The Emperor’s New Clothes


I read a very interesting piece the other week about women being the ones who bear the mental load of a family with children; the assemblies, the playdates, who doesn’t like bananas, the whereabouts of “that shirt I wanted to wear”, dishwasher salt levels, fridge supplies. I could go on for pretty much forever and most men probably won’t have a clue what I am talking about but I guarantee that most women, regardless of whether they are in paid or unpaid employment, will.

I think that the bearing of the mental load is particularly evident when considering the Summer Holiday. With the warmer weather you could be forgiven for starting to think about getting away. That is, if you can get through all the emails about GDPR to consider it. Whilst I am thrilled that anyone I have ever shopped with and people with whom I have never shopped are deeply concerned for my privacy and are exceedingly tearful at the prospect of us parting company, I am delighted that my inbox will no longer be filled with rubbish. I have therefore done what everyone else has done and that is to gleefully delete every single email begging me to stay in touch. I digress. We are planning on having a holiday in the Summer. I have booked a week in the Lake District as we have not been there before and Man of the House wants to go on a looooonnngggg walk with The Eldest Childerbeast. I booked and advised Man of the House of the dates. Now given that I bear the mental load in our house, I guarantee that it will not really be discussed in detail again until much nearer the time, save for requests for items of clothing to be bought or to check that general administration of said holiday is on schedule.

When we get to the date of the holiday, Man of the House will get up, shower and enquire as to whether we are all packed. He will then announce that he needs a clear run (i.e to be child free) so that he can Load the Car. Loading the car seems to be a big event in the male holidaying calendar. And I suspect it is because packing for the holiday is not. The planning involved in getting five people and a dog ready for a week away is a daunting task indeed. Not only do I need to get clothes for five people for a week, packing for all weathers, I also need to consider their potential ailments and how to deal with them, whether including a particular t-shirt/jumper is likely to cause offence to the wearer, whether we have sufficient numbers of pants and socks, how far we are likely to be able to travel before someone will need feeding/to be sick/a wee, and of course, there is the Hound.

Now I have no objection to being the one of the two of us to do this – Man of the House is not exactly sitting and contemplating his navel whilst I stockpile suncream. However, ’twas ever thus. Even when I worked full time for pounds sterling. And that seems to be the case for most of my female friends. For example, I have a friend who I hope is currently enjoying a holiday with her family. She and her partner both work for money. And yet it was she who was doing the washing to get ready for holiday and she who packed. I can’t think of one of my female friends who wouldn’t.. There must be one, but I am not sure who it is. Slightly off tangent, but same point – one male friend announced that he had just cleaned the whole house for his wife. I queried as to why it was for his partner (both partners work for money), as presumably, he also resides at the family home. He didn’t really have a answer. I know I didn’t.

Of course one of the things about packing for holiday with children is that you end up taking very little for yourself. If you’re going to have to do all of the packing and end up taking bugger all to wear, you might as well take one nice item. So I think, girls, it is time to treat ourselves and I have found just the thing. Pre GDPR and popping up in my timeline the other day was an item of clothing that was termed “a swimming costume”. I believe that these are two too many words for the item concerned as you can see for yourself here: https://www.wolfandbadger.com/uk/veronica-swimsuit-with-open-back-nude-mesh/.  If unclear from the photograph, it is crafted in nude mesh so it would appear to give the illusion of the wearer being completely starkers. But don’t worry, there is a modesty panel to cover a tiny portion of your lady parts to save your blushes. Everything else, I’m afraid, is very much on display. But that’s okay because it is a swimming costume. Honest.

Before you poo-poo my suggestion, claiming that you neither have the figure of the model in the advert, nor the ego of someone who I have heard on the grapevine this week tells everyone that they don’t have a profile picture because they’re so attractive that they want to be known for their work rather than what they look like, I think you should re-consider. Once all of the running and screaming has piped down, picture the deserted beach. A mere snip at one hundred and twenty five pounds for a week. And takes up no room at all in a suitcase. Have a think about it.

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