A Mischief Of Magpies

If the Sun were the size of a beach ball then Jupiter would be the size of a golf ball and a Mischief of Magpies would be as small as a pea.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Lazing Away My Days, Am I?

This is fake, not from the 50's at all, but we still have a giggle over it. We think we've come so far since then.

We haven't.

I was in a relationship once, as I said yesterday on my blog, where the balance was completely off.

He had money, I didn't. He could buy whatever he liked, I had to beg for what I needed. He went out every night, I was only allowed out once a week. And that was only because his band couldn't meet to practise that night anymore.

This was all because he had a job where he worked hard all day, and I stayed home and looked after the baby. To his mind, I was living the easy life, not contributing to our family like he was.

Because I relied on him financially I had to put up with it.

So many people (not just men) think that staying at home raising children is somehow the easy option. Today Daft Bugger (not getting at you here DB, just shamelessly using you to illustrate my point) left a comment on my blog that said:

What you see as an issue, being stuck at home all the time, would be like heaven to me.

It's not heaven. It's hard, and it's lonely. My boy is autistic. All day long I listen to him screaming, and I change nappies. I keep him entertained, I tidy up after him, I make sure everything is in exactly the right place, and done exactly the right way, so he doesn't panic. I provide him with meals that he often doesn't bother to eat, because the food is the wrong colour, or it's associated in his mind with a particular person or place, neither of which is me or the living room.

The only adult company I get most weeks is a brief chat with the staff in the supermarket, or - god help me - my ex when he comes to visit his son.

Before I had my son I used to have a social life, friends, places to be, a career even, confidence. Now I'm someone who's afraid to go new places and meet new people. Online is fine, online is great, I can be myself and chat to anyone. Online keeps me sane. But offline, I'm a gutless wonder.

The highlight of my day is a bottle of wine, to be drunk alone as usual.

It's lonely, thankless hard work being a stay at home mother, single or otherwise, special needs kid or not.

And everyone thinks you're living the bloody life of riley because you're at home all the time.

My Uncle just about fell over once when I mentioned having a day off from looking after my son. What could I possibly need a day off for? I didn't do anything.

So many people feel the same.

I have to go now, my son is screaming.


At 6:30 pm, Blogger Don said...

Just to prevent any of you coming at me with bared teeth, the above quote is out of context. It was conducted as a conversation within comments. This particular strand finishes with me saying, "I guess I'm another one of those persons who've mistakenly thought there are compensations for being in your position. The truth is , Parenthood is hard. And doubly-hard for singles. But it doesn't stop there. It's unimaginably difficult if your child is autustic and you're on benefits."

At 7:00 pm, Blogger Aine said...

Indeed, no, Daft Bugger wasn't being a bastard.

At 8:24 pm, Blogger ill man said...

The problem arises when lazy, dishonest politicians and journalists jump on this perception and their spin, when fed back to the public can be terribly seductive, certainly to the feeble minded.

At 8:26 pm, Blogger Clairwil said...

I think some of that attitude comes from people always thinking the grass is always greener. I go out to work five days a week so when I get a chance to stay at home I love it, though if I had to do it day in day out I'd start to mad.

At 8:31 pm, Blogger ill man said...

DB, I immediately understood what you meant, even without the full quote. Don't think you were in danger of a savaging.


At 8:42 pm, Anonymous David Duff said...

Sometimes, even for a mouthy, opinionated know-it-all like me, there are simply no words, or at least, no words that don't come out sounding utterly trite in the circumstances. About all I can mutter in the face of such adversity is try and keep it to *half* a bottle a day because there isn't really any relief in that quarter!

At 8:45 pm, Blogger Don said...

Thanks IM. I was being cautious as I know less than careful readers - the skimmers - might mistakenly interpret it differently. It's so easy to be misunderstood via the written word.

At 9:57 pm, Blogger Aine said...

"About all I can mutter in the face of such adversity is try and keep it to *half* a bottle a day because there isn't really any relief in that quarter!"

Don't worry, it's not every night I do that. I'm sober now. :D

At 6:45 pm, Blogger Pam said...

I definitely couldn't hack your job.

At 10:03 pm, Blogger AC@43 said...

Companies kept on going under when I worked for them so I got to spend a fair bit of time stay home with my kids when they were little, ususally 3-6 month streches. When I was home I wanted to work so I could get away from house work and diapers. Then when I would get a job I wanted to be home with the kids. You never win.


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