I have now reached a new milestone in my life; I have entered the 25-34 age group and I’m not entirely sure how I feel about it!
In my head I still feel a little bit like the 15 year old school girl that bunked off school, got strangers to buy her cigarettes and wore New Look dolly shoes with a too tight shirt unbuttoned just to the point of flashing in public, and a rolled up mini skirt to school. It doesn’t feel too long ago that I was having sleepovers and using MySpace and Bebo in a uniquely cool way. It also doesn’t feel like so long ago that I was doctoring my passports to try and get into nightclubs and pubs where I would order what I presumed were adult drinks like lambrini. The days when my biggest issue was getting a detention or not having enough money for cigarettes and a canteen lunch.
But I am no longer that teenage girl! Ten years has passed and I am now an adult, responsible for a small person. I have a husband, a car, bills, a house, an Ocado account and a Boots advantage card. Part of me is elated that I am a cleaner, calmer person and that my car insurance is getting lower every year. I don’t worry about nights out, I like tea at night and own far too much knitted wear. My super skinny jeans and mini skirts have been replaced by tracksuit bottoms that are so much more comfortable and practical that they are less of a uniform and more of a second skin that I have to peel off at night. They just aren’t a practical choice now, but the comfort and mummy belly also stop me wearing crop tops and other things other people my age may wear. I fear I wouldn’t be able to pull things off and would look like Mrs Doubtfire, but in all reality I’m sure that I’m a lot warmer and comfier than them anyway! I am lucky in some ways that big eyebrows and joggers seem to be in Vogue now, but all the same I know that I am not fashionable; my chipped nails, messy barnet, unshaven legs and adorning with poo will never see that happen. I speak to my 15 year old cousin and sometimes feel like my nan when she uses words and phrases that have apparently passed me by.
Most importantly though, I no longer seem to care what people think about me. With a 30 odd year age gap between me and Ian, I have got quite used to funny comments and looks, but instead of pretending to be something I’m not, or attempting to impress people in order to make friends, I just do what I want because it’s the only way I will stay sane! I think a lot of this is also due to losing my shame and modesty giving birth and then raising a pooping, puking machine.
Luckily for me some of my friends are now Mummy friends who have also adapted (lost/misplaced) their social lives and skills due to their new role, and so turning up to meet them looking like a meth addict, being late or cancelling is not a problem, and the nod of mutual understanding is shared. With my non-mummy friends though I feel a pang of guilt that I can’t just leave the house whenever I want and meet them. I can’t meet them on my own, and even if Savannah is welcomed, they will see as much of my boobs as they do my face. And Savannah may not want to be cuddled or played with, and she may take all of my attention away from the conversation, or just scream for an hour straight just for fun. And my tea may go cold. And I won’t be going out for wine anytime soon, and girlie holidays are definitely out of the question. So this is where my being an adult has clashed with my being a mum. The few things I did enjoy about becoming an adult before are now in direct conflict with this small person that is attached to me almost 24 7. This is a new type of adult role.
My priorities have shifted and all of a sudden I am happy to be a stay at home mum, something I’m fairly sure the 15 year old me would’ve been disgusted by. I have been able to gloss over my pregnancy and the labour fairly quickly and am ready to have another one soon. I want to bake with my little girl, and teach her to knit and sew and cook. To be there when she gets home and be able to help her with her homework.
I have compiled a list of things I have now embraced about my new adult role; things that may lessen, but will probably only change into toddler and eventually teenage versions.
1. Savannah farting in public: this is something that both humours and embarrasses me in equal measures. As cute and funny as it is, sometimes they are so ridiculously loud and smelly that people presume it is me. I wouldn’t care so much if it weren’t for the fact that even Ian questions me sometimes.
2. I wear a backpack: now admittedly this is no year 6 backpack! It is a lovely number from Whistles that Ian got me for Christmas. It fits our (me, Savannah and Ian) entire lives in it and enables me to be hands free with Savannah. It also makes me a feel a little bit like Dora the Explorer, which is a bonus! I do, however, miss having a bag that just contained my stuff and didn’t weigh more than my child.
3. Advice: What’s that you say? You once met a child and feel that you are now on a level with Robert Winston? Super! I would love your advice; please give it to me, and do make sure that it’s as longwinded, irrelevant and patronising as possible. CHEERS!
4. Sleeping: I have come to accept that sleep deprivation is my reality now. I try to cover it with make up but underneath my face will tell you how little I have slept. To the naive pre-pregnancy me who thought that I didn’t sleep well, man up!
5. Elevators and stairs: I can’t just run up the stairs of escalators in the supermarket or car park anymore, I must take the lift with the buggy. And that means dealing with total arse holes who don’t need to be in a lift but are too lazy to take the escalator. So I end up getting crammed into a lift with 6 other people who believe that they can touch Savannah and give me advice.
6. Leaving the house: I have got better at this, but I am still nowhere near organised when I leave the house. I leave the changing bag in the car as it is less to carry down the four flights of stairs, but that tends to result in me changing her nappy later on and finding that she’s done the world’s biggest poo and I have one single wipe left, or worse, no nappies or clothes to change her into. I tend to walk around the house quickly cramming things like stuffed bunnies, teething gel and phones into my coat pocket only to get downstairs and realise I’ve forgotten my keys or sunglasses.
7. One handed typing: This is ok for me, it enables me to keep contacting people and writing this blog. However, I feel that is less than ok for the people that have to read it. A combination of misspelt words that haven’t been noticed or have been auto – corrected by my phone and Savannah’s flailing fingers result in a garbled message that even I can’t decipher.
8. A different type of liquid life: I’m not talking about wine and the adult drinks I used to have. No, this is the sick, dribble, poo, pee and milk life that I now seem to be in the middle of. One or two of these liquid delights will make its way onto, or sometimes into, my clothes at least once a day and will result in someone pointing out that I have something in my back, in my hair or on my face.
9. My hair: It took me years to get my hair to be this long, and yet now it lives in a bun on top of my head as otherwise it is pulled and or chewed by small child. It’s a shame as being pregnant with her made it grow this thick and long and it was all for nothing now. It is starting to fall out anyway, but the clumps I find in her hands don’t help. And I so rarely get to wash and dry it that even if I could wear it down it would presumable just be a mess of matted dry shampoo.
10. Tv: I know the words to almost every Disney junior song and the storyline to every episode… Need I say more?
11. Food: I rarely get to eat a hot meal, and when I do it is cut up into small pieces by the nearest adult so I can attempt to eat it whilst feeding.
12. Frump: As I am still nursing I am still wearing nursing bras which is a shame as they are so frumpy and uncomfortable. I also have to wear one to bed to avoid waking up in a Cravendale dairy, something I will be glad to out behind me when she does stop needing feeds at night.
I could go on and on listing, but I think I would depress myself when I should be thinking about how lucky I am! Admittedly I am not the 25 year old I once thought I would be. I don’t have a job, I’m not working my way up a good company, I am not out all the time and I never did do a year away. I don’t go out for dinners and drinks with friends and can’t just go out doing what I want. Instead I opted for this life which luckily has enough rewards to outweigh the moans. I am more accepting of my flaws as a young adult because I know that I am a parent and so allowed to be a bit more scatty, but I can’t help but occasionally be envious by comparing myself to my single, childless friends of the same age who are working or travelling, and don’t need to plan their days or even weekly shops around feeding or changing, and who aren’t the parent to a completely dependant being. But the more I think about it the more convinced I am that this is the perfect adult life for me. I wouldn’t want to be dating or trying as hard to meet and keep a man as some have to, and although I don’t sleep a lot, when I do, I wake up next to a beautiful little girl and I can stay there past 8am as I don’t have to rush to work. I don’t have to take public transport or out makeup on, and Savannah won’t complain if I smell or if my eyebrows meet in the middle. Besides, it’s too late to do anything about it now anyway; there’s no sending her back!!