On being friends with the childless.

I’ve been a mother for seven plus years and so far, I’ve never encountered an issue arising from socialising with the childless. The reason I broach this topic is because weeks ago, a childless friend complained to me that those with children – excluding me obviously – never bother to ask how she is.

She said that long lost friends call her up asking for free medical advice or insider info on practising as a foreign-trained doctor in Australia, even though she isn’t one, or to help with their assignments but “with no ring on finger and not having given birth to the messiah, about whom to make steady pronouncements about their latest incredible utterances and indulged whims or sighs of how hard it is to be that messiah’s mother, I can’t have much to report on my meaningless life.”

I had to agree with her that we, parents, are a child-absorbed bunch, but if it is any consolation, I too get contacted by long lost friends, most out to get free advice on how to migrate to or find a job in Australia!

The fact of the matter is, regardless of your marital status or the productivity of your womb, there will be someone somewhere, whom you vaguely know from a previous life or a brief encounter, who’ll want something of yours. Considering the number of lunatics out there, I’m glad if it isn’t money or blood.

If all they want is a bit of know-how, I’m happy to give that to them. However, what people often don’t realise is what their asking for is basically a miracle! Let me give you an example. Many years ago, whilst I was selling Nuskin, a bunch of Taiwanese girls came to my house to see my wares.

There I was, performing the whole dog and pony show that is selling Nuskin, telling them at length about product ingredients and all they wanted to know the whole time, was when my doctor husband would be home. Excuse me, but that’s my husband you’re talking about! And to think I met them while attending a Seventh Day Adventist Church.

Later, they asked me to sell them the products at cost because they knew “how much I was getting it for.” Tiffany Cheng, who once attended the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Melbourne, if you are reading this, do know that I ceased selling Nuskin immediately because of you! You had better have a good explanation for your God when you see him, because it is people like you that make women distrust each other.

Back to my single friend. We, parents, have pretty much the same concerns as our childless peers – ageing parents, mounting bills, approaching mid-life – but with the added joys and stresses of caring for children. What I like to remind my husband is if he should fail at his career, only his colleagues and friends will judge him. If you fail as a parent, the whole of society will come down upon you like an avalanche on an ill-fortuned skier.

 

Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.

The title may come back to bite me, but last night, on the way to a post-FRACS exam celebratory dinner with His Royal Highness, he said to me, “I heard from someone you have a blog.”

Knowing that any number of mutual friends could have told him, I said, “Yes. It appears I’m on to my tenth career.”

Ten being an exaggeration, since I consider the hundred other little ventures I’ve embarked on to be hobbies. To call them careers would imply that I actually made any money. “Why, do you have a problem with that?”

His Royal Highness could hardly have issues with my hobby since I have been so patient with his: surgery. Occasionally he likes to remind me that when we met, I was a journo. Perhaps I should tell him that writing news for TV doesn’t count as journalism since my print-news friend said so. Or maybe not, since this is a monarch who enjoys catching just about every bulletin from any of the free-to-air channels when he is home.

Since our marriage, I’ve hauled around a briefcase full of soap and alkali-testing tape in an attempt to convert half the student population of Clayton to Nuskin, sold Pashmina scarfs with a friend on eBay when it was still going for $300 each at David Jones, match-made everyone from my neighbour’s cat to Tom, Dick and Harry for free… Then around my twenty-ninth birthday, I picked up the pen again, or in a twenty-first century version of an eighteenth century story, glued my bottom to a chair in front of His Royal Highness’ ancient PC and began banging away at the keyboard, much to his chagrin.

“When will you be done?” he would ask.

“I don’t know.” So I had to tell him I was writing a book.

That one book became two, and now that I am hovering around four thousand words on my third one, I’m here smoking the peace pipe and communing with my fellow netizens via this blog.