Grown up stuff-
- I turn 34 in November.
- I have a mortgage
- I know how to wallpaper
- I have two children
- I have a husband (11 years married in November.)
- I know LED light bulbs have a 25 year lifespan and are even more efficient than so called energy saving light bulbs.
- I have two cats both of which have health insurance.
- I drive and own a sensible family car
- I like cooking
- I have a career, which I am apparently good at.
This all means I am a grown up, yes?
Funny thing is I don’t FEEL grown up. Body shape and face have changed, true and I am much more wise and cynical than I used to be. I keep waiting to wake up one day and feel like an adult or for someone to say I’m all grown up now, well done. Here is the official badge, this is the secret handshake and your branch of the club meets once a month at the pub down the road.
Point is, once you pass 21 there are no more real milestones till you hit 40, technically middle age. That’s two decades of just living with society not really recognising it. A lot happens in those two decades! A lot of people start a family if they don’t already have one, or buy a house or get a good job… soon they build a list like the one above.
I remember when I came home with son one. After a difficult pregnancy and a hellish 3 day labour culminating in an emergency caesarean I finally brought my beautiful baby home. Once the well-wishers had left and Hubbie had cleaned up the mess the cat had left on the sofa for us, the panic set in.
There was no immediate transition to motherhood for me. I looked at the baby and wondered when it’s parents were coming back to get it. It couldn’t be mine! I was not responsible enough to have a baby!
Bloody hell, I was the woman who drank herself sober at 19. At that party I ended up getting snogged by the barman and I kneed him in the groin for his trouble. At my 21st birthday pub crawl I drank every drink I was offered, discussed contraception with the taxi driver on the way home then puked all night. Had to go to the doctor in the morning because I had taken the lining off my stomach.
I’m the one who would rush outside when there was a storm and get soaking just to look at it.
I’m the one who did not sleep for three days just to win a bet.
I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE ENOUGH TO BE A PARENT!
But there he was and we got to know each other. It helped that my Husband went through exactly the same identity crisis. We could panic together.
So, son 2 is currently rolling round the floor attempting to reach the cat so he can chew on it and son 1 is playing games on his Daddy’s tablet in the house I own.
I STILL DON’T FEEL GROWN UP!
Interested in this I’ve tried to analyse why I feel this way and came up with another list. A ‘reasons why I’m not grown up list.’
- I sing and dance in the kitchen, cos I can.
- I’m a geek; I’d rather have a nice piece of hardware than new clothes. In fact I got down to two bra’s last month before admitting I’d have to buy a new one rather than a new PC game.
- I daydream, chronically.
- I get scared of my nightmares and sometimes wake up crying.
- My stuff is MY stuff. No one touches it, it’s MINE!
- I watch anime
- I write fanfiction
- I laugh at pigeons
- I forget to brush my teeth.
- I don’t like adults, they scare me. I nod, smile and hope to have a normal conversation without suddenly blurting out something stupid such as knowing the difference between A wings and X wings.
- When it’s dark and snowing and I’m driving the car I like to pretend I’m travelling at light speed.
- I don’t care when son 1 gets wet/dirty/ loses clothes.
There is more but that is just a sample of my inadequacy for adulthood.
I recently realised my perception of what being grown up means is based on my parents, specifically my Mother.
Let’s take my last point about clothing and children. I had ‘play clothes’ and woe betide me if I played in anything else or got other clothes dirty. I would hide wet clothes rather than let my Mother find them. (Girls did not go swimming in the river at 12!) Of course she would find them months later, mouldy and ruined and I would be in worse trouble.
It was damn hard keeping clean on a sodding farm!
Don’t get me wrong, I get on well with my Mum but I am very much not her. Parenting has taught me this, though I knew it before.
I remember her dragging me by the hand into clothes shops in my early teens. I needed a short black dress, it was the fashion. I felt so bloody uncomfortable in that thing, like the whole town could see my nickers. I wanted my jeans back!
My Mother was very much working class but seemed to want me to be more. A natural reaction, what parent would not want better for their children? She had no qualifications and had ‘cleaned every bog in the town,’ as she put it. She encouraged me at school even though she knew I found it hard. She pushed for my Dyslexia diagnosis even though it was not a recognised condition at the time. She also tried to mould me into what she saw a young woman should be. It was everything I was not. I moaned about it at first but did not actually kick against her until I hit my late teens. After I left home for university I could fully embrace my geeky unfashionable me and forgot all about the ‘Lady’ my Mum wanted me to be, much to her despair. This pretty much led to all the nonsense I wrote about a few paragraphs ago. Thanks to a good dose of her common sense however I did not do anything too stupid…
I guess I have to find my own way of grown upness that suits me and not base my perception on my Mother.
That said; I still find myself using her turn of phrase with my children.
“You hit Mummy your hand will drop off!”
“Because I said so!”
“Get in the bathroom and brush your teeth you little tyke!”
“There is nothing wrong with you, stop crying and get on with it!”
“My kitchen my rules!”
Not so different then… They say all women eventually turn into their mothers. I say they got it wrong. I’d like to think I’m keeping some of the best bits and will enforce my own individual parental irritations on my children.
They will probably wind up being brand obsessed vegetarian conservatives. *shudder*
As Philip Larkin said-
They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you
Nailed it Mr Larkin.