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by Kylie Ladd,

12/04/2011 - 23:05

by Kylie Ladd, author     

When My Husband Does the Dishes... provoked much discussion in my household. Not regarding its contents, which I’ll get to, but instead over the title.

“When my husband does the dishes- what?” asked my eleven year old son when he first saw (or rather heard) me reading it. Knowing full well that the original title had actually been When my husband does the dishes he wants sex I quickly and seamlessly steered the discussion in a different direction.

“Uh, um, nothing!” I stuttered. “It’s just ‘When my husband does the dishes’. Full stop! End of story!”

“No it’s not,” said my daughter, eight, who is quite frankly sometimes a bit too smart to be all that likeable. “Those dots are an ellipsis. It means there is another thought coming.” She turned to her brother. “You should have listened more in grade three.” I tried to sneak away, the book tucked under my arm, but she stood in the doorway, blocking my exit. “So mum”, she demanded, “what’s in it?”

I couldn’t tell her. Not because Kerri Sackville’s brilliant first book is filthy and depraved (though it does have some bits in it about wet patches), but because I couldn’t do it to the sisterhood. To the wifehood. To the motherhood. Couldn’t give away our secrets; couldn’t let the opposition (also known as our husbands and children) in on any knowledge that they might use against us. Couldn’t admit to my spouse, for example, that like Kerri I have fed the kids noodles and tomato sauce for dinner three nights running when he was away on business and told them to tell him it was spaghetti; couldn’t confess to my progeny, that actually, the back of the sock drawer isn’t mummy’s special place, it’s just where she puts your homemade Mother’s Day gifts so she doesn’t have to look at them.

Kerri Sackville knows it all. She’s been in the frontlines of motherhood for more years now than she’d thank me for telling you. She has three kids, an, um, ‘back massager’ in her bedside drawer and her own painstakingly perfected delousing technique. She is also extremely bloody funny and made me laugh so loudly and frequently while reading this book that in the end my husband threw me out of bed and suggested that the title should really be “When my husband does the dishes it’s to get away from his unhinged wife”.

Those of you who follow Kerri’s blog, her tweets or her regular columns for the Mama Mia website will know what a gifted and hilarious writer she is, but also how very frequently she is bang on the money with her shrewd observations and razor-sharp wit. When My Husband Does the Dishes...  certainly made me laugh, but it also made me go “Shit, yeah” under my breath so often that I had to keep  glancing  around to check that the kids hadn’t heard.  If you know how to flirt without flashing your maternity bra, if you’ve ever kept a child home from school with a rash that later washed off, or if you sometimes dream of raspberry fondant instead of chocolate swirl (and I’m not talking ice cream here), this book is for you.

But it’s not for my children. “I know, mum!” my son declared a few days after I’d started reading Kerri’s book. “The whole title should be ‘When my husband does the dishes his hands get wet’.” Yes, I told him. Yes, you’re right! That shut him up, anyway, but I’m still keeping it away from the eight year old.

Editor's note: this review first appeared on Booktopia's site and was published with Kylie Ladd's permission.
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Hop off the Fence

08/09/2010 - 16:24

Hop off the fence, it's more fun in the garden. I still reckon that's paying them for chores isn't it... kids are pretty quick to work out the connection. 'If I do these things for the family then I get paid my pocket money.' I would love to think children (often reluctantly) learn that they are supposed to help the family as part of just being in a family. Pocket money has its own benefits that can still be maximised without connecting its payment to helping out... I think.

At the heart of what I am saying is that children hopefully eventually find the intrinsic rewards in being helpful and part of the family unit.

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