Tuesday, June 23, 2015
I am now a mother of two. "Two under two", in fact. Which hasn't felt particularly significant actually, mostly because we never considered any option other than having children exactly as close together as our children are. Well, other than the forced option of second child ending up as twins... so comparatively we've got it easy! With both our babies sleeping well and crying little for their relative ages, we've got absolutely nothing to complain about. Oh yeah, except that we are parents to two very young children. So we do have it harder than people who don't have two young children. Such as our very recent selves. When I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed by my life and wondering what on earth my problem is, it's useful to remember that.
I definitely feel divided. Sorry soon-to-be parents and present-parents-who-prefer-sugar-coating, but it's true. Okay, my love isn't divided - I have discovered to my relief that I have individual loves for my two individual children... as I do for my husband, my different friends... everyone who has entered my heart. But in practice that doesn't amount to much. I only have one body, one set of eyes and ears. Having two hands gives some ability to share my time, but I only have one mind... and that is severely compromised these days. Caring for two is a matter of alternating priorities, deciding moment to moment who needs Mama more. And I've only got two children! I have absolutely no idea how people handle more, or even keep track of where they all are.
Meanwhile I've come to think of childless people as the real adults. Your lives are very other to me now. I think of the things you can do - watch adult television at leisure and without guilt, go to the toilet without an audience, vacate a car in under twenty minutes - and feel a little envious of your now alien existence. These freedoms I took for granted! Squandered!
I wonder, occasionally, vaguely, if it's a little different for younger mums. I see them sometimes and think how vibrant they look, how willing to indulge in their children's childhood, being so much less attached and used to life as one of the real adults. I had a long time as a proper adult, wearing what I chose, developing tastes and passions, throwing away sleep and time and money and dignity at will. I can get a trifle resentful that not only my time, but also my body, my personality and my mind now belong to others, and to people with not very good taste (yet, at least).
I guess I could talk to these young mums and find out, but this is the very problem I have been contemplating today. Even when I make the hideous effort to attend a mothers' group or such-like, I find very little satisfaction can be had. They might yawn on about parenting for hours, but to no purpose: it is all logistics, zero emotion. We're thrown into a room of strangers and small talk prevails.
Damn the small talk. I'm going to make a point of seeking out deep talk. Even if I only have a dim, scattered, half-a-brain with which to delve.