Recently I was lucky enough to go out carousing with a group of fantastically fun and gorgeous women.
I turned into hyper party Jane and spent the evening talking to a great many people that I had not met before, including a number of men.
After exchanging pleasantries, they invariably asked me the standard questions about marriage and children and jobs.
And after I informed them that I had three children, they ALL, yes ALL, asked me “Who is looking after your children?”
To which I dutifully replied “Their father” (like duh, who were you expecting, the Queen or something).
I have come to realise (for this is not the first time I have had these comments) that this mother-out-on-the-town situation is rare and slightly bizarre for it must always be commented on and examined by those possessing a Y-chromosome.
For no-one would ever enquire of a father of three children who is out on the town “who is looking after your children?” for it is so bleedingly obvious that it will be their lovely wife who is possibly pregnant, maybe barefoot, and definitely at HOME.
So I would like to make a little point. It is OK for women to go out on the town, without their husbands. Healthy in fact. Men are totally and utterly capable of reading a book to a child and then tucking them into bed. In fact, men are more than capable of being active, involved parents and I know many who are (see SuperDad!)
When my darling youngest daughter, Petunia (ahem), was 4 years old, we visited my parents one day.
My lovely mother was putting make up (oh yes inappropriate I am sure) on Petunia at the little make up desk in her bedroom. Above Lala’s head (yes my mother, despite not being a teletubbie, does gets called Lala “in real life” as Petunia would say) there was a large hole in the ceiling where my parents were fixing up some wiring or some such thing. As Lala did Petunia’s make up, little Petunia looked up, saw the hole and said calmly to my mother “well that’s fucked”. Which it was. Clearly. There was a big hole in the ceiling.
This took the wind out of Lala’s sails somewhat and she came out of her bedroom calling me and choking back laughter.
After I overcame my pride at Petunia’s superior vocabulary and understanding of context for a four year old, I did get to thinking about swearing. Because I can be a bit of a potty mouth. And my husband is probably even more of one (he works in the music industry you see, they’re all terribly naughty). We have tried to curtail our swearing over the years, particularly around the childers, but not to much avail.
We don’t however swear at them. Years ago I visited an outer western Sydney suburb to attempt to sell some software to a law firm, and saw a woman dragging her child along ranting “If you don’t f-ing come with me, I’ll f-ing hit you, you little f-ing brat”. That made me feel terribly ill and want to leave this nameless suburb immediately. Don’t swear at your children, it’s not nice. At all. Swear at the fridge instead. Or the cat. Just not the children.
Oh and before I toodle off I should mention that at around the same time Petunia came to visit me at work, drew a sausage shape on the whiteboard in my office, and then proceeded to call out “Penis PENIS PENIS ” louder and louder for about 5 minutes.
She was put on this earth to test me I am sure.