I used to be such a badass. Don’t get me wrong, I never cheated on my husband or even smoked a cigarette, but I loved being a rebel without a cause. Turning up late, ignoring rules, wearing tons of eyeliner and rolling my eyes at authority – that kind of thing.
Then everything changed when I had kids.
My bratty habits had to go. Even though their eyes and ears were tiny, I knew that my children were seeing and hearing everything that I did. So, no more blasting Jay-Z (“I want a wife that f***s me like a prostitute”) in the car. It would be sugar-sweet, teen Taylor Swift (“You’ll be the prince and I’ll be the princess”) all the way now.
Yet every now and then, I’ll accidentally slip back into my bad girl ways, and be forced to ask myself: am I just faking being a “good person”, for the sake of my kids?
These days, the test for being a “good person” is a simple one, found in every neighbourhood. It’s the humble self-checkout at your local supermarket or variety store. And I failed that test in a major way.
Look, I’ve never done that dodgy thing of pressing “brown onion” when I’m really buying expensive avocados. And I’ve never purposely stolen anything from a shop. All the times that I’ve nicked something have been accidents. That’s what happens when a real, human employee isn’t scanning your goods – you have no-one to blame for errors, except for your dumb self.
The first time I accidentally stole something from Kmart was in the early, foggy days of my daughter Emmy’s life. I’d stocked up on baby things, while stressing about whether Emmy was hungry/happy/too cold/too hot/tired in her pram. Once I’d left the store, I noticed some maternity singlets in the bottom of my pram. I’d forgotten to scan them. I was too exhausted and strung out to turn back and pay for them. Emmy was probably due for a breastfeed. I promised myself that I would go back another day to do it.