My Life, the Shit Show
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Hello, my name is Lauren. And my life is a 24 hour experimental art performance piece with a working title of “shit show – not literally, but yes, sometimes literally.”
I’m (almost) always on time. I know the names of all the kids at kindy. I volunteer for everything. I’m on top of the dates and the RSVPs and the forms. I have a job. And two kids. And I write.
I’ve got it all together. And somehow make time for everything. I’m that mum.
Except I’m not.
It’s all a lie. I’m actually a total shit show.
Let me introduce myself: I’m a Disaster Mum.
My house looks like a disaster. 167 hours per week. I have a cleaner, which doesn’t really help, because I’ve got children. And nothing stays tidy for more than about 5 minutes. If you want a more immersive blog reading experience, if you want to really get into my shoes (good luck finding both of them), try this -- try turning the ceiling fan to high, and throwing a few handfuls of detritus at it (an actual pastime for my 5 year old), and maybe a bag of dog hair and a couple of full cups of water and a bag of flour, then sit there in it, own it, that’s where I’m typing this right now.
I’m pretty sure that my neighbours are convinced that I’m running some sort of illegal underground child fighting ring from our home.
Whether the tone of our house is happy, sad, sleepy, angry (or any of the other dwarves' names) we're doing it loudly. Really, really, really loudly. (Our poor neighbours got to witness the actual insanity of it all when we were given a carton of expired soft drink. We decided to do a 'science experiment' and shake and throw the cans to see how they exploded, spun and basically wreaked havoc. Except this whole hysterical screaming, laughing, stupidly fun 'experiment' somehow managed to move to our front steps / the footpath, so the entire neighbourhood could witness — and hear — our fun.) But mostly the neighbours just get the pleasure of hearing my children fight. We recycled the cans 💁
I lose things constantly. I’ve bought my eldest son six replacement hats this year. This year! Where did they all go? I have no idea. Probably under a pile of toys somewhere. Or at the bottom of the laundry basket, which hasn’t been seen in five years.And yes, technically he lost them, but saying that is like the partner who signed off on the advice saying it’s the paralegal’s fault for getting it wrong.
My children are fed the exact same dinner every single night, because I can’t cope with cooking. And they can’t cope with eating anything else.
I’m a little bit of a shit show. I’m a low budget, poorly acted, B-Grade shit show.
I actually have a theory: I think that we’re all a little bit of a trainwreck sometimes.
I have a theory: I think that we’re all a little bit of a trainwreck.
I have some friends that are openly a mess. No holds barred. Venting happens on the daily. They love to throw open the doors, and say, ‘This is my hellish life.’ They share the grimy details of it all.
Want to hear an emotive and vividly descriptive account of their post-baby hemorrhoids? No? Too bad.
Want to hear a detailed and candid description of the massive fight they had with their partner over the allocation of child-related duties, and their post-fight tepid, dull sex? No? Again??? Well, you’ve gone and made yourself the wrong friend here, sweetie.
I have other friends, who mostly have everything going right, with just a few little exceptions. You know the ones I mean, actually having sex with their partner, only occasionally wanting to give their children away, but bombing at work.
Or the ones who stand in solidarity with their partners, love their jobs, but are attempting to live through the vicious, unpredictable and horrific tantrums of a two year old.
Then there are others, like me, who seem to have things under control. But they don’t. Not at all. Sure, there are times when I feel like I’m doing it, like I’m on top of it all. But that feeling rarely lasts longer than a moment.
I like to pretend. Occasionally I’ll cheerfully mutter something about things going a little pear shaped. But mostly, I’m pretending to be swimming when in fact I’m very slowly drowning in a sea of dirty washing and un-ticked to-do lists and mess. Just like everyone else. And if all this sounds completely foreign to you, if you’re reading this sitting in a scene from Vogue Living while little Tarquin and Santasha are off in their rooms folding laundry and practising their courtesy words just for fun, please feel free not to weigh in in the comments section.
Because, when it comes down to it, we’re all a little bit of a trainwreck — a little bit of a shit show, a little bit of a disaster mum — sometimes.
What I’m reading right now:
I’ve just finished Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner. This book is everything. I want to thrust it in people’s faces and tell them to read it, then sit and watch them read it, and wait, watching, until they’ve finished and are ready to talk about how good this book is. And then I try to restrain myself in an attempt to try to minimise how crazy people think I am, so instead just try to casually drop it into conversation. And continue to sound like a crazy person.
Toby Fleishman is a recently divorced man who is quite looking forward to the prospect of his new life — kids every other weekend and apps that deliver sex with no strings attached.
But his little dream life is abruptly interrupted when his ex-wife disappears, and he is left with the kids. At least he enjoys the narrative that he builds for himself as the hard-done-by single parent. But there’s more than one side to every story.
This book is a brilliant portrayal of modern married life, looking at it from both perspectives. Beautiful writing. Amazing. A must read.
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