I don’t mean to boast but, my 13-year-old daughter is currently studying really hard for her Higher School Certificate (end of school exams for overseas friends). She’s so young but I know she’s going to smash it by the time she graduates. Which will be really soon the way she’s going. I don’t like to make other parents feel bad by bragging about my child’s high achieving ways, but I really think I need to celebrate the fact that she’s currently devoting hours of her time and attention to:
4 unit Instagram
3 unit yelling at her mother
3 unit serving looks
4 unit YouTube make up tutorials
I’m loving the extra attention she’s getting from her school teachers, there’s at least three emails a day with a list of all the homework and assignments she has neglected. But boy those videos she posts are marvellous. She has never going to be a kid who thrived in the over-crowded, one-size-fits-all school system, but she could not be less interested in her school curriculum if she tried.
In the 1990s, the cartoonist Gary Larson published a cartoon showing a teenager playing video games in his bedroom and a concerned parent looking on, with a thought bubble over their head dreaming of the day their child could get paid a lot of money to play computer games. I am that parent.
This week the NRL, AFL, rugby and soccer boys are wearing a new strip on the field. It’s magenta polka dots, lightning bolts and zebra stripes, with olive and puce armbands, which stands for raising awareness week and making sure caring and giving back is in the headlines with a few high profile footy boofheads adorned in the right colours.
In a profound press release, Lina Tell-All White a publicist with a certificate in marketing and an educational background that includes being expelled from most upmarket Sydney schools revealed,
“We’re raising awareness of raising awareness. There may be a fun run. We had seven different marketing committees choosing the palette and pairing it with matching wines and food served in gumboots at an overpriced invitation-only dinner at an exclusive inner city hotel. What it means is that we stand for making instant Instagram stars of the people wearing the well-chosen outfits and hoping their media profiles will raise awareness of a thoughtful charity drive that will make money so we can show that we’re thinking of lots of issues on right-wing radio, commercial television and all the socials. It’s really important for politicians, influencers and even ordinary punters to know what we stand for. Even if we don’t.”
“We are also running another timely campaign, we desperately need funding to buy more açai smoothie bowls for girls who went to overpriced schools who now can’t afford to buy homes within 20 kilometres of the expensive suburb they grew up in. It’s a national tragedy and we need to fix it,” said another spokeswoman from a massive yacht on Sydney Harbour. “They may not be homeless but their needs are great. Raising Awareness, reality TV ‘stars’ wearing exorbitantly priced clothing and building fame, that’s really all we want from a charity appeal, Australia just doesn’t have enough of it. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the celebrities with less than 100K followers on Instagram.”
Cyclone Senza exploded into my life 13 years ago, after I’d been at the hospital in drug-free childbirth hell for 25 minutes. She couldn’t wait to get the party started.
Or trash our house. She has painted on the walls of every place we’ve ever rented. And they’re good paintings, so I can’t get mad. Senza leaves a creative mess in every room she enters. It would be easier to parent her if we lived in a castle with four maids, a butler and a housekeeper.
My girl, you are the funniest person I’ve ever met; entertaining, smart, animated and kooky, you have only two gears, full throttle or passed out on the floor You struggle to use your inside voice but your astute observations about supposedly mature adults are always worth hearing.
Looking at a box of unpaid bills you said,
“Mum, that is a box full of nightmares.”
You are physically courageous; you surf, swim, climb trees, duck and dive. You’ve had breathtaking bodily self-confidence from the moment you were conceived. And you have a kind heart. This year you cared for babies in a Thai orphanage like they were your own family.
You are fast, furious, full of attitude and love for your friends, and easily bored. I hope your adventurous spirit takes you all over the world. You run head first at life, without fear. Your courage is everything I wish I could find in me (but with less back chat).
You kid, are everything. In your adolescent angst phase, don’t let teen bitches, dopey dudes and unenlightened teachers snuff out your fire.
Happy 13th Birthday to my beautiful hurricane #teenager
As it is Friday the 13th, please children don’t let your single mothers
Catch a bus
Feed a black pussy cat
Climb a tree
Open the fridge
Break a mirror
Make a bed
Log out of Tinder
Leave the couch
Walk under a ladder
Or stop dancing
Because it is very, very unlucky
My eight year old’s teacher asked her where she would like to go on a class excursion. My daughter replied, “Dan Murphy’s*, that’s where Mummy would like to go.”
I was planning my 16 year old’s birthday party. She said, “Mum I don’t want any drugs at my party.” She could tell I was very disappointed, I didn’t know how to tell my friends they can’t come to her party.
I went to pick up my youngest child from a craft workshop. The teacher said, “We worked with coloured paper this afternoon and your daughter coloured in a piece of white paper with a bright green texta, cut it up into little pieces, put it in a bowl, then rolled the pieces into a long tube of white paper and pretended to smoke it. Where did she learn to do that?”
Later that night she said to me, “What’s a ghetto Mama?” Before I had a chance to answer she said, “Is a ghetto somewhere mamas go when dads have hurt their babies?”
*A well known bottle shop/off license chain in Australia
My single mothering advice is gold, I am full of it. Don’t worry about buying expensive parenting books, for calm children administer nursery rhymes, they are cheaper than sedatives (for you and the kids).
If you see a little bunny and it’s nose is very runny
You think it’s very funny but it’s snot.
Lou Lou had a little girl, she had a bit of colic
She fed her vodka twice a day, now she’s alcoholic
If your children won’t stop crying, sing:
Roses are red, violets are blue, the smell of vomit reminds me of you.
Or what about?
My hair is alive with the bite of head lice
There were three in the bed and the little one said,
Roll over, roll over
So they all rolled over and my feet got cold
Roll over, rollover my super, walk the dog, defrost the freezer, feel guilty about the stuff you haven’t done. Roll over, play dead so you don’t have to change a nappy roll over.
Hey Diddle Diddle, my life’s in a puddle I can’t seem to get enough cash.
My kids need more food, but the rent is due so I can’t afford to splash.
I’ve spent all my dosh on school clothes and books and treated kids to some honey,
Luckily their father has a conscience, here comes my ex with lots of money
No stop me! That one is pure fantasy
Roses are red,
My teenage daughter’s bedroom smells
Not that I care,
But I could if I wanted to
My beautiful children have now gone back to their day release penitentiary after the longest summer break in recorded history and our school music teacher is helping me stay sane with gifts that keep on giving. She suggested that on my limited single mother budget I could buy my youngest child a parental torture device AKA a recorder. Why? Will it help her learn to be musical? No. Will it promote family harmony? A trillion times no. A moody teenager and an eight year old practising recorder in the next room are not a happy mix. I can already hear the howls of protest. I looked on youtube and there are young whipper snappers playing recorder while Celine Dion sings. Double torture. Please make them stop. Apparently there are different kinds of recorder, soprano, vibrato, psycho, they all sound like hell to me. Mummy says no.
In his epic poem, The Prophet, Khalil Gibran summed up beautifully what is special in this life.
“a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “speak to us of children,” and he said:
Your children are not your children.
You’ve just leased them until they are 18 on a ridiculously expensive payment plan
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
Well, actually Khalil I created them in my body, as a man you may not get the enormity of that concept. And as I recall they ripped right through me.
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
Especially when they are online chatting with their friends
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
Except when they haven’t done any homework or housework or don’t text you when they said they would, then you can give them a few choice thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
They surely do, especially the 14 year old girls
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
Even when their bodies are dressed like white trash bimbo pole dancers
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
Except when they are selling their souls to Facebook and tumblr and you are paying for the internet access. Then you can get your friends to spy on their blogs.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
Note to Lou: please don’t dress like your 15 year old daughter, you will look like mutton dressed as mutton. And teenage daughter will not borrow my ruched bright 1980s clothing.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
There is nothing you can do about breeding with someone who is located very far down the food chain, so don’t waste time regretting it.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and he bends you with his might that his arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
So your scrubbing, washing and bending over backwards will go unnoticed by everyone except your girlfriends who understand the toil and the sacrifices of single motherhood.
For even as he loves the arrow that flies,
So I teach my children that love flies like an arrow, but fruit flies like a banana
so he loves also the bow that is stable.
All mothers must be stable according to Khalil. No drunken party animals need apply. That means I’m out of a job then.
Eight years ago today I gave birth to a nutty little monkey. My youngest daughter is going to be a stunt woman, a truck and a punk when she grows up. She shouts and makes me laugh and I couldn’t imagine a peaceful life without her. Happy birthday Miss Zen