said

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    1. Ooh, now which of those is your desire? A patio rose? Hey, you're not offering to take over Sunday School are you?

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  10. Acting ability: my composure remains dead pan despite having to say "a poo, a poo poo, have you done a poo?" over and over again. I can employ shark eyes in Waitrose even when meltdown hits in the queue and the last organic nibble finger has been dropped in the floor. I have no qualms about saying of my own flesh and blood "oh dear, such bad behaviour! Who's child is this" whilst mouthing at my husband " GO GO GO"

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    1. I have an awful feeling you'll beat me to any vacancy!

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  11. Calmness under pressure (evidence: three children, one breakfast table, everyone out of the house with full tummies and clean teeth by 8.00am).

    Resilience under torture (evidence: child violin practice under the same roof).

    Moral strength (evidence: agreeing to child joining recorder group, even after years of violin practice of older sibling).

    Dealing with disappointment (evidence: child eats spinach at school lunch, though would never, never, never do same at home).

    And I used to go out with a diplomat. Ha! Beat that one!

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    1. Your moral strength awes me! It's going to be a hard fight to get one of those vacancies.

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    2. In fact... I have to reveal that I am actually already a spy, in deep cover as a middle-aged housewife/blogger.

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  12. If they are still recruiting in 20 years time Bibsey would be a shoe-in. I watched back-to-back Spooks when I was pregnant with her. She pretty much came out of the womb a highly trained Spook.

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    1. No need to make her wait so long. It's raw school-leavers they're after. I'm just hoping my extra decades are no impediment.

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