For a long time once my kids were born I paid absolutely zero attention to world affairs.
I became one of those people living in my own little bubble. There were many reasons. It was mostly down to time, which was in short supply, exhaustion, see time, and apathy.
Becoming a mother can shrink the world. Down to its ability to harm or hinder one’s carefully grown and expelled off spring.
The day is taken up with the survival, development and ultimately the flourishing of these small people. Well at least it was for me.
I retreated to a world of toddler groups and coffee mornings. PTA meetings and NCT groups. Soft play, zoos, woods, the playground. Teaching my kids to walk, get dressed, use the toilet, ride a bike, make friends. Everyday had a pattern. As did every week. And year.
There didn’t seem room in this existence for the cold reality of the outside world. The country was enjoying the last throes of a Labour government I had voted for. We were unaware of the problems being stored up. I didn’t care. I could see a GP when I needed to. The schools had cash.
Even once that hand cart started its slow trundle towards Hades I still didn’t much care. We had school events and parents evening and sports fixtures and the long school holidays full of adventures and trips. Life was mostly wonderful.
However it made me insular and woefully inadequate in any company where children were not the main focus. I was out of my depth at my husband’s work functions. I was uninformed.
But here is the thing. It helped me stay happy.
Since the start of the pandemic I have been reading a daily paper again. Looking at dashboards. Listening to round the clock news. Obsessing about the what ifs and what might have beens.
And whilst I am now very well informed I am also less happy.
For what started off as worry about the pandemic is now a worry about the environment, Russia, climate change, China, knife crime, Trumpism, the pandemic, the woeful state of our democracy, refugees, inequality etc etc.
The impotence I feel in nearly all these areas of world affairs is hard to live with. As is the indignation. The vitriol. The unfairness of mostly everything.
And although I am not advocating being wilfully uninformed about the world around us there is something to be said for the ‘head in the sand’ approach.
It’s tempting to retreat, ostrich like, to my bubble.