They’re just plastic boxes. To put food in, generally speaking. Pre-mumhood I used to have a couple of large-ish ones, for leftovers in the fridge or for taking a pre-cooked lunch into work with me. Useful. But insignificant.

And now? We have hundreds of the blighters. They fall out of the cupboard willy-nilly and annoy me with their various sized lids (why can I never find the one that fits?). We have posh ones from Lakeland and cheapo ones from IKEA (there’s absolutely no difference btw). We have square ones, round ones, ex-icecream box ones (really good actually) and large ex-soup containers. We have ones that say they stack (they don’t) and ones that don’t say they stack (and don’t). We have inherited ones (people come to stay with baby, leave plastic paraphernalia behind) and takeaway ones (neat sized, but don’t dishwash so good).

But live without them? Never. Since having a baby they’ve become an absolutely indispensible part of parent life. The smaller the better. At first you can store (and carry with you) baby-sized portions of mushy food. Later they’re used for leftover baked beans and sweetcorn. You can freeze tiny blobs of gravy (just enough for a toddler sized portion of sausage and mash) and individual cheese sauce helpings to be added to macaroni for a quick pasta meal. Everywhere you look in our fridge-freezer a small plastic container is lurking, filled here with a morsel of fish, there with a splodge of mince.

Not only do they make handy carriers for snack-sized portions of raisins, cheerios and grapes, they double up as toys (especially for older babies, who love to stack and put stuff into things) and, as they get older, containers for beads, buttons, crayons, hair bobbles and, (most recently) pumpkin seeds carefully collected and cleaned by toddler daughter for a mysterious but incredibly important princess necklace project.

Now I understand the care with which my mother bestowed on what seemed, to my more carefree self, a couple of old cracked oblong food containers long overdue for the bin. It’s certain their size, lid-fit and shape hit the jackpot for her needs. My own quest for the perfect plastic container is still ongoing. One that actually stacks, that stores neatly and doesn’t stain red after being filled with tomato sauce. That closes with a neat snap and opens without a struggle. And it dawns that this mummy’s clubbing haze days truly over. Tupperware parties here we come.