You spend your entire childhood wishing you were old enough to do grown-up stuff and then adulthood hits and BAM, what you wouldn’t give to make it all go away again. Like Tom Hanks taught us in Big, it’s not all white tuxedos and trampolines in your New York apartment. Being an adult is difficult and boring.
One of the scariest things about becoming a parent is how firmly it insists you commit to adulthood. You have to (try to) keep a steady income, you have to keep the fridge stocked, you have to write a will! I think I’m going to faint. Having said that I’ve never been much of a dependant, although financially my parents have bailed me out a good few times I did move out of home when 17 (dumb idea but I did it anyway) and I’ve been stubbornly independent since my preteen years. I think growing up in what was essentially a household of adults (my brother being seven years my senior) made it quite difficult for me to relish being 12. I always wanted to be part of the gang and (as I saw it then) that gang was my parents and brother, enjoying each other’s company as equals. If I knew then what I know now it probably wasn’t like that at all. I’m sure my brother was a typical stroppy and immature 18 year-old and my parents probably got on his tits a fair bit with their inherent parenty-ness. But I just saw them as these older, wiser, freer people sharing jokes and sharing wine and I wanted to be part of it. I hated being young.
Of course as soon as I graduated from university, thrown out into the big bad real world, I really started to appreciate being someone’s child and have had far more of a mother/daughter relationship in my twenties than I ever did as a teen and I think that’s fairly normal. They were my rebellious teen years and although I was never cool or edgy and the label ‘rebel’ probably wouldn’t have been easily applied to me, I was certainly expressing myself and that often meant ignoring everything mum said. It’s a rite of passage.
Now my own son is but a few weeks away from splash landing and I’m excited as can be but I’m also grieving my status as just ‘child of’ as I prepare to also become ‘mother of’. It’s a whole different kettle of fish and there’s no point pretending otherwise. I told my mum about this feeling of loss I’d been experiencing in a time where all the emphasis is on my impending gain, and she had to admit she’s considered it too. She was wondering if I’d still want kisses and cuddles and to be mothered when I’m a mum too and the truth is, I suppose, I don’t know. I can’t imagine my relationship with my parents changing that much because we’ve always been so close, even when I’ve tried to deny it. I can’t possibly predict how I’ll feel; my emotions have so far been entirely unpredictable, although that is in great part to do with a hormonal roller coaster that no amount of PMS can prepare you for. The truth is, though, the older I get the more I appreciate long lasting, meaningful relationships of all kinds and the relationship I have with my parents, particularly my mother, is no exception. I will always want hugs.
I’m determined not to let the last few weeks of pregnancy be riddled with crippling introspection and a desperate rush to tie up every last loose end before the baby arrives. I instead need to take the time to appreciate being the baby before it’s all over. This is fairly easy when so many people are treating you like one and you’re too exhausted to focus on much more than sleeping and shitting.
I’ve not been freaking out about not partying like Andrew WK anymore. I’ve long made my peace with almost definitely never attending another sex party (or even having regular sex) again. I don’t lament festivals or gigs, magazine launches or wanky industry dos. I’ve had a lot of fun in London over the last 8 years but in truth it’s usually all very samey and I wake up with hangovers that make me yearn for a life by the sea with dogs and babies and homemade lemon curd. But I have been nervous about days when I just can’t be arsed; when I just want to sit in my bedroom on my own for a few hours and do my nails and listen to Blur. Days when I don’t fancy heading straight home from work and instead take myself on a detour via shops or friends or the cinema. What if I just want to go for a walk/swim/run whenever I bloody feel like it? That’s the sort of stuff that’s been freaking me out. Little acts of independence that were so easy but will now take planning and effort.
I will readjust, just as everyone else does, and it’ll be absolutely fine. But for the next few weeks, when I’m scheduled by every bloody pregnancy/parenting website to be nesting and getting everything in its right place, I will actually just be doing whatever I flippin’ feel like whenever I feel like, whilst I still can.*
*This probably involves quite a bit of housework, going to watch the new Bridget Jones on my own during the day whilst eating a massive ice-cream lunch and then a lot of napping. Can’t. Bloody. Wait.