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Maureen Pugh feature

SocietyOctober 18, 2018

Maureen Pugh’s mum and the power of unconditional love

Maureen Pugh feature

The mother of Maureen Pugh, the National MP whom Simon Bridges called ‘fucking useless’, has rounded on the party leader, calling him a ‘dumb arse’ in return. Good on her, says Emily Writes: all power to mummy warriors, of all ages.

I was at Chipmunks – sometimes it feels like I live there – when I heard a man yelling.

The problem with the Chipmunks dads who come on Sundays is that they mostly only parent on Sundays. They don’t know how to be chill. They’re not used to the screaming. They get overwhelmed easily. Not all dads mind you – just most of them.

They change the vibe of Chipmunks: they hover over their kids, they get “involved”, they climb into the ball pit while the mothers sit at the tables slamming shots of straight caffeine. Which is of course great, it’s good to be involved I guess. But performative parenting is tiring, especially when it’s a Sunday and you’re at Chipmunks and you’re on deadline, and you’re… let’s face it… a bit dusty.

I looked in the general direction of the yelling and realised he was yelling at my kids. I got up (not in a rush mind you) and asked what was going on. He exploded (as they so often do) because he put his three month old in the ball pit and a ball hit them. Who could have ever guessed this would be the outcome of putting a baby in the gastro pit? What an unforseen tragedy!

“Your little one is a bit young for this bit,” I gently suggested. I pointed to the sign that said clearly: Ages three and up.

“Your daughter is wild! She pushed my child over!” he yelled at me (his child ran off to play, seemingly not traumatised by the push).

I rolled my eyes and gave him a look that said my son did not push over your kid and I walked off as he huffed and puffed. I wondered if his over-the-top reaction was about the fact that he thought my son was a girl because he was wearing his favourite dress. I’d noticed shock at the behaviour of “girls” who were in fact boys wearing pink or with long hair – though when they were recognised as boys, their behaviour was suddenly fine. Not so for little girls.

As I mused on this, and the fact that my kids are GOOD kids, my oldest – who is an extreme narc – told me that actually my youngest did push over the other child. “For no reason!” he declared, outraged. After a careful discussion with Eddie about how snitches get stitches I put on my big girl panties and went over to the other parent and apologised for rolling my eyes at him.

I was National MP Maureen Pugh’s mum in Chipmunks. My immediate reaction was that MY child had been smeared. That this guy was WRONG. Because my child is kind and sweet and would never push over another child.

In case you haven’t seen, which fair enough – I can hardly keep up myself – Pugh’s mother June Brigg jumped to her daughter’s defence after Simon Bridges called her “fucking useless”. Pugh’s mother wrote to The AM Show to call Simon Bridges a “dumb arse”.

“I would like to say something about Simon Bridges and the remark he made about my daughter Maureen Pugh,” she wrote.

“He really must be a dumb arse as my daughter is a hard worker for National she got more votes for them than any other on the West Coast and to call her useless is insulting and a lie.

“As far as I’m concerned, he can go suck eggs and he’ll never get our vote as long as he’s in power.”

I see this all the time and I love the mummy warriors – those who will defend their kids until their dying breath. It’s wonderful. That knee jerk FUCK YOU based on almost no evidence but the fact that we love our children more than anything in the world – it’s a biological imperative.

It’s not something we can fathom, that our children are dicks. We just can’t really process it. I sometimes look at another parent and think, you must know that your child is a nightmare? And then I think, of course she doesn’t. We love our babies and they’re perfect.

I mean Maureen Pugh might be fucking useless. Don’t forget she did say her children only have chiropractic care. “They’ve never been on antibiotics. They have a really healthy immune system – there’s nothing wrong with getting a cold or getting a flu – if you have a healthy immune system you can deal with it,” she said in June 2016. She said that she doesn’t take any kind of medication. And nature delivers whatever people need. Really. So let’s not leap to her defense when she’s saying that dumb shit.

But the wonderful thing about it all is that to those we love, it doesn’t matter if we are batshit anti-vaxxers. June Brigg proves that. We all prove that!

It’s a heartening feeling to know that’s how unconditional love works. It survives political scandals and trips to the ICU (where I can assure you they never have the need to get the chiropractor in). It smooths the road for us when we fuck up and are feeling bad about it. It helps us be confident when we start new jobs, whether we are 17, 30 or 55. Those who no longer have their mums know better than anyone how precious that unwavering support is.

Those who don’t have mums look for it elsewhere, and the spot is (hopefully) filled by loved friends, aunties, sisters, grandparents… Everyone needs someone in their lives who thinks they’re fantastic despite their faults.

Our children grow, they get taller and taller, one day you pick them up for the last time and you don’t even notice. Their school bags become enormous. Suddenly they’re at high school. You’re trying to convince them condoms are the best ever. They get drunk or fired. They are earnest and annoying. They are delightful and kind and your heart swells every time you see them. You meet their partner or many, many partners. There are heartbreaks ahead, and happiness, and challenges. And you grow old just as they do.

But they’re always our children, and isn’t that nice? Even if they’re fucking useless.

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