Why has no-one invented Satnav for mums??

After months of hint-dropping – and running empty on present ideas – against my better judgement, I bought my dearly beloved a Satnav for Christmas. Unable to cycle to work anymore, he’d bought his own car and I thought at least I’ll be blissfully unaware of the new woman in his life. But a bit like Princess Diana said, there are now three people in this relationship. Not content to confine the maddening mumbling map to his own car, he brings it into mine whenever we travel en famille.

Her irritatingly banal BBC news voice enters the vacuum of our car, disallowing any real conversation and coming between us like a filling in a sandwich.

I wouldn’t mind if we genuinely needed directions. I wouldn’t even mind if I was a rubbish map reader. But we don’t. And I’m not. Still, every journey now is delayed for ten minutes while he studiously enters in the digits of our intended destination (which is only 2 miles away down a straight road…), and then we spend the next 40 minutes being dictated to by a disembodied fishwife telling us every .2 of a mile to turn left, turn right, go straight, go here, go there. Go to Hell I want to yell, but I try to accept this new marital relationship with some dignity, even while she is leading us on a merry dance round the most circuitous route known to man (and woman).

The first time we used it, it duly took us to Bridewell Lane. Unfortunately it was Bridewell Lane in a different town to the one we wanted. As I bore into him with that well-perfected, raised-eyebrow look of disgusted condescension, he muttered something about using proper postcodes and cheerily reset the damn machine to start the farce again.

Seriously… under what other possible circumstances would a man enjoy – nay, love – being dictated to by a stern humourless woman he doesn’t know??? Ok, let’s not go there.

So with conversation impossible, and the kids screaming in the back from being strapped into their carseats for an illegal amount of time while Bossyboots in the corner drove us all round the bend, and another, and another… I got to thinking. Why hasn’t someone invented a Satnav for mums? Let’s face it. When you first bring your babe home from hospital, who wouldn’t pay their life’s savings for a kindly voice in the corner telling you when to feed the baby, when to put the baby to sleep. Make a cup of tea. Sit down. Phone your mum to come over and do the ironing. When to pick up the baby. Dress her in warm clothes – no, not that silly, the pink one! Hold her silly, she’s crying. No, not that way – over your shoulder, she needs winding. Do you know nothing???

On second thoughts…. Maybe not.

(c) AKG 2008

About Grin & Tonic by Alana Kirk

Bouncing into middle age armed with courage, ambition and a pair of tweezers (chin hairs for anyone over the age of 45 reading this) I am a writer with a mission: to redefine this midway point in my life when the last thing I want to do is hang up my high heels and become invisible. This is the end of the beginning, not the beginning of the end. A single mum to 3 fabulous girls, an author, and a fundraising consultant, both ends of my candle are on fire. As I enter this new stage of my life, I want to explore what it means for 'mid-aged' women today, who were promised they could have it all, ended up doing it all, and just do not identify with the traditional image of middle age.
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