I wouldn't like to be the one charged with writing the job description for mother. Let's just say it's a role that is complex and unrelenting but as a result overwhelming rewarding. Guide, counsellor, nurse, educator, driver, mentor, cleaner, social secretary, fashion consultant, personal shopper - there's never a dull moment. But from day one there's one job that's first among equals. A job that's a matter of life and death: caterer. Long before a child can wail "Muuummm. I'm starving. What's for dinner?" a baby is communicating just that loud and clear. And it pretty much never stops. As soon as I get to my mum's place I tend to open the fridge and ask "have you got anything to eat?" Unless you happen to like a dried up piece of cheese or a glass of milk that expired three weeks ago, in the case of my mum's fridge the answer is probably no. But still I ask the question. Feeding the young, or the not so young, is what parents do and what offspring expect long after they are capable of feeding themselves. Today, after giving up on mum's fridge I visited my old neighbour's John and Clare. It was feeding time. I was treated to a cupcake with pink incing and the magpies were given mince, lots of mince, because they had hungry mouths to feed. As soon as they collected a beak full of beef, they flew off to the lawn where the chicks were waiting. And weren't those little ones letting the whole world know in word and action that they wanted their share NOW (if not sooner). This was not a case of turn taking. I'm pretty sure either chick would have resorted to siblicide had a fair and proportionate share not materialised. I wouldn't be surprised if some of those cries amounted to "Not fair mum. She got more than me". Because the only thing more important than keeping up with the Joneses is keeping up with the sibling - especially at lean times.