I have written lots of articles. Most of them are dull. Granted this dullness is often masked with an edgy photo and a hard hitting title, but, they are nevertheless almost always dull. Mostly I try to appeal to the mass market by writing about something current. But please don’t be under any illusion, current does not override boring. This article though is not even going to try and pretend to be interesting. I’ll be clear about it right from the outset. This article has no relevance to anyone except me. How delightfully narcissistic. So if I were you, reader, I’d buzz off and find something much more interesting to do, make a cup of tea, write a letter to your Granny, call your Mum, pick your spots. Really, I really really would just stop reading now. Stop it. Stop reading.
Ok fine, I shall indulge you with the topic, although a clever reader might have gleaned it from the somewhat transparent title. Yes, it’s about housewifery. You see, I always quite liked the idea of it. Cooing over the children as they eat breakfast in their crisp and fresh uniform, all scrubbed and shiny from their bedtime bath and ten hours sleep. And then trundling them off to school, bundled up in hats, scarves and gloves with the dog in tow. Waving them off at the school gate and then preparing for eight hours of peaceful bliss, perhaps intermingled with coffee dates, lunches and yoga classes, after which the little ducks would be welcomed back into the fold – which would by now smell deliciously of pastries and dinner. How romantic. How idyllic. I don’t care what all these hyper-metro-oh-so-frightfully-modern feminists say, who wouldn’t want that? Well, as it turns out, me. I wouldn’t. Well, I mean I would like the picture described above. I would not like the reality.
How persistent. You’re still reading. Why do I not want the reality, you ask? Well I have just been treated to two weeks of surrogate motherhood over my thirteen year-old brother and it has not been anything even slightly resembling the domestic bliss I had envisioned.
The first problem: thirteen year-olds are grotty. The male variety are worse. They smell, they are pubescent and, unless your face resembles an X-Box, conversation with them is nigh on impossible. Victory, I have discovered, lies in the fine arts of bribery and confiscation. As a duo they command compliance.
The second problem: the school day is not long enough. Can’t the educational sector work out a way to keep the little darlings in longer? I mean a lot longer? There just aren’t enough hours in the day to walk the dog, scoot round Waitrose, have lunch, do the washing and ironing, and make a gourmet dinner all before school’s out. Let alone squeeze in all the many other essential things that need doing, the hour at the gym, the hour at the beauticians, the lunches, the coffee dates. How on earth some mothers juggle all that and a career I shall never know. (Well, actually, I probably will know, seeing as that is most likely to be my fate. Oh the horror).
The third problem: the dog. Goodness they’re high maintenance. They need walking, they need feeding, and they need constant letting out – unless you want to find brown coloured presents on the floor every time you come in. They’re also four-legged financial hazards as I soon found out when mine needed stitches as a result of Wimbledon Common’s poor health and safety standards. Just a few hundred pounds later (and they better have sewn up the wound with gold for that price) and we were on our way again. Late for the school run. Obviously.
The fourth and final problem: the car. An even bigger financial hazard. Wing-mirrors, it turns out, are horribly expensive. Even more expensive than gold threaded stitches. On the plus side, at least the garage is still intact, although, perhaps this is unsurprising considering the fact that it is horribly solid.
So, the reality of housewifery is quite unlike the haven I had thought it was. It’s like housesitting, dogsitting and babysitting combined and a lot lot worse. It comprises of running at full pelt without the pay packet waiting at the end of every month and here, in domestic hell, your boss is a thirteen year old who lacks any capacity to acknowledge the sanctity of Sunday night dramas, no, not even if it’s Birdsong, and even less capacity to realise that the sole point of your existence is not to serve them.
So that’s it, the watered down version of why my dreams of playing the little wife have been shattered – and believe me, that was watered down. Congratulations, you’ve reached the end. I did warn you that this article had nothing to say about anything remotely relevant. Yes, I’m sure that somewhere in there you might have discovered pertinent questions about the modern women’s role, or asides aimed at the frightful cost of almost everything in our economically unstable times, but I promise you that none of these references were remotely intentional. It really was just about me. Just think, by now you could have finished discussing the weather with your Mother. And no, that reference to your Mother was in no way symbolic or an attempt at parody. I promise.
Image Credit – Scolpit