The camel is broken, I’ve lost the plot and, quite frankly, it’s been absolutely liberating. 

I'll be off to pick up the kids then. Photo: AP\

Queue sharp intake of breath…. I went to my children’s school this morning clad only in my purple dressing gown, accessorised with sunglasses, polka dot gumboots, and carrying my undergarments in my pocket.  Granted, I didn’t alight from the car, so for all those peering through the windows of my highly utilitarian people mover, I could have been wearing a very fluffy hoody, but it was the stand I was taking for all us working, stay at home, full time carers, students, mothers, nurses of elderly parents and juggling women that mattered most to me. 

I “took one” for my diverse sisterhood, and it’s the best thing I’ve done for myself for quite a while. 

I became the antithesis of everything a nice eastern suburbs matron usually strives to portray to the neighbours. Of course, the children were aghast, but they were also mildly thrilled by my rebellious and obviously quite insane attire.

For the kids benefit, I threw in a few cackles on the drive to school as we wove through Hawthorn’s peak hour traffic. (As I was car-pooling, I must remember to ring my 9 year old daughter’s friend’s parents and explain.) 

But you know, today, something simply had to give. I had a choice, either hurl myself into the usual school-run hysteria of screeching exhortations at the children and issuing thundering threats, whilst attempting to cram my harassed, sleep deprived person into clothes, makeup, and style my hair as I simultaneously answered a work related phone call on my mobile (who the hell rings a woman with children at 7.57am?), received a text from a media outlet requesting an interview, injected a blood thinner into my stomach and dealt with my dementia stricken mother in law on the landline, as I filled lunchboxes and medicated the dog for epilepsy. 

Or, I could decide that by capitulating to the sadistic gods of time and removing one element from my daily schedule, I could gain six minutes and the key to a laughing gaggle of kids, instead of a chastened bunch of under-10s strapped into a speeding vehicle as they listened to an overstressed, hyperventilating, cursing female attempting to be too perfect.

That’s the thing isn’t it, as we try to be everything to everybody, and meet all the commitments of our daily lives, we somehow lose our grip on the importance of being more than a schedule follower and timetable adherer. And in that push to be perfect, it’s so easy to lose the joy of the ridiculous and the simple pleasure of acknowledging we are not superhuman; because we can fail and fall and pick ourselves up and start all over again with a laugh.  Never see many truly joyous, guffawing superheros out there do you?

So as a woman caring for ailing in laws, four kids, a husband, epileptic dog, health issues, work deadlines, an 80 per cent renovated house, three books I still haven’t finished reading and various regions of the body that need to be either knitted or clipped prior to summer, I declare 31st September, National Dressing Gown Day. 

Are you game to join me? If so, I’ll see you for a coffee at 9.30am Adelaide time at Georges in Camberwell. Parallel liberation event being considered at Bistro Moncur, Woollahra. Bayside venue to be announced. Gumboots optional, lipstick not required.

Most commented


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    • T.Chong says:

      08:58am | 21/09/10

      Oh daaaaarlings , the terribly put upon world of mothers from Woolhara (and similar post codes)
      Not for these matrons can it be a simple case of get the kids ready , and take them to school , like countless thousands of mums and dads who dont live in “nice eastern suburbs”.
      No, its far more than that, its all about moi.

    • Jacqueline Pascarl says:

      03:03pm | 21/09/10

      Actually T.Chong, have you never heard if satire? As well, if you read my buo I’m far, far from put upon, but I am exhausted as I nurse two elderly parents in law and change their nappies and care for children along with working full time. Sometimes I simply find it’s easier to laugh than become bitter because life is too short to detest anyone due to a postcode. Tonight I’m drinking vodka from my gumboots because like so many other women around Australia we just get on with it and laugh instead of cry because we recognise that life goes in cycles and we too,one day will (hopefully) be those cared for. We care for our families and our communities saving your
      tax dollars, whilst snatching a coffee if we are lucky. Who’ll be listening to you whinge when you need it? Sense of humour bypass?

    • Kate says:

      05:25pm | 21/09/10

      Talk about bitchy, T.Chong! Surely anyone looking after sick in-laws, juggling after hours work calls, four kids etc etc is working as hard as someone living in a different postcode! It is clearly NOT all about ‘moi’ in her case, as most of what she does is look after others. A postcode is not the only thing that seperates you two - she has a sense of humour!

    • AdamC says:

      09:19am | 21/09/10

      I remember reading about these housewives in deep 1950s Sydney who went on a murder spree using a common (at the time) and odourless rat poison. Just a little in his coffee - instant proto-feminist revenge.

      Now, Jacqui, I don’t want to diss or diminish your bathrobe revolution, but a spate of rat poison killings has that coolness factor that looking like a crazy woman in gumboots (call social services) just doesn’t.

      Still, you deserve points for trying.

    • Sarah says:

      10:34am | 21/09/10

      You know, if you put your kids on the bus - one is 9, after all - you’ll not only save yourself the time and hassle, but give them some independance, and reduce the traffic at the school. Problem solved if you’ll give the kids a chance….

    • Steph says:

      01:07pm | 21/09/10

      That’s right Sarah, if Jacqui did this then she would save herself an hour at least to sip a latte. That is what I do in leafy Camberwell anyway.

    • Colleen A says:

      10:55am | 21/09/10

      Thanks Jacqui, I had a good laugh and agree completely with you. We’ve made life so full that it’s hard to enjoy it. I know I have trouble now and certainly did back when my kids were little. Unfortunately I didn’t learn to relax and let go of the stresses so when people would say to me…Kids are hard work but so worth it, I would think to my self… ‘are they?’. I got better at it over time but still have a long way to go. Thanks again for the tip!!

    • stephen says:

      10:58am | 21/09/10

      Jackie nee Mckenzie i been followin’ your creer fer over 10 year now, and thats the first invite i ever get. (but did yer have ter invite everyone else ?)

      And bistro moncur won’t have me.

    • TerryT says:

      11:46am | 21/09/10

      I can’t come cos I am of the masculine persuasion, and so I suspect that if I turned up in polka dot gumboots and purple dressing gown I would be removed or restrained…but I will support the event vicariously. It’s a great idea. And T Chong…build a bridge !

    • Julia says:

      11:51am | 21/09/10

      T Chong - if you take the Sydney centric chip off your shoulder you could pick your own little (greasy spoon?) cafe where you feel comfortable.  There is a McDonalds in just about every town.  Just because one doesn’t live in Mosman doesn’t mean one can’t relate to her plight.

    • Crow says:

      12:26pm | 21/09/10

      Queue?  Or Cue?

      Like the “Escape Goat”?

      You have made my daisy!

    • Anne71 says:

      12:54pm | 21/09/10

      Escape goat - for helping one to bail out of a stricken space sheep wink

    • Natty says:

      01:41pm | 21/09/10

      Homeschool ! end of morning rush & then everyone will KNOW your a rebel to convention ...

    • Julia says:

      01:56pm | 21/09/10

      I hate gumboots tho…
      Work related calls at 7:53 are the easiest: “Sure, dear Sir, as soon as I drop the kiddo at school, (I am making a sandwich for the lunch box as we speak - what were your favorites in your schooldays? What did you like about your school? Oh yeah, I hated it too. Oh, don’t be sorry, it’s not your fault - it’s the public transport that just does not go to my daughter’s school direct route - sure - any time, Sir!)
      Works. Like Magic.

    • MBG says:

      07:27pm | 21/09/10

      I think you’re awesome.  And I think I’m awesome too, because that sounds like my mad life most of the time ... (replacing elderly parents with child with disability) ... Unfortunately I am too often growling at the kids to hurry up.  I wish I had the courage to do an ungroomed dash ... but Murphy’s law says that that is the day I will have to get out of the car.  That said, the thing that often gives for me is housework and I dread the day I have a car bingle, as much for the fact that someone else may have to enter my messy home, as for the ding itself!

    • pedant says:

      11:34pm | 21/09/10

      should be cue not queue


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