Archive for May, 2010

On being too old to go clubbing but not to dance…

May 19, 2010

I went on a girls’ night out on Saturday night to celebrate a fortieth birthday.   Girls is pushing it a bit I admit – most of us are working mums and not looking as girl like as once we did.   Getting out for a night these days requires as much effort as we put into our GCSE’s (OK, fine, I did do O levels if you must be so pernickety) along the following lines:

1.  Advise spouse at least one month in advance that you will be out;

2.  Stick large note on fridge to the effect that you will be out, preferably highlighted in luminous pink;

3.  Remind spouse thereafter on a regular basis that you will be out;

4.  Fill fridge;

5.  As you leave for your night out, shake clinging children off legs as you step out the front door; approximately 10% of spouses will still call after you – “Where are you going?  It’s not tonight you’re going out is it?”

6. RUN

We gathered in the bar of the Park Plaza hotel to drink cocktails.  Oo-er get us, being all Sex and the City.  Some of us were even wearing high heels.   However, having grown  sensible with age,  we stopped after two and went into the restaurant because drinking on an empty stomach is really not a good idea is it?   And whereas usually come 10.30pm on a Saturday night we’d all be nodding off in front of the telly it was time to go clubbing!

I love dancing, me.   My daughter and I regularly have a bit of a boogie in the kitchen.   But clubbing isn’t about dancing is it?   It’s about copping off.    And drinking after last orders.     How could I have forgotten that?   When I walked into the club, the music throbbing in my chest and the dance floor squirming with impossibly young, very pissed people wearing only underwear and fake tan I felt truly and horribly ancient.   “I’m old enough to be most of this lot’s mother!” I hissed to my sister.  “Don’t flatter yourself.  You’re old enough to be their grandmother!”  she hissed back.  (This is not strictly true; I could be a grandmother, granted, but to someone going to nursery not out clubbing.)

Despite my advancing age, I did  get on the dance floor.    The floor was sticky with spilt drinks and crunchy with broken glass but a couple of us mums squeezed past the flailing arms of the hen party and the blokes on a stag night checking them out and jiggled a bit on the dance floor with the birthday girl.    I watched the courtship ritual of men and women trying to score a snog unfolding all around me and thanked my lucky stars that my snog for the night and for every night for ever and ever was waiting for me at home.

By 2 am, the place had emptied out a bit and was playing eighties music and all us mums and in particular birthday girl could dance like I do in my kitchen – for the sheer fun of it.

Having it all – a Superwoman’s view point

May 5, 2010

You do know don’t you that none of us at Superwoman actually believe we’re  Superwoman?  That we’re poking fun at ourselves because we’re rather a long way from Super?   You do?   Phew.  I’m glad we cleared that up.    So what about Having It All then?  Do we believe in that?

For those of you who missed the recent debate in the media about Having it All (generated by Allison Pearson’s  recent resignation from her Daily Mail column)  Having it All is a term used to describe women with careers plus children and/or ageing parents who also contribute to community and keep a clean, organised home, a decent face and figure and a happy other half.  Allison Pearson has been suffering from depression which she attributes to trying to Have it All and has therefore decided to resign.  So is Having it All possible?  Here’s our take on the situation.

1.  Lots of women go out to work because if they didn’t there wouldn’t be enough money coming in to pay the mortgage.   This is not Having it All this is Having no Choice.

2.   Women who Have no Choice regularly work long, stressful days.  Some of them are lucky enough to get well paid but many of the women who Have no Choice are on very low rates of pay.

3.  If you Have a Choice even if it would involve radical belt tightening then in our view you pretty much already Have Most of It.

4.  Having it All  is impossible;  as fictitious a concept as Superwoman.    Nearly Having it All is not impossible but it does involve prioritising, letting somethings go altogether and for others embracing the concept of Good Enough.   Good Enough is key to Nearly Having it All.     Minette Martin in her column in the Sunday Times this week had some great advice –  don’t read fashion magazines if they make you feel fat or frumpy or if they make you long for things you can’t have; don’t cook unless you really must: think catering rather than cooking; don’t go shopping unless you really have to; don’t have lots of clothes: have only a few that really suit you; give up answering the telephone just because it’s ringing.  The point here is that  if you are trying to Nearly Have it All you need to cut yourself some slack.   A would be Superwoman that we know, when asked how she does it all, replies “Big Bum, Dirty House”.  Quite a lot of slack there.

6.  If  Nearly Having it All and Good Enough are not for you (or are no longer for you, for whatever reason) and your family finances can cope then STOP and don’t waste your precious time feeling guilty about it.   You will not be letting your feminist foremothers down if you are doing what makes you happy, whatever that may be.  This advice applies whether you have children or you don’t and whether you are a man or a woman.    Wherever possible and financial circumstances/family commitments permitting you should do what makes your heart sing, at least some of the time.

7.  Depression is a terrible, terrifying thing.  We’ve already talked in this blog about the tragic story of 41 year old solicitor Catherine Bailey who, suffering from depression,  drowned herself in the Thames leaving three young daughters behind.    20% of women aged between 45 and 64 are suffering from depression , a 20% increase on 2003.   Anyone, be they man or woman,  who starts to become depressed by how they are living their lives should listen to their body and take immediate action to stop that depression becoming as bad as it did for Catherine Bailey.   Allison Pearson did the right thing.