First off, I'm soooo sorry I wolfed down all the mince pies I left out for you and also drank all the whisky. But what with raised anxiety levels due to Kremlin-sponsored cyber warfare, Brexit, the election of rainforest burner Bolsonaro, ScoMo's manoeuvrings, lone-wolf terror attacks and general ecological meltdown, for frack's sake, it's been a rather taxing 12 months. Not to mention that both my kids have moved back home, descending on the fridge with locust-like ferocity, using up all the hot water and regularly leaving tissues in jeans pockets resulting in washing dandruffed in lint. (I'm told the first 40 years of parenthood are always the hardest.)
All this is a long-winded way of explaining why I'm looking for a little Yuletide love from you this year, Saint Nick. And I have been a very good girl. I've raised money for charities ranging from autism to osteoporosis … not to forget amnesia research (haha).
For the kids, I've subsidised gap-year breaks. I've made endless meals for their abandoned paramours, left in my living room with no forwarding address. I've kept a straight face when given PowerPoint presentations on the importance of recycling, reducing my carbon footprint and turning vegan. (Oh, how I wish I were young enough to know everything!)
Don't get me wrong. I adore my kids with a primal passion. But I actually got morning sickness after they were born – a little something to do with the fatigue which comes from collecting them from far-flung parties in the early hours when they're too tipsy to drive. (Traffic lights were really invented to enable frazzled mums to write letters to you in eyeliner while undertaking these motorised mercy dashes.)
The kid-and-career juggling this year has been so frenetic it could count as aerobic exercise.
But as we working mums sob from our psychiatric-unit beds, wailing that we wouldn't feel fulfilled if we didn't work and have kids, I've finally realised what I really need for Christmas. If you're handing out any top-ofthe-range, super-duper pressies this year, Santa, what I'd really like to ask for is a wife.
A wife would concoct nourishing meals involving kale for the whole clan and never let the sun set on a messy kitchen. When it's time to peel vegies and vacuum the stairs, she'd hop to it, instead of deciding, like me, that this is the perfect moment to disappear into the bathroom with a bottle of hair dye and a self-waxing kit.
A wife would also make a perfect Christmas possible. Because, let's face it, training Donald Trump to win a chess championship would be easier to achieve than a working mum preparing a perfect Yuletide.
Not only would my wife do the holly bedecking, egg-nog whisking and desperate dashing through department stores on the hunt for obscure presents for picky rellos but, come Christmas morning, while I'm having a lie-in, she would arm-wrestle the turkey into the gynaecological position before stuffing chestnuts up its various orifices and rustling up a gourmet feast for 25.
Anyway, I must sign off now as the lights are changing and my eyeliner's running out. Of course, next year I'll write you a longer letter as (hopefully) I'll have a wife to chauffeur the kids, then decorate the tree and wrap all the presents, which I also have to do when I get home because I ran out of bloody time, as friggin' usual!
Anyway, forget whisky, Santa. If you really want to raise my spirits, a wife is what would bring me Christmas cheer. Love from a DWM. (That's "deranged working mum" – surely a tautology?)
P.S. Oh, and Happy Xmas to Mrs Claus! In fact, I wonder who helps her prepare for Christmas while you're gallivanting about the globe with your reindeer? Maybe a "wife" is also just what she needs gift-wrapped beneath the tree?
This article appears in Sunday Life magazine within the Sun-Herald and the Sunday Age on sale December 2.