I am all for feminism, but...
The modern woman has it tough. Us 21st Century ladies, we’re meant to have it all: fulfilling career, a great relationship, lasting friendships, a great social life, lots of hobbies, perfect figure, beautiful home.
My mother came over on Monday and joked about the seedlings I’ve got on the kitchen windowsill that I haven’t planted out yet, the fact I haven’t bought a new kitchen light bulb, the fact that there was cat hair on the curtains - basically, she thinks I am totally inept and that my life is chaotic with no order or organisation. Although I left home over 12 years ago, she still thinks that I am the 18-year-old who lives out of a rucksack and off pasta and Dolmio sauce.
My mother is super-organised. Her house is always immaculate, she never forgets birthdays or anniversaries, she is always well turned-out. However, my mother has a very different life to me. Firstly, she has never had to work full-time. Secondly, her and my dad have very ‘traditional’ roles. Dad is the breadwinner and does the DIY, the gardening and all the ‘man stuff’. Mam does the shopping, cleaning and cooking. They’ve lived in the same area all their lives so have a small but close circle of friends who also live in the same area. They have a nice life, but it’s quite a simple life too.
This is where my life differs. I am the breadwinner in our house. I work an 8-hour day and spend an extra two hours travelling to work and back. I have a very energetic doggy who needs walking for at least an hour a day.
I do 90% of the cooking, plus plan the menus and shopping lists too. I don’t buy anything pre-prepared and cook everything from scratch.
While my house isn’t a show home, it’s always tidy and we spend every Saturday morning cleaning it.
I organise all our household budgets and pay the bills. I juggled finances to get Mr Meep though university – and bought and renovated a house at the same time. Unlike most people of my age, I don’t have any debt. None. Not even a student loan or overdraft or anything.
I’m rarely at home during the evenings – generally go to two aerobics classes a week, do volunteering once a week, plus have lots of different groups of friends so have to juggle seeing them too. On the weekends, we’re often whizzing up and down the country visiting friends – we’ve moved around a lot so know people all over the place.
Then there’s the added pressure to look good too – to be thin, have nice clothes, a fit body, glowing skin, lovely hair. OK, so I don’t do this bit too well, but I’m past the days of stripy tights and Dr Martens and manage to look presentable when I make a bit of an effort.
Even if I was a six figure-earning lawyer with a size 6 figure, loads of beautiful children, amazing houses in New York, London and Sydney, a Nobel prize, my mother would still be wondering why I hadn’t found the time to dust the top of my wardrobes or re-paint the kitchen walls.
I would love, love, love to swap lives with her for just one week so she could see that I don’t sit around reading books and drinking coffee with my friends while my house falls into disrepair around me. Come on Channel 4, commission Life Swap instead of Wife Swap – I’ll be the first guinea pig.