The Secret Diary of a Smug Married.

Bridget Jones is back. She has apparently gone full-circle, and is now Mark Darcy-less once again. The question is, am I going to read a third serving of Bridget?

I really don’t know. I remember loving the first two books. Then a few years and three births later, I picked up the first book again, and realised that my initial sympathy for the misunderstood, nicotine-addicted bachelorette had not only waned, but had been replaced by a sneaking desire to slip into the pages and stick her oversized knickers over her head. After a day knee-deep in toys, trying to deal with the laundry equivalent of Vesuvius whilst a newborn baby mistook my nipples for chewing gum, a wailing, incontinent two-year-old clung to my shins and my five-year-old cut up the magazine I had bought in a feverish moment of optimism two months before, the last thing I needed to read about when I had five minutes barricaded in the loo was a singleton wino whining because she was alone with a bottle of wine and the TV remote.

Many years further down the line, I must admit that I am curious to know what kind of mother Bridget became. Did she finally realise how lucky she had been to be able to fall out of bed after a full night’s sleep and have a shower without a posse of screaming under-fives trying to batter the door down? We will never know. Not only is Mark Darcy dead (no more Colin Firth for the next film, sniff), but the novel starts when Bridget is 51 and widowed; we will never see Bridget testing the water as the Smug Married she detested so much. So without wishing to step on Helen Fielding’s toes, here is an extract from “The Secret Diary of a Smug Married” – an example of what really happens after being swept off your feet by your personal Mark Darcy.

Tupperware advertisement featuring a Joe Stein...

Wonder Woman, the ultimate Smug Married, admiring her stolen collection of Tupperware Trophies. (Photo credit: State Library and Archives of Florida)

  FRIDAY.

6.15 a.m. Dream involving a beach, a book and a huge Italian ice cream interrupted by two-year-old peeling open eyelid and saying, “Bekfust.”

6.30 a.m. Test pain threshold by stepping on Lego brick in the dark. Track down reluctant school-age offspring hibernating under quilts. Stagger downstairs. Trip over cat. Find coffee jug. Cat bites foot. Pour coffee. Cat bites other foot. Feed cat. Drink coffee.

6.45 a.m. Husband appears, requests specific item of clothing. Establish that said garment is still in sodden, wet ball inside washing machine. Make secret wish to transform into hybrid of Adriana Karambeu and Martha Stewart who wakes up with perfectly toned body, brushed hair and perfect make-up, and always finds the right lids for her Tupperware boxes.

7 a.m. Step on bathroom scales, see with pleasure that weight is still “LO”. Push scales lovingly back into place, vow never to change the batteries again. Run downstairs and polish off remaining pain au chocolat on kitchen work top. Congratulate self for altruistic act, thus ensuring that thieving, bulimic cat will not be sick on floor and children will not argue at breakfast table.

7.45 a.m. Leave for school with eight-year-old, five-year-old and two-year-old. Spot Wonder Woman carrying cake box. With sinking stomach, remember promise to make cake for infant school cake stand.

8 a.m.  Kiss child number one good bye. Buy Wonder Woman’s overpriced organic carrot cake as soon as it arrives on Junior school cake stand.

8.15 a.m. Drop off child number two at infant school. Cheerfully hand over home-made carrot cake. Magnanimously inform teacher that you are available to accompany children on school trip to local fire station. Teacher declines and expresses delight at unexpected mass of mothers ready to make time for school activities. Roll eyes. Explain that line-up of firefighters is somewhat more attractive prospect for 30-something mothers than traipsing to library in pouring rain. Recommend giving priority to mothers who may decide against attending further winter swimming pool sessions to dry and dress 25 shivering five-year-olds in five minutes.

8.20 a.m. Leave school having secured place on school trip.

1950s Modern Kitchen, Automatic Dishwasher, 1953

“…and Mummy’s left enough room for you too, unless you go and wash your hands NOW”. (Photo credit: classic_film)

8.30 a.m. Clear collateral damage from breakfast and emerge from kitchen to find two-year-old recreating M&M’s scene from E.T using cat food and enthusiastic family feline.

9.30 a.m. Switch into professional person mode and work on laptop as two-year-old remains miraculously quiet in corner.

10.30 a.m. Discover reason for offspring’s silence: Little My has thoughtfully illustrated and coloured each page of sibling’s library book. Play figurines and fight with daughter over casting Prince Charming as broom-pusher and Cinderella as heroine on horseback.

11.45 a.m. Realise that PF’s sodden clothing is still waiting in machine. Drag into back yard, hang it on the line. Hide underwear behind sheets just in case neighbour has underwear fetish.

12.30 p.m. Open fridge. Regret self-satisfied purchase of healthy stuff for lunch at supermarket instead of the chips and pizza seen in other mums’ baskets. Stare at phone and will it to ring with invitation for calorie-loaded lunch and bottle of wine. Phone remains mute. Push salad to back of fridge. Eat fish fingers and pasta with Little My.

1 p.m. Attempt telephone conversation with insurance company. Reassure person on other end of line that it is not her you are telling her to stop picking her nose, but your two-year-old.

1.15 p.m. Cuddle child to sleep.

1.45 p.m. Awaken dribbling into pillow beside snoring child.

3.45 p.m. Lift head from work, realise that child is still asleep and siblings will be released from class in 20 minutes. Recognise sound of rain on window. Run outside to get soaking laundry, put in washing machine on full spin. Wake up two-year-old with cheerful “Let’s get dressed!”

4.10 p.m. Arrive at school to collect children with red-eyed, triumphant child wearing Fairy Queen costume, rain coat and Wellington boots. Nod head modestly at congratulations for wonderful cake with fingers crossed behind back. Make mental note to ask Wonder Woman for recipe incase anyone asks for it.

5.30 p.m. Homework vortex. Faced with suspicious face of oldest child, acknowledge inadequate mastering of rocket science (aka primary school maths), and agree that sub-standard mother trailing meagre literary excuse for University education cannot understand said subject of genius. Invite child to consult the Oracle, aka his genitor, on his return from the land of the living.

6.30 p.m. Return of family silver back. Cook dinner with a little wine (wine in glass, not in dinner).

Dan

The Tooth Fairy’s husband (Photo credit: obscene_pickle)

7.30 p.m.  Write letter to Tooth Fairy after epic tooth fairy fail on previous night : “Dear Tooth Fairy. Mum is sorry about last night. She swept up my tooth with the bread crumbs by mistake. But it was a pretty tooth. If you want it, Mum says it’s in the wheelie bin.” Consider asking Tooth Fairy’s husband to brandish magic wand at crack of dawn for a change. Decide against this: karma may bite Tooth Fairy on backside if husband interprets the notion of waving magic wand differently than intended.

8 p.m. Argue over choice of film. Wish self was Bridget Jones alone on sofa with bottle of Chardonnay and TV remote.

10 p.m. Throw self headfirst on bed in dark yelling “Geronimooooo!!!!!!!!!”. Find bed surprisingly lumpy. Bed says “ouch” and giggles. Make mental note to check if children are hiding in bed before repeating exercise. Feel like smug married. Enjoy.

10.30 p.m. In dark, husband enquires about item of clothing. Realise that it is still in sodden ball  in the washing machine.

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60 thoughts on “The Secret Diary of a Smug Married.

  1. Is it bad that none of this put me off wanting kids? Just like when one of my Facebook friends was complaining about only getting four hours of sleep thanks to her three-year old, my first thought was “But you have a three-year old! Why are you complaining?”.

    • If I had to do it all again, I wouldn’t hesitate for a minute. However, the breast milk is always richer on the other side of the maternity bra pad, and we all hanker for what we don’t have on occasions 🙂

  2. It’s not my area but it sounds hell…I got away with not being a “new man” so I am delighted that I did not share your pain. I have yet to be forgiven by my wife for not fully engaging in the our childrens’ march to adulthood, but as we’re starting to forget everything and anything I might,in the end, get away with it:)

    • Funnily enough, I’d sign to start all over again if I could. I’m sure that you were there for you kids, you just didn’t do the same things- complementarity applies to parenting too. You get the fishing and cinema, we get the vomit and the homework, I guess 🙂

    • 😀 I’d love to, but i’ve got another one to write first. My heroine has been stuck in the immigration queue in the airport for the last two weeks because I haven’t had time to get her into her husband’s arms; her feet must be sore 😦 But I’ll scribble it down as a future project.

    • HAve you stepped on Lego bricks too? I’ve never worked out how kids get across their bedroom floors at night without hurting themselves – you need to be a UN demining squad to manage it as an adult.

  3. You do all this in one day, good heavens woman. I have gone off cats after Scooby Doo left me a little parcel in my garage and now I find out they also bite feet!!!

    • Variety is the spice of life, PN. This is an example of a typical day which is usually as full for most mums (I have a friend who added night-shifts at work to the equation, she was nuts). Poor old Scooby Doo. Don’t leave the car windows open – PF always does it in the summer, and Murphy moves in.

  4. I can just see this happening to you but please tell me it wasn’t all on the same day! I’ve done that hiding the underwear behind the sheets thing. Actually I have to confess that I only got as far as 6:45 am. My sheets have been in the washing machine since yesterday. Must retrieve. I have no excuse. Bugger.

    • Yup, all this did happen to me, but not all on the same day- you’re right. I always hide my undies behind the other laundry – I don’t like the idea of anyone looking at it. I have also have my washing in the machine for 24 hours… we are soul sisters!

      • Sista! Except that my machine isn’t on 24 hours. I just leave stuff in it for 24 (or 48) hours. Seeing your reply this morning reminded me to take the sheets out of the dryer that had been in there for 24 hours. Crumpled mess. You must be thinking what an exciting life I lead.

    • Thank you, Miss Chica. I’m tempted to read it or listen to it – I can’t believe how some critics slammed the book when Fielding is such a good author. Maybe they’re peeved because she missed some of Bridget’s life story out? I haven’t tried audio books before, it could be the opportunity for me to give it a try.

    • Yeah!!! How are you? I thought of you the other day, I had “one of those phone calls”. 🙂 The cake cost 8 euros. School cake stands are a real money spinner – one euro the slice of cake. Calculate the cost of the cake you make, plus the cost of the cake you buy, and it’s a hefty contribution! Admittedly, I could have cooked my own… but it probably cost the same as buying one anyway.

      • I just thought of you too ( and me ) reading about Mr Merlot : ) Strength comes from within!

        The fact that you purchased the cake on the fly , whilst running onto the next stop as if it were a preordained stop along the journey! Much better to buy it and reuse it than eat it. Plus, when would you fit in the baking : )

      • That day, my lucky fairy was sitting on my shoulder. The only othr solution I had was the Patisserie, and that costs a mint. I used to bake a lot, then I had kids and it turned into Hiroshima because we all cooked together. Now the kids bake, and I eat and get fat. Yeah 😀

      • Baking is one of the best family activities and creates the memories and bonds !! My 20 year old daughter and I were just discussing how I would bake the pies and she would play with the dough for hours when she was small:)

        Bravo.

  5. “silverback returns from the land of the living”… Yep. That’s exactly how it feels for us, but I’m pretty sure that when he comes home he feels HE is returning TO the land of the living. 😉
    Love your way of writing!

  6. Oh God. You’ve just made me realise that Hubby’s shirt and pants have been in a screwed up ball in the washing machine for 2 days, and I’ve re-washed them three times so far. Damn. I preferred my Bridget Jones days when I just went out and bought a new six-pack of knickers if I was too wine-sodden to wash the stuff I had, and there was nobody to witness my slovenliness and register a complaint.
    Coincidentally I saw the original Bridget Jones film on telly recently and found it intensely irritating, too. The reason is becuse I always dreamed of turning into a smug married, whereas I turned out to be married to the son of Mrs. Smug Mother in Law. She sets standards no normal person could live up to. Somehow she must be cheating, I just cannot figure out HOW….

    • Get that laundry out to dry NOW! (said with my best Matha Stewart pal voice). Oh, the BJ days. When me & my hang over woke up together. Nostalgia… I wathced part of the film the other night, having escaped from the fights over the film in the living room. When I saw BJ singing “All by Myself” and snivelling on her own on the sofa, I wanted to slap her.
      Aha, the Smug Mother in Law. A race apart. A sicilian one must be particularly impressive 😀

  7. Brilliant, MM. 🙂 There’s definitely a book in there. The standing on a piece of Lego made me wince in reminiscent sympathy. I always used to wonder how two small children could spread Lego quite so widely….

      • I agree! Look at George Burns, laughed a lot and lived to 100 despite drinking and smoking! LOL’s are really important with as many LMAO’s as you can get! Like vitamins I seek out my daily dose! 🙂

    • Parenting is hysterically funny if you have a warped sense of humour. It’s better to laugh than to cry, anyway- you either see the funny side of it, or you wash valium down with whiskey and listen to “Mother’s little helper” 🙂

  8. Loved it, so true to life! Like most mums, I think I’ve found myself in most of those situations. Will now add the new BJ book to my Christmas list!

    • I am beginning to notice that Wonder Woman is, in fact, a species that is less numerous that the lesser spotted “mamma disastrus”. I will be giving the new BJ a looking over too. Big nuggs to you in onesie-free Italia 🙂

  9. Reblogged this on Which Way Now 101 and commented:
    I would like to share with you today a post by my favourite/favorite British/French blogger. It isn’t about travel, RVing, silly signs or poems. It’s just very funny. I’d like to visit with her one day when we are in France again but she lives at the back of Beyond and I can’t find Beyond on the map.

    • Hi there! Nice blogging name – do I dare ask where the inspiration for it came from? Are you British, or are you a specialist in canines? Hmm. Glad you enjoyed it – please come back again to visit soon. Come to MM’s side, we have cookies 🙂

      • No I’m South African and a specialist in nothing… love to take the bird and animal photos,, but appreciate good photography…

    • Hello Don- welcome to the scrum 🙂 Where do I get the energy? Hmm. I could lie like Wonder Woman and say it’s ginseng supplements, Pilates training, yoga and meditation, but I won’t. It’s the carrot incentive of a beer and blogging at the end of the day – and the opportunity to curl up in the sofa with three kiddos for a good laugh, too 🙂

  10. Ciao MM! Catching up again! My days are pretty much like yours so it’s no wonder fitting blogging time in is a hard task! Lego’s in the dark… been there ouch! You cracked me up with the bathroom scales reading ‘LO’ 😀 now why didn’t I ever think to just not bother changing the batteries! Such a simple solution! You were very brave passing Wonder Woman’s cake off as your own, I would’ve been pooping myself worrying I’d be found out and if I had a pound for every wash load I’d left in the machine and had to re-wash because it had gone wiffy… I’d be chilling out in France with you!!! Fantasmagorical! 🙂

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