Wednesday, 4 November 2009
Desperately Bad Housewife...
I am the worse Manhattan housewife that ever there was.
I am the wrong woman at the wrong time in the wrong place. I am unwilling and ill tempered about the inevitable drudgery of housewifery. I bang plates when washing up for the 4th time in a day and tell giant bubbling bowls of pasta that I am a trained journalist. I say sod off to hospital corners and yell ''Do I look like a fucking maid?'' at The Teenager and The American.
I am used to the world of work and don't have the self discipline to manage my time. Without the demands of deadlines my pitiful attention span is carried away by the delicious frivolities of The Facebook and The Daily Mail showbiz page. Rather than focus on the hoover in hand, I drop everything after deciding what the apartment really needs right now is some velvet scatter cushions. Like, right now.
This 24 hour city of convenience is made for those with careers. Drinks happen after work, everything is delivered at all hours and the rich but time poor can hire someone to do everything from walk their dog to press their shirts. I am a lone species in this Metropolis being neither rich or poor, but rolling in time. I am the Bill Gates of time. I don't know where you find other people like me. I am a 34 year old reluctant housewife and mother of a teenager impatiently waiting for a green card. Even in the middle of a bustling metropolis that's a pretty narrow field. You would have to travel to Prospect Park in Brooklyn to find anyone that shared my recently acquired love of Swiffer sweepers.
Even the kid thing is off. If the child was ten year's younger I could hang out in the Yummy Mummy park on Greenwich Avenue and buy $50 baby grows at all those chi chi little boutiques I pass on my way to the Gym. As it is The Teenager hates having a stay at home Mommy.
Today she arrives home from school while I am sitting on the sofa chuckling my way through Popbitch. On the way to her bedroom/pit of filth she sneers at me and says:
''Mother. What do you do all day exactly?''
''Just like... what do you do? Like, all day?"
''Umm, stuff! Loads of stuff."
''Right so what have you done today?''
"It's only 3.30."
''Uh actually I went to the gym and then on the way back I saw a shop selling nanny cams, a baby having a haircut, and a midget shouting at her kids."
''You just make all that up yeah?"
''Whatever. You basically just went to the gym then."
And with that she disappears into her room to pout into a web cam to The Boy back in Wales.
''It's not my fault I have to wait for a bloody Green Card!'' I shout at the door.
Her question leaves me reeling. What do I do all day? I have no job. No, wait, I do have a job, I am logistics manager for this family (self appointed, salary-zero). I decide it's time to set up the online vintage shop I have been talking about, get some freelance work and secure a book deal. Simple. Just one problem: rampant procrastination. I am a master at procrastination. Master-cation. No wait, that's chewing.
I storm back into her room without knocking.
''Hello! How many times Mother? Knock!"
"I just came in to say I am quite offended by your question."
"Because I do a lot of stuff, I do everything in this house!''
''You don't do the laundry. That Chinese man comes and picks it up and then drops it back off"
''I have to call them! And then put the laundry away!''
''Look Mother, I wasn't trying to be rude yeah? I was actually just wanting to know what you do all day."
Her tone is completely lacking in sarcasm which throws me to the back foot.
We pause and she looks and me and I at her and then she widens her eyes and shrugs impatiently as if to say 'anything else?' I am deflated. She looks at her laptop with annoyance as I dare to keep her from skyping with the true love.
''I will say though..." she offers, while typing frantically into her computer "It is a bit annoying that you're here when I get in from school. I just like to chill. You're like... in my face."
My child prefers to be a latchkey kid. I don't know what this says about my parenting. I was never a latchkey kid. I am not even sure if latchkey kid is an actual phrase, or just one of the many my Mother made up and then claimed where commonly used in the English language, like 'broad as it is long' and 'there'll be blood on the moon'.
With determination I grab my laptop to start all those projects but The Daily Mail website is blinking at me seductively. Jordon and Kim from How Clean is Your House are having a boob-off in the jungle! Focus. Focus! Just after I've checked my bank balance. No! Do it, don't talk about it. Top Shop website? No! No! Talk about it! No, do! DO DO DO, not talk talk talk. Oww my phone is ringing. Maybe talk for a little bit? Yeah, talk.
That's my problem. I am a desperately bad housewife. I'm all talk.
All mouth and no apron.