The camel is broken, I’ve lost the plot and, quite frankly, it’s been absolutely liberating. Cue sharp intake of breath…. I went to my children’s school this morning clad only in my purple dressing gown, accessorised with sunglasses, polka dot gumboots, and carrying my undergarments in my pocket. Granted, I didn’t alight from the car, so for all those peering through the windows of my highly utilitarian people mover, I could have been wearing a very fluffy hoody, but it was the stand I was taking for all us working, stay at home, full time carers, students, mothers, nurses of elderly parents and juggling women that mattered most to me. I ‘took one’ for my diverse sisterhood, and it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself for quite a while.
I became the antithesis of everything a nice eastern suburbs matron usually strives to portray to the neighbours. Of course, the children were aghast, but they were also mildly thrilled by my rebellious and obviously quite insane attire. For the kids benefit, I threw in a few cackles on the drive to school as we wove through Hawthorn’s peak hour traffic. (As I was car-pooling, I must remember to ring my 9 year old daughter’s friend’s parents and explain.) But you know, today, something simply had to give. I had a choice, either hurl myself into the usual school-run hysteria of screeching exhortations at the children and issuing thundering threats, whilst attempting to cram my harassed, sleep deprived person into clothes, makeup, and style my hair as I simultaneously answered a work related phone call on my mobile (who the hell rings a woman with children at 7.57am?), received a text from a media outlet requesting an interview, injected a blood thinner into my stomach and dealt with my dementia stricken mother in law on the landline, as I filled lunchboxes and medicated the dog for epilepsy. Or, I could decide that by capitulating to the sadistic gods of time and removing one element from my daily schedule, I could gain 6 minutes and the key to a laughing gaggle of kids, instead of a chastened bunch of under 10’s strapped into a speeding vehicle as they listened to an overstressed, hyperventilating, cursing female attempting to be too perfect.
That’s the thing isn’t it, as we try to be everything to everybody, and meet all the commitments of our daily lives, we somehow lose our grip on the importance of being more than a schedule follower and timetable adherer. And in that push to be perfect, it’s so easy to lose the joy of the ridiculous and the simple pleasure of acknowledging we are not superhuman; because we can fail and fall and pick ourselves up and start all over again with a laugh. Never see many truly joyous, guffawing superheros out there do you?
So as a woman caring for ailing in laws, four kids, a husband, epileptic dog, health issues, work deadlines, an 80% renovated house, three books I still haven’t finished reading and various regions of the body that need to be either knitted or clipped prior to summer, I declare 31st September, National Dressing Gown Day. Are you game to join me? If so, I’ll see you for a coffee at 9.30am Adelaide time at Georges in Camberwell. Bayside venue to be announced. Gumboots optional, lipstick not required.