Bete noires:3

I read this article that someone had scanned from a magazine. It was from someone in a high powered job with masses of disposable income. In it she lamented how busy her life was , what with foreign holidays, the nanny sometimes looking after the children in a different country to where she was, how her life was ‘frantic’ etc etc… And I thought…well; I am not saying.

I’m fortunate: my children seem to get to do lots of things after school and in the community- many here do. Sometimes it seems hectic, but underneath I am happy- they get to do more than I ever had chance to do and any ‘busyness’ we are in is by choice- we chose this, we can back out. I may post innumerable short tweets about cricket matches that my son is in, but I will try my hardest not to make them seem smug.

But- even despite my best intentions, I’ll probably slip up.

However, what I will try my best to avoid is post about how ‘busy’ we are and how ‘hectic’ life is- we chose this; we are privileged.

If you have a life of leisure and choice and then chose to ferry your kids around to loads of activities, then that is great- carry on and enjoy it…………. but please don’t post about how ‘hectic’ things are and how you are ‘busy’.

Because you are not-except by choice. No one forced you to do this.

Bete noires:2

There is a type of middle class speech which goes something like ‘Oh, my house is in chaos’- and you look-and apart from a few things thrown about and a sofa off line, everything is basically ok (and usually top of the range), or it will be after the cleaner/au pair/ or ‘woman who does’ cleans it up.

There was an example of it last week in this article:-

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/as-a-parent-let-me-tell-you-the-truth-about-my-happy-half-term-holiday-and-the-accompanying-pictures-a7066236.html

It attempts to tell you how the person is not a typical, smug middle class parent and hassled/al fresco…..and then unsubtly (perhaps subtly, to be honest) hints that they are: good job, au pair, metropolitan (usually London) holiday in the kind of place loved by well off middle class people that would cost a lot of money, artfully ‘tousled’ well clothed kids etc etc.

If I was to define this kind of bete noire, it would be along the lines of saying ‘we are so disorganised/chaotic/last minute/wild and free/don’t know how we manage’ when actually you are the opposite- you know that your life will be ok, you have a very good house (and occasionally a ‘place’ in the country), money left at the end of the month, no real financial worries to speak of, good jobs (usually one of you- the other can afford leisure).

All of those latter things are fine: good luck to you….but please don’t pretend that you are somehow quirky, chaotic, mad or bohemian…(comparatively) wealthy or secure is (rarely) anything but.

Bete Noires:1

From time to time I pick up a series called ‘grammatical rants’. They are posts about examples of bad grammar (which I am guilty of) which wind me up.

I have become aware, however, of phrases used unthinkingly in middle class life which-whilst not bad grammar- are so smug that when I hear them, I grind my teeth. However, as a blog writer, I have the ability to also write passive aggressive posts about them.

You have saved many people from dying, won an Olympic gold, invented a cure for a horrific disease or scaled the highest mountain in half the normal time known to man and woman. If you received an award for that: well done- it was well deserved.

You have booked a holiday, a mini break or enjoyed a spa day: that was not ‘well deserved’. You had a break, we all have them and need times of rest- they are not ‘well deserved’, they are normal living (although that Spa break in Dubai in a 7* hotel that you took 3 weeks after your last holiday and posted repeatedly about on Facebook was not so much ‘well deserved’ as ‘overindulged’ and ‘I have too much money’).

I once received a letter from someone who had- I think I counted- over 8 ‘well deserved’ holidays or breaks in a year. I looked at my own job and life and wondered why my own life was so less deserving than theirs.

You had a break, you lay back in your arm chair, you went skiing, you had a pint in the sun…wonderful…. but quit with the ‘well deserved’. Either:-

(a) You overwork and cut yourself no slack and feel false guilt about lying down so you have to ‘deserve’ everything.

(b) You want the world to know how worthy and important you are, so every break (because your occupation and you are so vital) has to be announced as ‘deserved’.

(c) Or you are so comfortable-perhaps over comfortable and are aware of this that you have to advertise every break as ‘deserved’.

Find a better phrase, or better still: don’t use ‘well deserved’. Ever.