Motherhood’s many roles (not the good ones either)
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I cannot stand judgement yet I accidentally do it. One day I can be the mum with the shoeless, sockless baby and another, I catch myself doing a sneaky evil look at the parent of a shoeless, sockless baby. I got to thinking of other roles I have unwittingly adopted since parenthood claimed me for its own.
The ‘I Can’t Go Out … Ever’ Person
I knew this girl. She used to be out every weekend. We would regularly hook up for informal spontaneous hangouts. She had a baby and I saw her once after that. We booked a quiet drink, somewhere near home, eight months in advance. She almost cancelled but met me anyway. After three sips of gin and tonic in The Peahen, her mum called and back she went to soothe her crying baby.
I completely understand this now and have not even tried to book a quiet drink somewhere near home for years. Because the one time I attempted to have one wine, just up the road, I had made it 50 paces when I got a call saying my little one had woken and wanted breastfeeding. I swiftly turned round. I was handed a large wine and a screamy baby and I got into bed and watched Casualty, like every Saturday before and since.
I quip that I never leave home after 4pm. But this is not really a joke. With three children, where on earth would be suitable after school? Precisely nowhere except home.
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You never know someone’s situation. They probably aren’t having sex. Why assume sex is necessary for conception anyway? They may be gripped in a painful IVF cycle. You could have just caught them doing what I call the Boots-Merchant pregnancy test dash (That fantastic coffee shop is where I confirmed my third child was on the way. In the toilet.) They might have found out that their 19th round of IVF was ‘unsuccessful’. (Why do we use that word?)
I occasionally feel sorry for people who have one or two children. Until I look in the mirror, check my bank balance or yawn again, whichever happens first and breaks the charm. Everyone should have three! But if everyone did, there would definitely be nobody in the street after 4pm. Fact.
The Supermarket Lunatic
Whatever it takes to get round Tesco, really. Singing CBeebies songs loudly, shaking pasta bags next to your ears to ‘make music’, holding your breast to feed a baby sitting in the trolley with one hand - and pushing it round the supermarket with the other. (Just me?) Crazy. Only a fool would do those. But only a fool would have children, yes?
Before, I would amble down the aisles perusing the bargains, wondering which treat to treat my selfish self with in all that lovely ‘me me me’ time. Now I use queues as a surprisingly welcome opportunity to clear my pockets of old tissues and half-sucked Mini Cheddars, I’m blessed if any cuppa I consume is merely tepid and root canal treatment is a luxury.
If I previously heard a tot making an offensive noise, I would tut and think “What terrible parents! Why are they letting him throw heavy yellow tins around?” Because they are Peppa Pig pasta shapes and that was all that seemed exciting to play with. Obviously.
They should thank their lucky stars he isn’t amusing himself with the HP Sauce. Especially in that white dress, Miss 20-year-old Singleton.
The Parking Criminal
Who knew being a mum would turn me into a hardened criminal? It probably is illegal to park in disabled when the kids’ spaces are taken, isn’t it?
But if I leave my car in a regular spot, how on earth will I ever get us in again? We need the extra room. Loud uncouth mother of three breaks law by using disabled spot. I used to hate her. Now I am her. Still, it’s nice to be wanted.
Maybe there’s a CCTV picture of me with the hood up on my sicky top, hotfooting it in to Sainsbury’s Savacentre (or whatever it’s called now) with children dangling from every limb. Chase me, chase me – I am a mum on the run, after all.