Would I have an affair? Would I have an affair?
I’ve thought about this a lot. No. No I would not have an affair. Mainly because it would involve getting a babysitter, and that is time consuming. If a handsome man lured me away from my marital bliss to a hotel for some rumpy pumpy, I think I would simply sleep in the hotel sheets with the high thread count – no sleazy hole for me – order room service, and have a long nap. Maybe I’d make time for a bubble bath and my book. I would – of course – pay the hunk back for the room, and send him on his way.
If it took lying and saying I was having an affair just to escape to a decent hotel for some respite, then yes, I might lie about having one. The guilt would be the same – because as a mum to three young kids and a wife to an artistic man I have very little time to totally unwind. And when I do, I feel guilty. Guilty that I am resting, guilty because I am resting and the laundry is piled taller than my eldest child (who I might add is in the 97th percentile for height). Guilty that I should be playing with the kids, losing weight, dusting, hoovering, writing, (which, obviously, I am doing now.) Or – if I am not guilt ridden whilst resting – all I can hear is screaming and feel the mess building as the chaos spirals out of control. The resting then starts to become rather stressful.
So, I fantasise – about lying about having an affair. No sex. Just the thrill of a cheeky escape to have a quiet bath in a tidy bathroom and a nap in a fluffy bed that I don’t have to make. I couldn’t let my husband know because he would want to come too, and then so would the kids , so the illicit hotel adventure would become a Travelodge with an adjoining room. Travelodges do not have high quality bedding. Nor do they have little travel toiletries. Which is great for a budget holiday or a limited expense account – but for God’s sake if I am going to indulge in hot afternoon (hot because of the bath, and a spanking……clean room) then it is going to be classy.
If I had an affair I wouldn’t settle for a middle aged man who is in a similar stage in life to my husband. No – I’d want a hunky thing who is mad for sex and doesn’t think much. So my housewife retreat is going to be the accommodation equal to a simple-thinking, energetic good-looking man with pecs. The hotel equivalent to pecs would be a four-poster bed with a TV positioned so you can watch in bed without craning your neck, and very powerful batteries in the remote so you can change channels and not move. What bliss. I can’t imagine the joy a secret hotel affair would bring , let alone the excitement of being so deceiving. Given that my husband would get very jealous of the nap and well-positioned telly in bed, it’s best not to mention my plan . A gal can dream…
Oh my – I think my saucepan has just boiled over.
I never gave much thought to cosmetic surgery. Mostly because I never had much reason to consider it, that was until I had kids. Cliché I know but I didn’t fully appreciate how much my tummy would resemble a rhino’s arse. I don’t need to explain what the belly button is.
With my first, I had too much amniotic fluid therefore, unless I could have added Lycra to my skin composition, it was beyond repair. But hey ho, I loved being a new mum and this was part of the deal. I did have to consciously ignore the French mama in my ante natal group who was in a belly top just two weeks after giving birth. I thought I was looking good having taken in the elastic waistband on my maternity jeans by two button holes.
Gradually, as my tummy tried to regain some of its former glory I noticed that the consultant hadn’t matched my stretch marks up after my emergency C-section. When I had my third he didn’t find it relevant when asked if I had any complications with the first or concerns. He told me, regrettably, that he was unable to ‘line them up’.
I did start to think that after my fourth and last baby (number two was born asleep sadly) that maybe I would consider surgery to pull back the skin and excavate my belly button. It seemed like it might be the best option until I read some scary tales of failed cosmetic surgeries. I thought, hmm unless it is life threatening, then I figured I wouldn’t put myself through the stress. Painkillers would have been fun but not worth the tucking and poking.
So now, I try to say I’m happy with myself. The best I can do is to accept my saggy tummy. I do appreciate that my tummy sags for a beautiful reason but then I remember lots of mums have lovely tummies and more kids than me. I do think I would be a bit happier with a smaller tummy –superficial I know. However, for me the closest I will get to a tummy tuck is when I tuck it all into my trousers on a daily basis!
Bad Year Gone Good
Last year at this time, things were good. Life was running smoothly. Then a week later this time last year life began to plummet . Sept. 30th my youngest son and I set off to Dublin as he was doing a photo shoot for Aer Lingus. It was fun. He was great. We met some lovely people from our agency. I met a man called Fergal( not as in met a man). Love that name.It was one of those experiences that could have been dull as we were in an airport for 24 hrs but it was fun. We flew back and once we landed everything began to unravel. The cat died. There were some health scares. Some surgery. Death in the family. Bullying. I’m not making light of any of these situations by the way. They are all part of the patchwork of the quilt of despair I seemed to be sewing .Throughout the year I stumbled(literally), was kicked while I was down(figuratively). But I am proudly a Weeble. I wobble but I don’t fall down. I am programmed to just keep going even though I felt like crawling into a hole and crying while watching Beaches.
I had some good bookings that were definitely tonic for the soul. I did, however put them to the back of my mind once the shoots were done as I have learned that some shoots never come to fruition for various reasons. Of course as I’m a sensitive an actor I assume it is all my fault.Woe. The campaign is delayed. You can’t actually see yourself in anything despite being in front of a camera for 12 hrs. I took them for what they were. Had a lot of fun. Met some geniuses along the way. I digress.
We had a fun summer in Canada so I thought finally, life is cutting itself out from a new cloth. But nooooooo.
Cue August. The kids and I all went for a family casting then we were going to the park to play football. We were a picture of a little photo shoot family. All match matchy, exchanging warm smiles and giggles through a soft filter with moving music as the score to our day played in a perfect circle of fifths. ( well not quite).After the casting we would then be the ‘little frolic in the park family.’There must be a German compound word for both of these familial dynamics. The reality was I was in fact one of those mums who falls over a disabled ramp and breaks her foot so we became that crazy loud family in A and E with the glares from people asking why that woman doesn’t have anyone looking after her 3 small kids while she waits 4 hours for an x-ray and plaster.
I was a broken woman. I had no change for the snack machine. The A and E desk guy suggested I walk to the Costa at reception. *insert swear*off A and E man. Hello, broken foot, Costa is a 10 min walk if both your feet work. So we are bored, decaffeinated hungry, poor, I’m in pain, my phone battery is dying and the kids father was not picking up his phone, He’s a pianist so that is not uncommon. I was silently railing and cursing like King Lear crossed with Michael Douglas Falling Down. My foot, My soul. My everything. I’m hungry. We’re all hungry.
I finally get home, with my new cast and 3 hungry kids in a taxi. How will I tend to my flock? How will I clean. I cant’ get them to and from school.Two of then have birthdays coming up. Countless lessons that need a chauffeur. Arse. Arse Arse. Oh and let’s add some drama from our flats as I am the freehold director……. once again -arse.
My friends were my village that helped to raise my children during those 6 weeks. I love them. All of them. Among my silent cries were loud cries. Boredom,ennui, desperation. I must mention there was and still is other tricky ‘stuff’ that was adding to this state of mind but I’m not going to venture into that pot of despair just yet.I only mention it so you don’t think I was only pitying myself because I couldn’t carry a latte with crutches or that I would have to forgo John Lewis for a t least a month.
This was mixed with countless “Oh the irony, you tripped on a disabled ramp. haha-great material for your stand up. Oh you got a cast after a casting haha” Shut up. All of you. It is no longer funny. I am experiencing despair.
Then one day, the ‘things will get better moment ‘happened. I was sitting on my sofa crying from pain/boredom/ennui/despair/ while simultaneously torturing myself looking at the Spotlight jobs I knew I could have got (well might have stood a chance of getting an audition) if I could actually leave the house. I was missing the thrill I got when my mobile rang and I could see if was form one of my agents (I know -agents. Not one but two). I lamented. Then it happened. I received a text form a friend with a photo attachment that read this you ?’ It was me. My face. My face was on a bag of Billington’s caster sugar. One of the shoots I did in June came to fruition and there I was on a bag of caster sugar. The shoot itself was such an inspiring day as I was fortunate enough to be photographed by my new favourite genius Seamus Ryan. An utter joy to work with and so much fun.
First the sugar bag then my face popped up in a Sainsbury’s magazine. Then as if things weren’t getting better it was in Grazia. Right next to the horoscopes. I could hardly breathe from excitement, .At first thought it was asthma then perhaps a panic attack. But no. It was pure and utter euphoric breathlessness and not the sex kind. I had thought my career had peaked at the Rentokil safety video, when I had to pretend I had rats and wood rot.Or the time I did the conga with Kevin Bacon in the EE adverts. Just as I was catching my breathe realised my face was everywhere .Well everywhere at Earl’s court for the Cake and Bake show which I couldn’t get too with a broken foot. There were giant versions of my face. Medium versions. Me .My face. Eating cake. My face on a Zoe Paterson Cake. Sniff . I reflected on my life .This Canadian prairie gal born on a cold snowy mid Feb morning has hit the big times. I was known for my baking in Uni and not academic achievements btw So this was big.
Almost a year to the date my life began to unravel it gradually started to mend bookended with lovely Irish connections.My nan was Irish so maybe she had some thing to do with it all. My life, well It is still fraying, I will admit that .Who would have thought though that a bag of sugar would have saved my soul. All because I have great agents and a charming( genius ) Irish photographer liked the way I looked with cake and a cheeky grin on my face. So here you have it. If life gives you lemons make a drizzle cake with Billington’s caster sugar…and hang out with some Irish people if you can.
by Courtney Cornfield