Hey there, kids! No longer shall I be filling your heads with talk of food (although in over a year I never once wrote an actual sensible column on the subject), instead I shall be writing about my Adventures in Motherhood.
This column first appeared in Standard Issue Magazine, which recently turned into a podcast like a mythical beast springing from a glorious fanny. So, here I am, writing for you smashers instead. Just a little heads up, there will be no advice. No judgement shall be passed on your strange and unusual parenting techniques. As long as the kid is safe, happy and fed, I play fast and loose with the Gina Ford generation of do-gooders. You can take your organic quinoa and take a long walk somewhere quiet while I throw potato smiles and frozen veg (purely for show) at my daughter while she asks me what’s for pudding.
My daughter is almost 6, and in year 1. For those of us who grew up in different times before Trump was president and people wanted an end to free healthcare, she’s in the first year of primary school. She’s about this tall *points at the wall* and has zero concept of personal space. Her favourite things are fairies, unicorns and the xBox, and she would like to be a princess ballerina when she grows up. My feminist views are shunned in favour of sparkly dresses and handsome Princes, and good luck to her.
We all make it up as we go along and none of us are any better at it then anyone else
Motherhood hasn’t been the most natural journey to me. 10 years ago I thought I’d be married with 3 kids and a mortgage. But here we are, my husband, daughter and I, living on not a lot of money with no plans for more kids because they are expensive and post-natal depression kicked me into next week for her first 4 years. That’s a long time to feel rubbish, and I don’t plan to repeat the experience.
I used to presume it was just me who didn’t have it together, who found it hard to be around other parents for fear they would see through the charade of normality. 6 years later and I’m convinced we all know absolutely naff all about what we’re doing. We all make it up as we go along and none of us are any better at it then anyone else. And if anyone makes you feel that way then they aren’t the people who you need around you.
Being a parent isn’t the defining feature of ‘me’ any more. It used to be my entire baby-filled life. No job and a husband who worked away meant a very lonely start for my and my little girl. Now we’re surrounded by a huge industry of school and work and childcare and people, each element chipping away at the feeling that we are forever stranded together like 2 survivors with no instincts. We are less dependent and so more free to be ourselves. There is life beyond kids, so this column is intended to explore the balances between being a parent and having the autonomy to claw back some semblance of normality. If I can do it, anyone can. Seriously, I’m rubbish.