Dear corona peppers, welcome to the world of living on a very tight budget AKA single motherhood.
Even though I’m busy preparing burnt offerings and microwave friendly salads, I’m offering you my FREE tips on feeding your family on a VERY limited budget.
1. Take it or leave it
2. ‘Imaginative’ recipes from ‘ cook book
3. Repetition is king; 16 year olds love the same boring dishes; I’m a monster of the mash, a shaman of the sauce bottle, a magician with mince.
4. Tell your kids your family has been invited onto a reality TV cooking show, then vote yourself out of the kitchen. Hide.
5. Now is a good time for your kids to learn to cook
7. Like it or lump it
9. Remember the child standing in front of the microwave gets the most.
10. It is not a crime to send your 16 year old to the local RSL with a fake ID to win the meat tray because the slab of dead animal will feed your family for a week. Do it tonight before the government closes all clubs.
Vive le revolution
I can’t believe women’s magazines are struggling to find readers when they insist on writing stories about women who aren’t particularly inspiring. In this week’s issue we talk to Goopy Gwyny, who tells us how she ‘does it all.’ Gwyn can pay for an army of nannies, personal fluffers and acolytes but apparently, she is amazing. Be stunned at how Sheryl Sandberg juggles career and raising children. Sheryl has a net worth of $US1billion, poor Shezza, the school run must be exhausting for her au pairs. These women aren’t inspirational, they’re filthy rich.
I want to know how Wiradjuri woman Linda Burney survived domestic violence, raised kids and went on to be a successful MP. This is the woman who said,
“Teach little girls that it’s not normal to be hit, do work in schools with the young women and young men about respectful relationships,” Ms Burney said.
Lady magazine editors and bloggers, please tell me about women who crawled out of the swamp of their lives and became successful despite their lack of money, self-esteem or contacts. Botoxed #fitspo #inspo women with enough money to pay assistants and massage therapists aren’t groundbreaking, they’re lucky. These women may work hard, but when you can regularly take luxury holidays with your kids without worrying if you’ll be evicted from your small rented flat while you’re away, you’re not someone who lifts my spirits.
Day after day on Linkedin and Facebook, I’m bombarded with ads from ‘success coaches’ about how to be a winner, reinvent myself as an inspirational role model and write ten best selling novels before breakfast. Spare me. I don’t want quotes about wisdom, I want Rosie Batty as our next PM. Ladies, it is time we turned the world around.
This year I’m starting to feel older. There are signs. Plastic surgeons are now following me on Instagram, looking for business. One day I went to work wearing no make up and three people asked me if I was unwell. My youngest child has also been helpful while looking at family photo albums.
“Look at that photo mummy, you have no crinkles.” Thanks for the reminder about my ageing face honey, I think you caused some of those crinkles.
One night a few months ago she was ill, and I held her over the bath to catch her vomit. When she stopped I swung around to wipe her feverish head and a strange woman stared at me from the mirror; a grumpy, frowning, middle-aged harridan holding a sickly-looking kid. Oh God, it was me. I’m sure I’m still 15 years old checking for pimples, how did the old bag take over my body? Do I exorcise her with Botox and skin peels? Some days I long to be young and dumb and pretty.
My lack of fashion sense doesn’t help. Mostly I am a slovenly mother, which is unfashionable in the current air brushed social media perfection climate. My winter look has been Patty and Selma flannelette pyjamas, stained t-shirts and no bra. I should make more effort with my appearance, my look is either dragged through a bush backwards hair or trying to put on as much make up as a drag queen. But I don’t want to be 49 years old and still dressing to impress a male, which is strange for a woman whose shelves are filled with feminist literature.
I do hope I’ll grow wisdom by the time I’m 50, because I am at an age where it is easy not to give a rats any more. My skin is dry and my arse is sliding down the back of my thighs. I wish I had the energy to care. I may be stating the obvious for those of you in your 50s and 60s but losing our youthful shimmer is challenging.
Some mornings my youngest stares at me then looks in the mirror.
“I want hair like mummy monster,” she says. I look at her, at my mangy head in the mirror, then at her again. Is she taking the piss? Having children is exhausting but my kids have also made me a better person. Youngest has improved my wardrobe. We went into a op shop last week and she said, “This is a nice cougar dress for you mummy.”
Once upon a time a lovely hairy mother lived with three not so little tweenage pigs.
When married people say,
“My husband/spouse/ball and chain is away for a weekend, a week or three months, so I’m a single parent,” I grit my teeth.
No, you’re not. Your partner, though absent, is still contributing financially and emotionally to the other partner’s well being and that of the children. and when the absent partner returns they often do things that compensate for their absence. Single parenting with no other parent helping financially, mentally and emotionally on a day to day basis is not how children should be raised. It’s too much stress on one person.
Stress makes us humans crazy and sick, so my oldest childhood friend and I, who is also a single mum, have escaped. By the time you read this we will be somewhere in Norway searching the fjords for strapping vikings. Our dear friend bought us air tickets so we could attend his wedding in Oslo. I won the lottery when it comes to the wealth of my friendships. Skal!
Motherhood is not what you gave up to have your kids, but what you gained from having them
How do we live in a world without Prince, David Bowie, Alan Rickman, Victoria Wood and Merle Haggard? Age shall not weary them, but 2016 has been a cruel year, robbing the world of my favourite artists.
The genius artist known as Prince brought my teen years alive with his sexy funk groove.
“All good things that say, never last. And love, it isn’t love until it’s passed.”
Please Stevie Wonder, stay healthy and strong.
Thank you Prince Rogers Nelson, your music, generosity of spirit and philanthropy will live forever
Fights, tears and 210 hours of Monopoly later, I’m in a school holiday daze. I’m the head of my children’s entertainment committee and the acting head of catering but I’m looking forward to retirement from both those roles. Cooking is a chore and shouting, “get off the bloody computer” is becoming dull.
I have run out of low budget activities and if I read one more clean wholesome nutritious paleo educational fun advice for the latter part of the school holidays post on social media, I’ll scream at the smug happily married financially savvy yummy mummies who write them. Sigh. Next week I return to the tyranny of the school run. So much to look forward to in 2016. Today I am turning up the Ackadacka and dreaming of escape.
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.
Three short years ago we were dressing up and celebrating your 40th birthday. You were the Queen of the ball that night and now you’ve already left us. And the only way I can contact you is to turn on Smooth FM and wait until a really corny tune comes on and sing my heart out like we used to do together when we were in your car or trying to outdo each other at karaoke. We miss you so, precious sunshine, funny witty friend, devoted mother. I see you when the sun lights up the evening sky across the sea and your songs come on the radio. Shine on beautiful friend, thank you for inspiring me to do good work in the world