Tuesday, 13 January 2009

The missing 'Mother' gene...

There is an expectation in life that if you have one - you should really just go the whole hog and have 2. It would be wrong not to - after all bairns need company. Family holidays are always for 4. A car fits 4. 2.4 is the national average. So step up, do your bit for mankind and give your offspring a sibling.

I applaud those who do - or who sprog even more - Braneglina style. They must have many hands, much patience and the energy of an Olympic athlete. Folk keep asking me when I plan on no 2 - many presuming that there will be a no 2. Why wouldn't I? Well... I like having a life. My life. Shallow as it sounds, I still have hopes and ambitions in the working world. Things I want to achieve before I die. I'm sure these are achievable with more than one child - but oh my god, how? It is hard enough getting sproglet up and out every day - buckling him up in the car and then dashing to work - never mind the thought of bottles, bibs and calgel. When I pick up Sproglet on an evening I manage a spot of playing and bath time before I collapse on the sofa in a mini coma - imagine night time feeds on top of this - a child with colic or reflux!!!

My cup of admiration overflows for those who have children and manage to juggle all the balls without dropping them. But I drop my basket every other week - partially down to the fact I'm a semi-single parent with Husband's working hours... I see those Moms around me at sproglet's nursery - they know stuff. It's like they went to a secret Mother school and graduated with honours. They know all about the best schools, pre-schools, when names should be down for both; how to potty train in two days; that the nursery should have this or that; their kids sport name tags - handmade!!! sewn in everything (even socks!!!); hold tea parties every weekend and make sure their offspring can swim, dance, juggle and create masterpieces before they can wipe their own bums. I am in awe. And fear.

They don't admit to two glasses of wine before dinner is cooked. Or that they stick on DVDs to entertain the wee one in order to read the Sunday papers. Or feed their hyper over-tired kids a dose of medised to knock them out for the night. They don't say how relieved they were to get to work when their pride and joy kicked off and wouldn't eat/brush their teeth/dress in the morning. They seem to revel in the denial of self and their devotion to their kids. I want to be like that - I swear I do. But I'm not. I had 33 years of just me to worry about and it is damn hard to surrender spontaneity and the luxury of choice on a daily basis. Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't swop Sproglet for the world - but do I want to double my already heavy load? I dunno. I don't want him to grow up an only kid - but hell, I did and... I turned out... scrap that. I don't want him to grow up a lonely kid. But do I have the energy and zest to do the night feeds, endless nappies, gooing and gahhhhing stage again? Mmmmmm... not sure.

Dare I say that at times I found parts of motherhood not only isolating but also (whispers) boring? My step-sis once admitted that she wasn't jazzed on the 1st year - but loved it from then on. For a similar remark Felicity Huffman from Desperate Housewives was almost burned at the stake in the US. She mentioned that after child no 1 she and her husband didn't know whether to give one kid away or have another. I read about an American journo who wrote an article about Motherhood boring her silly - she was vilified to teh degree that you would have thought she had said she loved Hitler. What's wrong with us if we want our own lives too? Men aren't expected to give up their sports, business lunches, pints after the match - are we? Or are we missing the 'mother' gene?

This question haunts me all the time - it intimidates me, unnerves me, keeps me up at night occasionally. I'm not saying I don't love sproglet - I couldn't love anything more. This isn't about love. It's about what comes naturally to some women and others - hell they must just be better fakers. Maybe my own Mother didn't inspire this cosy nesting instinct in me... Motherhood certainly wan't natural to her. She didn't try and hide it either. My opinion is -as long as your child feels like the most important thing in your world - isn't that all that matters? But still people ask about baby no 2 and I still have no answers. Part of me wants to nuture again - to feel the overwhelming l love that I feel for sproglet. The other part of me wants to find a balance in my home/working life - and have time to write a book, see friends... nuture myself. Is that so wrong?

1 comment:

Tegan Turner said...

U r not missing any gene......the majoity of mums are just better at hiding or surpressing their feelings of fear, discontent and boredom! As for being an only child....i guess u answered ur own question when u look back at ur childhood. Having said that, the choice is no-ones but yours. If you do decide to go for round 2 - u just do it and down the track look back and wonder how in hell u did. Mums have awesome strength when it comes to being able to do 100 things at a time (not like men who struggle with just one!!!!!)