If I’m honest, and I usually am, I’ve never actually known what I wanted to be when I grew up. Some kids have the yen right from the start of dearly wanting to be a train driver, or an astronaut, or a chef or a parent, or Grand High Poobah of Associated Incorporated, but not me. I never, ever saw myself being a mum when I grew up, I knew that right from the get go. I hated those crying baby doll things my classmates cooed over, and I never wanted to have a real baby of my own because they both horrified and confused me. My maternal instinct, if I have one, is mostly for my peers, my friends. There is a Tiger Mama in there, but it’s not for kids of my own. When people ask me if I have or want children, and they do because people seem to think it’s a thing that a woman should have to be complete, then I can say with total truthfulness that no, I have never, ever wanted them.
“Oh you might change your mind one day.” is the classic response of the momentarily stunned. I’m 47 mate, if I haven’t changed it by now, I’m hardly likely to.
My life is quite complete with my amazing mum, my lovely husband, my very floofy cat, my brilliant closest friends and my packed to the gills kitchen. You work out what order they come in.
A Gypsy once told my Nan once that I would be a singer, and I am, but not a famous one. I’m a cook, but not a great chef, I’m a writer but not a grand author. I’m a PA, but not a high-flying EA, or PA to the stars. I have a job, not a career, but I’m happy. I’m settled. I’m being the best me that I can be and will continue to do so.
I have a new job. One where the HR department, my line manager, and the people I work with, treat me like an adult so, therefore, I feel like an adult. It’s subtle differences, but they make massive differences in the curls and whorls of my brain. I asked about working from home, and boss K said “I have no problem. You’re senior enough that I really don’t mind.” To him that was a brief statement but to me that meant a huge amount, given the hassles I’ve had over the years at Old Job. Someone thinks I’m ‘senior’. Oh my heart! Maybe I hadn’t done a good enough dye job…
But if you treat someone as a responsible adult, then mostly they will feel, and behave, as one. This is my manner with children. I expect you to behave with respect, because you are a human being in this world the same as anyone else. If you disrespect me, or my surrounds, then I’m not sure I should respect you either, and I will tell you so.
I had, and have, huge respect for my mum, both as a parent and as a person. I never forget that she’s not just Mum, she’s Linda too, with the hopes and fears and feelings that entails. A lot of children either forget that or were never told it. Mum had a life before you, and she still has a right to that life now. She’s a PERSON. My mum always spoke to me as an equal, none of this baby talk nonsense. and for that I am infinitely grateful. I think it stood me in good stead. I learned a lot about how to behave. How to be adult, and to be practical about things even though I was still just a child was a grounding experience, and oh boy did I need those skills going in to my teens.
I never did the coming home later than I’d said thing, or staying out without telling her, because I knew there was a person at home, waiting and worrying. What right did I have to make her scared, just because I wanted an extra hour out? I had my nights out with my friends, I certainly never lacked for fun, but I always told her where I was going, who I was with, and I was home when I said I would be.
Oddly, though, it’s taken me until the age of 47 to feel like a grown up, albeit with the heart of a child, still finding wonder and magic in almost everything I can.