Thursday, 12 September 2013

When do I get to be a grown up?

Today's guest post is from Jessi, she blogs at Put Up With Rain she's a 33 year old mum of of 2, to The Boy (aka The 8yo) and The Girl (aka The 5yo) she lives in Norwich with her partner of 14 years. She likes cricket, writing and being sarcastic. The photo is of her aged 3 after asking for her face to be painted as a vampire, that really should tell you all you need to know about Jessi's personality! Today she's asking 'When do I get to be a grown up?'

No, seriously, when? As a child, to me the adult world was like entering some kingdom of immense knowledge, maturity and wisdom. Adults knew everything. They were never in a bad mood for no reason. They knew all there was to know about life, and they navigated serenely through all the things that grown ups had to do. Housework. Work work. Paying bills. Playing sport. Looking after their children. Cooking. Shopping. Dinner parties. It seemed as though they had some inner timetable that continually directed them along life's pathway, always keeping them on track and on top of all that they needed to do. I looked forward to the day when I would emerge from the chrysalis of adolescence and become a fully formed grown up, my own inner timetable beating away inside my head like a life pacemaker.

And then of course I hit my teenage years. And realised that the Land of the Grown Ups was not real, but a handy myth perpetuated by parents to keep their children from rebelling. So of course, like almost every teenager, I rebelled good and hard, sulking, throwing strops, deliberately walking quickly in front of my parents when I was out with them so that no one suspected I was out with them, tchuh, I never asked to be born, I wish I was dead, oh my god, it's so unFAIR, I hate you!

Then by 17, my hormones calmed down, and I wasn't quite so terrible. But I still held out some vestige of hope that around the age of 21, knowledge would magically arrive, fully formed, in my head. That I would become less messy, less prone to lying in, and more inclined to take up exercise and not eat a Pot Noodle for dinner. By the age of 20, I was living with my boyfriend in our own flat, I did cooking, cleaning. We had a dog. I had a very good job that promoted me to being a Financial Director of a company with a multimillion pound turnover when I was 22. But inside, I was still waiting for the day when I felt like an adult.

And then, at 25, I had The Boy. Aha! I thought. Now I am an adult! I am a mother! Can't get much more grown up than that. So I waited. And waited. Nup. Nothing. No sudden revolution in my world view. No sudden compulsion to become tidier and more organised. Perhaps I need to have more than one child? And the girl duly arrived three years later. If anything, I became worse. More prone to having toast for dinner, letting washing pile up, forgetting to pay bills.

And I see the effect this has had on The Boy. At eight years old, he views the world with the jaundiced cynicism of, ooh, I dunno, me? Not for him the mythical Land of the Grown Ups, oh no. He frequently tells me 'Grown ups get stuff wrong too, Mum. And that's worse, because they should know better.' Or he'll fondly tell me 'Mum, you forgot to bring the washing in. What are you like?' before ruefully ruffling my hair.

It's slightly disconcerting to see this wisdom in one so young. But then, if he's realised that adults don't have all the answers, don't always do the right thing and can be lazy and useless... Then maybe, just maybe I might get to avoid the horror of the teenage rebellion years, because he's absorbed that life lesson already.

At least that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it.


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