New Year’s Eve

Welcoming in The New Year has changed considerably as my family has grown up…

When we were in our “pre-children phase” my husband and I used to head into the city and join the multitudes for the music and fireworks.

When our children were babies we had New Year’s Eve parties with friends, who were similarly encumbered by small children, in each other’s backyards. We were all armed with baby monitors so we could listen to our sleeping children inside.

As the children grew, we found babysitters who were willing to watch them for us (at an exorbitant rate) while we headed off into town to join the multitudes for the music and fireworks.

Unfortunately, when we did this, we also suffered the guilt of feeling like neglectful parents when the kids demanded to know why couldn’t they go with us? I mean how do you tell your own child that you want to have some fun without him?

Now that my children are teenagers it’s a different story. They definitely don’t want to share New Year’s Eve with us.

The idea of even spotting their aged, uncool parents in a New Year’s crowd is enough to send them spiralling into a black depression. Let alone the unmitigated shame they would suffer if we actually spoke to them in front of their friends!.

Anyway, my youngest tried come up with a solution yesterday to ensure that we would not to be within 10km of him at any time from sunset to sunrise. The “Oldies” (his father and I) could have a party at home with our friends and he would go into the city OR we could go out ourselves and leave the house to him so that he could throw a party. I don’t think so ….

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A Bad Day

I’m having a bad day – so much so that even my husband’s breathing is annoying me. The children have heard me count to 3 at least five times already this morning. So far, the plan is that they are going to have to spend the rest of their natural lives in their bedrooms.

I’ve just had enough – I don’t want to be somebody’s wife or anybody’s mother today. And I’m sick of the drudge detail too.

It’s been a rotten week, the pc crashed again, the house looks like a bomb hit it, the children fought continuously with me and each other, and even the dog and the chooks got into an all-out brawl this morning. And as for my husband – he’s been sitting back enjoying the show (just as long as it doesn’t interfere with TV of course).

I want a new life – maybe as an international celebrity – sounds wonderful doesn’t it? Swanning around with other people just panting to do things for you and make your life easier. In my real life I’m the one who seems to do the doing for everyone else.

My grandmother rang to complain about my grandfather. She wants to know why, after 60 odd years of marriage, he can still drive her crazy? It must be an eternal problem: husbands sending their wives temporarily insane because of the things they either say, do or even, don’t say or do.

As for the kids, I may let them out of their rooms on a good behaviour bond eventually – it just depends on how I’m feeling this afternoon.

In order to avoid committing murder (husband or kids, I really don’t care who at the moment – they all deserve it today) I went and hid in the back yard under a tree with magazine and a cup of tea. After 15 minutes or so of alone time I started to feel much calmer – but then the blood drained from my face as I read something truly terrifying:

The wife of Russian Feodor Vassilyev had 69 children including 16 pairs of twins, 7 sets of triplets and 4 sets of quadruplets.

Ouch …

That poor woman – can you imagine a bad day in her house – all those kids bickering with one another and telling tales? And they can’t even bother to remember her name, just her husband’s!

On second thoughts, maybe my life really doesn’t seem that bad after all.

How To Drive Your Husband Insane (temporarily)

I’ve heard many versions of this over the years but I still like it.

If you want to put your husband on the spot (when even his breathing is annoying you) and you feel like an argument just for the sake of it – just ask him this:

“What would you do if I died? Would you marry again?”
No matter how he answers you he will be in the WRONG.

If he says he wouldn’t marry again you can start the ball rolling with:
“Why not? Don’t you like being married?”

If he says he would marry again begin with:
“Would you let her sleep in our bed?”

And then just sit back and watch his head explode.

WARNING: Do not try this at home if:
* You are feeling insecure – it could be dangerous for your emotional health.
* You are suffering from PMS – it could be dangerous for his physical health.

In The Wee Hours

I can remember sitting on the front step after getting up to a crying baby in the wee hours and feeling like I was the only person alive in the street.

My husband was asleep, he had “selective deafness” (a congenital condition prevalent in fathers with small children) and even the dog barely flicked an ear as I staggered out of bed. Every house in the neighbourhood was dark: no-one in the entire world was awake at this ungodly hour except me!

It’s amazing what sorts of thoughts come into your head at time like that. Being a mum has some wonderful fringe benefits but nobody ever really warns you about sleep deprivation,  and what it can do to your brain.

Now I am a reasonably intelligent woman, but there were days when I truly wondered how I could hold it together. When I found myself putting the cereal in the fridge and the milk in the cupboard. Don’t laugh – I only realised what had happened when I couldn’t find the milk several hours later!

I fantasised about my bed constantly. Although it was a long distance relationship where we rarely spent any quality time together yet I remained true to my dream: I would spend an entire night in my bed without interruption. Mock if you will, but everyone needs something to strive for and this was my ultimate ambition at the time.

My husband laughed and told people that I was losing it. That might even have been true but what right has a man who has a pre and post dinner nap and still manages a full eight hours sleep to criticise ME?

When I was single (and younger) I had no problem with partying all night and only snatching a couple of hours sleep before doing it all again.

But as a young mum …
I would sit on the front step in the wee hours hating all those unlit houses and envying those inside who were sleeping.
More than once I contemplated trying to convince the dog that there was a burglar in the backyard so he’d start barking and wake everybody else up!

Bribery And Corruption

I’m a great believer in bribery and corruption, especially when you have children.

I once offered to pay my son $1 if he could be quiet for 5 minutes. Needless to say he didn’t actually make it. I think he lasted 2 ½ minutes tops!

I refuse to give my children money for nothing. So they have to do little jobs around the house to earn their pocket money. Sounds brilliant doesn’t it? Teach them the value of money, and responsibility, all at the same time.

Easier said than done, I’m afraid. My son is always in debt because he borrows against next week’s money. But because he knows he’s not actually going to receive any cold hard cash in his hand that week he “accidentally on purpose” forgets to do his jobs. And so the debt spiral increases.

I once paid my daughter to wear (in good grace) a dress on a family visit that her grandmother had made her. Ok – I admit it was a very ugly dress but her Nana had made it with love, after all.

I can’t (for health reasons) venture into my son’s bedroom – it’s a death trap in there. So I pay him to clean it up once a week – just so I don’t die from embarrassment if the door is inadvertently left open. It’s a scary place his room. I’m convinced that strange things are growing in there. I keep expecting the Health Department to turn up and seal it off from the public as “unfit for human habitation”.

Ok so it’s not a full-proof method but it can make life easier. We now pay our teenagers to go out when we have friends over for a dinner party.

After all, who wants to hear a teenage boy brag about his sex life at a table full of adults who (being married with children) are probably sexually deprived anyway?

Sex In The Suburbs #3

Warning: Don’t ever try to have sex with your husband if you have a teenager in the house!

A teenage girl will ask you not to do that sort of thing while she’s still living at home because it will damage her psyche forever. And that people as old as you (we were in out 30’s at the time) should have stopped doing that sort of thing years ago!

A teenage boy will smirk and make embarrassing comments over the breakfast table. He thinks it’s hysterically funny that people as old as you (we were in our 40’s) actually still manage to have a sex life!

Now I know why teenagers are the greatest walking advertisement for abstinence in or out of marriage. It’s just a pity we didn’t know this before we had them, isn’t it?

Remote Control Wars

What is it about men that they have to control the remote for the TV?

My husband, in all his majesty, sits in his chair, with the TV remote on one arm of the chair and the PVR remote on the other. The remotes can’t possibly sit on the coffee table where we can both reach them. ­Oh no, because that would mean he was giving up the power.

Hiding the TV remote controls is the one of the most cruel and inhuman punishments I’ve ever devised for him. He spends hours ransacking the house in desperation. He even bribes the children to help in the pursuit of the missing remotes.

And meanwhile what am I doing? I’m sitting back chortling with malicious enjoyment.

Ah… married life: it can be a joy sometimes!