I am going to be perfectly honest with you – 14 years and four kids into this parenting game, and I’m still waiting to get called out as a fraud. But, I trudge on through, making mistakes and crossing my fingers that I’m not screwing up their little lives too much.
It’s certainly been an eye-opener, and for certain there is nothing that has made me realise that there is no point looking around for a more responsible person to sort out my shit for me, like parenthood has. Being a mum means that I am the responsible person who sorts out other people’s shit.
Keeping that in mind, there have definitely been times in this parenting adventure that the cold hard reality of being a grown-up has slapped me right in the kisser. Here are are a few of them …
Seven times that parenting made me realise that I am the grown-up now:
1. Writing out an absent note
Have you done this yet? Prepare for weirdness. It took me several attempts the first time I ever had to write a sick-note for my daughter, it just felt so grown-up. I mean, sure, I’d penned the occasional ‘get out of P.E.’ note for myself in school, but this was, like, legit paperwork.
Since then I have penned close to a gazillion (totally a real number) notes, and it still feels bizarre.
2. Purchasing worm tablets … and not for your dog
Remember the first time you got a script for the pill? Or bought tampons by yourself? This is that, only more confusing.
“I’ve got kids.”
“These are for my kids.”
“How many of MY KIDS will this packet cover?”
“Oh man, mum life, hey? Hey? Have you got kids? These are for my kids.”
It’s a pretty grown-up and responsible thing to do – worming your family.
Someone I know, who shall remain nameless, likes to tell a charming story about his mum shining a torch up his arse to check for worms. Yeah, um … I don’t want to be that grown-up.
3. Hosting a kids party
I love hosting parties for the kids – but nothing makes me feel like more of a fraud at the grown-up game than when the other parents rock up.
The very first party Ruby had, once she had started school, that was a doozey. My mates – mostly childless, all boozehounds – helped me organise the fairy party to end all fairy parties. They all arrived nice and early – winged and glittered – to help me set-up … and when all of the other parents arrived, there we all were, pushing the kids out of the line so that we could get our own faces painted.
Realising I was responsible for the happiness and poor nutrition of the offspring of these trusting folks for the next couple of hours, well, that was a sobering reality check. I’m the grown-up here, and it’s time to serve the party pies.
4. Cleaning up vomit
There comes a time, during the midnight vom-fest, when you’ve run out of buckets, there are no dry beds, and everyone is moaning, that you look around for someone to fix it … and then you realise that you are it – you are the fixer.
There’s no point looking around for a more grown-up grown-up, you’re it, kid.
5. Wishing for sleep
In those heady party days of my twenties, there was a time that sleep was just an inconvenience – my friends and I survived on mere minutes of pillow time. Sleep was certainly the last thing on my mind. Ever.
These days it is up there as one of the things that takes up most of my attention.
I worry about the kid’s sleep, I yearn for sleep myself, I talk about sleep with my friends, I write about sleep at my job, I blame a lack of sleep for my brain not functioning, I curse myself when I miss opportunities to sleep, I plan holidays around ways that I can sneak in more sleep.
Sleep is now the Holy freaking Grail.
6. I lost my name
“Hey, Cael’s mum, can we have a play date?”
“Excuse me, Ruby’s mum, can I have a drink of water?”
Even Andy calls me ‘mum’ now … and not even in a kinky way.
7. What’s a weekend?
The moment that I realised that rather than making plans for my Saturday night, making plans was my saturday night, well, that was when I knew that the grown-up had won. Not only am I definitely a grown-up now, I am a bloody boring one.
Any of these sound familiar? What would be on your list?