29 May 2013
Hello I'm Tess of the Burbs
5 years ago I moved away from the City to a small English county town. With 3 children under 7 and a husband under 45, I've been desperately trying to play the role I've been cast into but instead have been getting myself into all sorts of socially awkward scrapes.
On paper, I'm LIVING THE DREAM. I have a husband, 3 beautiful daughters and a lovely house and garden. This is what people aim for in life. I should be at the pinnacle of happiness, floating around in a state of self satisfied bliss. Husband, house, kids. That's where the story ends isn't it? And they live happily ever after...... but what does actually happen after?
This town is very beautiful, but being within commuter distance to London, it is also full of very wealthy city types, older landed gentry types and Country Living readers. Tories, the lot of them. You can count the ethnic minorities on one hand and Boden probably has a special delivery van that comes here on a daily basis to deliver mini-packages of mega price-inflated clothing. As for the women, despite only being 30 minutes from England's fashion capital, the dress code here is Barber jackets and Joules polo shirts. It's not even like they don't have the time, their kids are at private school all day and even after Yoga at 9am and Tennis at 10am and coffee at 11am, they have all day to venture outside the town border to the shops beyond. But no, if it ain't sold in Betty's Boutique on the High Street then it ain't suitable.
I don't fit in. I'm trapped but the limitations of motherhood and the small town mentality of the place I live. Yes I am middle class, we have a huge mortgage but can afford a nice holiday once a year. I'm a city girl who just wanted a slightly nicer place to bring up my kids. But what a sacrifice, I miss the old me. The young woman who didn't have children, the one who had the energy to spend an hour each morning trying out a new hairstyle, the one who'd pop to the pub on her way home from work for a quick one with colleagues, the one with disposable income, free time and a vibrant exciting city at her disposal.
Still, let's not whine, at least I've got the joy of the school pick up to look forward to, perhaps a browse round the charity shops and maybe a little caffeine fix in Waitrose cafe. Then of course there's 7 loads of washing, the kids tea, bed by 10.30pm and back on the train to work tomorrow. Perhaps Ben and I could go to the cinema next month if we shell out £30 for a babysitter. You've guessed it. I need help. Now. Please.
Like Tess Durbeyfield I'm out of my natural environment and out of my comfort zone. Plus we're both sensitive loyal and kind, although I've got a mouth like a sewer and keep myself sane by drinking far more Sauvignon Blanc than she had tears for Angel Clare. Angel Clare? What kind of man has a name like that? More of a love interest for Thomas Hardy than Tess I suspect....
This may be stuff only a trained therapist should hear but hey, let the mind chatter begin.... Mwah ha ha ha.