Being boring

3 Feb

I should dress like this more often

My kids look at me in the same way that I used to look at my primary school teacher. I was in shock for days when I saw her in a pair of jeans, smoking a cigarette and  drinking a beer with a man, outside a pub. I felt cheated that she could have another life, away from the chalkface teaching snotty little girls like me how to do joined up writing. In much the same way, my children are amused to think of me as anything else but a mother. They often find photographs of me in my other life, looking relaxed and pissed and unfit for parenthood. When they look at me now I am as boring as they come. I feel like asking them to thank me for my conservative ways. I tried for years to get my mother to drive a Volvo and wear clothes that didn’t make her appear like a cross between a Halloween bat and Siouxsie Sioux. She didn’t bow. Now I’m doing what my mother never did for me and they don’t seem to be grateful at all.

I don’t have to worry about my children being rebellious in their teens. I know they will be. I have a very loose theory that goes something like this: the squarer the parents, the wilder the child. The rebellion doesn’t necessarily have to unfurl in the teenage years though. I know adults now who indulge in allsorts, and from the looks on their faces (gurning, looking spacily into the middle distance at their middle age dancefloor companions) the wait was worth it. I like to imagine – to prove my slapdash theory – that their parents were the types who only bought wine for the weekend and never received a red electricity bill.

I would have described myself in my younger years as mildly wild, so not really at all. I preferred sex to drugs, wine to ecstasy and Prince to Nirvana. Some of my friends were big bags of crazy. They loved everything in excess. They smoked weed daily, necked pills at the weekend and drank like fish. I could have too if I’d wanted because my parents were so wrapped up in all their other problems (mainly my older brothers, one of whom had decided to park a black 1960s bus, complete with dogs on string and tenants, on the ‘common’ village ground infront of our house: so shocked were the Tory neighbours that they started a petition to have it removed.) I could have been stoned for breakfast, lunch and dinner and my parents wouldn’t have noticed a jot, but because I was allowed to do pretty much whatever I wanted I didn’t bother. What’s the fun in being caught if nobody cares in the first place?

Now I’m always somewhere between the first and last to leave a party, so it came as quite a shock to be called ‘dull’ the other evening by my husband. To get him back for his tweet about me (which surely places him firmly in the middle-aged and boring category) I called him a neurotic, insomniac alcoholic. We have a cruel relationship, funny to us (for the most part) but often misjudged by others (I sometimes get concerned texts from friends asking if I’m alright. To this I usually reply that I’m fine now that my husband’s out cold on the floor after being belted over the head with a saucepan. Joke.) Anyway, my husband apologised and I sulked. I sulked for days. Nobody likes to be called dull. To me dull implies Per Una, The Da Vinci Code and sex on a Saturday night in bed with your vest still on, missionary position. Okay, I could be accused of the last one, but that’s because I’m lazy and it’s cold.

Children have made me boring. It’s easy to blame them in their absence so I will, and although it’s not true for some mothers it is for me. With my first I could pretend that life would still continue as normal. I was single, young, working and had friends who had not, at that time, lumbered themselves with their own offspring, so were full of enthusiasm for the odd evening’s babysitting. I could even manage a whole date without even mentioning the child in my life which meant that a) I could willfully escape the drudgery of motherhood when I needed to and b) have a proper excuse if the date turned out to be a bit of a dick.

Now with 3 I feel as if I’m perpetually trying to untangle myself from a straight-jacket. If only I could get the bloody thing off, I’m sure I’d be able to have some long, prolonged periods of fun. It’s just that it’s such a bloody hassle and so tiring that it’s almost easier to keep the thing strapped up until there’s a real reason for a proper unleashing. If I could go out until 6 in the morning and then have a lie in until midday every weekend then I would, but I’ve been there before (without the bed rest) and it’s not pretty. The last time I properly let loose (September, my sister’s hen night) I found myself drunkenly dancing in the kitchen with the baby looking up at me bemused, from his sling. My husband seemed uncharacteristically worried. “You’ll be alright won’t you? I have to go to work now. Please don’t breastfeed the baby, and remember to hold onto him.” He could have probably done with some of the boring and sane bits of me then, but I seemed to have left them at the club, along with my coat.

I take some comfort then that the animal, however subdued and knackered, is still within. It just needs to be revived with a little gentle goading from those who know the things that I like. Whilst you’ll never find me dancing in a field again, pupils like kalamata olives, hands in the air watching the sun rise (I can’t lose  myself enough to get loved up with nature and strangers) I will party again. And I’ll leave my husband at home to babysit, and when he complains about being too tired to go out the following evening, I’ll take great pleasure in saying. “God, you used to be fun. You’re so dull now.”

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2 Responses to “Being boring”

  1. Leanne White February 4, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    my parents never even got wine in on a saturday……explains alot!

    • mothersruined February 4, 2012 at 10:59 pm #

      Ha ha! You’ll always bring out my inner animal.

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