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…”
Today I’m celebrating five years of single motherhood. The axe fell on my household on Bastille Day 2008 when we moved out of our family home to start housesitting. Adieu from that day on to an intact family and bonjour solo parenting. I’d been a married single mother before that but I didn’t know then how much the sisterhood would look after me, feed my kids, nourish my soul and build me up when I was down in the years that followed.
My new friends and golden old friends helped. And acquaintances with small doses of kindness; the man in the Indian takeaway who gave me free food to feed my kids; the stranger at a café who paid for my coffee, the neighbour who gave me a couch when we had nothing to sit on. I found more important people to love, especially the lioness mothers at the hospital who laughed with me despite their children’s suffering. I learned people are very kind. Raising children alone is scary but I know even when I fail I’m doing the best I can.
I love my life. My smart, volatile children and our cold house and the pile of fancy dresses begging to be taken to the dry cleaners, but I can’t afford it. I love all the imperfect manifestations of my life. I’m deeply flawed, but the only mummy they have. I’ll never be a calm, well-groomed mother and yet they love me to bits. Crazy children.
Mothers try to be strong, making sure our kids, friends, partners, families, even our goldfish know they’re loved. Sometimes, in the middle of my morning peak hour when chaos reigns, I step back from brushing my daughters’ hair, and laugh, sip my tea, sing along to the Bee Gees with jazz hands in the kitchen and think, ‘You are a problem child, but finally you are in a happy place.” Now I’ve had five years of freedom I seem to be enjoying myself. I know I’m not just going to get by, but live victoriously. Vive le revolution ladies. Here’s to the sisterhood: liberté, égalité, fraternité.
On the eve of International Womens’ Day I’d like to give thanks to all the women who have fought so hard for our reproductive and voting rights. Well done sisters, together we can change the world.
Today is my sister’s birthday. We are not related by blood, she is my soul sister, one of the gals who keeps me sane when life seems too much to bear. She is a very private person, very discreet, so I can tell her all my secrets. We have been friends for 30 years, so I know when we are 93 and have blue hair and no teeth, we will still be giggling at our own shortcomings. Love may be blind, but friendship is clairvoyant. Happy birthday mate.