I love being Nancy’s mum, that’s a given. That one’s in the bank.
But, as I walked along Brighton beach, which was absolutely bursting to the seams with people having BBQ’s and getting pissed, I suddenly felt a pang of grief for that ‘fuck it’ moment.
The brill idea to jump on a train and go for an adventure.
Or turn up at the pictures on a whim.
Or go out dancing until 4am and know that the most strenuous thing I had to do the next day was watch the Coronation Street omnibus.
Or just sit. Sit still with an unread book and know that I would get to the last page within the next 12 months.
I accept that things change beyond recognition when you have a child. I now recognise the knowing smiles of parents as I boldly declared, ‘having a baby won’t change me. It will fit in around me, not the other way around,’ during my first trimester.
There are some days when I hate doing everyone’s washing. I genuinely want to set fire to the machine when it beeps to say the cycle's finished.
Your focus shifts, of course, when you have children.
But the thing you don’t realise is happening, is that responsibility starts to bleed into all the corners of idleness you had pre-kids.
A spare 20 minutes would be spent having a flick through Take a Break.
Or sometimes I’d find myself drifting off; staring into the next-door neighbour's kitchen, and I had no idea how long I’d been doing it for, or more to the point, if they could see me.
Now, anything over 60 seconds can be filled with a never-ending list of chores.
Things I’d never even considered doing before.
Picking up an endless supply of Duplo.
Retrieving half eaten bits of orange from under the telly.
Washing and drying soft toys that are looking grubby, bordering on unhygienic, before Nancy realises they’re missing.
And that’s long before the house admin starts, sorting bills; all that jazz.
Now, I know I must have had to do a lot of that beforehand. We never had our electricity cut off, or the bailiffs round, or anything like that.
But there must have been more ebbs and flows.
I don’t remember feeling like I was hurdling blindly forward, nappy in one hand, duster in the other, trying desperately to dodge a P45 on the way.
Sometimes I just want to scream, ‘STOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP. SLOW THE FUCK DOWN.’
And just breathe.
And open a bottle of wine for one.
And just reflect.
Because women are pretty fucking brilliant.
Our ability to adapt, to adjust and to just get on with it.
To expand our roles and attempt to balance everything.
And we rarely celebrate our achievements.
So I’m dedicating this post to all the fab women I know, and those that they know. And so on.
Because, until human cloning becomes an option as standard when you find out you're pregnant, we’re all going to have to find a way through it, in the most wondrous, enjoyable way.
Without going nuts.
And just hope that the odd weekend presents itself to go out, get wrecked, dance like no-one’s watching, and re-connect with our former lives.