Ever feel like God was having some kind of sick joke when he coordinated the onset of menopause with the metamorphosis of happy children into entitled, grunting teenagers? We all strive for the perfect work/life, family balance but it’s not easy to get that balance right when there are effectively four adults living in one house, ravaged by the dictates of hormones.
And that precious balance can get completely fucked up by the smallest things: like when the food shop hasn’t been done in eleven days and you end up having to pay an exorbitant amount of money at the local shop for milk, bread and bin bags.
I seriously need a housekeeper or a ‘wife’.
I don’t need a cleaner – our little apartment only needs twenty-minutes of concerted effort to turn it from bedlam to show home via a superficial surface clean that I’ve invented which would even fool the mother-in-law. And to be honest, we’d miss that fine layer of dust if it suddenly disappeared from the lining of our nostrils.
But it’s all that other shit, like ACTUALLY getting the dishwasher TURNED ON and EMPTIED; like removing the wet washing from the washing machine and putting it into the drier; like having the luxury of time to clean and divide the recycling into the relevant fucking boxes so the dustman don’t have an epi when he collects it.
I know I only have myself to blame. I should be treating my children like serfs now that they are legally old enough not to fall under the protection of child services. But to be fair, they do their own washing and feed themselves on those days I’ve completely given up and refuse to come home.
The problem is that we all work long hours – well, apart from Kurt who is having a sabbatical from life and in the process of ‘finding himself’, using simple self-help strategies such as eating and sleeping all day. So, you see, once the main priorities have been dealt with, such as walking the Princess four times a day, (who now I’m really time-poor, insists on sniffing each blade of grass before dumping her load), cooking, cleaning and moaning about life, it doesn’t leave much time to enjoy life.
And we’re all super-cranky as a result.
Even the Princess, whose every whim is catered too. Everyone knows dogs have ADHD, but I never realised they suffered from peri-menopause too!
Raging hormones are responsible for a lot in our apartment – sometimes it feels like the Big Brother house, such is the dangerous smorgasbord of dual personalities on display. We have one VERY angry, lethargic teenager with the appetite of ten athletes, one lovesick twenty-something whose biggest fear in life is failing a test, an even ANGRIER menopausal mother and a father who is just coming out of his third midlife crisis.
So what’s the solution? Well, funnily enough, Annabel Crabb has come up with one in her new book ‘The Wife Drought’. Forget about farmers needing a wife, apparently WE ALL NEED A WIFE if we want a better work/life balance. In other words, the optimum domestic set-up is when the main breadwinner has a non-working or part-time ‘wifey’ at home, who deals with all that OTHER frustrating shit like when you’re trying to make a deadline and the dog decides to vomit on the carpet. In the fifties, when many women didn’t work, the ‘wife’ used to manage the domestic chores and so prevented the type of family melt-downs that are so common these days.
In our house, if I haven’t told the old man to ‘fuck off’ within half an hour of us both returning home from work, I would start worrying about the status of our relationship.
I’m not suggesting that everyone can afford a part-timer in the family, but something has to give. The mélange of Kurt’s teenage growth hormones dictating to him to eat and sleep all day, (and in doing so, directly challenging my resentful and permanently ANGRY, menopausal hormones that justifiably feel that if I have to work my ass off, so should everyone else), are having a seriously detrimental effect on my sanity. My walking-dustbin-for-a-son eats us out of house and home, so even that wonderful feeling of elation at the sight of a FULL FRIDGE that I occasionally experience once a week, (and yes, I do know that’s incredibly sad!), is a temporary one, quickly dismissed once Kurt and his friends have raped and pillaged its contents.
But at least the old man takes it all calmly in his stride and feigns the superiority of the sage yogi as he escapes the domestic trenches to sit beneath his faithful invisibility cloak, that has always protected him from the ravages of parenthood and hormone-driven storms… for all of five minutes, usually, before he erupts too and we all laugh at him callously when he storms off to the bedroom for his therapy in front of the golf.
How’s your work/family balance working out for you?