Mother (Almost Never) Knows Best: Adult? Who Are You Kidding?

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Adult? Who Are You Kidding?

I have many friends who are yet, or who may never, take the plunge into the ice bath that is parenthood and I frequently hear them declare me to be a "proper adult" purely by virtue of the fact that I have two vertically challenged dependents occupying my time like squatters defiling a beautiful Victorian mansion. As a side note, should I ever be so lucky as to actually occupy a Victorian mansion, I am sure they would defile that too.

Anyway, I whole heartedly dispute the accolade/slander that they bestow upon me for I am not an adult. I mean, in chronology terms, I cannot deny the status but in actual terms of managing my life and responsibilities I declare myself resolutely stuck in infancy.

"Adulting"

Here are many of the ways in which I am not "adulting":

1. Maintenance

If anything should go wrong with my house or car my dad is on speed dial. Anything beyond changing a lightbulb (bayonet or screw only) and I need to call in the big guns. At our age my parents were personally renovating the family home, tearing down load bearing walls (successfully I may add) to create open plan living before open plan living was a thing. My father has plumbed bathrooms, tiled kitchens and decorated more living rooms than my toddler has had food related tantrums.

Whilst I admit that I am wholly inadequate when it comes to DIY, my shortcomings in life maintenance do not stop there. My housework is sporadic with laundry everest routinely avalanching in the husband's direction (resulting in a range of clean but grey fashion), I fail on a yearly basis to get my annual boiler check and, perhaps worst of all, I had no idea that I had to pay tax on my rental earnings (a brief, paltry income from my first home which was let while I decided whether to commit to the husband in both name and, more importantly, finances). This resulted in both a retrospective declaration following the discovery of my ignorance during a tax lecture in my post graduate accountancy qualification and, therefore, a rather red face.

Housework is best farmed out

2. Money

I know how bad this sounds and I am sure I will get a talking to once my mother reads this but I do not check my bank statement. This is not because I do not need to, far from it, I just can't bear to look.

When standing at the till, I reluctantly proffer the card to the machine like a radioactive explosive device, with one hand over my eyes and my jaws clenched so tightly that my muscles could be plucked like a banjo. When I am not immediately wrestled to the floor or my card grappled from my grip and destroyed in front of me, I am a heady mix of relief, joy and determination. I will take responsibility and I will change my ways. I just need to be more organised.

For I am neither a frivolous spender who surfs the net for luxury items nor do I fritter my money away on disposable clothing. It is my total and utter inability to forward plan that results in items being routinely bought at their most expensive price and location. I will always be the one at the playdate who didn't pack a lunch (or drinks or snacks for that matter), I am always ignorant for my desperate need for petrol until I hit the last fuel station before the motorway and the purchase of a family dinner is often forgotten about until there is a screaming child, a wailing toddler and only an M&S convenience store on the journey home.

My approach to finances


3. Career

I spent six years at university, learning everything there was to learn about the human body both in health and disease. I devoured medical facts like a caterpillar on the day before his big reveal. For I was training to be a doctor; certain that this was my destiny. Well, after four years of actually working as a doctor, my appetite was waning somewhat and I realised that it may well be someone else's destiny as I had had my fill.

Having previously displayed an aptitude for maths I quickly signed up for a post graduate training job in accountancy and declared this to be my new (albeit rather dull) destiny. Well this is what I do today. I am a paid up member of yet another professional body but I still feel like there are so many other things that I would like to be when I grow up: author, columnist, pop star, model (I'd settle for high street, I mean, you have to be realistic) or superhero.

One can dream....

So as you can see, I barely meet the definition of an adult and yet I do bear responsibility for two small children. These two things are not mutually exclusive as there was no test or references required before I took the job; no one asked if I knew what I was taking on, was really ready or, in any way, able and once you're in, you are in. There are no take backs and no restarts. But do you know what? I may not have my own ducks in a row (to be honest I am more like the mother duck who loses all five of her offspring one by one, by doing the same thing over and over again while continuing to expect different results before eventually having to call in help to retrieve them), but my children are the best and hardest thing I have ever done and may just have been the making of me.

"I swear there were more of you this morning?"

By the way the "ducks" are indeed a metaphor And I have by no means lost my children and had to enlist help to find them.
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