My friend and blogging queen, Nappy Valley Girl posted a great story about a trip to the beach where she discovered her inner teenager had left the building, leaving a quivering mummy shivering in the shallows. It got me to thinking about all the ways that being a mummy has changed the way I get through the day.
Firstly, acquiring children has forced me to become a mistress of time management. Where once I could while away hours in leisurely pursuits, such as magazine reading, coffee drinking and navel gazing, now every spare moment of my day is timetabled like a military operation as I seamlessly segue between bottle washing, nappy changing, Playdough modelling, school running and fishfinger baking. Of course I can always sneak a few of my contingency minutes for a blog post from time to time, but that's about it for down time.
Secondly, having children has made me both more and less brave than I was before. Like NVG I am even more terrified of any threat to my personal safety than I was pre-children. It's not so much that I am scared of the pain and suffering that any injury might cause to me, more that I am petrified by the thought of what might happen to the precarious balance of childcare arrangements should the commanding officer of the family go AWOL.
Where once I would happily wander home long after dark on the way back from a night out, now I make sure I have a taxi booked every time I venture anywhere after dark for a wine or two, because now if I were to be attacked on my way home who would take care of my boys?
Same goes for any sporting activity (though those who know me might say any excuse). I used to love riding, but now the mere thought of getting on a horse, with all the possiblities for being thrown right back off again that that entails, terrifies me. I hate to imagine the impact of wearing a plaster cast would have on my already frazzled abilities to care for my children.
Thirdly, I appear to have lost the ability to have a coherent conversation. This is not to say that I am not the consummate chatterbox, just that each sentence seems to drift away into the ether well before its conclusion as my mind wanders wondering just why there are blood curdling shrieks simultaneously coming from at least three rooms of the house. Perhaps it's a lucky coincidence that most of my sentences are cut off halfway by a small boy shouting 'Mummy' at the top of his voice, so I never need actually recall what my point was going to be.
Fourthly, I can no longer dress myself. Of course I can drag on a random assortment of clothes to render me decent should I venture out into the local park or supermarket which are my regular haunts, but the concept of putting together a co-ordinated outfit that is neither made from stretchy materials nor faintly stained by baby drool is entirely alien to me now.
Finally, (because my brief window of opportunity is closing in fast), I have lost the ability to say no to food. Life is just too short and too busy to try to live it on anything less than 5,000 calories a day. I ask you, how can I be expected to cope with the quadruple demands of four small boys, twinned with the incessant attention grabbing of the washing machine, dishwasher, steriliser and toy mess without enough fuel to power a small nuclear plant?