Before I got a ‘real job’ in September last year, before parenthood, and before I had to grow up, I was a musician. Time was disposable. The only responsibilities I had were shoving a bit of ‘slap’ on my face, singing a few songs to half-filled pubs, and getting home to a well-earned G&T, scrolling through the ‘What’s New’ section on the Topshop website, and telling Alex about all the freaks and weirdos I had encountered that night, before going bed. Day time was my time to do as I wished with, and so, was divided into units of time; gym: 1 unit, nails: 1 unit, drinks in the local Wetherspoons with my fellow musician pals: quite a few units. And although I’m loving being a mum and spending time with ‘Mr T’, the days whiz by and are now slipping uncontrollably through my fingers.
I have no time at all; hardly enough time to even have a wee, never mind snatching that precious ‘alone time’ reading Private Eye on the toilet. The days of merely being able to drink a hot coffee are long gone. Mornings are the worst. I feel we run a military operation before we even go downstairs. It all starts around 6am (if we’re lucky). We wake up to the sounds of him stirring; a small grunt at first, then the kicking of his legs, a few farts, an amplified squelch of shit from his nappy, then all hell breaks loose as he screams blue murder. He’s got attitude and he’s hungry. We try our best to ignore it, not making eye contact, thinking he’ll get bored and forget he’s not eaten for three hours, and fall asleep again. But then my boobs start pouring. I’m like a cow. I’d best get up, sort his arse out and get him fed. That’s a large chunk of units eaten up before I’ve even said “Good morning” to anyone. Days are then broken up into three hour blocks. This is the time I have to do the mundane chores, like washing up, before the next feed. I’ve worked out I spend eight hours a day feeding him; that’s eight hours a day with my tits out. That’s the same amount of time I spent at work. I’ve swapped work for milking time!
Another change…We’ve turned into one of ‘those families’ who are late for everything. And I mean everything! Prior to entering Mumsville I could not abide being late for anything, because I know how much lateness pisses me off. It irritated me when students would arrive late for their music lessons, knocking all my carefully planned timetable completely out of sync. Yet it’s now I’m a mum that I can (sort of) understand why they were late. Feeds can take anything from 20 minutes to an hour, you’ve to pack everything but the kitchen sink when leaving the building (heaven forbid you forget the Muslin Square or the emergency dummy), and getting him in and out of the car is definitely two units in itself! Even if you get organised way ahead of time, you can bet your life on it you’ll walk out of the door having forgotten to do or pack something. So if you’re arranging something with me, never expect me to be there when I say I will, for I am a mother now, and cannot possibly run on time for anyone or anything.
So it’s taken us a good three hours to get him to bed. We’ve bathed him, changed him, fed him (again), walked round the park (again. I swear he’ll quack before he speaks English.) We’ve done ‘bouncy Theo’, shushed and rocked him, and he finally falls asleep. This is ‘our time’. Do we sit down and watch a film? Enjoy a bottle of wine and munch nibbles outside enjoying the last of the evening sun? Do we buggery! We’re watching him sleeping, checking he’s still breathing, talking about the last cute thing he did, and analysing the colour of his last shit. A few weeks ago, we left Theo with Alex’s parents for the evening, loaded with bottles and dummies, while we poured as many G&Ts down our necks as was physically possible in two and a half hours. It’s true what people say about not having a social life once you become parents. With the amount of planning it took, and time spent attached to my trusty breast pump filling emergency Tommy Tippees, we did wonder whether it was worth it in the end, or whether we’d have been better nipping to Lidl and getting a cheap bottle of ‘plonk.’ It was nice to get out of the house alone though, without the kitchen sink, albeit for just two and a half hours.
So if you see in the distance someone resembling ‘Stig of the Dump’ pushing a pram round the park shushing like something deflating, and smell the faint wiff of puke, baby poo, and B.O., it’s probably me; the was glamorous cruise ship singer, now turned mother.