I’ve become that mother

My middle daughter has just started playing basketball, I’ve watched two games. She has never played a team sport before, and I have already turned into Sport Rage Single Mother. During the first game, I sat on my own and started muttering, “Bloody ref, what would she know? She is ripping off our team,” as I watched the other team get away with pushing and shoving, and my daughter’s team racking up the fouls. As I became more vocal my girl sat obediently on the bench, sneaking looks at me, wondering when I would stop embarrassing her. For the second game I decided to sit with the rational parents, hoping they’d be a good influence on me. Then my daughter was elbowed and fell over. Sport Rage Single Mother from Hell emerged. “Come on, that’s not on!” I yelled and my voice echoed around the gym. I slapped the bench and sat down as the calm parents from the other team pursed their lips and stared at me. My daughter told me she was fine, then the opposing team of giant almost-women proceeded to annihilate my girl and her mates. I slumped in my seat and said to any of the mothers who would listen, “Our girls need a bit more testosterone, they can have mine.” Game three is on today, anyone know where I put my chill pills?

A letter from the President of Nigeria

Attention / From The Zenith Bank of Nigeria
RE/NO: 009-Rbf/0067/2014


On behalf of the entire staff of the Zenith Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the president of Nigeria in collaboration with IMF and EU Office. We apologize for the delay of your contract payment, and all the inconveniences you encountered while pursuing this payment. However, from the records of outstanding due payment with the Zenith Bank of Nigeria, your name was discovered as next on the list of the outstanding beneficiary who have not yet received their payments.

I wish to inform you now that the square peg is now in square hole and your payment is being processed and will be released to you as soon as you respond to this letter via ATM card means of payment. so if you like to receive your fund this way, please let us know by contacting Mr. Bell Victor, and also re-confirm to him the following information’s in order to proceed immediately:

Your Full Name: ______________________________
Your Contact House Address: ______________________
Name of City of Residence:_______________________________
Direct Telephone Number:________________________
Mobile Number:____________________________________
Working Identity Card/Int’l Passport:________________________________
AGE: ________________________________
OCCUPATION: ________________________________

However, kindly find below the contact person:
Mr. Bell Victor
A Director of the Zenith Bank Nigeria by profession
Email: vbell01@outlook.com

Note that from the record in the file, your outstanding payment is US$5,500,000.00 (Five Million five hundred United States Dollars). And the Zenith Bank of Nigeria has been mandated to issue out the sum of US$5,500,000.00 to you as part payment for this fiscal year 2014 as soon as you comply by re-confirming to Mr. Bell Victor the above mentioned details, and also your ATM card will be deliver to you immediately via courier company means of delivery without any holdup.

Finally, we want you to have in mind that because of impostors, we hereby issued you our code of Conduct, which is (ATMPC 6734) so you have to indicate this code when contacting the card center by using it as your subject.

Yours Sincerely,
Mr. Bell Victor
Director of the Zenith Bank Nigeria

So, the drinks are on me, my money will come through very shortly. I AM SURE. I also sent him my shoe size, the names of my childhood pets and my grandmother’s maiden name to GUARANTEE I get the money. Lucky me, I’ve won the single mother lottery, the square peg is now in square hole, and they’ve got a code of conduct.

Narcissistic Parenting Disorder

Another day, another break up of a ‘star’ marriage, be it Johnny Whatsit or a ‘celebrity’ personal trainer; these are the ‘men’ who walk away from their children and run to someone else who may be younger, or prettier and aren’t burdened with looking after his children. Meanwhile who takes the kids to school, helps with their homework, washes their sports uniforms? While the little boys are taking selfies with their girlfriends on red carpets and jetting off on fun holidays, the women who are left behind are the ones dedicating themselves to child rearing. What does it do to a teenage girl to see Daddy running off with someone young enough to be her elder sister? Yawn.

Are these the role models we want for our boys? Males who’ve been in relationships that lasted less time than a bottle of Morning Fresh detergent (that stuff lasts ages). Guys who can’t hang around when the going gets tough in a marriage? Ask anyone who has been married for a long time and they’ll tell you that the going gets tough at some point in a long term relationship. Good blokes can you have a word with your mates? Please tell them that kids need their dads. I don’t want to male bash, I know some fabulous fathers, but I’m not meeting a lot of deadbeat mummies. 32% of babies in the United States are born to single mothers, and in 2006 mothers headed 87% of one-parent families with children under 15 years in Australia.

Parenting isn’t glamorous, it isn’t fun a lot of the time, it’s about making tough decisions and showing kids there are boundaries to their behaviour. To do that you have to be in the same space as children. Being there for a kid means physically showing up, cleaning up their vomit in the middle of the night, sitting through school concerts even when you’re bored, showing kids that as a parent you want to be in their lives for all the important moments. Any monkey can take their children to a cafe. Fathers who think that going to a trendy hairdresser is more important than being with their kids are not attractive. Yes, the rules of the game are being redefined but parenting isn’t something you can opt in and out of and decide to sit out on the bench for a few years, you’re either there or you’re not. Kids are tough bosses, they notice when you don’t show up for parenting duty. I meet many teenagers with mental health issues, and troubled adolescents are being admitted to hospitals in greater numbers than ever before; I truly believe that family breakdown plays a part. A lot of these kids crave time with absent parents. As a survivor of domestic violence I’m not advocating staying in an abusive relationship forever, but I really don’t think modern men are trying hard enough to keep it together for the kids or themselves.

Divorce is painful for kids. So if your relationship is faltering from the burdens of modern life, not enough time or money or extended family to give you a break from the relentless pressure of work, child rearing, nursing ageing parents and paying the bills, get thee to a good counsellor.

All the research apparently says that kids from broken families do fine eventually. But there are a lot of tears, heartache and wasted energy between now and the mysterious destination called eventually.

I like driving someone else’s car

It’s not quite a Jaguar.

Ancient Chinese proverb: Those without a car may have to walk

Call me a freak but when I tell people I’ve got three kids and I don’t own a car they gasp. Australians adore their cars and are very reluctant to give up the idea that city dwelling means not driving all the time. The citizens of London and Tokyo know that living in big cities and driving are not compatible. I love driving, I just don’t love visiting mechanics or car dealers or changing tyres or anything that involves engine parts. So I share cars. I belong to GoGet and Green Car Share. I also have truly lovely friends who have let me borrow their cars when they’re away. Car share is pay as you go, so as a single mum on a tight budget there’s a lot of merit in paying as you use a service. I’m not racking up huge debts to a bank or a finance company. I walk more than I used to and catch buses, and I hardly ever pay for parking (I’m allergic to it).

The only problem I have with car sharing is the owner’s poor taste in radio stations. I have to remember if I book a car to turn off the radio before I start the engine, so I don’t hear rednecks moaning to right wing chauvinistic talkback shock jocks at full volume. Luckily Go Get put CDs in their cars for borrowers to listen to.

Car sharing is good for the planet with so many cars sitting idly on the street not being used. You may have seen me on Today Tonight talking about car sharing but Channel 7 axed the show before my story went to air. Beep, beep.

The email plague is spreading

Buying presents online makes me happy. I type in my order and the parcels get delivered to my house. Single mothers crave simplicity and we are happy when life is made easier. I would say we are a growing demographic but that piece of marketing speak makes me throw up in my mouth a little. What doesn’t make me happy is the growing demand for reviews from said companies. Click the link and tell us how we went, your feedback is important. No, it’s not. My daughter telling me she is pregnant or my best friend telling me she has cancer is important, filling out your online survey is not. Your product will not change my life, unless it can give me back the arse I had when I was 16 or the complexion I had on my 20th birthday.

Run away from me if you have the word ‘marketing’ in your job description, or you use the words social and innovation, or on-trend together, or you regularly describe food as ‘textural’. Marketing speak makes me retch. I don’t care about your jargon or your plans for your product. Like many modern working parents, I am overwhelmed, over worked and pressed for time, emails about how a product can enhance my life or make me happy don’t help, they clog up my inbox. I don’t want to hear from your company unless you are telling me about your discounts. Shazam-Wow marketing people can voice their opinion on stuff they have no knowledge of that doesn’t matter to anyone and I’m not going to read the emails. Newsletters are an increasing plague that cause despair. In 2014 I am deleting emails before I read them so I have time for far more important things like helping my children with their homework or looking at hot celebrity photos online.

Girl Power

On International Women’s Day I’m thinking that I’d love to be Emmeline Pankhurst in pearls fighting for equality for all women but I’m a little bit busy hanging out the washing and bringing home the bacon to feed three hungry mouths. So I’d like to say thank you to the ladies who are childless for maintaining the revolution so this mother of three daughters can raise them knowing that the sisterhood is striving to make our world fair. Whether you chose not to be a breeder, or you had the choice taken from you by fate or circumstance, I’m grateful for the work you’re doing. I believe childless women are desperately needed to fight for equality by us sleep deprived mothers who’ve temporarily lost our brain power because we’re helping finish homework. Thank you for organising the petitions, running the rallies, writing the articles, alerting me to them on Twitter and for keeping watch while this mother bakes. Sisters I will join you at the barricades as soon as I can find a cheap babysitter.

“Though we adore men individually, we agree that as a group they’re rather stupid…”

Sail Away With Me To Another World

I woke up this morning thinking of my gorgeous, generous friend and the times she and I would sing karaoke. We’d work our way through rock ballads, fabulous country songs, Patsy, Tammy, then Whitney and of course Dolly Parton. My funny friend also introduced me to the delights of Smooth FM and their back catalogue of hideous one hit wonders. A couple of years ago we gatecrashed an 18th birthday party at a pub and then it turned out C knew the family! She was there for me when I became a single mother and I didn’t know how I would cope. She showed me that single motherhood can be fun. Her funeral is today and I don’t think it’s right that two little girls don’t have their fabulous, funny mum any more. At 42 years old my beautiful friend had so much more to give, more books to write, many more songs to sing. Fly free my darling, your spirit soaring with the sun and the twinkling stars, thank you for your friendship. We will walk with your girls through this life. Love you, love always, always love

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time’s waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unus’d to flow,
For precious friends hid in death’s dateless night,
And weep afresh love’s long since cancell’d woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish’d sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o’er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restor’d and sorrows end.