Tuesday, December 05, 2006


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.


Ignorminious said...

Wow, you are really lucky! I have reason to suppose that some people are never really able to like who they are. I know I don't, although I suspect that is a curse of my age and circumstances, and is something I hope to cure by the time I settle down. You've already settled so it's good that you've found yourself now.

You speak of having all this ambitions that you've had to put aside for the kids, but that doesn't mean you've missed the window. Many people develop successful careers later in life these days and achieve much more than they did in their youth. The suggestion that in order to be successful you have to start while you are young is simply not true these days. Once it was, but now that we live longer there is far more time to fit everything in. If memory servies ED is 16 and the youngest is 6 correct? This means that over the coming years you will slowly find yourself with less and less children requiring your attention every minute of everyday, and gradually you will be able to adjust your focus back to your own ambitions. By the time the youngest leaves home you will have around a decade left with which to do what you want careerwise before you hit traditional retirement age. Even then, there is no reason why you couldn't have say a successful writing career after you retire. These days it isn't uncommon for people to have a twenty year retirement, which is about as long as I'm guessing you've had of your working life so far. That is loads of time!

They say youth is wasted on the young and it is true. The experiences you've gained through your life so far shall mean that you are much more able to appreciate your time later on, and will probably be able to make much more of than before.

Always remember to look forward at what you can do, not back at what you didn't do. You're only around half way there so far, and if your mum is anything to go buy, it sounds like you won't be slowing down anytime soon :)

Sally Lomax said...

Thank you Ignorminious!

What a nice comment.
I shall look forward!!


Beccy said...

It's great that after all that happened yesterday you've come out fighting today, looking at all you've got and achieved and ready to get on with life whatever it may bring. What a great positive attitude you'll make the most of whatever the future holds.

Sally Lomax said...

Thanks Beccy!


meredic said...

+I believe the vernacular is something along the lines of
"yay go Sally".
*pulls leg*
A large family is a sound investment you know. They will furnish you with a pension and hopefully more grandchildren than you can sake a stick at.
And ou never know one may turn out to be rich and famous. Maybe one will be gay and shock your mum. Oh theres lots of exciting futures out there.
And they keep you so young yourself.
One of the joys of my job is being sillier than the kids I am with.
Hey ho....in to the fray.

Sally Lomax said...

Meredic - you made me laugh. Great comment.


Kingston Girl said...

I'm with meredic - have lots of children and then hopefully at least one of them will stay around to look after you in your old age!

(Just try to not instill a travel bug in them all otherwise all of your pension will be spent travelling all over the world to visit 5 sets of grandchildren in 5 different continents...)

Ignorminious said...

The way I see it, having a large family in the hope that one of your kids will look after you in later life is terribly optimistic.

Having a large family so that you can harvest your children's organs to replace your own in later life on the otherhand, now that's common sense ;)

Sally Lomax said...

Excellent advice!

Thanks Kingston girl!

lol Meredic!


Sally Lomax said...

Lol Ignorminious!!


ChrisB said...

Sally great post and some amusing comments that made me chuckle. Unfortunately I must have instilled the travel bug ( kingston girl) in my two probably because we had a dog we couldn't leave, and little money so never left Uk when they were young. So they end up in Dublin and San Fransisco and I will have to be a SKI and it's all their fault.

Sally Lomax said...

Well they can't have it both ways can they. If they had stayed behind to look after their Mum, they would have more inheritance to look foward to, but.............

I'm sure you have more fun this way though!


Sally Lomax said...

p.s. To all Harry Potter experts. Eldest daughter has just pointed out that Granger as in Hermione Granger is spelt without the "i".

I am SO glad that my teenagers keep putting me straight on the important things in life. PHEW!