A couple of weeks ago we sorted out some boxes to go in the loft and in a dusty corner of said loft I spotted my old CD collection. Well that had to get dragged down the ladder and then Little J got educated in some of my glorious (and not so glorious) musical history. It was fun, LJ got dizzy from dancing and it made me really nostalgic. Anything that thumps the senses really can transport you…a smell, a taste, a sound. It’s silly, only a few years ago I could be found at a lot of gigs, and festivals. A few years ago I used to listen to radio stations other than Radio 4.
I had some bits and bobs of driving to do today without LJ so I ditched his nursery rhymes, rejected Women’s Hour and stuck Scouting for Girls first album in the CD player.
Lalala…’she’s flirty, turned thirty…ain’t that the age a girl gets really dirty…’ . Um? It’s woman actually. And yes, if by dirty you mean porridge in my hair and playdoh on my jeans.
Oh. I felt old. And not in a good, wise, calm way. Instead in a sort of ‘I think I’ve let myself go and I don’t know where I’ve gone or where I’m going’ way.
It’s a feeling that has been steadily growing in recent months as I’ve been more and more becoming just (although I’m loathe to use that word) a mother. Despite tussling with and challenging stereotypes with my thoughts, my outward place in society tells a different story to most people.
Technically I’m only as much of a mother today as I was on day one of LJ’s life and just as much a mother as my working friends BUT I’ve chosen to go all in; I’ve gone way past the standard maternity leave period….my stall is very much set out as ‘mother’ at the moment. I wonder what LJ will think about me. Will he be proud of my past (and hopefully future) career outside the home? Will he be proud that I may not be as successful in that career as I may otherwise have been because I made a choice? Will he see the feminist in me or will he see a conforming to type?
The feeling also extends to the superficial stuff that goes with the stereotype of a full time mother. I do not have the time or inclination (with a toddler) to go shopping so I’m living in old clothes (actually still some maternity ones, oops!). I don’t spend much time in the morning on my hair, except to do the requisite check for greys. And I’ve realised I either don’t bother with any makeup of a day or I’m wearing more and more than I used to. ie. I wake up each morning looking like I need to wear more and more!
I think I’ve passed into the phase of not ‘getting’ youth stuff as well. That hairstyle, those jeans, slang and social media. I don’t think it helps that Andrew’s job creates an artificial sense of being older than you are. He has enjoyed a long career as a player and is a senior member of the team. He is likely to be looking towards retirement in the next few years. He is THIRTY TWO. By association I am now viewed by the majority of his colleagues as old enough to be their mum. Not helped by Andrew passing on some of my bafflement at their antics. ‘But they’ll think I’m an old fuddy-duddy’ I wail. ‘Oh don’t worry about that, you probably are’ is Andrew’s response. Humph, thanks! Easy for him to say too…he’s not (yet) soul searching his identity.
It could all be worse though… I’m ambitious, hopeful, and excited for the future. I assume I’ll go back to my career and be super successful, I’m just not sure when. I also assume I’ll wear something other than old jeans and trainers at some point which I assume will happen when I care enough to go shopping at some point. As for what LJ will think of me when he’s older, I honestly don’t know. I suppose as long as he sees a happy, loving and confident me that’s enough, isn’t it?
So it’s a work in progress but I’ve concluded from my musical nostalgia trip that:
a) I really really like Radio 4
b) I might need to spend a little bit more time remembering who I am and remembering that being a mother doesn’t change that. While I’m at it maybe I should take LJ to a festival this summer!