It’s not often I say this but it’s something I’ve thought for a while. Something I’ve been feeling for a little over a year.
Being a parent can be isolating.
I recall a conversation I shared with two friends shortly after I found out I was pregnant. ‘Please don’t become one of those women who talks about their babies 24/7’ they pleaded. In truth, it was something that I was already worrying about. It resulted in us designing a key word ‘popcorn’ in which they could use to warn me that my baby craic was tiring.
No one WANTS to be one of those ‘women’ before having a child. However, I can honestly admit that now, I don’t know how to be anything but.
It’s life-altering, having kids.
There’s a shift. Having children is a catalyst. The chemical reaction which takes place cannot be reversed. Once you become a parent, you always will be – no matter what happens – or how old your children grow to be.
Life before children becomes hard to remember. The person you once were lurks deep below the surface of your being. Occasionally, the beast stirs. A memory will pop to mind, an invite will land your way, a picture will appear on TimeHop!
Usually, I feel well adjusted to my new life but tonight, I’m feeling isolated.
It’s a Saturday evening and I’m longing for the days when I’d spontaneously decide to get up off the sofa at 10pm, change into something a little less comfy and meet up with whoever was out. I didn’t have anyone else to worry about or put 1st in my life. I never fully appreciated how special that was. I always took it for granted and now I miss it.
I’ve spent most of tonight searching for Summer Holidays. The bleak weather outside has stirred a desire to head to warmer shores. Only, the realisation of how different my holidays will be from now is impacting on my mind. I’ll no longer get to sunbathe or read a book. I won’t get away without worrying about burning skin. The many chic ‘adult only’ hotels are just another reminder of how isolating parenting can be.
In between sieving out the overpriced or unsuitable places to stay, I’ve flicked endlessly over social media. The images of friends out socialising, dancing and drinking are just another reminder of how different my life is now.
Even if I’d had the ‘go-ahead’ from my husband ( I hadn’t), I wouldn’t know what to wear.
Having children has changed me physically more than I’d expected it to. I’m a stone heavier than I once was, my bum sticks out and I can feel flab jingle on my arms when I move. I’ve got to plan outfits to ‘flatter’ my new features. Aside from that, I’ve aged considerably. I no longer feel like the twenty-something little fireball that would dance on tables, pose ridiculously.
Not feeling like ‘me’ is the hardest part.
Sometimes I feel so far detached from the version of ‘me’ I used to be. This is intensified by realising that it’s the ‘fun’ parts that seem to have vanished.
I feel useless as a friend. I’ve got so much going on in my daily life that I often forget to ask about others. Or, given the chance to vent about the 17 tantrums I’ve encountered over the course of the day (and yes, these could stem from any one of my children or my husband) I end up focusing on me. Then there’s the fact that being my friend no longer consists of boozy nights drowning shots. More than likely, it consists of following me round errands as I start conversations but forget to finish them. Oh right, and I’ll stop fifty times throughout to sing or pull funny faces at my daughter in a bid to stop her crying.
Who would want to be my friend? I can’t promise that I can be a good one any more. In fact, I’ve proven more often than not recently that if it’s a good time you’re after, I’m obviously pretty shitty.
Tomorrow, when I’m woken by the sounds of tiny voices giggling and calling for their ‘mama’, I’ll probably feel different.
Tomorrow, as my son climbs into the small hole formed by my crossed legs and wraps his arms around me, as he puckers his lips and kisses mine, I know I’ll feel different.