For singletons Valentine’s Day is the very worst day of the year. As much as you deride it for its crass commercialism and vomit-inducing red satin tackiness, in the core of your heart you feel like you’re being left out in the cold. Every gawd forsaken red rose is a stab in the heart reminder that you are on your own whether that be by choice or accident.
When you are happily paired up you can ridicule the over-the-top fluffiness of Valentines Day with utmost conviction. I mean who needs that rubbish when you’ve got a partner to help with the kid wrangling? Right?
When you are at home with small children the very worst event on the calender shifts to November. Melbourne Cup day is simply awful for the primary care giver. It feels like the whole nation is having a fantastic knees-up of a party while you have been grounded by your kids.
Most of us are stuck in our hum drum routines on that first Tuesday in November. We get dressed in khaki three-quarter lengths, a faded T-shirt and flip flops (or sartorial equivalent) and head off with the little ones to the park or play group for what seems like the millionth time. Meanwhile frocked up fillies trot past in perfect shoes, their manes immaculately coiffed. Its an excruciating reminder of how unglamorous our lives have become. I find myself wishing they would all choke on their fascinators.
Rubbing salt in our wounds is the knowledge these blinged-up babes and boys are no doubt headed to a sophisticated soiree. The type where champagne is poured into glasses made of real glass and intricately sculpted canapes are consumed. Meanwhile the highlight of your day is a takeaway cappuccino swilled from a polystyrene cup and perhaps the slobbered on remnants of a muesli bar.
Anyone who is actually still wielding tools will down them at 3pm. Even the stock market stops for the race. Unfortunately parenting duties won’t take a scheduled break for ten minutes. Not that it greatly matters. There is no money at stake as you’ve been sidelined from the traditional office sweep stake and dragging the kids to the TAB isn’t worth contemplating.
By this time everybody else out there is feeling merry indeed and many are contemplating “kicking on” at the latest hip bar. Sadly your idea of “kicking on” these days is putting the kids to bed early and watching Mad Men on DVD with a hot cup of decaf. If things get really racey you might even grab a Tim Tam and double dunk it. You do feel a vague sense of solidarity with your child-free bretheren as you finally pass out exhausted at 10pm. Whilst everyone will be feeling a little foggy on Wednesday morning you at least won’t be hung over.
This coming Tuesday I’m taking a stand. I refuse to be ostracized or let my kids stop me from embracing the spirit of The Cup. I’m going to play pretend that Chez ‘Abulous is the Phar Lap Marque. I’m going to dress the girls up in their princess finery – they won’t take much convincing. Then I plan to stage our very own swanky tea party (using our Pink Poppy tea set of course) while we watch the “horsies” run on the wide screen TV. Giddy up Tuesday.