Life is so very different once you have children. Of course, if you have kids, this is not exactly a bombshell. In fact, it's more of a 'Duh!' moment. It's just that every now and again the incessant speed of life postpartum is a tad overwhelming and makes you (me) stop and wonder where, how and for the love of goodness, 'why?'.
For me the crunch is inevitably a few days after an experience that requires me to be wholly adult and focused. In other words, someone that can string entire whole thoughts and sentences together, without once uttering the words "poo", "wee" or "snot" .
Not going out to work has many bonuses. None of which need pointing out here, of course. But it also has a number of negatives. The least recognised of which is the fact that unlike the huge majority of my friends that went back to work, outside of the home, once their babies were 6 months old, I never had the need or opportunity or chance to re-develop the skills necessary to concentrate on anything for more that 10 minutes or the ability to act and be judged independently of my children. Whilst it can be tiring always have a child hanging on your every word and every limb, it also allows you to feel shielded from 'normal' expectations.
Therefore when you discover yourself slap bang in the middle of a childless, adult based situation it can be a little overwhelming. Or in other words, it can have a similar effect to a nuclear fallout. The effects may not be immediately apparent, but they're definitely there (admittedly underplaying the effects of a nuclear fallout in that analogy!).
And as I said, for me, it's a couple of days later. When I'm trying to once again merge the two, hugely shizophrenic aspects of my personality - Mum and Manda - and I find myself feeling off kilter and out of sorts and just a little disappointed.
It's a strange situation. When you are both hugely relieved to be back with the people you love and cherish more than life itself and simultaneously slightly uncomfortable with the idea of once again letting go of that person you just got to be again, if only for a day or two.
Those of you in the UK, who read my last post, will have gathered that I have just filmed a feature for an episode of Kirstie Allsopp's new Homemade Home series. Of course, outside of the UK, that will mean nothing - but over here, it's worth a tiny bit of a 'hurrah'!
Taking part in the filming meant that I spent an entire day being me - Manda - without a single outside reference to being a mum (apart from when Jim texted me a photo of Lily putting Daddy Pig in the corner because he'd been very bad indeed). Which was both wonderful and invigorating (and of course unnerving) . And yet I still managed to discuss vomit, wee, Ben 10, Peppa Pig and childbirth, with almost anyone within earshot (including Kirstie Allsopp) even though 95% of the people surrounding me were both 15 years younger and completely child (and even possibly pet) free. Unbelieveable.
And totally typical.
So here I am, almost a week later, suffering the fall out of my brief excursion with wholly adult company, trying to reconcile once again, my need to be an inspiring, artistic, communicative, 40 year old (almost!!), with being 'Mum'. The person that wipes noses and bums and talks gobbaldy gook and sings (badly) at the top of her voice, whilst dancing around with the girls. The one that is ocassionally kicked and shouted at and treated like a servant.
Of course, these two personas are not exclusive. And quite rightly so. Without the exerience of parenthood I would not be the person I am. I would not have the artistic abilities that I have. My love of textiles and print and pattern comes almost solely from the experience of being a mother. But that doesn't stop me from wishing that I was a little more adept at combining the two.
Not that I'm complaining - just re-adjusting!
This quilt is just finished and on it's way here.