Once upon a time, I had motherhood sorted. I almost always packed the nappy bag properly, I could tell you the CBeebies schedule to the second, and I could reel off a stack of research on anything from carseats to caesareans. I didn’t know it all…but I knew where to found it out.
And then my children got that little bit older.
It isn’t that it’s harder, these days, it’s just that it feels harder to know when I’m doing it right (or wrong). There isn’t such a wealth of resources against which to check how I’m doing. They’re people all of their own now, my three; no longer a composite project of bottoms to be wiped and tantrums to be managed. They have complex lives apart from me, and problems I won’t always know about, and although I don’t miss the icy-footed nighttime visitors, I do pine for the days when it felt like I could make the bogeymen go away.
Once the very first shock of the baby days was over, early motherhood allowed me to find myself, or at least find a sense of myself that felt good. It’s a sense of myself that I’m losing again. Holding firm to principles is tough when it brings a beloved child into conflict with his peers; I find myself second-guessing my own “Yes” and “No”. In a masochistic sort of way, it’s a relief to be past the secure certainty of that fleeting phase of toddlers and pre-schoolers when making it to bedtime was promise enough of another chance tomorrow, but the flip side is the realisation that a lot of what is yet to come will be the same middle of instinct, compromise and (hopefully) serendipity that has characterised my own life so far
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that I’ve left Twitter, for a while. My eldest is frighteningly like me, and I’ve seen how very easily he could become addicted to his screen-time. And I can’t in good conscience tell him to spend less time on his tablet or X-Box while I’m glued to the words of a myriad of others via the phone permanently present in my palm. We sat down together earlier and I deactivated my account. I will miss it horribly, but it feels like the least I can do At least I’m acknowledging to him that sometimes it’s hard to do what you know you should