Thursday, 20 June 2013

Little Miss Righteous

When my daughter was a small child her favourite book was Little Miss Neat, one of Roger Hargreaves' wonderful stories for children. Before she could read Katy could recite Little Miss Neat and how she found a puddle in the middle of her garden path, sorting it out with a duster after which she washed the duster, folded it, ironed it and put it into the drawer.  Little Miss Neat was a big part of my life but she has been overtaken by Little Miss Righteous.
I fee like the poor woman in Hilary Mantel's book, Beyond Black, who has her own spirit, a horrible sort of thing which plagued her, criticizing, never letting her think anything good about herself.
Little Miss Righteous nags at me if I don't hoover the floor. She makes lists where everything achieved has to be crossed off and more damned things get on to the endless list every day. She even points out where a few grains of salt have been spilt in an otherwise spotless kitchen cupboard.
She doesn't like me eating chocolate or drinking wine. She is so smug that I don't smoke. She hates my large bottom and my one breast and my twisted toes. She makes me be polite to people I don't like who bore me. She is even now going on about the unweeded front garden. I feel sure that if she had her way I would be in some very boring job, married to a man who spends his weekends ironing shirts.
At the moment every time I see her I thump her over the head with a frying pan, otherwise she takes control of my life. She loves a clean car, she likes long walks and lettuce and sensible shoes. One of these days I'm going to take her on a car ride and drop her off the end of a pier and come back and enjoy myself all the time. In the meanwhile I have to keep her happy and am off to pull a few weeds out of the garden.

Monday, 10 June 2013

A Man Desert

Coming back from the caravan, after a week of work, I was listening to Radio 4 and they were talking about how one in four families is now a single parent family with a mother around but no father. It makes me shudder the way that the government makes single parent families out to be something a great many of them are not but the thing is they have this in common - no bloke.
One of the hardest things in the world when you are alone with a small child is to find a suitable parent. Either the man doesn't like the child or the child doesn't like the man and we all have baggage. He may have children too. I once met a very nice teacher, when my daughter was eight, but he spent his weekends with his children who were both under five, so I scarpered.
It's hard enough finding a decent man. The good ones are married, apart from those who tell you they aren't married of course, single men who have been dumped by other women are a very difficult area. Men dump women for other women, women dump men because they aren't shouldering their responsibilites and/or are still behaving like they are twenty.
Then there are the men who can do everything, so what do they need you for, and the ones who can do nothing, so what would you want them for? And the hobbyists. My God, golf, painting tiny soldiers, shooting, fishing, sailing. It's okay if they regard this as a hobby but to so many of them they have work and a hobby and everything else is lost.
Some women have a tendency to hide their husbands. I can quite honestly say that although I have envied my married friends sex, companionship, somebody to help pay the bills and sort out the kids I have never ever fancied any other woman's husband. Marriage is not sexy, not to single people as they get older.
As for role models, there's not much you can do about it. The world is very unfair and for most women in many countries, men have taken everything and it's a fight even for decency, never mind education. So we bring up out daughters to get on with things and no point in hanging about waiting for a decent man. What you need is a good job with a decent income and some reasonably priced child care.
As for the single parent who is left alone once the children have grown up and gone -
the view I take is of the card I once bought - apologies to the genius who thought it up. I have no idea who it is  On the front there is a very smiley old woman and the caption reads,

I have a computer, a vibrator and a pizza delivery man.  I need  never go out again!
  Perhaps the future isn't so bad after all, out in the desert.