Apparently the Australian government has categorised my family, with its grand total of three children, as “large”. The reason I know this is because it awards us a special “Large Family Supplement” every fortnight, amounting to the princely sum of $9.65. Yes, that’s almost Ten. Whole. Dollars. And if that’s not the Australian government saying “Go have yourself some fun!”, I don’t know what is.
I personally don’t consider our family to be large. Sure, it’s larger than those families which have just one or two kids. It certainly appears larger than other families that might have more kids but where those kids that are just better behaved. And shit, some days, my family most definitely feels far too large for me to handle. The empty wine bottles are a testament to that.
Still, with my recent acquisition of two children three days a week on an occasional basis (see “And Then There Were Five“), I have been given a small taste of what an actual large family must be like. And, of course, I’ve been filled with renewed admiration for those friends of mine who have large families full-time and aren’t just a part-time tragic try-hard like myself. Specifically: one of my bestest-friends from school – Ay-Kay – and her husband, who have four kids. And my very first boyfriend (and, coincidentally, my very first Twitter follower – more the fool him) and his wife, who have five kids, four of them boys. I’ve heard tell that they have a walk-in fridge…
And then I think of the Brangelinas, the most famous and most glamourous large family of all, and my admiration turns to seething rage. You see, rumour has it that they have at least six nannies – one per child – that travel the globe over with them, seeing to the children’s every need (and some of Brad’s too, if you believe what the tabloids say). And yet, all the interviews I’ve ever read (mostly in Who Weekly, admittedly while attempting to hide in the toilet from the kids) ask them how they cope with such a big family and if they have any secrets to getting the kids to bed on time, (etc etc), as if they do it all themselves and still make the red carpet in time looking sexy, fabulous and not in the slightest bit unhinged. Quite frankly, it makes me want to do a Type 5 Vomit over the page.
When I mentioned all this to my mother, she defended them by saying: “They both work! Of course they need some kind of childcare arrangement!” Point taken. And actually, I don’t care that they employ nannies per se – it’s the lack of transparency in all this that gets me all rabid-monkey-ranting.
You never ever see paparazzi pics of the nanny brigade helping them wrangle the kids off those long-haul flights. Instead, we see Brad and Angelina, carrying three kids apiece, all breezy and cool, without a single hair out of place. And of course the nannies must travel with them because if they didn’t, I can tell you now that Brad would be doing that crazy-eyes/crazy-hands acting he does in Twelve Monkeys but For Real. And Angelina would be looking like she was about to be handed the Biggest Late Pass In The World, still wearing her airplane slippers, her hair distinctly unbrushed and screaming “Where the fuck are your shoes, Maddox??”. And before you tell me she’s an actress, and actresses of her ilk are able to pull it together for the cameras, let me tell you this: no amount of acting can hide the stain on the crotch of your white linen trousers made by a child trying to open one of those airline orange juice containers. I rest my case.
So come on, Brangelina, give us all a break. Say it’s hard, say it’s joyful, say you never get as much sleep as you like, say you’d like to thank the Academy (etc etc), but at least acknowledge the help you get. Especially since I suspect the US government is giving you at least $9.65 to help you with those efforts. Sheesh.