My Mum does the most wonderful impression of the yummy mummies in my town. She pretends to be a swan on the top half of her body with her arms swinging gracefully at her side while her feet go ten-to-the dozen to keep the poor darlings afloat and maintain the impression that life is a bucket full of ease and bliss.
It makes me laugh every time she does it and she does it often, for whenever I go into I wish my life was more like theirs mode, she imitates her yummy mummy swan and we fall about laughing.
Truth is I do the most darling swan impression myself. Though I cannot quite pull off the smooth haired Joules and Boden dressed, lip-glossed glamour of most of the Mums of billions of perfect kids around here, I have perfected a little something I like to call Stuff-It-In-the Cupboard syndrome, in order to maintain the illusion that mess would not dare to come live in my humble little abode.
I think I’ve got’em all fooled!
Last night Finn and I enjoyed a Mummy and child play-date at home. Our friends came over and I sat in their lovely company feeling fair-frazzled by the effort it had taken to stuff most of my life into every cupboard and drawer in the house. Before their arrival I had worked myself to the bone, polishing and primping and preparing high tea, until I found myself suffering a hot flush and deciding that this was clearly evidence of the perimenopause Kath and I discuss at length, (though neither of us are yet suffering), had to loosen my pinny and take a breather in the windy garden.
All so my friend, who surely wouldn’t care if I lived in a midden, would believe that life in Long Lane was the same old bucket-full of ease, serenity and bliss the rest of the local swans are apparently living.
I mean really, isn’t it a nonsense? But you see I do believe we all suffer from our own brand of vanity and stuffing the chaos we usually live in, into cupboards Monica Geller, style is mine. Some women will not admit , for love nor money, that their marriages are falling apart, even when the evidence is clear for all to see. Others tell lies about the the food they don’t eat as they starve themselves into oblivion. While still others, glide around town, smiling in a Stepford wife kinda way, while behaving with all the modicum of a harpy behind closed doors.
Different species of swans all pumping their little quacky webbed feet for all they are worth.
Me I shove the mess that is my life and my head and everything else into a cupboard and simply pretend it isn’t there, for life is easier when we do not have to deal with the physical and emotional trash in which we exist, not because we intend to kid the rest of the world, but more because we simply haven’t got the energy to go into battle yet, or we are too busy suffering the slings and arrows of being ghost-menopausal/heartbroken/slightly terrified or perhaps a little round the bend. And more than that, because keeping up appearances is a defense mechanism against others who would pull us apart and a politeness we extend to those we love and wish to have in our company. We stuff coats and tennis racquets and truth and neurosis into all the nooks and crannies of our lives and truly hope no-one is rude enough to open the door when we aren’t looking.
No-one likes a flustered swan do they? So Stuff-It-In-the-Cupboard syndrome is our ailment of choice, for one day we might just work up the nerve to open the doors and sort out the mess ourselves, but until that day comes we will hold our graceful necks up high and paddle for all we are worth.