‘My name is Drunk Mummy, and I’m a….well…,’ I stare at the floor as my voice catches in my throat, ‘I’m a lapsed blogger.’
The words are barely a whisper, but they hang in the room like a dense fog. As my cheeks burn with shame, the silence is finally broken by the faltering but methodical clapping of a single pair of hands. Through a blur of tears, I look up and see my husband at the back of the room. With each clap, he takes a step closer towards me. His eyes are damp too, but his face is glowing with pride. Then I notice my three small children, peeping out from behind his legs, their eyes wide with fear and uncertainty.
‘Mummy?’ it is undeniably a question rather than a statement.
‘Yes!’ their father reassures them, ‘It’s your mother!’
They all run towards me and we hug each other, as the clapping from the other members of the program builds into thunderous applause.
And then I wake up.
It’s an odd dream, and one which has plagued me for the last six months. So what would Dr Freud make of it all? Well, he would probably infer that I am a neurotic, hysterical old bag who needs a damn good seeing to. But then, what would you expect from a coke-snorting misogynist?
No, I think the dream is a direct result of my decision to stop blogging six months ago (and an indirect result of watching too many schmaltzy films in my formative years).
When I suspended the blog, I imagined that life as an ex-blogger would be filled with exciting new opportunities, copious spare time and trousers that would fit comfortably once again. I thought I would finally be able to free myself of the guilt I felt every time I ignored my feral children and sashayed off to the 24 hour cyber-party of the blog world.
Well, my guilt about not spending enough time with the children has certainly evaporated. In fact all three kids are wilting visibly with the intense and unwelcome maternal involvement. Their homework has improved dramatically, but that’s only because in a bizarre case of Stockholm Syndrome, my warped sympathy for my captors extends to doing their homework for them. I don’t have the patience to sit and explain fractions or proper nouns to an eight year old, so it’s much quicker this way. Besides, I’ve become rather hungry for the intellectual challenge.
As for all that spare time I have acquired, well, I spend a great deal of it reading. Not the worthy, weighty tomes which accumulated dust when I was blogging, but other people’s blogs. I am now officially a lurker. Like an absent parent who watches the school playground from a safe distance, I skulk around the sites of old blog friends, keeping up with the developments in their lives, but deciding that it is better to remain in the shadows. I know that contributing to the ‘Comments’ boxes would be the start of my slide back into full blogging addiction. As the song says, ‘One Day at a Time, Sweet Jesus’ although why those Gospel types are always swearing is beyond me.
Being an ex-blogger requires discipline and determination. Not only is there ample opportunity for relapse, but the withdrawal symptoms are harsh and unpleasant. My opinionated rants are now vented upon a small, unlucky audience, held captive by their seatbelts in the back of the car. A simple question from my husband, like ‘How was your day?’ can unleash a twenty minute tirade of petty frustrations.
To ease the recovery process, my own personal methadone has been other forms of writing, and the occasional 'guest blog'. I rather like the idea of being a guest blogger - a sort of ‘keyboard contracter’ or ‘mouse for hire’ (although that sounds like some new indulgence for irresponsible children who are demanding a pet). Of course, it doesn’t quite replace the fantastic omnipotence of having one’s own blog, but in the current circumstances, it will have to suffice.
When my husband caught me tapping away furtively on the keyboard to create this guest blog post, I realized that he had already registered the sparkle in my eyes, the flush of excitement in my cheeks.
‘What are you doing?’ he asked, his voice tight with restrained emotion.
I knew that my response could devastate our marriage.
‘I’m having an affair’ I said, jutting my chin out defiantly, ‘I’m writing a sexually explicit e-mail to my lover.’
‘Thank God for that,’ he murmured with palpable relief, ‘I thought you had started blogging again.’
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(Knocks spots off the rest of us, doesn't she?)