Sunday 29 May 2011

In which Charlotte gives up the booze.

Following what can only be termed as the two months from hell, I have an announcement. I am officially on the wagon. Yes my friends, I’m dry. No more glasses of vino for this lady, nuh huh. Gin & tonic, Charlotte? No thank you my friend, I’ll just have the tonic. Vodka and coke? Revolting. Fancy a pint? Are you kidding? My body is a temple.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I have finally had to face up to the fact that I and alcohol do not mix. Or rather we mix rather too well. Plonk an olive on a cocktail stick behind my ear and you’ve practically got yourself a dry martini.

It’s not that I’m a total lush. I haven’t started reaching for the Special Brew first thing in the morning and the methalated spirit in the garage is, for the time being, safe. I don’t even drink every day – not even every other day. No, the problem with me is that once I’ve had two I just can’t stop. And boy do I become a monster.

Add a very heavy dose of anti-depressants into the mix and a sprinkling of Borderline Personality Disorder (yeah, I’m a shrink’s wet dream) and we have a very potent and self-destructive mix indeed. Think George Best on a bender with Oliver Reed, Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan and we’re getting close to a night on the tiles with me.

And despite my atrocious behaviour my husband keeps taking me back. I’ve lost him friends, I’ve blackened his name, I’ve had him arrested and I’ve had myself hospitalized and still, he keeps picking me up and dusting me off.

Last night was the final straw. I admitted something to him – something terrible I had done – in the belief honesty was the better policy. He promptly, and quite understandably, told me that he was going to divorce me. He also told me he was taking the children – and given my Crazy Lady status, I knew he had a very good shot and managing it.

24 hours later and I have had a wake-up call akin to being water-boarded whilst a coastal foghorn bellows in your ear and the entire England rugby team jump up and down on your chest. I can not drink. I will be forgiven (yet again) if I never drink again. I repeat, I can NOT drink.

And so my chums, it is with a fair amount of regret but a positive heart that I join the Orange Juice Brigade. I am now totally safe to invite to weddings. I can once again be relied upon to charm Evil Aunty Brenda and dance with Gropey Hands Uncle Barney without setting fire to my hotel room or throwing up in the chocolate fountain. (I’ve never actually done either of those things but I was gearing up to it.) I will even listen politely to Cousin Barry’s tales from the Concrete and Tarmac Industry. I will not get him pissed and then have a massive row with the Bride’s mother. (Okay. I might have done that one.)

Just keep me on Perrier, okay?

Sunday 8 May 2011

In which I rant about mollycoddling children.

As a Very Bad Mother, I’m often asked what I think of mollycoddling children.

Alright – you got me. Nobody ever asks me anything given my Very Bad Mother status, but if they did, then this is how I’d reply.

There are children, all over the world, who have enormous responsibilities. I’m not saying that all five-year olds should walk two miles a day, twice a day for water. I’m not suggesting that it is okay for a seven-year old to take care of her eight-month old twin brothers. But they do it – they do it and they cope.

A childhood absolved of responsibility is a porous foundation. We are currently bringing up a generation of children who have been so pampered, so cosseted, that I truly worry whether there will be anyone willing or able to wipe my bottom when I’m a dribbling juddery wreck. Alright – an old dribbling juddery wreck.

Not to mention, they’ll be running the show. Our generation aren’t doing a brilliant job ourselves, but we were brought up when you were allowed to lose the sack race. It was possible to come last in the egg and spoon. The next leaders of our nation have never been allowed to fail, never felt the embarrassment of failure. How does one lead a country if one has never entered into healthy competition?

“It’s not a competition” the teachers say to me, when I enquire as to where my daughter is in the class. Of course it bloody is. Life is a competition. Exams are competitions, Job interviews are competitions and promotions are competitions.

Perhaps whilst I busy myself with being a Very Bad Mother, all the women out there running around after their indulged children could stop (if they can catch their breath) and wonder – is my little treasure a trove or a rogue.