Friday, 14 October 2011
You can run, but you can't hide.....
I've read numerous articles in which women declare, almost certainly with a hand pressed stoically to their breast, how motherhood has made them truly understand what it means to be selfless. I, on the other hand, am more inclined to believe that it's made me realise that I'm pretty selfish. I want more of my own time and space. I'd like to be able to go about my business without having to placate various small people in the process. Quite frankly, I'd like to be able to have a shit in peace without the pitch of my voice reaching a little whine as I say 'mummy's just going to.....'
I find myself hiding in my own home. Skulking off to the kitchen to browse the net (always a thoroughly unfulfilling activity, but rebelliously selfish nevertheless). The trouble is these bouts of disengagement are always peppered with guilt. I should be interacting more with my children. Why am I not in the garden, creating something entertaining and educational out of mud and pine cones?
I do think that, more often than not, I'm setting myself up for a fall. Despite the benefit of real experience, I still persist with a ludicrous idyll of motherhood. I long for the serenity of the earth mother and obviously, I have to push this whimsy beyond the realms of all realism. I can just picture myself trekking through remote jungles, passing tranquil and intriguing hill-tribe villages. My baby blissfully secure in a tie-dye papoose and my son walking along beside me, perhaps even with the twinkle of another pregnancy in my eye and a dream of further adding to my tribe.
Of course, even I realise that the reality would be considerably different. I'd probably be sweating like the proverbial, red in the face, with a squawking toddler bashing me over the head with a plastic Buddha. I'm more likely to be found stomping, rather than skipping, through the buttercups, dragging my son behind me, screaming 'hold my hand!' It’s also just occurred to me that the woman in this tableau is about half a foot taller than I am with infinitely longer legs. As for her hair, it certainly doesn’t resemble the regional newsreader look I'm currently sporting.
I also don’t think it was particularly helpful at my NCT antenatal classes, when ideal images of motherhood were shown in the form of African tribeswomen breastfeeding infants whilst tending to a herd of goats. We were all already frightened enough by the prospect of maternal failure when the word epidural had been mentioned and had managed to be imbued with all the motherly qualities of Vicky Pollard.
So, at the moment, the best course of action for me is to try and replace the leggy, ethereal beauty who wafts calmly through the often murky mire of parenthood, with a more realistic version of motherhood. Perhaps one whose thighs meet at the top? Let’s face it, we're not going to be modelling the latest organic offering nor herding goats any time soon. I think if I can just master the art of enjoying my days with a little more realism, a little less skulking and without trying to race to the end of them as unscathed as possible, then motherhood in all its resplendent reality may just be less of a stick to beat myself with.