Tag Archives: sarcasm

Don’t read the comments…

Dear My Flatpack Life,

I’ve been reading your blog, and I do think you go on a bit. All these young women these days you do make such a fuss over nothing. My Great-Aunt Mabel raised 23 children in a hut, and she did it without complaining once. She just got on with it.

She didn’t have epidurals or a water birth. No, she knew it was her duty as the progeny of Eve to suffer. Obviously she didn’t suffer too much, I mean she didn’t experience pre-eclampsia or obstructed labour, or haemorrhaging, or infections despite the lack of sanitation. Otherwise she would have been too dead to complain. But still, you aren’t allowed to complain about surviving a terrible medical emergency. That’s what I tell people who’ve survived a cardiac arrest or are recovering from a stroke- ‘Well, you’re not dead, so just get on with it’. Only dead people are allowed to complain. Did I say 23 children? Well, they didn’t all survive childbirth, or even childhood, but Mabel never complained.

Her life is exactly comparable to yours in every way except all the ways your life is easier. She didn’t have a dishwasher, or electricity. Nope. Luckily, she did have daughters, not too many though, you wouldn’t want too many of those. Just enough to help out around the house and look after the younger children while the boys did their homework so they could learn to provide for their families in manly, important ways.

Despite all that housework Great Aunt Mabel used to watch her children every minute. Every minute. She never stopped watching them so they didn’t have any of those accidents that happen now-days because the parents should have been watching the kids. She never used a phone to check emails because she didn’t have a job outside the home, or electronic bills, or god-forbid, a social life. But she also knew the exact right moment to look away. Because she wasn’t one of these silly helicopter parents with their namby-pamby kids. You can’t watch them forever you know.

And if you didn’t want to become a taxi service you shouldn’t have let yourself become one. Great Aunt Mabel didn’t have to take the kids everywhere. She was too busy Not Complaining to do that. So they just walked everywhere because they had to. No car. No busy roads to Not Complain about. No social services checking in on parents who allow their children to walk anywhere unaccompanied. You shouldn’t do that, can’t be too careful these days.

Great Aunt Mabel never took the kids out to a café and let them misbehave. She never drank a latte in her life. You’re so spoiled. And your kids. They’re spoiled too. Why, the other day a mother was sitting a café with her children as though it was a public space and they had every right to be there. Totally ruined my cappuccino that did.

She didn’t need to have a job either. Nothing that would selfishly take her away from her children who needed their mother to look after them. It’s no wonder kids have so many problems these days with their mothers so distracted by working. It’s no wonder they are all fat without mothers cooking decent meals for them. It’s no wonder they are out roaming the street in those packs –packs I tell you- without mothers waiting to greet them after school. Great Aunt Mabel knew that was her job, and she dedicated herself to it.

Mind you, mothers these days seem to expect some sort of award for parenting. They seem to think the whole world revolves around it. They should definitely devote every single moment to their children but they shouldn’t think it’s important.

Oh No. We never asked Great Aunt Mabel how she felt. We didn’t discuss feelings. No, we never asked if she cried silently over the cooking. We never wondered about the dark circles under her eyes. We never listened on those occasions she chatted with other women. But they weren’t complaining. I’m sure they lived happy fulfilling lives in which they trampled every emotion that couldn’t be written down in a gratitude journal.

Actually, she didn’t write a journal. Great Aunt Mabel couldn’t read or write. So her voice and the voice of countless women have been lost to posterity. But still, no point complaining about that, eh?

Yours judgementally.

I think, therefore I am.

The following conversation may have at some point become confused with the Phil101 course I took at university. I’ll leave it to your discretion at what point that occurred.

The players:
F: early thirty mother
M: her son three years old
A: ten month old daughter

The setting: a light afternoon snack at the table.

M: Are mice real?
F: Yes. Mice are real.
M: Are they this big? The real mice. Holds finger and thumb approx. 5cm apart Can we see them?
F: Yes. But we don’t have any in our house so there are none here to see.
M: Are tigers real?
F: Yes tigers are real. You saw one at the zoo, remember?
M: Do they come to tea?
F: No, tigers that come to tea aren’t real. Or at least I hope they aren’t.
A: unintelligible roar
M: Are dinosaurs real?
F: Ye-es. Dinosaurs were real. But there aren’t any dinosaurs anymore. They lived before there were people. But they were real.
M: Before the Romans?
F: Yeah. Before any people so, before the Romans.
M: Are dragons real?
F: No. Dragons are a bit like dinosaurs, but they are only in stories. Takes a sip of her single-origin coffee
M: Are witches real?
F: Some people call themselves witches. But they can’t do magic. Only witches in stories can do magic.

Silence, except for the noise of all three snacking on their organic vegetable crudités.

M: Is Santa real?
F: Well, what do you think?
M: I think he is based on the historical figure of Nicholaos of Myra, who lived in Asia Minor during the fourth century, and was therefore real. Sips his artesian  water. Furthermore, his name and penchant for gift-giving live on in the story we call ‘Santa Claus’. You and Daddy use this mysterious ‘Santa Claus’ as the embodiment of the Christmas spirit of generosity, and so in that sense you could say he represents a real thing.
F: Good answer M.

A, overwhelmed by angst, throws her cucumber on the floor.

M: Am I real?
F: I think so.
M: But don’t you know?

F passes around the homemade spelt grissini and a pesto dip.

F: Well, according to Descartes the only thing we can be sure of is whether our own self is real. I know that I think. I think I am sitting here talking to you, but our senses can be unreliable.
M: Meaning?
F: Meaning that from my point of view, I am real. But am I sure that you are real? Your sister is real? This house? Perhaps I am solely a brain in a tank – and everything I perceive is being transmitted to me via external electrical impulses, instead of arising from physical experience. From my point of view, I can only assume you are real, but I have no way of knowing for sure. Of course you could say the same thing about me. It’s a thought experiment.
A: Like Schrödinger’s cat.
F: Exactly, A.
M: Schrödinger’s cat?
F: The one with the cat shut in a box, and while the box is shut we don’t whether the cat is alive or dead.
M: That doesn’t sound very nice for the cat.
F: No. Look, can we leave ethics for tomorrow. I feel we can give it the time it deserves then.
M: Okay. I don’t mind waiting for answers to my questions.

F hands around finger bowls and starched napkins.



I’m a mummy, I scare people

I’ve been asked to post three photos that show why I love being a mother.

Gosh. Only three?!

Of course I love my little darlings. But motherhood is so much more fulfilling than smiling photos of my cherubs could show. In fact sometimes I feel the state of ‘motherhood’ is important than the unique ‘personhood’ of my own children.

And there is so much a photo can’t show. Like the beautiful pitter patter of feet on the way to your bedroom at 3am. The triumph of getting pram buckles closed while your baby is planking. The sense of superiority I get from my son learning to use the word ‘Fuck’ correctly in a sentence before his so called peers.

But I don’t want to sound like I think I’m too good for this sort of thing. So here we go.

I love knowing no matter how much time I spend picking things up my daughter’s curiosity means she’ll instantly find something else to spread over the floor. Dvds, duplo, plastic containers in the kitchen, the contents of our change bag if I forget to zip it up. Books are a special favourite; I love seeing those getting good use. And while I’m at it, I love reading; I’ve always been a re-reader of old favourites. What a joy when I discovered the hidden depths of Thomas and The Bumpy Line. And you know Mr Skinny is very funny, Every Single Time we read it.

I love watching my children turn there dreams into reality. Little A has had her eye on the drain for a while. Today, I went to get the camera as her brother was having fun playing in the sink. She seized the moment and I returned with said camera to see this. Oh those cheeky monkeys, I can’t turn my back for a second. No seriously. Because while I was changing her into dry clothes, her brother washed the soap.image_1 I managed to find some pieces, as you can see. The rest of them turned up when my husband unscrewed the pipes later. What larks!

Cooking has always given me great pleasure. That pleasure has only been deepened by the addition of whining for snacks. Of course I have to say No, otherwise they won’t eat their dinner later. Or they can nibble on healthy veges while they wait. I’m no angel though, sometimes they do test my willpower. So while they chomp down on cucumber slices, what I love most is knowing about this packet of chippies I keep on the top shelf…