I’m not exactly putting forward a startling and hitherto unconsidered notion when i say that having a baby changes you. But you don’t necessarily know that 24 hours a day, which is why, every now and again, we are hit with that very revelation: “Oh! I’m a mum!”
I had one this morning at my local leisure centre, where we were sitting waiting for our first swimming lesson. Of course, it wasn’t my first revelation. I’m not talking about the “Oh, I’m a New Mum” revelations, that come along while you’re simultaneously beaming with pride and weeping with exhaustion and bewilderment. To be honest, those ones are more “Oh Shit, I’m a Mum”.
So after those moments, when the flowers have stopped arriving, and your baby has grown out of the designer clothes that you were bought as presents and is wearing M&S instead, and your shiny new pram is covered in mud (or you’ve traded it in for a little Maclaren buggy because you kept getting the wheels stuck in the aisles of WH Smith and you never did work out how to put on the raincover), after that you have Oh, I’m a practical mum.
Practical. Putting function before style. It’s a bit of an unchartered territory for me, yet there I was in the leisure centre (and that’s a weird one in itself. It’s 10am on a Monady, yet instead of comparing weekends with my colleagues over a cinnamon danish, I am sitting in my local leisure centre having just been served coffee by a lady in a tabard and a mesh trilby), with my practical pushchair, filled to brimming with practical items yet still eyeing all the other mums and assuming they were all more professional at being a mum than me. They were way more practical than me. They were different to me, somehow.
And yet, as I looked at them, and then to me, and clocked our identical outfits, bags and buggies, and (finally) abilities to put on pushchair raincovers, I couldn’t deny it any longer. “Oh,” I thought, “I’m a mum.”