by Christine Wells
Lately, I've come to a conclusion that is both slightly depressing and rather freeing.
I am one of those mothers who make all the other mothers feel good.
I am the mother who arrives at school, wild-haired and sans makeup, carrying a rigid 3 year old who is still screaming because he didn't get into the car first; simultaneously trying to calm her anxious 7 year old because we're a little later than usual and he won't have the privilege of turning on the class computers.
I am the mother who forgets her camera on sports days and begs a friend to snap her child, who sends her son in uniform when it's one of those 'wear orange for an obscure cause' days. Who looks vague when people mention tuckshop, Parents and Friends' Association and slings a money at any fundraising initiative rather than commit to actually spending the time. Because she knows she'll either mess it up or forget entirely.
My name is Christine Wells and I am a writer on a deadline.
Not sure if you all have experienced something similar to the kind of haze that falls over a writer when she's in the writing zone, but it is an awesome and frightening thing. I can lose track of time, forget all but the most crucial responsibilities. When I'm in that phase where my creative brain seems to take up all the space in my head it is very hard to shift gears into Mommy mode.
Take Easter, for example. The note that told parents we had to make an Easter bonnet so that our children could participate in the junior school Easter parade didn't find its way home to me. I knew about the parade of course, but last year, the kids made their hats in school.
Arrived on the day before Good Friday (early because of those dang computers) and waited outside the classroom for the teacher. The horror when all those boys and girls started streaming up the stairs with their fancy hats on and here was my poor 7year old with not a feather, curly pipe cleaner or painted egg to his name.
"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME????" I wailed. My son looked at me with his gorgeous big eyes as if I'd run mad. "Oh, yeah," he said.
"Never fear," said I. "I'll go home now and make one." He shrugged a little. "OK."
That resulted in what has to be the fastest craft activity in the history of the universe. After raiding the local newsagent for supplies, I had an extravaganza of a hat ready and raced back to the school to deliver it. Then I went home and cried. Everyone knows this kind of thing scars a child for life!!
I AM A BAD MOTHER!!!
But when regaling the other mothers with my incompetence later in the day, I realized that I perform a very useful and important function in our little community. When someone else is mortified by some glaring omission they've made, all they have to do is look at me.
And then they feel better.
You might imagine, then, that it's with great relish that I write heroes and heroines who are far more competent than I could ever be. In SWEETEST LITTLE SIN, Lady Louisa Brooke is a crack shot and a keen horsewoman. When she's asked to spy for her country, she's unschooled and makes mistakes but she learns quickly and has bucketloads of courage, especially when protecting her loved ones.
Lady Louisa doesn't forget what time her secret assignations are or leave her pistol in her other reticule when the going gets dangerous. I bet she'd make a mean Easter bonnet, too.
The ruthless and dangerous Marquis of Jardine is frighteningly competent. He has uncanny omniscience and cunning, which makes it a challenge to deceive him, as Louisa is intent on doing. But he has one vulnerability, and that's his love for one steely-eyed blonde.
So here's my question to you, readers. Who are your favourite gutsy, competent heroes and heroines? Any funny motherhood stories to tell? C'mon, share the humiliation. At least you'll make everyone else feel better!
Last month, I offered a prize of Sweetest Little Sin, which will be delievered to the winner as soon as they reach my hot little hands! The winner is: Deb!!!!
This month, I'm doing something a little different. Louisa and Jardine first come onto the scene in an earlier book, THE DANGEROUS DUKE, so today I'm offering three signed copies of THE DANGEROUS DUKE to three lucky commenters. Be sure to let me know if you want a copy, as I know a lot of you have already read it. Good luck!