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Merging onto Row Highway last week, my nine-year-old glances over her right shoulder and with casual condescension says, “feel free to change lanes any time now, Mum.”

It makes me so cross I almost pop a vein in my neck.

A few days later I’m driving into the sun and I hold my hand up in front of me to shield my eyes from the glaring light. My nine-year-old sees me doing this and says, “there’s a sun visor just above your head, Mum. If you pop that down it will help with the sun.”

I grit my teeth and ask her if she knows what patronising means.

This morning she wants me to help her thread beads onto the bracelet she is making.

Sighing with exasperation, I say, “babe, I can’t help you now. I haven’t even brushed my teeth and we have to go in a minute.”

My handbag, keys, lunch and laptop sit on the end of the kitchen bench. I start closing windows so I can shut down my computer. With the patient tone one adopts while speaking to a naughty toddler, she says, “Mum, time to stop playing with that and go and do the things you need to do. Off you go.”

Things I really don’t love #1: being parented by my nine-year-old.

We line up at the Steakhouse. ‘Kids Eat Free’ says the sign. The sign also advertises face painting and the restaurant has an indoor playground.

“Ooh, this might be as good as the time we went out for your birthday!” I say to Leigh, hope gleaming in my eyes.

One year I dragged a reluctant Leigh to our local hotel to celebrate his birthday. He didn’t want to go. “I just can’t be bothered,” he told me as we got out the car. But it turned out to be one of those beautiful evenings that you just can’t plan for. The meals were fantastic, the atmosphere was homely and chilled, the kids had their faces painted, made their own pizzas and spend time in the “play area” supervised by a smiley and gentle young employee. It was a fantastic night.

But tonight…. well, tonight is just plain terrible.

I chomp through the dryest, blandest “hamburger” in the world. It is just eww. Stale bread, a lump of stringy yellow iceberg lettuce and one sad little slice of pink tomato. No sauce or relish. It is just… sad. And because there are six of us, dinner costs $100. I could have cooked better burgers at home for about a quarter of the price.

Things I really don’t love #2: Having to part with hard earned cash for terrible, terrible food.

The phone rings.

It is my dearest friend in the world.

I don’t want to answer it, even though I love her dearly.

Today is my birthday. People ring you on your birthday because they love you and want to wish you a happy birthday.

But I belong to that special breed of people who feel sick when the phone rings. I don’t entirely know why I hate talking on the phone. I’m quite happy to talk to you in person. In fact, I loooove talking! I love talking a lot.

But on the phone… I might let it go to voicemail, and I might not call you back.


Things I really don’t love #3: Talking on the phone.