When Equality Leads To Divorce

I know I’m a feminist, nevertheless I’ve decided to impeach my house husband for misconduct in the area of the family food shop. He’s simply not up to the job. supermarket-949912_1280

 

Albeit he has done some fine work in terms of a reduction in cost to our weekly food bill, happiness isn’t just about money and in a unilateral decision driven by our stomachs, the kids and I are forcing him to step down as the ‘hunter gatherer’ until I get bored of it for the short term.

 

There are only so many times you can look at an empty fridge after the weekly food shop and feel crushed.

 

My husband has brought the same minimalism, (which borders on OCD), to the fridge as he used to bring to his desk when he worked. His desk was always uninviting, devoid of any sign of life, whereas mine has always looked like two cats have fought on it. I like a similar type of eclecticism inside my fridge.

 

I will be careful how I put this, but some men don’t have the inherent intuition necessary for a successful food shop. They see in black and white, go into the supermarket on a mission to buy what’s on the list and ONLY what’s on the list. They don’t understand that the ‘grey’ is where those unknown delights such as new products or chocolate hot cross buns infused with Baileys may tempt you from the shelves, so blinded are they by that singular male focus which allows no deviation from the fucking list.

 

I like to have a CHOICE of cheeses and a SELECTION of fruit to suit my moods, not just what is “on special”. I don’t want to have to set my alarm to get to the last banana because the old man calculated that if we consume on average two bananas a day, eight will cover us for four days. Where is the creativity in that? What if I have a Jamie Oliver moment and decide to make banana bread?

 

Occasionally, I might want more than one bag of chips…

 

As my propensity for alcohol consumption diminishes on a daily basis, thanks to Menopause, food is one of the few comforts I have left and the old man’s personal vendetta to make my life as miserable as possible reduce the food bill is impacting upon my happiness.

 

In a move similar to those who are anti-Trump, I am prepared to act upon my convictions; “march” if I have to. Today I will be marching to the supermarket. Alone. And although some might see my act ‘disempowerment’ as a breach of the old man’s equal rights, I like to think of it as saving my marriage.

 

Even NC has sworn allegiance, although historically a Daddy’s Girl, she has been known to sit on the fence when the shit hits the fan. Kurt has already marked ‘food shop day’ in his otherwise empty calendar and added Coco Pops to the shopping list in bold capitals several times…

 

Someone else added Chocolate waffles, Pop tarts and chocolate spread.

 

 

How Does Facebook Know Me Better Than My Husband Does?

It’s kind of spooky just how perceptive Facebook has become about my personality.

 

The choice of articles, memes and funny/cute dog videos that flood my homepage each day accurately paint a picture of my character (and all its flaws), as well as pander to my quirks and interests far more intuitively than the old man ever has. chocolate-brownie-995134_1280

 

For the man I have shared my life with for thirty years still cannot determine between mine and my daughter’s knickers when he sorts the laundry, nor can he remember that I like weak tea and strong coffee. Yet Facebook unfailingly remembers my birthday, reminds me of the birthdays of the important people in my life, helpfully sends me adverts for clothes for the more mature woman, the latest diet crazes and advice on how to cope with a child with ADHD.

 

Facebook knows that I have an insatiable appetite for any article about mental health issues – particularly in the areas of ADHD and anxiety; it also knows that I have a weakness for wine which looks after my own mental health issues.

 

It knows that I am prone to obsessing about healthy eating and dieting, yet am happy to forgo the latest fad diet for the ‘ultimate’ chocolate brownie recipe, and that although I am concerned about how much alcohol I drink and will do anything to increase the longevity of my life, I am a strict practitioner of ‘living life in the moment’.

 

Facebook has surmised that I am a bit porky and more and more conscious of it, that I am middle-aged and suffer from mood swings, (in fact the full smorgasbord of menopause symptoms), and am well on the way to becoming a candidate for Tena pads. I’m not certain from where the articles on how to improve my sex life emanate, when that ceased to be a priority a while ago, but apparently I also have an interest in lube and vibrators.

 

Obviously, what I thought was a secret obsession with Chris Hemsworth is not so secret at FB Headquarters and prompts many articles about the habits of the middle-aged cougar. I expect to be notified whenever a Hemsworth brother pees. In fact nothing is secret on Facebook, which is why sometimes I choose not to allow my curiosity to get the better of me and click on those articles that may well momentarily intrigue me but which I’m aware could lead to repercussions in the future – I don’t want some employer knowing that I have shown an interest in penis size, lesbian sex or suicide – all of which are obviously topics that I’ve needed to research for my book.

 

Facebook knows I like a good laugh, sometimes at my own expense but especially at the expense of others. It has surmised that I have a serious hang up about being a bad mother, that my kids are my world and hence ‘entitled’, and that I am immature for my age.

 

For some very strange reason it believes it is doing me a favour by suggesting my clients and psychologist as future friends.

 

If only the old man had as much insight.

 

My Husband, The House Bitch

An interloper has moved into our apartment. The teens annual Christmas wish of a cleaning fairy has finally come true, and albeit a welcome addition to the family, this new situation is making me feel strangely uneasy.

My Husband, The House Bitch
Cleaning Day by Jaymie Koroluk at http://www.flickr.com

Obviously, I’m grateful that the old man has taken over the major share of the domestic chores, but it takes some getting used to, seeing your partner in SUCH a different, less conventional role.

And frankly, I’m still a bit unsure about the pink rubber gloves.

For most of our relationship he has been my predictable caveman, a man who feigned not to know how to use the oven, and consistently used the ‘but you do it so much better’ excuse whenever I asked him to do anything domestic.

I thought he’d carry on the cleaning strategy I had cultivated – on a needs-must basis, or in other words, when people are coming around. I thought he’d pick up on my specialty of the ‘superficial’ clean, perhaps tweak it in places, but still run with it.

None of the family are super house-proud. We’re not pigs, but we put ‘living’ over cleanliness and lifestyle over the tedium of cleaning the grime from the microwave and the brown ring around the bath.

Not the old man, it seems.

He interrupts me when I’m Facebooking working to discuss the benefits of the cordless vacuum and eco-friendly cleaning products. He has moved everything around in the kitchen cupboards, so no-one can find anything. One minute you can be having a conversation with him about the benefits of vinegar over bleach down the toilet, and the next moment he’s lost concentration as his sensors pick up a spot on the carpet. Quick as a flash he’s back with the Vanish.

He tries to discuss meal plans for the week with me and looks hurt when I make no contribution. I’ve never created a meal plan in my life, and surely he must know that I don’t give a shit what he cooks, as long as he cooks.

It would be sexist to say that he is no longer the man I married, but something has changed…

Which is strange because I always yearned for a ‘new’, domesticated man, yet the nightmares I keep having of him in a pinny are perplexing. I’m a feminist, I believe in equality, so why does my man going against the traditional stereotype unsettle me so much?

He has become best buddies with the concierge in our building and I catch them giggling in the lift like schoolgirls as they discuss the latest glass-cleaning products and recycling ideas. Next thing I know, they’ll be opening the wine at five o’clock.

Where once my husband would begin conversations with ‘In this meeting today…’, most of his conversation these days start with ‘when I was in Aldi…’, and he bores the pants off me about the price of milk.

Was I really this insular and dull when I was the doing the housework?

Perfect Wife Or Perfect Bitch?

Perfect Wife Or Perfect Bitch?
Found on mylifeandkids.com at http://www.pinterest.com

It’s possible that I have acquired the reputation of being a bit of a bitch to my husband on this blog.

 

Or perhaps that’s just the old man whining again.

 

But having recently devoured Gillian Flynn‘s novel, Gone Girl, from cover to cover and in record time, (so I can see the film on cheapie Tuesday), I beg to differ.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m no Amy Elliott Dunne, but I have to admit to a secret respect for the protagonist of the book and her cunning logic when it comes to husband management.

 

In the old days, we used to cut men’s ties in half or bury prawns under the rug to get even (didn’t we?), but setting your husband up for your murder is a fairly radical move.

 

Not that anything is impossible when it comes to the fracture of love and relationships.

 

I won’t spoil the plot for those who haven’t read the book, seen the film or bought the tee-shirt yet, but since I finished it I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m either way too soft on the old man or plain stupid when it comes to dealing with the daily disappointments that pertain to my husband.

 

OR it could be that I’m the perfect wife.

 

Here’s why:

 

After 21 years of marriage, I don’t actually care enough to waste valuable time plotting revenge for the old man’s inadequacies.

 

English: Brad Pitt at the Toronto Internationa...
English: Brad Pitt at the Toronto International Film Festival 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days I do allow him to make love to me provided a) I can pretend he’s Brad Pitt b) I can turn the lights off (so I can pretend he’s Brad Pitt) c) I’m allowed to read my Kindle at the same time and d) I don’t have to pretend to orgasm anymore, which is just so exhausting.

 

I only nag him these days when he needs to be nagged – is it really my fault that he can’t follow simple instructions from one hour to the next?

 

I always ask nicely for my morning cup of tea in bed.

 

I am very tolerant of his few friends and sometimes even invite them to the house.

 

I dress him, in terms of selecting his clothes, in what I see as a public service.

 

I feed him from Monday to Friday in return for one paltry dinner at the most expensive restaurant I can find at the weekend.

 

I listen to him (without yawning) while he drones on and on about his deathly boring get-rich-quick and money-saving schemes. It’s quite sweet that he still truly believes that he can educate me about the value of money, but it’s also why I’m sometimes forced to operate in an uncharacteristically clandestine manner, and withdraw wads of cash when he’s not paying attention.

 

I try to stay as physically beautiful as I can within the limitations of my age and the third-world level of cash I am allowed to siphon from our bank account indulge on myself without him finding out sulking or having another dull domestic on the subject of money.

 

Are you under-appreciated perfect-wife material too?

 

If you laughed out loud reading this post, leaked wee or vaguely identified with any of the middle-aged waffle contained therein, don’t be scared and follow my blog by clicking the ‘Follow Me’ button (derr!) at the top of this page on the left hand side. You can even follow my Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mymidlifemayhem, and if you want to become the ultimate stalker, you can find me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram too, where I lurk, more often than is healthy for my family and work, in the clever disguise of Louisa Simmonds.

I Bet Brad Pitt Doesn’t Wear Thongs To Dinner!

How do you think Angelina would react if Brad put his thongs on to go out to dinner?

I Bet Brad Pitt Doesn't Wear Thongs Out To DinnerOne of the biggest battles my marriage faces at the moment, (successful parenting of Kurt aside), surrounds the old man’s malfunctioning wardrobe.

His consistently juvenile refusal to make any kind of effort with his attire (and desire to emulate the look of Woody Allen) is creating a rather large rift between us.

I thought that when we moved to the city he might upgrade his wardrobe accordingly, save the beachwear FOR THE BEACH and make a trip to David Jones to update. I don’t expect him to trounce around in designer slacks all the time, I’d just appreciate a bit of colour co-ordination occasionally.

I know all the baloney about ‘what’s on the inside’ being important and I agree wholeheartedly with the principle, but occasionally I’d like my fella to look hot.

However, his response is that he outrightly refuses to kowtow to any suggestion that he ‘make a fucking effort’ with his clothing, and accuses me of being shallow.

Who, moi?

I don’t think that I’m being unreasonable, but I do believe that he may have some innate fear of being controlled or disempowered by me (or any of the other verbs he uses that equate to the word ‘henpecked’). He doesn’t seem to understand is that I would hate to be married to a ‘yes’ man. Nevertheless, there are a few rules that are sacrosanct to our relationship and he broke one of the cardinal ones on Friday night when he wore thongs to a bar.

THONGS TO A BAR!

It’s not that I don’t appreciate that we now live in Australia where thongs are almost as iconic an emblem of the country as the kangaroo or emu, and I am glad that he is that keen to naturalise; yet I defy anyone to describe thongs as stylish.

They are beach apparel, designed to wade through sand easily, dry quickly when wet and to prevent the undersides of your feet from barbequing in hot sand. They say ‘I can’t be bothered’ rather than ‘I’m hot!’ and if a man can’t be bothered in his choice of footwear, what does it say about his lovemaking techniques? They are about as attractive as nylon rapper running suits and high-waisted trousers and do nothing to accentuate the allure of a man in a bar.

If I was some 40-something woman already comfortably resigned to wearing my Sportscraft checked shirt and slacks, they might be acceptable. Unfortunately for the old man, I’m not.

Which is why I felt very aggrieved on Friday night when after I threatened to leave him for not making enough of an effort , on a whim we decided to go out for a quick drink. Although it was a spontaneous decision, I, however, still bothered to put on some lippy, a few sequins and heels.

As we were walking to the bar, I looked down at his feet, and to my horror noticed the offending Havaiana thongs.

‘Hun, you really need to buy some casual shoes,’ I said, trying to quell the irritation from my voice, ‘because it’s just not acceptable to go out at night in flip flops.’

‘Who says?’ he snapped back, hackles rising. ‘What’s wrong with them?’

‘You look like crap, like you’ve just come off the beach’, I responded haughtily, ‘they don’t even match!’

‘Yes, they do,’ he retaliated, checking his feet to see if he had on a matching pair.

I give up. Why can’t he make an effort for me for the very same reason that I make an effort for him? There’s nothing sinister about my request, no hidden agenda, I just want him to look stylish and attractive occasionally. But it seems that the more I nag him about his lack of style or the necessity to dress up, occasionally, the more he retaliates like some toddler by donning his oldest tee shirts, dirtiest jeans and fugliest footwear.

I can see that it has become a bit of a game for him. On Saturday evening I jokingly commented about how glad I was that he was wearing his fugly poo-coloured tee-shirt, rather than wearing it on Sunday for our Christmas party. In hindsight, the poo-shirt would have been a better fit than the shrunken crop top that he chose to wear in front of our friends, and if it hadn’t been for the negotiating skills of NC who has a way of appealing to her father that I lost somewhere along the marital timeline, I may have left him and our guests to it.

I don’t need him to dress in Ralph Lauren, but I would just like him to look smart occasionally, rather than like the guy who dressed during a power outage in the local Vinnies.

Am I being unreasonable? I bet Brad Pitt doesn’t wear thongs to dinner.

8 Reasons Why I Deserve A Cleaner

Dear Husband,

Remember that time when you decided to join the local golf club, and out of some atypical dose of marital courtesy (more commonly recognised as guilt) you decided to discuss your decision with me, just prior to signing half our joint annual income away in exhorbitant membership fees, on another laughable sports fad?

But I didn’t laugh, (out loud) because I respected your decision to join as it was obviously important to you, and being the understanding wife-let that I am, I realise the importance to you of being able to let off steam by snapping your golf shafts and swearing loudly from green to green on your way around your ‘up-its-own-arse’ golf club.

So I am now approaching you in the same mature way to ‘discuss’ my chances  the idea of US hiring a cleaner, a topic that has reared its ugly head been tabled several times already in our marriage, but which now needs re-airing.

The following are my pleas reasons and justification:

  1. I do sense that I am perceived as a bit of a ‘wagger’ with my three day ‘official’ working week, even though in my defence I would argue that my real number of work days is closer to six. You see, when I spend my ‘days off’ (as well as most of my evenings and a good part of my weekends), in the act of writing, (ie. creating what I hope will one day turn into a profitable business), I am not actually brunching, exfoliating, chit-chatting or swanning around the shops. I have A DISTINCT GOAL IN MIND. Which unfortunately doesn’t leave a lot of time for me to clean, hence, I need a cleaner.
  2. In addition to my six day work week, my half of our (theoretically) ‘shared’ domestic schedule seems to incorporate full supervision of the teenagers. And although you have helpfully pointed out that ‘they can look after themselves now’; they don’t. They don’t eat if I don’t cook for them, neither can identify the location of the laundry, their rooms are turning into a cockroach breeding ground and one of them needs full time supervision just to eliminate the very high risk of him ending up in prison. Another reason why I need a cleaner.
  3. I organise all the family holidays as well as your boy-bonding breaks, the school administration and its ongoing issues (with aforementioned jailbait), the house renovations and endless repairs (that you are unable to do). Which is why I really need a cleaner.
  4. And then there’s the cleaning itself. I won’t stifle you with the detail of what this involves (I can already see your eyes glazing over) but what I will say is that your work shirts are a bitch to iron, the bed-linen does get changed and no, I really don’t enjoy cleaning urine splash from bathroom floors. The interminable washing cycle is a management project in itself to which I could sacrifice half my week if it let me. We have a son who changes his clothes three times a day (in spite of only showering once a week), who fervently believes that putting clothes away means putting them in the wash basket. I can spend two hours a week simply matching socks. I NEED A CLEANER.
  5. I admit that the house is superficially clean, but it is innately filthy and sometimes when even I resort to pushing something under the sofa (rather than putting it away), I am appalled. If your mother witnessed the Dust Mountains accumulating on our skirting boards, she might even be tempted to move in. Which is why we both need a cleaner.
  6. Furthermore, as all canine duties have now been successfully allocated to me (because I am obviously just too damn good at my job), I am also fully accountable for the dog not croaking it from a paralysis tick bite as well as getting a good walk each day. So a cleaner would really help your dog.
  7. Have you considered that some of my nagging might abate if the house was ever clean? The state of the house really does affect my general outlook on life, a bit like sports results do you. Please get me a f*cking cleaner.
  8. I would have more time to focus on you  if I had a cleaner, I would have more time to entertain the ADHDer at the weekend, which would mean that you could spend even more ‘quality’ family time languishing on the sofa watching golf (while everyone works around you). C.L.E.A.N.E.R  N.O.W!

I realise that a cleaner is a luxury ticket item and we only splash out on luxuries when they affect you personally, and I have taken on board your suggestion of cancelling our sponsored African child as a cost-cutting exercise, but the kids were a bit upset by that and we’re not really on the poverty line yet.

I truly believe that this decision could ultimately work more in your favour than mine.

Imagine not having to search the house frantically for an ironed shirt at 6am on a Monday morning or opening a fridge that doesn’t waft last year’s Jungle Curry.

In fact the more I think about it, the more I think that this is one of the best ideas you’ve come up with in a long time.

Your loving wife.

Cleaning courtesy of Flowrwolf at www.flickr.com