Sunday, 22 April 2012

Week 33- baby sign language, Downton Abbey and the impending sense of doom


How do you make the transition from maternity leave brain, to, I'm a mum who works, goes out, and has a house that doesn't look like it’s been repeatedly burgled?

There must be a point when things start to become 'normal.'

My mum went back to work when I was about three months old. I was still congratulating myself for getting out once a week to the pictures at that stage.

Even now, when Nancy's 7 months, I'm giving myself a hearty pat on the back for leaving the house before 10am.

Or thinking I’m Myleene Klass for taking Nancy to baby sign language once a week, where the only sign I remember is milk, because it is literally imitating milking a cow. Which is a bit dispiriting for body image when you’re encouraged to do it every time you get your boobs out to feed.

Even with all the best planning in the world, though, it sometimes feels like days are full of half stuff, that nothing actually gets completed or done properly.

And with that comes the guilt.

I'll be sitting at the computer trying to write something. Or more likely, writing my name in different fonts to see which one looks the most creative and inspiring to write the amazing, mind blowing, 'I can't believe she wrote this with a seven month old baby,' play.

And Nancy will be sat of the floor surrounded by a WWF style ring of cushions, with a selection of toys stacked up in front of her. And she looks bored out her brain. And I feel massively guilty.

So we'll play, and make each other laugh, (which has to be up there with one of the best things ever,) and then I'll remember that we're meant to be getting into some kind of routine.

So will try to feed her some rice cakes and a strawberry. Then feel guilty that I'm not taking it seriously enough, or I'd have Annabel Karmeled the shit out of dinner, and made some kind of baby three courser that she'd just love.

The flat is in a constant state of border line chaos. And now Nancy's starting to move around a bit and pushing herself backwards at an unnerving speed, I think I should do a bit of a better job of clearing a gangway for her to do so. And, again, the guilt creeps in.

And as if to complete the circle, four weeks or more go by, and the only writing that I've done, is cheques to the managing agents, for replacing a carpet in the main part of the building, which we will never see nor benefit from.

Or turning the computer on just to nosey on Facebook, bid for crap on eBay, or sift through emails from Gambian princes who just need my bank details to complete the transaction to transfer two million quid of tax avoidance money into my name. And then turn the computer off at the end of the day, convincing myself that updating my status, or uploading another picture of Nancy, is, kind of, like writing.

And there it is again. Niggly guilt.

But when did it start? The journey home from the hospital when I was thinking more about how to comfortably sit on one bum cheek than how lucky I was to have Nancy? And more to the point, when's it going to end? Or does it continue forever once you're a parent?

Really, pre Nancy, the only time I'd feel really bad about something was after a heavy night, and the impending sense of doom would sit over me the whole next day, while I pieced together the previous evening, mainly through receipts for cashback from a variety of pubs.

A fry up and about 30 cans of coke would normally sort it out. That, and a blanket text apology to everyone I was out with, and hope that nothing too bad was said/ done.

But a fried egg sarnie doesn't stop you constantly worrying that you're not doing enough to entertain a little person who hasn’t, as yet, learnt enough signs to say bouncing up and down on your knee isn’t fun anymore.

Then other days I just think, fuck it. It's raining outside. Nancy doesn't want to eat organic hummus. I can't think of anything to write even if I could be bothered to turn the computer on.


Let's just clear a space on the floor, have a cuddle, and watch the first four episodes of Downton Abbey back to back.

I can always baby sign it like the man in the corner of the screen on the Hollyoaks omnibus if things get really desperate.

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