I sit waiting for a question. Waiting for someone to ask me,
‘What do you do?’ or
‘What’s your job?’
But it doesn’t come. Nothing.
I’ve done my part. The getting to know you bit. The questioning while nodding.
I asked where they were from. How long they’d lived in the area. I asked about siblings and work, but the conversation wasn’t equal. It was all me. My questions. My interest in them.
I’m a polite person and a bit nosey, so I didn't mind too much. I just sat and nibbled some crackers and listened to what they told me about themselves.
Only, when I got home, I wondered...
Why were they not interested in me? Did they just forget their manners? Conversations should be a two-way thing right?
Then I realised.
It’s because I’m a Mum. Just a mum.
I don’t go to work. I don’t have a career, so I get overlooked.
They see me with my children. Wiping snot and yanking arms. They hear me threatening bed and calling 'it's time for dinner'
To them I have no past. No persona. No life.
They don’t see me.
I felt sad and angry when I thought about it. Maybe these acquaintances were right?
I don’t think I’d want to get to know me either.
All I’m good for is a healthy packed lunch and a bedtime story.
What else do I have to give now that I’m consumed by motherhood?
Yes, I have a hanky on hand and band-aids in my wallet but who am I apart from this comfy cardiganed bottom wiper?
The truth is... I don’t really know. The children smother me to the point of drowning. The only thing that used to keep me afloat was booze and now I don’t even have that. There is nothing to lean on apart from a poncy tea and a cheeky Lindt ball.
When I became a mum for the first time I was determined my free spirit and rebellious nature would always be part of me. I wanted to be the mum that was cool, the one ripped jeans and kids with skateboards. But it hasn’t turned out that way. I’ve become the mum I didn’t want to be. The one that shouts, complains about tiredness while rubbing her sore feet.
No wonder these people had no interest in my past or what I’m made of. I don’t look very interesting from the outside. In fact, I look middle aged, overweight and a little bit grumpy. Perhaps they were scared of me, frightened I might shout at them like I do my children. I mean, I scare myself some days.
Whatever their reasons, as I sat on that flimsy chair in their back garden, I felt insignificant.
An inconsequential blob that makes no impact on the world outside her kitchen.
I cut off the crusts and I grate the cheese. That is who I am...
But, motherhood is about stages. I’m in the survival stage. The kids need me, every moment of every day. I’m literally keeping those little shits alive. I feed them, clean them and stroke their soft foreheads as they drift off to sleep. I tell them to think about lovely things, like rainbows, unicorns and monkeys riding bikes, when they wake up from a nightmare. I answer their questions and I try to be fair. It’s a 24/7 job.
Stage two is when they start to become more independent and I’m looking forward to that. Then stage three... when they hate you and then, stage 4, when they leave.
Basically, I’m in the thick of it. With no respite.
When people meet me, they think this dishevelled mess is who I am.
It is not. It’s just because I’m a stage 1 Mum.
I might be lost in a pile of washing right now but I’ll be back.
It hurt my feelings not to be asked about me, but I understand.
That deflated being is exactly who I am projecting right now.
I don’t plan on staying like this. I hope that as the children become more self-governing, I’ll be able to rediscover the wild hippie girl that I once was.
I will travel again, I will write, paint and dance.
That girl is still within me. She may have a few lines on her face and flappier tits, but she is still here... silently waiting to step out from the shit and tears and skip off into the sunset with a virgin Mojito.
For now – I will sit and listen and nod. I will nibble my cracker and say nothing.
Then, in a few years, I shall rise like a Yorkshire pudding and show the world what I’m truly made of!
I will write a book, eat scorpions in Thailand, ride elephants in Nepal, learn two languages, lose a house in a tsunami, have a bar in Phenom Phen, start my own business, ride a camel in the Sahara dessert.....
If only they knew......
(note - the picture is me riding a camel across the Sahara, just after eating a scorpion, starting my own business and writing my book... etc...)