I Want To Break Free (Sometimes)

break freeCaptain Chatterbox is fish-sitting at the moment. Our lovely neighbours up-the-street are in the process of selling their home and were advised to remove the fish during the inspection period. Captain Chatterbox had already requested pet fish for Christmas, and so I saw the fish-sitting as an ideal opportunity for him to practise taking responsibility for their care. And he has been doing a brilliant job. There are two small tanks – one houses a lone fighting fish, the other goldfish, tetras and loaches. I have not had to remind him once to feed them. He watches them, fascinated, for minutes on end. He understands the care needed when changing their water. I am very proud of him. So, at 9.05am yesterday morning when he careered up to me shouting, “Mum! Something really, really bad has happened in my room!” I knew immediately that the “something bad” pertained to the fish.Sure enough, Mademoiselle Headstrong had taken it upon herself to feed the fish. With ALL of the fish food.

A few “f-words” later, I heaved the sloshing tanks into the kitchen and proceeded to scoop, sieve and otherwise salvage the situation. One leapt out of its tank and onto the floor but miraculously survived. Twenty minutes later, all was seemingly well until … yep, two dead fish.

I confessed via text to MC, the mother of the little boy who owns the fish, who was marvellously philosophical about it all. Her son, understandably, was not so stoic, demanding to know “Why did she do that?” If I could answer that regarding 95% of Mademoiselle Headstrong’s actions, I would be a much more serene individual.

This morning, she continued on her mission to quash any hope of equilibrium in her mother by:

1 – doing a compact yet pungent poo on the kitchen floor

2 – taking advantage of the 30 seconds the front door was unlocked to leave and run, naked, to the end of the street, around the corner, and then the next corner, where I finally located her on the verandah of someone I have never before met

3 – refusing to budge and so being carried, literally kicking and screaming, home

4 – knocking over the babycino that had just been placed in front of her by the lovely Two Chaps* barrista and spilling it into my handbag

5 – deciding it was vital to water the plants outside said café, doing so from her cup of water and leaving a damp trail behind her, then picking up a saucer to inspect it before dropping it onto the ground.

A slight segue: I love The Husband. He is driven, dedicated, devoted, patient, generous, perceptive, clever, funny. His well-deserved salary has enabled me to be the stay-at-home-manager-of-everything-else-in-our-life. His long working hours and frequent travel has required me to be the stay-at-home-manager-of-everything-else-in-our-life.

Most of the time, I am fine with this. I am a very experienced juggler and spinner of plates, metaphorically speaking. But sometimes, sometimes, I really wish I had a wife. And, apparently, I am not alone. The deeply fabulous Annabel Crabb‘s latest book, The Wife Drought, is a smart, witty examination of this. The following is a comment I located here on Tumblr:

“Annabel Crabb’s ‘The Wife Drought’ is basically everything I would love to scream to the world and more. She perfectly encapsulates just how much inequality exists between men and women in terms of employment, career success and salary. And the bottom line? Women need wives. Pure and simple. We need partners who are willing to stay at home or work part-time, partners who can get the kids ready for school, cook dinner and help out with the housework. There are far too many women working full-time, juggling housework and also being the primary caregiver for their children. They aren’t able to stay out late for after-work drinks, often missing out on some crucial workplace networking. They aren’t able to drop everything at the last minute and dash off to some important conference or get that report in a week before deadline because the boss wants it early.”

I am perfectly capable of being the stay-at-home-manager-of-everything-else-in-our-life. I just wish I didn’t have to do so much of it alone. I feel like I spend so much time dealing with shit, literally and figuratively, that “Fun Mum” barely has a chance to surface. There are times I long to emulate Mademoiselle Headstrong’s compulsion to simply run away.

Ladies, will you marry me?

* Two Chaps, located on Chapel Street, Marrickville a few convenient paces from les enfants’ schools, makes perfect coffee, yummy food and is now open on Thursday and Friday nights serving house-made pasta. They also use herbs and bits of greenery from Marrickville Public School’s veggie garden in their table displays. I LOVE Marrickville!

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One response to “I Want To Break Free (Sometimes)

  1. Pingback: It’s All Greek To Them | marrickville maman·

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