Try as I might, I just don’t cut it as a Domestic Goddess. I haven’t got that Secret Ingredient at the stove top, ironing board, kitchen sink, child’s bedside, etc. that the armies of Size Zero super-mummies the media bombard us seem to manage so effortlessly.
Really, I'm nobody’s idea of a Stepford Wife.
You want proof? Well, as I write these words my 12-year-old’s bedroom (tidied by himself) is the neatest and cleanest room in the house.
Yes, it’s THAT bad.
Today is one of the days I work from home - which is great. Or at least it would be if I didn’t have an over-developed sense of guilt. I'm having great trouble focusing on the stuff those lovely people pay me to do – largely thanks to overflowing rubbish bins, a Himalayan mound of ironing, scraps of paper confetti-ed around the place, leaning towers of pizza plates, school books yet to be wrapped in sticky-back plastic, bills to be paid, and a bathroom crying out for a bottle of bleach and a scrubbing brush.
I’ve always been a little bit of an over-achiever and tend to approach most new challenges with a Gung Ho! “How hard can it be?” attitude. So, it really riles when I fail to live up to the post-feminist icon of a Woman for All Seasons. I tell myself that there is no reason I can’t be that fabled hybrid of Career Woman/Earth Mother/Eco Warrior/Social Activist/Stand-up Comic/Champion Triathlete/Intellectual/Sex Kitten. If they can do it in the pages of Cosmopolitan, why can’t I?
Then reality kicks in, and I have to face the fact that the best I can hope for is to deliver the goods as a 9-to-5er, make sure the sprog isn’t starving or in tears, and recycle when I remember to. I must have inherited my dad’s slob-genes rather than my mum’s frighteningly-organised domestic DNA that would put a whole army of Nigella Lawsons to shame.
And the sparkling wit? Well, I can deliver the occasional one-liner when sitting down, if that counts.
I tell myself that all this guilt is a waste of time and energy. That I am an accomplished, gutsy, unique woman with oodles of va-va-voom. That I should focus on one thing at a time without beating myself up about the other stuff.
And as my gaze strays above the laptop screen to the chaos beyond, I decide there is just one answer.
I need a wife.
Someone to take care of the mundane, necessary chores of everyday existence. Someone to make sure there is food in the cupboard, that bills are paid, clothes are ironed and the milk in the fridge is not on its way to becoming cheese. Someone to soothe my fevered brow and make a fuss of me when I walk in the door at the end of the day…
…and then, I wake up.