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.
On Friday I posted a picture on Facebook of me wearing a T-shirt saying ‘Single Mothers Rock’ with my daughter at her school Father’s Day morning tea, with the caption:
What do you wear to the school Father’s Day breakfast when the father does a no-show? My favourite T-shirt #subtle #singlemothersrock
I hadn’t woken up that morning thinking I’d make a statement with my outfit, but when 350 people liked the photo it made me think about how we bring up kids in 2016. Lucky I didn’t wear this T-shirt
My girl was in tears when her father wasn’t there like her friends’ dads; really how hard is it to schedule your work diary and show up to primary school for an hour for Father’s Day? And that is the easy part of parenting. Not going to the mother or father’s day breakfast at school is a missed opportunity for extra helpings of love from your kid. It is sad for her, but very predictable for me, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. I’m disappointed for her because I had a very committed dad, so I know what it feels like to be showered with love from your papa.
There were other single mums there, even a few grandparents, luckily our school puts the invitation out to anyone who is a special person in each child’s life. It’s hard for the kids who don’t have two parents. Then I heard about a woman banned from attending Father’s Day celebrations at her son’s school because she was the wrong gender. The father of the child lives overseas. Why can’t they include that mum as a VIP guest? In the 21st century maybe it’s time to get rid of the gender specific events at schools.
Today I’m going to the footy with a devoted dad to celebrate his special day because I think it’s important to say thank you and well done to our loved ones. So Happy, Happy Father’s Day to all the beautiful dads, including those like my wonderful papa Jack Pollard who are fathering from the skies. I know he’s watching over my beautiful girls and I was blessed to have a dad like him.
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.”
At the end of 2015, I had a lot of goals for 2016:
More corporate tax paid
Less foreign aid cuts
More cake eating
Less Michelle Bridges
More real people
Less Insta famous twats
As we approach a new season, I thought I’d update my 2016 resolutions. Losing weight and being more productive are so 2012. Why not try these achievable ideas instead?
Raise my cholesterol
Stare into space, at least three times a day
Say ‘I’ll do this later ‘ more frequently
Spend more time on social media looking at photos of strangers doing things I want to do
Be more envious of others (see above)
Remove kale, coconut and slow pressed juices from my home
Wait for something to happen
I feel better already
1.Thou shalt buy ear plugs
2. Thou shalt covet the imaginary happy marriage of our happy couple friends
3. Thou shalt freak out the women who think you want to steal their husbands (usually the husbands that aren’t worth stealing)
4. Thou shalt play dead when kids try to wake you up on the weekend
5. Thou shalt bargain with your children like you are a hostage negotiator
6. Thou shalt not take fashion advice from a 13 year old
7. Thou shalt undertake due diligence with the father of your next child before you breed with him
8. Thou shalt be slothful on your birthday, Mother’s Day and Christmas
9. Thou shalt have a cunning plan to deal with toddlers and teenagers – divert, distract, dodge
10. Thou shalt wear pyjamas at school drop off at least once per term
There are so many parenting books telling us confused time-poor parents how to raise our rugrats that mothers like me get lost in the blur of DIY parenting manuals. As a shortcut, here’s a few parenting strategies I’ve picked up in my 18 year journey through smotherhood:
Sycophantic soft soaping
Bubble wrap parenting
Single mothers take a portion of each one and back off. If we don’t let our children raise themselves we will end up mummy-fied