Sometimes I catch myself wondering what it will be like to one day get into bed and sleep all night, without the interruption of a crazed toddler cutting her fangs or a pre-schooler screaming blue murder for reassurance. To cook a dinner where the aftermath does not resemble a natural disaster, and to be able to ‘nip’ to the shops without being mistaken for packing up the car for a camping trip.
These are the types of fantasises I have tended to have since becoming a parent. They have got me through some dark moments, and wild fantasises of ditching my Maclaren and Mummy bag has been just the tonic.
Well, since embarking upon this 5 year Muma shift I have been told many many times “enjoy them while they are young” and “it slips by so fast”, and to “cherish these moments”- another favourite which often falls out of the mouths of those with children capable of wiping their own backsides.
On receiving such pearls of wisdom I have, on occasion, had to physically restrain myself from slapping this parenting oracle clean across the face. This is usually after an almost sleepless night, possibly accompanied by a toddler poo explosion having already used the last wet wipe, a tantrum of epic proportions somewhere nice and public like Boots, all neatly sandwiched between an argumentative pre-schooler with attitude which would rival that of the late Lucy Beale! No I didn’t want to hear that these moments are to be cherished. Frankly ‘these moments’ can f**k off.
I had, until recently, assumed that once our girls hit a fairly civilised double figures age, my work as a Muma will be almost Null and void, I will effectively ‘get my life back’. I have visions of laying on our sun lounger (currently covered in cob webs having not been used since 2011) sipping a cold crisp Sav Blanc while the girls play together. I won’t be needed for changing endless nappies, or being a ToddlerMonster’s personal Risk Assessor. I won’t have to spoon feed, negotiate and beg for the simplest of dinners to be eaten (..will I?!) And when I step into the shower for the weekly hair wash I won’t be silently praying that both girls are alive when I emerge. Surely, this Muma lark will morph into an easy breezy sphere.
However, It is fast dawning on me that actually my work here will not be done for a very very long time. In fact, if I do my job right as a Muma, I will be needed by my girls until the day I am no longer here. I had a stark realisation of this recently when my treasured Nanny died, having been a Muma for 64 years.
I had always assumed that by this rather grand age your role as a Muma became minimal and that you wouldn’t be as needed, if at all, once your children reached an age that warrants a freebie bus pass. My assumption was wrong, my theory is floored; my Nanny never retired as a Muma. If anything she just added to her load with Grandchildren, and then Great Grand children. Our family centred around this great Mum, her age seemed irrelevant. She could always be found in the same house, holding all of the Muma attributes that were picked up along her journey: Love, generosity, the ability to worry continuously about her children and their children, and THEIR children, dishing out advice when it was required- and occasionally when it was not!
So it does appear I am in this for the long haul…
Sure I will still entertain the odd solitary wine fantasy, hanker after a tidy house, and plea with the cosmos to ease up on the ToddlerMonsterItis Lila is currently suffering from. But when these phases are long gone I have no doubt a new challenge will have already presented itself to me: probably in the form of Pythagoras or Fractions or a marathon sized summer school project, homework is one of my most feared stages!
So here’s to a lifetime of Mumahood running neatly alongside a lifetime with my trusted cohort, Sav Blanc.