Tuesday, 9 February 2010


I tried to hide it but I just wasn’t quick enough to whip it away. Hubby caught me red-handed.
“What are you reading?”, he asked, trying to wrestle the cushion that I’d hidden it under away from me. One could be forgiven for thinking that I had something truly naughty in my clutches.
“Er, The Independent”, I replied, attempting a look of indignant insouciance.
“Yeah right. Since when have you been interested in political comment and current affairs? Come on, own up”. And without further ado, he tickled me, I immediately conceded and he thrust the Daily Mail triumphantly into the air.
“Ha, I knew it”, he said, “I can’t believe it. You know how I feel about you reading this bloody paper and its ‘opinions”.
“Look mate”, I replied, getting up and trying to swipe the paper out of his hand, “You are not my keeper, you can’t tell me what I can and can’t read”. Hubby is very tall and when he extends his arm, a pogo stick or something similar is required to reach his hand. Undeterred, I jumped off the sofa and attempted the impossible. The dog however, got very excited by my jumping up and down and decided that he too would get a piece of the action. So what with my inelegant leaping through the air, his added barks and bounds, it was hardly surprising that all four of the children came to see what the commotion was.
As they walked into the sitting room we must have looked quite a sight. The dog and I had met mid-air and crashed into each other falling unceremoniously on top of Hubby who, unsurprisingly was under the two of us, winded and covered in slobber and dog hair.
The eldest two looked faintly disgusted, as though we’d been caught out in some unspeakable act, whilst the youngest two thought it was a green light for some high jinks.
“Yay, mummy and daddy and the dog are having a rough and tumble” and without further ado, threw themselves into the melee with gay abandon, further hindering Hubby’s chances of reclaiming his breath.
It wasn’t until several minutes later that I succeeded in extricating myself from the rug and when I finally did the Daily Mail, by some miracle, was in one piece and I ran off to finish an article I was reading. Locking the bathroom door and sitting fully clothed on the lavatory seat, I at last, found five minutes peace.
The article in question was that age old debate about working mothers and I felt compelled to reply to the columnist who was writing about her experiences of being a working mother of three and how if she wasn’t, perhaps she would have more time to devote to her little darlings and maybe at least one of her children would be well on the way to being the next Vanessa Mae.
I wanted to set her mind at rest and reassure her that had she been available to her offspring from the minute they cut the umbilical cord and every minute since it would be no guarantee whatsoever that her progeny would be prodigious.
Apart from occasional forays into education and making designer coffees a couple of times a week, I have been that ‘stay at home mom’ and what thanks do I get? Actually I don’t want thanks. I want results, something to show me that my efforts have not been in vain.
My son, as we all know, is forging his own path and no amount of nagging, coaxing, tears, bribery and downright begging have had any effect whatsoever on him considering being a barrister, doctor, surgeon or any other worthy and well paid profession. The eldest daughter, the most forthright and outspoken of them all, needs, it would seem no advice from her beleaguered mother whatsoever. Even the most delicate of subjects is taught at school these days and in fact, only this week they have dedicated a whole day to the ‘relationship’ side of sex. Is there any other I asked, appalled? By the look she, her brother and his friends threw me, obviously there is not.
Why can’t my children be just a little bit biddable, the odd acquiescent “ok”, would be most welcome. But they have strong opinions which they voice loudly, emphatically and vehemently. Even my daughter at the tender age of eight, is very much her own person and, whilst I have read her stories since she was a tiny baby and she has hundreds of books filling a groaning bookshelf, she has no interest whatsoever in the written word and just wants to dance and sing and be on “cruises”.
This has left me to pin my hopes on the youngest. Perhaps she will be my Vanessa Mae? For the fourth time, I have read stories and played dressing up endlessly, I have embarked on stimulating days out followed by searching conversation and yet this last child is my biggest worry of all. Now well into her second year of schooling, the whole learning to read thing seems a mystery and we have had to make extracurricular arrangements for catch up lessons.
Had I been out there and much to Hubby’s unconfined joy, earning a crust and she was struggling, I would feel guilty because I hadn’t given her my time but, and this is why I feel I must write to the Daily Mail lady, it obviously makes not a jot of difference. So, good for her that she made the decision to strive for a rewarding career and raise three children.
Just imagine she’d forsaken it and she’d driven home one day with her youngest child only to pass a lady carrying a Yorkshire Terrier and said child was silent for a minute before inexplicably commenting, “Did you see that woman carrying a hamster?” Imagine how she’d feel? That’s why I think I’ll tell her.

1 comment:

blunoz said...

Great story, Alice.

Oh, I also meant to mention on my previous post comment that we can also relate to the putting-on-a-happy face and going to the official Navy functions and the wife being bored with all Navy talk. :-)

Back to this post... My wife and I discussed before we even got engaged that we thought it was important for a mom to stay home and care for our children. It seemed honorable at the time and now my wife sees what a thankless job it is. We keep holding out hope that there will someday be positive results from this sacrifice to the family finances.