Monday, 11 March 2013

Losing Touch

A week or so ago, we went home to visit my parents and as part of the visit ritual, my Dad prepares a collection of items he believes to be rubbish and I believe to be my most cherished possessions in the world (despite forgetting all about them for over 15 years) and we discuss whether said items can be thrown away or must continue to occupy premium loft space for another 15 years.

On this visit, amongst a bunch of crap was a little box containing (mostly) handwritten letters (sweetly, the sender of the only typed letter in the box apologised for the letter being typed on one of those computer things exclaiming that his handwriting was awful - how times have changed) that I had received throughout my time at university from a mixture of school friends, 6th form college friends and two from an old 6th form tutor who was one of the worst teachers I have ever come across but something mysterious about him led me to experience my first weird, and of course inappropriate, crush, so we occasionally wrote to eachother, anyway I digress.

I brought the box of letters home and read every single one from start to finish. The letters were from a mixture of people. A couple that I couldn't identify, some from friends that I am still very much in touch with today and some from friends who I have sadly lost touch with over the years. As I read the letters, an enormous sense of nostalgia swept over me but also a sense of sadness. I realised that even of the letters from people that I would consider myself still in touch with, how many of those people am I really still 'in touch' with. It's been a long time since I've even had a personal email exchange with someone, never mind received a letter and I realised that I'm not really 'in touch' with many people at all anymore.

Two things have happened over the years that have led to this.

Firstly, facebook. The wonderful but equally unfortunate thing about a social networking site like facebook is that you become very lazy about getting in touch with your 'friends'. They posted something a couple of weeks ago about enjoying a muffin, they must be fine. You can make the mistake of feeling like you are completely in touch with someone that you haven't really communicated properly with for years by being party to the odd snapshot (and that's really all they are) from their lives and returning the favour by sharing a few snapshots of your own, and whilst in some ways this can be quite delightful, it's also sad that the side effect can be the excuse to make less effort with people that you once used to make a very special effort for. I met a friend a couple of months ago who, unlike me, is a very infrequent facebook user. He's more of a browser. He'd seen many (naturally hilarious) facebook updates from me and gooed over the countless photos of my beautiful little sausage and he thought we had been in touch constantly throughout the 18 months since we last met. I, however, was pleasantly surprised to see he was still alive when he turned up to our meeting. Without facebook, I'm sure we would have had a personal exchange of words over those 18 months, just as I'm sure I would have with the many, many other friends who I am in touch with, but not really in touch with at all.

Secondly, I became a Mummy. And this is the real reason I'm not in touch with many people anymore.

Before I became a Mummy, like I'm sure so many other mummies, I felt sad that all my Mummy friends didn't have time for me anymore and I completely admit to wondering what Mummies did with their 'free time' that made it impossible to find 5 minutes to respond to my email, text or call me back after leaving the third message. I understood that it was a little harder to come out for piss-ups but I found myself thinking, hey, you had that child like 2 years ago now, just how long are you going to play the 'I'm a Mummy, it's difficult to make it out for drinks now' card!

Well, now I understand. Believe me, I get it. And I'd like to take a little time to explain to all my non-Mummy friends why the formerly brilliantly pro-active keeper-in-toucher is now a bit, well, pants.

The reasons are as follows:

  1. I literally have virtually no 'free' time! Bubbas don't nap nearly as much as I had hoped they would and it turns out that on the one or two, if I am very lucky, naps that Dalton has in a day (rarely for more than 30 minutes at a time), I am using this valuable opportunity to put laundry on, take laundry out (I do laundry literally every day other than the two days I am in the office - how is this possible with just one extra person in the house who is a quarter of my size? I don't have the answers, I just present the facts), get dressed, locate missing raisins / cheese / ham / cheerios from previous meal, order groceries, research why my baby is not eating / not sleeping / has a rash / farts in my face / doesn't yet count to ten etc., remove all toys with wheels from the general walk through area of the house to prevent certain death, feed the cats, clean up cat sick, locate missing body of mouse that I remembered seeing a head of the other day and just generally feed my addiction for purchasing ickle clothes. Every now and then, I won't lie, I do get 5 minutes to just sit down and have a coffee when the boy has a slightly longer sleep than I was expecting but in those 300 seconds, honestly, and please don't anyone take offence, about the last thing in the world I want to do is email anyone or call them. What I want to do more than anything in the world is just sit. In silence. On my own. Just staring at something and doing nothing, zip, zilcho, nada. Doing nothing has sadly become one of my favourite and most sought after things in the world to do!
  2. Evenings don't exist. So, yeah, I used to think, OK so I get that you are busy in the day with bubba but what about the evening, you lazy bint? What do you do in the 5 hours in between bubba going to bed and you going to bed? Is there 5 minutes in there for me then? Well, let me explain, 5 hours normally becomes about 2. Unless all of the conditions in the world have conspired to be completely perfect - you know, that perfect evening when bubs doesn't wake repeatedly screaming inconsolably for completely unknown reason, you normally sacrifice at least some, and at times all, of your evening to the God of the Settling. On a non-wakeful evening, by the time you have made and eaten dinner, it is absolutely bed-time. I'm talking 9pm type bed-time! I actually find myself panicking now if it is 10pm and I'm still not in bed because you just never know what the night has in store for you. So basically, evenings are eating a sort-of proper meal time, and that's it!
  3. Children are ALL consuming. I will never cease to be amazed at how overwhelmingly all-consuming little people are. There is rarely ever a moment of the day when you aren't doing something with them, for them, about them, under them, over them etc. I eat, sleep and dream babies. Wait, no I don't. But you known what I mean. I'm just saying, they take up such an enormous amount of brain space that if I now have two things in my head at the same time and don't write one down within about a millisecond, I have to stare blankly at a wall for at least 2 minutes before I admit defeat and accept that, no, it's gone. I never used to do this before I had a baby. I used to have a memory of steel!
There are a whole heap of other reasons but mostly it's just because little people are a BFD and because you love them more than you could ever have possibly imagined loving a thing in the whole of the world, you don't always get time to write to that person you meant to, call that person you meant to, arrange a meet up with that person you meant to but it's not because you don't care about that person anymore. Believe me, you still think they are awesome, you just often get distracted on your way to contact that awesome person by finding little screws on the floor, or those infuriating little plastic clothing tags or just anything really that your son will definitely try to eat and could cause imminent fatality.

I hope that clears a few things up. At least in the 'explaining why I've become a bit pants' arena anyway.

I do miss my friends horribly though. Especially my non-Mummy friends and I live in hope that my social life will return to some degree once my little monster stops trying to chew leads, lick lightbulbs, swallow ping-pong balls and generally sleeps through the night as a general rule but I think being a Mummy of very little people just is all-consuming and that's all there is to it. I'm thinking of you all though, buddies, and if you are willing to wait for me until I'm through the super challenging bit, I'll still be your drinking buddy if you will be mine.

So, other than losing touch with people, I've been pretty busy losing other things like my mind, temper, grip on reality etc. back in the world of work, which I'm still generally very much enjoying (the being at work part, not the working with a bunch of donuts part). I'm not ashamed one little bit to admit that being a Mummy of a very boisterous, characterful little boy is just a bit too much like hard work for me. I love every moment I spend with my little man and am very grateful for them all but holy spondooliks, he's physically exhausting. I need the balance of my 4 day working week to recover from my 3 day unpaid working week and so far, this balance has made me appreciate everything just a little more. I appreciate work more than I used to (because it is my rest), I appreciate my work colleagues more than I used to (because it is nice to speak to people who can converse on a level playing field with me - no, wait, that doesn't happen, OK, so it's nice to speak to people who speak back, mostly in full sentences) and I appreciate my time with my little man more because I don't have it for just over half of the week. Plus, being back at work means that little D gets to spend 4 days with an awesomely calm and creative lady and lots of other little people and he LOVES it and almost every day when I pick him up he's had a fab day and doesn't really want to come home which gives me a warm feeling inside and even though it would be easy to take it as some form of rejection, I don't, because he's happy and that makes Mummy happy.

Otherwise, the good times are still stupendously fabulous and the bad times are still horrendously horrid (like 5 weeks of recent sickness hell where all three of us were very poorly and on top of feeling like a bag of rusty spanners, Ron and I had to play detective trying to work out what on earth was wrong with our little non-speaking person - not easy when you are sick with worry and sick with sickness but it passes, just like all the other oh so challenging parenthood joys) but all in all being a Mummy is still the most wonderful thing in the world and I wouldn't change it for all the tea in China. And that's a lot of tea!

I leave you now until next time with a little piccie of the person that makes me smile more than anyone in the world. My little Snuggle Muffin.

And my favourite sound in the whole of the world (Dalton being tickled by The Giant Tickle Hand - OK it's just my hand, or Ron's hand, but 'The Giant Tickle Hand' sounds much more dramatic).

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