There’s a name for it

I received an email yesterday:

We are worried about the future of your mortgage

What mortgage? I thought as I lay awake at 3am. Then I found out that there’s a name for the cause of my insomnia: housing poverty. I pay 65% of my income in rent every week. I’m not in debt but I’m about three pay days away from severe financial distress. So most nights I wake at 2am wondering how I’m going to manage and stay awake until 4am.

Housing poverty occurs when people who fall in the bottom 40% of wage earners put more than 30% of their weekly take-home pay into housing, which reduces their capacity to save money and thus their financial resilience.

According to an analysis by the Council to Homeless Persons, those paying rent alone on the average weekly wage for women would be priced out of all but one inner Melbourne suburb and even outer Sydney.

Jenny Smith, the chief executive of Council to Homeless Persons and chair of national peak body Homelessness Australia, said the situation for many single women was untenable and left them vulnerable to homelessness in the event of a crisis, like losing their job or a high medical bill.

“When you look at your average single woman on an average wage, you can see it’s very, very difficult to rent anywhere reasonable,” Smith told Guardian Australia.

“If you do, you are essentially putting yourself into a poverty situation.”

Sydney is a wonderful city, offering so much, but how can we revel in art and music and the joys of life when we financially stressed to breaking point? Single motherhood can be an exhausting cycle of taking time away from work to focus on motherhood, then overworking to earn enough money to pay back debt. And this is compounded when children have any kind of health issues. Maternity leave when kids are small and most need an involved parent impacts women’s ability to earn enough to support their children. My financial stress is caused by:

  1. Ridiculous Sydney housing prices
  2. Father who doesn’t pay for his children
  3. Working in the highly rewarding but low-paid arts sector for my entire career
  4. No politician with the balls to take on negative gearing/capital gains tax and make affordable housing a priority

Single working women on average wages in Sydney and most of Melbourne cannot afford to live alone. Men can. Does that seem fair to you Bernard Salt? I’m going to keep eating smashed avocado as I can’t pay for my own home with room for all my kids. Oh well. I could possibly live in a bus shelter when I’m old and it will be peaceful sharing with our cat. 
 

 

 

 


That’s good enough for me…

Last week I arrived at my mother’s nursing home to find she was watching Julie Andrews on the big screen TV with a group of other residents. She was very happy singing along to Edelweiss and Climb Every Mountain.

Then I read that a study by U.S. scientists has shown that the brain function of those suffering from dementia can be improved if they belt out their favourite show tunes.

Researchers working with elderly residents at a US East Coast care home in a four-month long study found that people who sang their favorite songs showed a marked improvement compared to those who just listened.

Among the songs sung during 50-minute sessions were hits from The Wizard of Oz, Oklahoma and The Sound of Music.

The most improvement was among those sufferers with moderate to severe dementia. I must keep my mama singing.

When my kids put me in a home for bewildered single mothers, hopefully I’ll be busting some moves to Gett Off by Prince, and my favourite Stevie Wonder and Chaka Khan tunes. But I’ll probably be warbling, “C is for Cookie, Cookie, Cookie, Cookie start with C. Yeah!” on repeat.

C is for Cookie


Well behaved women rarely make history

“If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun,” said Katherine Hepburn.

This week I watched a pretty young gal take her clothes off on stage accompanied by a piece of ‘edgy’ music. She had great boobs and a tight little tush but since when did stripping, also called burlesque, become something to challenge society? It is not a subversive act to dress provocatively unless you have a brain and an opinion that matches your wardrobe. Call me old fashioned but I don’t believe that getting your tits out is an act of radical feminism, unless it’s coupled with the will to crush the patriarchy. We’re ravaging the environment in the name of money, women are dying from DV at the hands of their male partners and females still earn much less than their male counterparts; the male-power dominated world needs to change radically. I don’t see how a bit of T & A is going to change that. Please challenge me on this, I’d love to hear your thoughts.


The old woman and the wine jar

An old woman found an empty jar which had lately been full of prime old wine, and which still retained the fragrant smell of its former contents. She greedily placed it several times to her nose, and drawing it backwards and forwards, said,
“Oh most delicious! How nice must the wine have been, when it leaves behind in the very vessel which contained it so sweet a perfume!”

The moral of this story:
‘What memory clings around the instruments of our pleasure.’

This is not necessarily an autobiographical fable


I’ve got a crush

CURRENT RELATIONSHIP STATUS:

Sleeping in the corner of a queen-sized bed with a fidgety cat, a feral child who sleeps mostly after midnight and mangy old teddies. When my kids ask me if I want to get another pet I think, ‘well they’re messy and difficult to keep and I haven’t really looked for one, but eventually I may want a man around the house.’ I’ve got five minutes remaining on the libido setting of my biological clock, so when I discovered the Oxford Dictionary has a word husbandable (it means fit for cultivation) I realised I should hunt for a man who is already house trained. Our life is such an attractive proposition for a man to join in: yelling pre-menopausal financially stressed mother, swearing teenager who throws things at her sisters, smart arse middle child and mental youngest. Why wouldn’t a good-looking man want to move in and help me raise my kids?

I have a big crush on someone who is possibly unsuitable for me, but I can’t wait to find the next man I’m going to break up with. I have to admit I am jealous of women with husbands. No one tells you when you become a single mother you’ll resent happily married couples calling each other cute pet names. They are revolting. Single mothers find out fast who our friends are; some women think you want to steal their husbands. These are usually the women with husbands who aren’t worth stealing.

During my seven years as a single mum I’ve had a few imaginary husbands. My next husband will audition in front of a judging panel of my harsh girlfriends, I haven’t got a clue. One honest friend said, “You’re a bad picker, and if you insist on wearing make up you wore in 1995 you are responsible for the tragic men you pick up.”

Old age dating can be fun. Hormones can make us make babies with any old trash, but I don’t want to breed with my next husband. He doesn’t have to worry about me getting pregnant. I’m not going to write off his car or stop him going to work. I want him to go to work.

I’ve made so many attempts at finding dream stepfather I can’t remember all the men I’ve been out with. After looking for so long, I ended up in a meaningful long-term relationship with Mr Potato Head. I try to choose quality over quantity, I’d like to get back on the horse but I’m not desperate, I have a new motto: I don’t chase them, I replace them.


They don’t make ’em like they used to round two

Glamorous staying home mother duties with my kidlets means I’ve found more delightful feminist lyrics from modern music while trawling through the dark tunnels of the interwebs late at night:

You’re a discontented mother and a regimented wife

This song is addressed to a desperate mother who would like to trade her boring existence for the jet-setting hedonistic lifestyle the song’s narrator has led. Even though she has, “been to paradise,” she’s ultimately failed to find self-fulfillment, “I’ve never been to me.”

Because of course being a wife and mother is the only way a woman can be complete.

Paul McCartney wrote a lovely song about murder with a hammer, which John Lennon described as “more of Paul’s granny music.”

But when she turns her back on the boy
He creeps up from behind

Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Came down upon her head
Do do do do do
Bang, bang, Maxwell’s silver hammer
Made sure that she was dead

And it’s not just songs from the Paleolithic era that have life-affirming lyrics

Usher wrote a lovely song called I Don’t Mind
I’m just tryna cut her up, tryna bust a nut
Tryna take somebody bitch, turn her to a slut
Tryna fill my cup, tryna live it up
Throw some hundreds on that ass, walk her out the club

And also this delightful tune Ayo from the Australian visa-denied girlfriend basher himself Chris Brown

I’mma take her ass down when she bring her friend around
Fuck ‘em both like ayo
I’m a bougie ass nigga left the roof at home
We popping like ayo, ayo, ayo
But don’t be acting like I need you

Who is up for a feminist sing along?


They don’t make ’em like they used to

I was listening to a classic hits station in the car as I drove my teenage daughter to a party, and she said she’d only just noticed how dodgy the lyrics were to a lot of the old songs, i.e. classic songs from the glory days of my youth (1970s and 80s). My list of feminist anthems from that time include:

Are You Old Enough? by Dragon – the lyrics include
I just wanted to kiss someone
I got the moondog blues
You just happened to be standing there
So won’t you tell me, won’t you tell me the truth?
Are you old enough? Are you old enough?

When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman by Dr Hook
When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
You watch her eyes
When you’re in love with a beautiful woman
You look for lies

And Mick Jagger, that champion of mothers with newborns, wrote these lyrics for Some Girls:

Some girls give me children
I never asked them for
Black girls just wanna get fucked all night
I just don’t have that much jam

Another classic, sung by Tom Jones, has the male lover stab his girlfriend to death because she cheated on him. He couldn’t help himself. Poor man.

Why, why, why, Delilah
I could see that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free
At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting
I cross the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more
My, my, my Delilah
Why, why, why Delilah
So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn’t take any more

I’m sure there’s more