01.09
Becoming a Connecticut Mom

I’ve got that 1978 single by the Vapours (Vapors over here) running around my head. “Turning Japanese I think I’m turning Japanese. I really think so”. They were on the same Top of The Pops bill as Peter Gabriel singing about leaving his true love at Solsbury Hill. This plastic pop punk anthem has surfaced in my consciousness, I think, because I’m beginning to confront a transformation of my own.

I’m becoming a Connecticut Mom.

Improbable although this may sound, it’s true. I really have no choice about it.

The loss of our nanny of twelve years, who couldn’t be persuaded to forsake Tooting, has somewhat upset the equilibrium that allowed me to get away with only dabbling in the child-rearing bit while really still doing boys things. But now I’m brutally exposed to the harsh reality of being a twenty-first century softy man with a stellar career-wife. Without Angela I’m ruined. I’m going to have to become a school-run, children’s social-secretary, coffee-morning attending, dog-walking, dinner on the table by the time the wife returns from the office kinda guy.

I’m likely to be something of an oddity in Darien.

Darien is a beautiful town. (They don’t do villages here. If they did, Darien would be a beautiful village. Actually, strictly speaking, Darien like every other small town in America should be a city on account of its many large cathedral-like places of worship). This village-like, pseudo-city town also happens to be a very rich. The average house price is $1.4m. Our new house feels big until we visit any of our neighbours. Then it feels as if we live in a garden shed. Everything in life is relative.

Most people who live in Darien work in Wall Street. At least the men do; their wives are Connecticut Moms. Our set-up doesn’t really fit the norm of our new neighbourhood. I’m not altogether sure how I will be received as I join the queue of immaculately coiffured New England mothers to drop Natasha off at school each morning. There’s an air of conservatism here that likes things as they should be.

A hint of what might be to come arose when one of the other Connecticut Moms, in calling to invite Jay to meet some of his future school friends, happened to mention that the Moms were also going to be there. There was then a long pause (when I could definitely could hear her thinking) before she accepted the cul-de-sac she had just got herself into and weakly said, “You could come too”. Fortunately for both of us the event was later cancelled. (In writing this I’ve just realised why it was cancelled).

Darien typifies Connecticut. So much so that they filmed the recently revived Stepford Wives with Nicole Kidman here. The movie (to slip into the local lingo; ‘film’ in English) involves a large cast of spookily immaculate American housewives. Of all the village-like, pseudo-city towns in the States they chose Darien. On account, no doubt, of the large indigenous local population of spookily immaculate American housewives. The very same population, I might add that, that has been increased by one with my arrival.

While I lay little claim to domestic goddessliness (what is the feminine form of godliness? My spell check rejects the concept and has no suggestions to make), I am, by dint of our circumstances, forced to put my foraging aside for a while and assume more of a nest-feathering role.

“Turning Connecticut Mom, I think I’m turning Connecticut Mom I really think so”. The cadence doesn’t really work.

We stepped up our search for a replacement of the irreplaceable Angela. In America it appears that there are two basic Nanny options. You can either have a Nanny that weighs more than twenty stone and speaks English or one that weighs less than twenty stone and speaks no English.

We interviewed a Peruvian girl the other day, (interview is a bit of an exaggeration, implying as it does a discourse). I was distracted from the minute she entered our house by her ‘Shining Path’ tee shirt. I couldn’t fathom, firstly, what a member of one of the world’s most vicious group of freedom fighters might be doing in Connecticut and secondly, what she felt she might bring to a career in child care. I guessed she might be strong on discipline.

Only when I realised that her tee shirt read ‘Shining Star’ could I properly contemplate entrusting her with our children. We actually gave her the job. I don’t wish to be fattist, but I couldn’t entertain what might happen to our precious children if they shared our new trampoline with one or two of the other candidates.

I’m off to get my nails done now.

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