When my BFF had her eldest child, 4 and a half years ago, I remember something she said to me as though it were yesterday. She said “Bernard and I are not going to become too ‘baby-centric’ once this one is born” (Her OH isn’t actually called Bernard but, you know, I’m respecting their privacy, yo). Anyway, I distinctly remember thinking “Yeah, good luck with that…”, because that’s what happens, isn’t it? Once the baby comes along, that’s ALL you ever get to talk about until roughly the age that they start to grow facial hair.
Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration, but the problem is, it creates a monster. I’m so used to expecting people to ask me about the baby that I pre-emptively answer non-baby questions with massively baby-centric answers. No longer is “How are you?” responded to with a simple “Fine, thanks”. Now, my answer usually contains a run-down of how many hours sleep BB has allowed me to have the night before, or whether or not she’s had a 4 hour screaming episode in the last 24 hours.
So bogged down have I become, that I forget that I’m a person in my own right, away from the adorable miniature human who I had removed from me a couple of months ago. And, I mean, it’s normal – when your (almost) every waking moment is consumed with keeping another being alive, it’s going to affect the way you think.
But, and I’m sorry if I’m letting down the Mummy Sisterhood by saying this, it’s really boring, isn’t it? Perhaps it’s ‘second child syndrome’ because when Sausage was born I could wax lyrical for HOURS about which brand of nappy was best, or the best way to solve constipation. This time, however, it’s not such a novelty. Don’t get me wrong, BB is TOTALLY a novelty (when she isn’t screaming…) and I’m just as in love with her as I was with Sausage when she was born. It’s just all the other crap that I’m bored with.
It goes without saying that I adore my kids, “more than anything in all of the universes” as I tell them (and yes, I do mean plural – we’re multiverse theorists in this house), but does that mean I want to talk about them in EVERY. SINGLE. CONVERSATION? No, it does not. I’m perfectly happy to talk to friends and family about the kids when they ask, but when every random stranger in the street is asking me about them too? It gets really tiresome. Sometimes, I get to the end of the day and I feel like every single conversation I’ve had that day has been baby-related. When is someone going to talk to me about something else?!
People mean well, I get it, and it’s nice, it really is. But it’s turning me into a baby bore, so I’ve devised a list of tips to live by:
1. If someone says “How are you?” DO NOT reply with the phrase “I’d be a lot better if the baby slept more/screamed less/didn’t need me to manually help them pass the poo from their body because they’re constipated”
2. If you can, try to take at least five minutes a day to look at a newspaper or watch something current-affairsy on TV so that when you hear someone talking about the situation in Syria your only thought isn’t that it must be something to do with a massive rise in the price of nappies.
3. When you look in the mirror, try not to focus on the eye-bags and saggy, deflated tummy, or anything else that reminds you that you’re a Mum. Try to think about the bits you like…or the bits your other half likes!
4. If you get a chance, listen to some grown-up music. You may secretly quite like the Frozen soundtrack or the music from Rastamouse, but there’s nothing quite like the Wu Tang Clan to remind you that you’re an adult in your own right, away from being a mother.
5. If all else fails, walk around the supermarket in headphones. There’s no clearer “I don’t want to chat to you” sign than that and it should repel every well-meaning octogenarian within a 5 mile radius.