A few years ago I sat down and wrote a poem that reflected the frustration I was feeling with combining a career with parenthood. Before I share it with you, I should state that Mr Kent does his fair share of heavy lifting when it comes to family life – I definitely don’t have to go it alone.
But….but. There are just some things that seem to fall to a woman to do. And I’ll be honest, there are some things that I quite like to do. When it suits me. Having worked as a cleaner between the ages of 14 and 16, there are times when I love a bit of hoovering or scrubbing the grouting on our floor tiles. However, show me a toilet seat that has piss on it for the fifteenth time that week (par for the course with a boy in the house) and I am going to get very angry indeed.
And given that I’m self-employed, and work from home, it makes sense that I am the one who is there when the children are ill. Part of my reason for leaving corporate life was to be more available for the kids but it doesn’t mean that I always want to do it. When the children were much younger, it seemed like they were ill every other week – our nursery seemed to have a policy of checking the children’s temperature at the door. How I longed for the slap-dash parenting approach of my childhood where digital thermometers didn’t exist.
There was also the small matter of nursery and school assuming that everything should come to me first – why do I get top billing? Then there’s organising play dates which in my experience is almost exclusively a mum-to-mum conversation. Same goes for taking them to parties (oh the horror of having to hang around in a hot soft play), completing permission slips and sewing on badges.
It’s small stuff, I know, but bloody hell it’s wearing. Parenting is relentless, marriage is compromise and maintaining a sense of yourself without being a selfish arsehole can be a tricky tightrope to walk.
So I wrote the poem. And it opened up doors for me. It led to the publication of my book and dozens of paid stand up performances. My initial print run of 500 copies is almost sold out and the tally of people I’ve performed to now runs into the thousands. Not bad for something that was designed to help me let off steam.
You’ll find the poem below. If you want to book me to speak, perform or would like to buy a copy of the book, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
I Need a Wife
I need a wife
Someone to organise my life
To do the shopping, pay the bills too
Someone to clean around the loo
Someone who remembers when term ends
When homework’s due. Someone who sends
Completed forms, and makes dates to play
Who never forgets an inset day
Someone who remembers all the clubs
Who does the washing, the drying, the washing again
Who sorts darks from delicates, whites and then
Someone who can magically find
The one sock that got left behind
Someone to stem the tide of mess
Sew on badges, hem a dress
Insure the house and tax the car
Someone who knows where my bloody keys are
I look around my life and see
It’s chaos if you’re married to me
The kids’ shoes are missing
Disorder is rife
I’ve just got to face it
I need a wife