I never really knew what people meant when they said they were ‘winging parenthood’, until the other day. I got up at 8am, made myself a coffee whilst O ate his breakfast and drank his milk, I put a fresh wash in, wiped milk off the floor and sang a remixed version of row, row, row your boat // wind the bobbin. O knows some words to both, and likes to sing them both at once. I didn’t even realise what I was actually doing, because i’m so used to the same thing every day. I have become some form of maternal robot.
In my half asleep state, I thought wow, if 16 year old me could see me now, she’d be amazed.
16 year old me was when I would go to bed at 5am and stay in bed till 4 in the afternoon. I would wear oversized cable knit jumpers and make hot chocolates and instagram myself holding it, and my biggest worry would be if there was any froth around the rim or whether it fit in with my theme. I would decide what I was doing THAT day, and I would do it in my own time, and I could get ready in the mirror and take hours if I wanted to.
Nowadays, I throw it on my face in about 15 minutes and pray that O won’t mind being baby-gated in his bedroom with the same toys he’s played with every morning for months, and I look in the mirror and have the “that’ll do.. i guess” attitude. I wear plaid shirts or stripes and leggings with holes in that’re usually covered in snot, sick and saliva. If you ever see a woman in a plaid shirt, it’s probably me.
I also meticulously plan days out, because without a plan, hell breaks loose. I’m sure you’ve all been there. My changing bag is packed so tightly with a variety of ‘things’. I have a rain cover, but also a parasol, a spare outfit for both warm and cold weather, sun cream, many amounts of snacks, the lot. I remember the time I could just leave the house with my purse and phone, now it’s like we’re packing for a fortnight abroad.
Even though it seems like I know what I am doing, I have absolutely no clue. Midwives don’t give you leaflets on how to deal with an accidental turd on the floor, or how to entertain an angry toddler who just wants so desperately to play with the washing machine door. Nobody tells you this shit. You just have to get on with it.
On another note, now that it’s July, I had the scary realisation that I am 22 in a few weeks. I know some of you reading this will be in your thirties, and you’ll be thinking get over yourself woman (I am officially labelled as a ‘woman’ now, and it still feels weird), but the thing with being 22 is that you probably should have your shit together. It’s that awkward “young but mature” stage. You probably need career goals, or to already have a decent job.. or failing that, at least to be talented in some way. Let me tell you, I am not fulfilling any of those goals. Oops.
Although I am almost 22, I feel about 60. I feel like if I went on a night out, I’d be mothering everyone and sending them home in taxis to their beds. You do see things differently when you’re a parent, and I mean literally, but it’s probably the lack of sleep.
I work with people who have just left school and I have absolutely nothing in common with them. I have no idea what the latest trends are and I spend most of my time wandering round town wondering how all these children aren’t absolutely freezing cold in the outfits they wear.
I am jealous, and I miss being 16 and carefree, but I can’t imagine my life any other way now. I can’t remember what I ever did in my spare time that was useful, and I can’t remember actually looking forward to the future as much as I do now.
Hopefully the future involves less accidental turds.