Tuesday, 11 December 2012

We were never being boring

The side effects of parenthood are well known. From nausea in early pregnancy, swollen ankles to sleepness nights and mummy brain (when you walk into a room and can’t remember what for).  But I have yet to read anything about how being a parent can turn you into a bore overnight, especially to those friends of yours who have no children.

It starts when you give up the alcohol in pregnancy. This is already potentially the start of being a huge bore. When your friends are ordering beer you are nursing your herbal tea, hoping that the honey will make you a bit tipsy. It doesn’t.

When the baby is there, you notice that some friends just don't call you anymore. When you meet up, it is often at home, conversations snatched between scooping up baby food and nappy changing. Piled up laundry it is. Fancy free and fun it ain't. It isn't sipping cocktails in a cool bar, or checking out the latest exhibition or shopping. It's apologising as you have to put the baby to bed and might not emerge for another hour, if at all. 

Whereas you may be able to talk to other mothers for hours on end about baby food, breastfeeding and childbirth stories, this won’t wash with many of your other friends.  Why should it? You are literally cocooned in your own little baby world and by the time you emerge your friendships may have reshuffled and changed.

You don’t (in their eyes) do anything anymore. You are boring. This is a tough one to deal with, on top of the above mentioned side affects of parenting. It is creeping, underlying and often not said out loud.

In Berlin I would literally take my baby with me everywhere, to loud street parties, to open air film screenings, I didn’t think anything of riding home on the U-Bahn at 3.00 in the morning.

When you have two kids (and you move to a less cosmopolitan place like we had to), this becomes impossible. A three or four year old will not put up with this, and then you find yourself getting into their routine. Having two kids is like two to the power of four, it is just weird maths, which mean that the efforts of parenting have quadrupled rather than doubled.

In order to survive the year you have to dig in and get downright boring. Celebrate your boringness. Don’t get any hobbies, or if you must, try Suduko.

‘Get a babysitter’, come the cries from the outside of your nest, trying to rake you out of your babybore phase.

But my kids don’t get to sleep until 10pm, and I usually am asleep before them, you reply. And so it goes on. It is funny, but you can blame yourself when friendships drift apart. You don't think, heck, they could come round and chat about formula milk. You think, I have got to get out there, otherwise I am in danger of falling off the face of the earth. 

I say, give yourself a break. 

I am advocating raising the boring stakes a notch. Baby birth bore talkathons, baby poo talkalongs and baby food shaggy dog stories.

So, when you have young kids, forget upping the interest stakes by trying to be like your former all night partying former drink bingeing self or feeling you have to get a cool career to boot.  Play fire with fire by celebrating motherhood in all its glorious bore-potential.  Get down right boring. 

One day you may wake up feeling bored yourself. Then you can think about what actually interests you. Maybe your old friends are right. You have changed. You may be surprised yourself that  the things you found important before you had kids no longer interest you. In fact, you find them rather boring.