I didn’t want to but I finally read 50 Shades of Grey and I realize what the fuss is about. Despite the hideous beginning and the clunky set up, this book was written for everywoman. For every woman who has ever had a farting disappointing husband who won’t do housework, for every girl who has ever had a crush on a hunk and been taken back to his place only to meet his village idiot stoned flatmates, then tripped over his PlayStation on the way to his bed. For every woman who has left a pub with a guy and gone to his flat to find week old baked beans on the kitchen counter and the smell of unwashed bedding in his room. For all of us who’ve been underwhelmed by sexual encounters and the mundane chores of our lives rearing children and cleaning out the garage. 50 Shades is sex set in Vogue Living, where all the chores are done and the personal trainer is paid for. It’s pure fantasy without the dirty period stained undies and the car breaking down and your best friend who won’t tell you your thighs are too fat so you both eat chips for dinner every night. The fantasy is why women have bought it in droves, it’s sex with the lifestyle we’ve been sold by Ikea advertising that can be ours, but will never be ours because we can’t afford it; we don’t have the staff or the time or the money for the helicopter or the leather furniture. Christian Grey is an arsehole, but he’s a gentlemanly arsehole. And a lot of women would rather that than some fumbling boy who doesn’t know what he’s doing, who smells of his mechanic’s workshop and too many Chiko rolls to feed his hangover. Some of us want class, the lord of the manor to come down and sweep us off our dainty feet and take us away from the humdrum, the mundane existence we live when all we can afford is takeaway once a fortnight and a dodgy DVD from the shop down the road so we can pay for our holiday in Bali once a year.
Happy birthday amazing, beautiful prototype child. You changed my life, waking me up to the beauty of the world and I love you for it.
Shoplifting is not considered an after school sport for children
Prams look trashy for shopping once your youngest child is 10
Scary stories are for daddy’s house. Kids don’t need to be spooked by their mothers, they get enough terrifying experiences with step families
Try to stick with one father for all your children, it’s much easier on Father’s Day
Children don’t need to be disinfected with your brandy kisses daily
Try not to pick a boyfriend who has a crush on your teenager
Apparently not every man finds single mother cougars attractive, sometimes we need to put our puppies away; you really don’t need to flash your cleavage at the school Mother’s Day breakfast
Don’t leave your ashtray in your kid’s bedroom
A petticoat is a skirt. End of story
If you find a hot boyfriend, choose a lovely elderly babysitter for your kids
If you’re running late, groom your locks with a fork; make sure you remove the tines from your hair before you pick up
Six o’clock mother medication is not compulsory every day
Be an inspiring mother: When your children think of cranky, belligerent women they think of you
Every time I log onto Facebook or Hotmail or MyTwitFace or any kind of social networking sites late at night when my children are in bed and I’m feeling all alone (cue sad, lonely blues music) and crying into my cask of wine, I see ads popping up tempting me to log on and find my ideal man. The ads read something like this:
Find good looking single policemen in your area. I could dial 000, it’d be quicker and cheaper. When I got burgled recently I had five big policemen on my doorstep within twenty minutes and I didn’t have to sign up for endless emails.
Single and Christian? Find God’s Perfect Match for You. I found God’s matchmaking skills were way, way out. The guy who was apparently ‘ideal’ for me had a head like a brick and lived in Utah.
Come on a singles cruise. Great, so he can throw up on me at breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Why am I not excited by these ads?
Today my kidlets and I are heading to the dark side, visiting my oldest friends in the place I grew up. My visa came through and I’m leaving the single mother ghetto to return to my old hood, the leafy tree-lined streets of my youth. I am reminded of this George Eliot quote:
“A friend is one to whom one may pour out the contents of one’s heart, chaff and grain together, knowing that gentle hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping, and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away.”
Today I will eat and drink and talk too much and argue with the gals who share my outspoken, feisty view of life. I breathed every minute of my angst ridden teenage years with them. 30 years later I realise I had no idea how much their laughter would sustain me through births, deaths and attempted marriages. Love is basking in the shared joy of old friends on a warm, sunny afternoon.
I’ve just been overseas on holiday. I had a break from the hospitals I work at which really helped me understand how lucky I am. I have a great job, my health, three well kids and tons of friends. The mothers I encounter in the hospitals where I work aren’t so lucky. These women are true champions. If there were a parenting Olympics they would win every medal and no one would question whether they were on performance enhancing drugs. Their events are the unglamorous side of mothering. Aiding your child in hospital is not something they do to gain kudos or attention or to show their children off in public.
These women daily win gold medals for most hours of sleep deprivation, after months spent on fold out chairs beside their children’s beds.
Their silver medals are for enduring what most parents avoid. Watching your child in excruciating pain and not being able to do anything about it except buzz the nurses and doctors for more pain meds is an event I don’t want to be a part of.
They gain bronze for leaving the hospital at all hours, early morning to late at night to find something else for their child to eat or to go shopping for toys that will distract their children from pain when they could be resting.
Some of them even manage to have a shower and brush their hair or put on a bit of lippy. I can’t manage that some days.
They could whinge all day long (I would) but they don’t. They are funny and resilient and strong and they sing and laugh with us when they could be crying in a corner. I feel humble in their presence. They are goddesses walking the earth. I will start a new religion to worship these ladies, and the nurses who serve them day and night.