I put the key in the lock of the front door, having dropped off my two boys at preschool. The house is deadly quiet but for the gentle hush of traffic out yonder. It always seems odd somehow without the boys. I make a pot of tea and take a moment, starring at nothing. I am returning to me – not mummy, not wife, not cleaner or cook, just me.
I like to think of myself as a sociable person but I rarely make plans to meet up with friends when my boys are at pre school. I like my own company too much and I cannot resist a few hours of indolence, I thrive on it. I need to appreciate the ‘me’ time before my boys come crashing through the front door.
The journey to my office upstairs is a treacherous one, I dodge my way around discarded clothes, toys and nappies. I ignore the soggy breakfast things sitting beside the sink and avoid eye contact with the other detritus of family life after a busy early morning. The dog too, eager for attention now she has me to herself, gets the cold shoulder.
It’s difficult to reconcile myself to the woman I was just over five years ago, this woman who, although loves time alone struggled with solitude because she was desperate for the sound of children to fill the house. But with only one fallopian tube, the result of an ectopic pregnancy, and endometriosis, children looked like a too-distant dream.
Now they are here I am eternally grateful to those divine and non-divine forces that assisted. Nothing is more life affirming than the sound of my two terrors running around the house bringing noise, commotion, laughter and fighting and leaving chaos in their wake. Returning from pre school they’ll throw their shoes at opposite sides of the room, demand snacks, CBeebies and cuddles. They are constantly chatting and constantly needing. They are, dare I say it, hard work!
Parents don’t share this revelation too often, of just how difficult parenting can be, lest they seem like whiners. I have no such qualms, each ball-aching morning I wake up, consider the day ahead of me and then pull the duvet back over my head, eeking out as many seconds of solitude as I can before the rotters come and jump on me. It’s been a tough four years and at times Ive seriously doubted my sanity, let alone my ability to effectively parent two small children, but I wouldn’t change a single moment of it.
I know that just around the corner changes are afoot. The boys will go to school and the pressure to return to work will increase, and my real alone time, well that will just be a distant memory, for a while at least, until they go off to University. In the meantime I will just sit here for a few more moments revelling in this silence, this place where my brain has room to relax, to stretch out before being bombarded again with noise and destruction… And cuddles, there is nothing quite so lovely!