I had a huge revelation today.
I was talking to an old friend on the phone, and I was possibly being a bit negative, as you do to old friends sometimes, about how things are currently, but, as I came off the phone, I suddenly realised that I actually like being me.
Now some of you maybe reached this conclusion about yourselves many years earlier. Maybe I am a little slow in certain areas. But really, inspite of my appalling clumsiness over the years, my inability to take a right instead of a left turn decision when it comes to all things financial, my inability to accept that my days for being a really dazzlingly amazingly successful person should have been at least ten years ago, my inability to be on time for anything, because I am always doing something else first, and my inability to focus on important things, like bank statements in favour of reading a story to the children, cooking a cake (but only at the most inappropriate times) or writing my blog, I actually quite like being me.
I would of course like to be thinner, have more money to spend on clothes, and have no mortgage or other debts. And if I could have a few of Nicole Kidman's inches too, that would be useful. She could spare one or two and would probably be quite glad not to tower over whichever man she is on the arm of. But I do so often remember that for everything that I don't have, I do have five gorgeous children. That in itself is amazing really considering the response that I got from my mother each time I announced that I was yet again pregnant.
The first time it was: "Oh. You're pregnant!" It was neither statement, nor question, but there was a definite hint of disapproval there towards the daughter who had been married for three years and was 27 at the time.
The second time it was: "Oh well, better to get it all over and done with at the same time I suppose".
The third time it was an aghast: "How are you going to afford three children." Good point.I'm still working on that one.
The fourth time, I chickened out. We were living in Northern Ireland at the time, so I had the excuse to phone rather than visit.It was such a relief to get my Dad on the phone first..........
It took three hours and then she phoned. "I believe congratulations are in order" was the opening line...........
Fifth time was the best. We were visiting, and she had wanted to buy number four's first pair of shoes. So I was driving us both to their local town. I gave the news, concentrating very hard on the road in front.
Then........... "Oh my God Sally! Nobody has five children nowadays.........."
Fortunately for each new baby that was born into our family her comments did not put me off, and needless to say, when each baby was born she was the first to visit and always helped me, adored the babies and has been a fantastic "Nanna" to them all. She's lively, lovely, still acts and tap dances, and puts the average thirty year old to shame in her various keep fit classes. In fact she never acts her late seventy odd years. She just wasn't keen on me being pregnant. She once produced a smock like maternity dress, that someone had given to her for me. (I was pregnant with number three.) It looked like something that you might put on a convict. Or on a nun in a convent. One of those. She wasn't too impressed when I suggested such. It was a surprising gesture from a woman who has always taken pride in looking stunning in clothes. But enough of that. If she's reading this, she knows it all too well. It regularly comes up at family get togethers and has become a bit of a standing family joke. You know the sort. The stories that are told at every family gathering.....
People say to me "How do you cope with all that you've got on". And I always give the same response: "You cope with whatever you have." Which is true. And actually, the human body copes with that and a little bit more usually. And that's good, because there are times for instance when we are supposed to split ourselves several ways to be at different ends of the county for three, four or five children's different activities as well as our own commitments, and somehow, we manage. I could do with some of Hermione Grainger's powers at times, but hey you can't have everything.
Over the years I have moaned about having to get up to go to work on a Saturday (a deliberate policy when it started so as to avoid the need for childcare costs, and it's only during term time), and at the same time moaned because I haven't yet made it as a successful voice over artist, broadcaster, actress or writer. (I have modest ambitions as you can see). Of course I have spent the most part of the last 16 years bringing up children and there is a limit as to what you can do on top of that. But, the good thing is that I feel that I haven't let any of my ambitions go either, and although previously I have grumbled loudly about being one of the few women I know who has five children and has to work etc etc, if it hadn't been like that, maybe there would be parts of me that would have died into obscurity. And I like the fact that they haven't.
Life can be as exciting as you want it to be, if you keep it that way.
6 months ago