Sunday, February 27, 2011

Do you want to know a secret?

I have a secret I'd like to share.

It's something I've been doing for three weeks and it's like I'm a new woman. My house is cleaner, my kids are getting more nutritional food, the clutter situation is being addressed, less fruit and vegies are being wasted and I'm not so tired that I fall asleep on my feet.

I can tell that everyone is keen to hear the seret, and it really is quite simple. I have turned the traditional working week on its head and now have a two-day week and a five-day weekend.

I don't know how I managed to work almost full-time since having kids, and I have the utmost respect for anyone who successfuly juggles career and parenthood. Me, I wasn't so good at it.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a complete disaster. I did pretty well at the whole career thing, and I'm not a dreadful mother (half-arsed? maybe). But work and kids often competed for my time, meaning that something had to give. And it was usually me.

Now, the two days I spend at work are extremely productive, not only because I know my time there is limited, but I am also not wasting work time worrying about when the groceries will get done, or feeling guilty about not helping Gromit with his spelling words that morning, or ringing daycare because I forgot to mention something important at drop-off.

It's also hard, at just two days a week, to get drawn too far into office politics - or gossip - which means I am pretty much left to my own devices during the day.

Two days is also good time for me to have as an outlet from the monotony of parenting and housework. I would, truly, go stir crazy if I didn't have this.

I admit, the finances have taken a hit, and there have been cutbacks. No more impulse buying for me, or amplifiers for the Winemaker (really, five amplifiers is enough for anyone).

Ask me again in a few months how I feel about the money situation, but at this stage, I see no faults with my plan.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Naming rights

I never changed my name when I got married.

Some people think this brands me a rabid feminist, but, quite honestly, it was more a case of being too lazy to schlepp my marriage certificate around town changing all my official documents.

Plus, I didn't get married till I was 34, so I was pretty attached to my name by then. It's not a great name. I have to spell it out most times, and even then people get it wrong.

When I was younger, and dreaming about Mr Right, I fully intended to change my name. Mainly to get away from the spelling-out thing (I had images of marrying someone with a common, easy to pronounce and spell, name). But then I fell in love with the winemaker and,  frankly, his surname isn't much better than mine. Plus it is also the name of a well-known childrens' TV character here in Australia, which is just too much for me to "bear".

He didn't care one way or the other about whether I took his surname (he's ambivalent about most things at the best of times), so my maiden name stuck.
It has its benefits. When a cold-call telemarketer rings at home and asks to speak to "Mrs Hislastname", I can truthfully respond "No-one of that name lives here". I am also easily traceable by old friends (maybe a negative?) and people sometimes remember my name from my journo days, which can be helpful when pitching for work.

On the other hand, my honorific can't be Miss, as I am married, and it can't be Mrs, as my surname is not my married name. Therefore, I am stuck with Ms, which I loathe and detest. (Why do men get a single honorific that confers no martital status????). It almost makes it worthwhile to lose several (more) years of my life on inconsequential study with the aim of becoming a Dr (of letters, not medicine - bodily fluids gross me out).

It is also a bit of a pain now I am the only Mylastname in a family of Hislastnames, especially when it comes to daycare and school.

So, I have been contemplating changing my official name - but still using my maiden name for work.

Should I? Or is the "out" for the telemarketers worth all the trouble?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hi honey, I'm home.

What I REALLY need is a wife.

And I'm not talking any lesbian fantasty wife. What I want is a stay-at-home-scotch-when-I-walk-through-the-door-kids-bathed-and-fed-linen-smelling-like-fabric-softener-1950s kind of wife.

Don't get me wrong. The winemaker is a fine partner is so many ways. He's smart, and funny, and handsome and he really does do his fair share of the cleaning, cooking and kid-wrangling (if I'm being really honest, he probably does more than his share of the cleaning. Domestic Goddess I am not).

The thing is, we both like things to be neat and orderly. Problem is, while we fall back on the excuse of young children and work, the truth is we are both fundamentally disorganised and lazy.

A friend commented recently that our house looked a little like a student house. This kind of shook me up. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't offended, but It hit me that, at 42, it really was time I had furniture that matched, and maybe some nice paintings on the wall..

And, as I mentioned in a previous post, it is time to stop the clutter invasion, sort out the house and start to live like a grown up.

But it would be so much easier if I had a wife.