It was published in the Sydney Morning Herald a week or two ago now, but I have to say I had to raise an eyebrow at this (fantastic) article by Deborah Ross. It appears she has done some of her research at my house. I've highlighted the bits - in caps - that, ahem, most apply to my humble abode.
Not into housework? Join the Club
By Deborah Ross
The non-domestic goddesses of the world are uniting ... if they can remember when the meeting is.
Welcome to the Non-Domestic Goddess Club. This is the largest organisation in the world for those who have old iceblocks embedded in the iced-up walls of their freezer [TICK]. The club, founded at some time but no one can say when exactly as the members forgot to write it on the calendar, operates under the slogan: "Nature abhors a vacuum and so do we." [UH-HUH] The club also, by the way, abhors the Dyson. This was decided at the last AGM because the fact that it is funky, and won't lose suction, doesn't make it any better and you can't fool us.
Minutes from the last AGM are available on request but only after they have been lost, found, lost, found, lost and then found again at the bottom of the fruit bowl under the small brown furry thing that may once have been a plum but then again could equally be one of those baby koalas for the tops of pencils. Who's to tell? The Non-Domestic Goddess Club expects its members to uphold extremely low standards at all times. Anyone nearly up-to-date with the ironing will have to explain themselves in full, while anyone totally up-to-date will be automatically expelled. Anyone who hasn't touched an iron in years [THAT'S ME] and just tries to pass everything off as 100 per cent linen [TOLD YOU SHE'S BEEN SNOOPING] (including her face) will be awarded free life membership.
Ditto anyone who makes Nescafe by placing the mug under the hot tap [GUILTY AS CHARGED], both when pressed for time and when not, and who prepares bedding between guests by turning the pillow over to its "fresh" side [EEK, YOU'RE NOT JUDGING ME, ARE YOU?]. The Non-Domestic Goddess Club has this to say about blackened cookware: soak, soak, soak, then throw away when nobody is looking [BEEN THERE...]. The club also suggests never questioning the fact that there is a street directory in your underwear drawer [...DONE THAT], as well as a toy knight, some small change (amounting to 85 cents), a book on houseplants and three boiled sweets. To question can only lead to madness. The Non- Domestic Goddess Club has this to say about socks with holes in: put aside for darning, then throw away when nobody is looking.
The Non-Domestic Goddess Club suggests never, ever going right to the bottom of the laundry basket, as anything could be living down there [IN FACT, IT MAY BE MOULD BUT I DON'T WANT TO TALK ABOUT THAT]. The club fully endorses opening the top of the laundry basket, sighing dispiritedly and promptly closing it again [AND QUICKLY]. The club expects all members to have all of the following items at the back of at least one kitchen cupboard: a tin of golden syrup with the lid half-cocked (treacle is also acceptable); an ancient pot of hundreds and thousands; a spilling bag of decade-old lentils; several bottles of food colouring (all green); a variety of exotic pickles and chutneys, which seemed like a good idea at the time; any number of herbal teas with tempting names such as Mango Carnival and Tropical Fiesta, which no one drinks because they all taste of pond; sticky jars of stuff that can no longer be identified and have bits of old moth wing, spilled lentils and fairy-cake cases stuck to their sides. [YES TO ALL OF THE PREVIOUS...]
The club has this to say about leftovers: decant carefully into Tupperware, place in fridge, leave for a week, then throw out when nobody is looking. Alternatively, place in freezer, leave for a decade, then throw out when nobody is looking. Never throw anything away today that you can keep and throw away at a later date. The club has sympathy for anyone who has tried to defrost a chicken in the bath or dry a child's swimming costume, just unpacked from last week's lesson, by swinging it round her head [AT THIS POINT I NEED TO DISCLOSE THAT ON ONE PARTICULARLY RAINY DAY I TRIED DRYING UNDERWEAR IN THE MICROWAVE - IT DOESN'T WORK]. The club has this to say to anyone who is about 19 years behind with the ironing: gather it all up and throw it away while nobody is looking. Alternatively, bury it at the bottom of the garden, along with the pet goldfish whose bowl was used as an ashtray but died of natural causes anyway.
We hope you have enjoyed this short introduction to the Non-Domestic Goddess Club and that you will always defend the useless housewife whatever. Some people say that the trouble with useless housewives is that they are lazy and just sit around all day reading gossip magazines, whereas, in truth, they work really, really hard. It's just that so much of what they do happens when nobody is looking.
This is an edited extract from Always Go To Bed On An Argument, And Other Useful Advice From The Non-Domestic Goddess, by Deborah Ross ($27.95), published by Allen & Unwin. The Non-Domestic Goddess guide to children
We give you the top 10 certain facts - make no mistake - about children.
1 The more effort you put into a child's packed lunch - especially if it has meant a midnight trip to a convenience store for supplies - the less chance it will be eaten.
2 A teenage girl will not be fully happy with her attire unless she has caught you wincing. (Gasping is better but wincing will do.)
3 A child shown one of your old, treasured story books will always say, "What, they go and get their feet measured in a shoe shop and that's the story, that's it?" Note: They don't even like the one with the bus. "What, they get to go on a bus and that's it, that's the story?"
4 The school play will always have one child who knows all the lines shouting into the faces of those who don't. (And they call this quality entertainment?)
5 No boy will ever say, "But, Mum, I don't want you wasting your hard-earned money on those expensive trainers. The cheaper ones will do."
6 No child has ever resented his or her mother for stealing his or her birthday money to pay the milkman, and anyway it's the elves who do it.
7 The more you press an outer garment on a child the more he or she will resist.
8 A child's interest in tractors and dinosaurs will persist long after your interest has waned, assuming you had any interest in the first place, which is unlikely.
9 Swimming goggles will leak or be too tight and it will always be your fault.
10 A child's school bag will always contain, along with the rotting organic matter of unknown origin, four out-of-date letters saying how important it is that you come to the meeting that was two months ago as well as a note saying a child in the class has nits and we're not saying it's your child exactly, but do you get our drift?
** You know what's funniest about all this? My partner is always moaning that I am too much of a clean freak. Pah! I think perhaps that may say more about his standards of cleanliness than it does about mine...