Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bite me.

You don’t know how lucky you are.

You see, we went to the hospital this morning to have Small Person’s cast removed. Our appointment was at 10.10am, but it all went a bit wrong. So I was going to write this huge rant about how, when we got there, the board already said that the consultant we were going to see was running forty five minutes late. I was going to tell you about how, after waiting for an hour, four of us sitting in the waiting area realised that we all had an appointment for the same consultant at the same time. I could go on for hours about the unpleasant woman on reception who met my enquiry with a sneer and the singularly unhelpful response “You’ve obviously never been to the Fracture Clinic before. It’s just the system”. Or tell you about how, when I explained that I needed to let my employer know what time I might be expected at work, given that my appointment was over an hour ago and there were at least four people waiting for every appointment made for that morning, she looked me up and down and suggested I should remember that my daughter’s health was more important than getting to work on time. You wouldn’t want to hear about how the red mist descended at this point, or how I simply walked away for fear of losing control completely and dragging her across the counter to batter her to death with an orthopaedic leg brace.

Supercilious, condescending fucking bitch. I bet she spent her tea break shaking her head and muttering darkly about women who neglect their children in favour of their careers. Nothing makes me more likely to descend into a foaming, biting rage than being condemned for not having a choice regarding staying at home with my child. Of course, in an ideal world I could have had a nice little job somewhere, say three hours a week* or something. My husband would give me the housekeeping every week, and I could save up for those little treats that make a girl’s life so special, like sanitary towels and shoes for the children. If I got really lucky, I could find myself living the high life as a Yummy Mummy* – flicking through the Boden catalogue and making home-made quiche between trips to Antibes. Well, it didn’t quite work out that way for me. When Small Person was born, her father and I needed to work to pay the bills. You know, all that frivolous stuff like keeping a roof over our heads, and eating regularly. We simply couldn’t survive on one wage. So we shared the childcare and then, when she was almost two, Small Person started at nursery. Ooh, poor neglected little mite. So awful. Except, do you know what? She absolutely fucking loved it. Of course I wanted to be with her. Of course I missed her dreadfully – I still do when she isn’t with me. But these are the circumstances I find myself in. And now, what with the added stigma of being (whisper this bit) a divorced mother**, the apparent need to justify myself to other people becomes ever-increasing.

The thing is, I’m sick of it. I’m not some ball-breaking career-hungry woman, intent on showing the boys who’s the best while expecting someone else to raise my child. I don’t know if I even believe those women exist, outside of the fevered imagination of the Daily Mail. I work. For a living. What would these people prefer – that I went on the dole and claimed a bit of free housing? Oh, no, can’t do that either, as then I'm sponging from all those hard-working taxpayers. So I’m developing a new tactic. Next time I find myself faced with someone who feels perfectly justified in judging me; some middle aged woman all full of smug and I-stayed-at-home-with-mine-you-know-and-of-course-it-was-hard-I-mean-Michael-was-only-earning-enough-for-a-big-house-and-two-holidays-a-year-but-it-really-is-best-for-the-children-the-trouble-with-these-girls-today-is-they-want-it-all-and-it’s-the-children-that-suffer, I’m going to get right up in her face and, firmly but politely, tell her to Fuck Off.

There. Aren’t you glad I decided not to trouble you with it?

*This is of course a horrible stereotype. I acknowledge that freely. It is, however, apparently okay for a certain type of women-who-stay-at-home-with–their-kids to consider all working mums to be a cross between Nicola Horlick and Cruella de Ville; swanning between the office and the nail bar trailing a stream of neglected children, then overcompensating wildly by throwing birthday parties with live bands and a real pony. Newsflash: Life Isn’t As Simple As You Would Like To Believe***. Different people make the best of their own circumstances. So therefore I am allowed a little sweeping generalisation here and there. I've earned it.

** Yes, I am oversensitive about this.

*** Aaaand relax…….


Blogger First Nations chimed in with...

to avoid going off on my own rant here, ill just leave.

oh yes. yes indeed.

12 July, 2006 18:45  
Blogger Jemima chimed in with...

I can't help thinking a quick 'fuck off' will make you feel heaps better. Give her or him another one from me. *whispers* I'm not even married.

12 July, 2006 18:54  
Anonymous Whinger chimed in with...

I recently had to yell at my sister about this, she of the "people shouldn't have kids if one of them doesn't plan to stay home."

Because for God's sake.

Am all indignant for you.

12 July, 2006 19:10  
Blogger Billy chimed in with...

The Daily Mail has a lot to answer for.

12 July, 2006 19:28  
Blogger suburban wonder chimed in with...

Why, the arrogance of that bitch! And if that's simply the "system" at fracture clinic, may I suggest to them that their system sucks eggs? Because it does.

I'm in complete agreement, and am ready to come help you bash the bitchy nurse.

PS - I want to be a Yummy Mummy!

12 July, 2006 22:42  
Blogger Katy Newton chimed in with...

You are going to make a formal complaint about her, right?


12 July, 2006 22:48  
Blogger Brookelina chimed in with...

She's right. Your daughter's health is number one. WHICH IS WHY YOU WANT HER TO BE SEEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

What a twat.

12 July, 2006 23:14  
Blogger Heather chimed in with...

My mum worked when I was little and it never did me any harm, in fact it has had absolutely no negative effect on me, or my life in any way.

It meant that she and my dad were able to keep a roof over our heads, and we still spent real quality time together in the evenings and weekends. I never once felt neglected.

People like that should step off their high horse and into the real world.

12 July, 2006 23:16  
Blogger Zippy chimed in with...

You didn't give her a whack with Small Person's discarded cast? Jeesh. Next time don't be so genteel. (mbcpr)

13 July, 2006 00:28  
Anonymous Stu Savory chimed in with...

The feeling you have is called being a 'cast off' ;-)

13 July, 2006 04:46  
Blogger Fifi chimed in with...

Oh God. I think I am a Yummy Mummy. I have ordered several things from the Boden Catalogue (erm, well, lots actually). I sometimes make fairy cakes at eleven o' clock in the morning. I spent yesterday afternoon at the hairdressers having my highlights done and idly flicking through magazines whilst my two daughters were looked after by their grandmother. Oops.
But I know and am thankful every day that I am such a lucky lucky bitch, and I would never ever tut about working mothers or condemn or judge them in any way.
Sorry everyone!

13 July, 2006 09:28  
Blogger The Boy chimed in with...

Its sad that in general, the NHS is a fine fine system, but just one or two individuals like this turn it into a nightmare. We have a receptionist at our surgery that has left my wife in tears (this is an achievement, she is a hard proud woman), for having the afrontery of trying to make an appointment to have an ill child looked at by the doctor.

13 July, 2006 10:33  
Blogger frangelita chimed in with...

Wow Fifi, very envious of your yummy mummy lifestyle, I quite fancy that. But I would need to a) get sprogged up and b) find a man who does something more financially rewarding than digging holes to find old stuff. Which pays even less than local journalism.

13 July, 2006 10:34  
Anonymous Anonymous chimed in with...

That appointments system drives me mental. But stil you can't turn up late, even though you *know* you'll be waiting for at *least* an hour, because if by any crazy, one-in-a-million chance you're *not* there when you get called, you've "missed your appointment" and are thus an evil blight on the smooth running of the NHS. Grrrrrr.

13 July, 2006 11:48  
Blogger Geisha chimed in with...

This post is so like my life I could have written it myself.

I work full-time when my lad was little and he loved childcare. He has now progressed to after school club and I literally have to drag him out when I collect him. I think dealing with different people and other kids is invaluable - especially for only children. My son is very confident and could make friends with anyone.

It's amazing how much stigma is attached to *whisper* divorced mums. I still feel it even though I'm living with someone.

13 July, 2006 15:45  
Blogger Arabella chimed in with...

Nope. There is no excuse for it. She works in the 'customer service' end of the organization (she's not a feckin brain surgeon who could be forgiven a little lapse in social skills). If she is obstructive, rude and offensive, her employer should hear of it. Get writing, my dear, get writing.

13 July, 2006 17:25  
Blogger belladona chimed in with...

Ever met stay-at-home mums who also homeschool their children? A bigger bunch of arrogant self-satisfied bitches who think the world revolves around their repellent offspring I have never met.

The effort that most women have put into working hard to give their children a decent lifestyle and women fighting to make sure they and their daughters would have some options in life, while these morons isolate their children, deviate from the curiculum (which while hardly perfect is there for a very good reason) and bring the poor things up knowing nothing other than their parents own schizoid view of life.

No wonder they're repellant, poor things.

I'm sure there must be people for whom this system works - if you have an autistic child for example, it can be ideal. I'm not talking about those people. Oh no.

Sorry. That was a bit of a rant. I've just seen a few too many of these people recently.

13 July, 2006 23:55  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

Complain Surly, complain to the relevant NHS Trust. The time and money-wasting that goes in the NHS means that they simply cannot comprehend the time-wasting that patients and parents thereof endure.

My single parent mother worked - feel no guilt, it's fine.

14 July, 2006 10:28  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

Surly, I absolutely love your rants and I love women that fucking swear too. I'm not for one minute saying any of you are wrong but please promise me that it's not your precious career that means you can't look after your kids - that's as much bollocks as being against stay at home Mums.
I have to stick my neck out a bit here and say I think the whole 'work your arse off' culture is not good, nor is it correct. We get one crack at this life and I for one don't want to flush it down the loo doing some pointless stuff just to make money.

14 July, 2006 16:48  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

Well, fucking good on you tom909 - I do pointless stuff to make money to put a roof over my fucking head.

14 July, 2006 18:34  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

tom - believe me, it's not my "precious" anything - if i thought being on the dole would make my daughter any happier i'd do it in a heartbeat. career is nothing - i've achieved nothing much in that department in the last fifteen years. nope - i'm with thursday - it's roof-over-the-head stuff.

thanks for asking though. (that may have been slightly sarcastic).

14 July, 2006 18:42  
Blogger surly girl chimed in with...

oh, and tom - if that sounded like i'm cross it wasn't meant to. when i'm cross i fucking swear.

14 July, 2006 18:43  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

Like I fucking did? I'm just tetchy because I sit at home working all day.

14 July, 2006 19:27  
Blogger mig bardsley chimed in with...

I have a daughter who's working to keep a roof over her and her daughter's head. The benefits simply don't cover it.

The receptionist bitch ought her mouth taped over.

And that stupid appointment system drives everyone mad. how can it possibly make sense for four people to have the same appointment.

15 July, 2006 01:55  
Blogger Mudlark chimed in with...

My mother worked. My sister brought up her children at home on welfare. My sister in law stays at home looking after her and my brother's child while he works. I'm childless.

All four of us have been condemned for our maternal selfishness, often by the same judgmental shitheads.

My brother, on the other hand, says all he has to do is walk down the street with his small daughter and total strangers tell him what a fantastic father he is.

I don't suppose that NHS bitch is required to observe her employment conditions?

15 July, 2006 06:36  
Anonymous Thursday chimed in with...

Crikey Surly, you've got us ALL worked up ... Word verification I have here is PRRATPOT.

15 July, 2006 11:18  
Blogger tom909 chimed in with...

I know sometimes we get in a situation where we have to earn money, and I know some people have an easier time than others on that one. But I just hate trading in my life for money so I do as little as I can get away with - I don't do fashion, I don't do holidays, I don't do new cars, I don't do going out in the evenings, I don't do shopping, and I don't do junk food. That must save me £200 a week for a start. I am worth diddly shit in today's world so if I'm lucky I can earn the minimum wage, say £6 an hour so that £200 saves me selling about 30 hours of my life a week. I also do as much maintenance as I can - the other day we needed some new blinds for our velux windows - they were £160 - I spent two hours taking apart and modifying the old broken ones. That saved me another 20 odd hours work.
OK so I am a boring unsociable grumpy old git but my life is worth more than £6 an hour to me. Fuck em I say - look at my carbon footprint.
But seriously if it's roof over your head stuff then please don't think I'm having a go, I most definitely am not. That is the fault of society and that takes some changing - I think that is a bit of a big job.

15 July, 2006 23:35  

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