Scrabbling my hand through my coat pocket this morning I laid out my findings on the kitchen worktop. There was: a few crumbly, smelly liver dog treats, a single key, hair band complete with a tangled up knot of hair, doggy poo bag (not used!) and a lip balm with dog treat crumbs stuck to the lid. Wow. If that’s my pocket, I’m not going anywhere near my handbag without an extra large tub of hand sanitiser. What does that eclectic display on the kitchen worktop say about me? I love my dog? Yes. I’m messy? Yes. My hair is falling out? Well, a bit, yeah. I like soft lips with crumbs on them? Yes… and no. But what I think it mostly says is: “I’m bloody poor because I have no money in my pocket and every bloody penny I have goes to my three children!”
Being one of the directors at the Bank of Mum and Dad, then shouldn’t I jump on the bandwagon and join the rest of those shameful bankers by giving myself a blooming big bonus? I wished. But the Bank of Mum and Dad doesn’t work that way it works like this:
* Stressed Husband works very hard and gets very stressed and puts money in the B of M and D.
* I work very hard looking after the children, feed them and the husband and try to look after the house (badly as you may remember). I also do a bit of freelancing work and that money goes into the B of M and D.
* Mean Teen: I’ve got a really important audition at college next week and my only leotard is rank. It’s fraying and all the other girls wear really funky ones that make them stand out…that’s how you get good parts, if you look good. Sooo, basically, if you get me a couple of new leotards…and maybe some new jazz shoes and stuff, mummy, I promise I’ll pay you back by looking after Little Angel or walking Troy or any other chores. Ker-ching!
*Little Angel: I’ve got 100 merits at school now mummy! And I’m doing so well in the dance rehearsals and my teacher gave me a commendation for my last essay…do you remember when Mean Teen did really well and you gave her some money because you were so proud that she’d worked so hard? Ker-ching!
*My Boy: Alright mum? It must be hard for you and dad paying out for Mean Teen and Little Angel’s school fees…lucky I go State school innit? Bet I save you loadsa dosh…Muuum? There’s a group of us that want to go (insert festival, club, gig, shopping mall etc….) but I can’t really afford it on my pocket money. Ker-ching!
And, even though Mean Teen contributes now and then when she has part-time jobs (by paying towards her own non-stop social life, sushi, extra large Chai Tea Lattes and spray tans) that’s just a little snippet of what might might happen at the B of M and D on a usual day. There are many, many more ker-ching moments throughout the week, but what makes me laugh (else I’d go mad), is when I try to actually use the B of M and D myself the cash point usually says No.
Me: My hair’s a mess – I’m going to have to have it cut and coloured.
SH: Why don’t you dye it yourself and save some money?
Me: Do you remember how I walked around with 3 inch orange roots and white frizzy ends last time I tried to dye it myself?
SH: I thought it looked nice.
Me: Yes, for a stint on the Jeremy Kyle show!
Then I start to play the fantasy game of What would we do with the money we would have if we didn’t have children? which goes like this:
Me: Just imagine if I’d decided to stay in my career and worked my way to the top without having children. And you carried on building up your company the way you have – with our salaries combined we could travel all over the world and buy whatever we wanted. I could shop in Bond Street, have a cook, botox and a bum lift!
SH: And I’d have my suits made on Saville Row, drive a Bentley and hire a personal trainer….Where are the kids anyway?
Me: At sleepovers.
SH: It’s quiet without them isn’t it?
SH: I don’t like it when they’re not here. Do you?
Me: No. I hate it.
Deadly quiet pause…
SH: So…go on, have your hair done, it’ll cheer you up.
Me: (smiling to myself) I’ll just have half a head of highlights, it’s cheaper than a full head. Ker-ching!