Not that kind?

So today I’ve decided that Mondays are somehow not hideous enough already and that instead, what I really need to do is lay down in a potential viper pit of a subject – parenthood.

UnsplashSebastian Pichler

Unsplash / Sebastian Pichler

Not parenting, because I know bugger all about that, but parenthood, as in, is it for me?
Not that my life is spilling over with options, but just lately I’ve become more aware of the big four zero being just a couple of years away.
Not that I’m expecting to launch into menopause on the big day itself, but it feels like a milestone year in that department.

But, despite being closer than ever to running out of choices and time, I feel less enthusiastic about the idea of sproglets than I ever have.
A few years ago, I was making jokes about my aching womb playing up every time I saw a newborn. Now, I make all the right socially acceptable (and expected) noises and have a cuddle and sniff their baby-shampoo hair, but if I’m honest, there’s literally nothing going on internally.
The only thought process (other than how adorable their hair smells) is: “yep, you’re really cute and it’s nice to snuggle, but I’ll be ready to give you back in approximately two minutes.”
And then, nothing.

I have three nephews and a god-daughter and I love them all, truly and deeply. A calendar of their grinning faces sits on my desk and I’m running out of fridge space for their paintings, and usually when I see them they end up squirming to get down because I’ve hugged them too long.
And when I get a text from a sister asking when I’m next popping round because the small ones keep looking for me out the window because they want to play, it’s lovely.
I go and we play and we laugh and their funny questions pluck my heartstrings so much I swear they can hear it.
And then they get tired and grumpy and fight with each other or drop their food or won’t eat it and then the sis takes over and it all just looks like crowd control and hard work and nobody’s having any fun and frankly I want to go home.

Families on beaches make me think the same thing – all you seem to hear is “no, don’t eat that” “no, you’ve had one” “in a minute” “don’t do that to your brother” “say sorry, right now!” and a million other things. Every time a parent sits down, they’re up again in seconds, removing sand from mouths or shells from ears or parting warring siblings. That book they’ve optimistically brought never gets read, their holiday appears to just be an extended version of the work of home life, but with fewer props and the perpetual fear of someone drowning.

A male friend said to me a while back, “I’ve seen it, and it just looks like endless drudge”.
I wouldn’t go quite so far, but it has made me ask a lot of questions about whether I’m the parenting type.
A colleague is due back from maternity leave in a couple of weeks and popped in to the office the other day. Another colleague asked her how she felt about coming back after a year away and she instantly said “I can’t wait. I can’t do, do, this, endlessly.”
Everyone else cooed over the baby and I smiled vaguely and chatted a bit, but really, I was just wondering when it would be polite to turn back to my work and crack on.

I can’t help but wonder what it is that makes people choose to go down the baby route.
Obviously once you have them they become the most important part of your life.
But I mean before that, long before there are any real human beings, long before there’s a name or a personality or nappies or love – way before that.
What’s the thing that goes ‘ping’ in your head and makes you decide that’s what you want?
And I ask without judgement – it’s a genuine question.
Because there is no pinging going on over here, literally nothing. It’s like that part of me has flatlined and there’s zero reaction to cute baby pictures, zero pull to meet a man I’d start a family with – just, nothing.

Animals breed out of instinct, but why do people? We have choices, so what governs how we make them?
Has evolution created a species that also breeds out of instinct but doesn’t realise it or thinks we’re too clever for that?
Are humans hardwired to want to create new life? Even though we can look around and see that booming populations don’t actually need any new additions?
Do some of us lose that hardwiring?

Facebook is always a fascinating showcase of family life. Endless pictures of family trips to the seaside or baby’s first puke or new school uniforms.
And then you catch up with friends and their smile isn’t nearly so broad (until they capture your catch up for social sharing) and the children aren’t nearly so darling.
Nobody ever posts a Facebook album entitled Little Johnny’s Top Ten Tantrums or That Day I Was So Tired I Hated Everybody.
Why do we only ever see the sanitised version?
It’s a bit like the rest of life I guess. I’ve never posted an album entitled That Weekend The Only Conversation Was From The Cat.

There seems to be a real divide amongst parents. There are those who chirrup endlessly about the best days of your life, the endless happiness, the perfect days of gazing into your baby’s eyes.
But there are also those who are brave enough to be a bit more honest. Who tell it like it is, knackered warts and all. And those are the ones I believe, because frankly it looks knackering.
You only have to do a quick Google search to find all the blogs devoted to telling you how it really is – and I believe them!
Which brings me back to why do people do it? And why don’t I want to? Of the children I know, I like the little dudes, I pass zero judgement on other people’s choices and I ask them not to pass judgement on me.

Which is why it’s a true question – is there some hardwiring I short-circuited? Or am I not as alone in the ‘not-for-me’ camp as I sometimes feel?

Stepping Over A Line

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It’s been a long time since I felt myself ‘drawn’ to a man, nearly two years now, but I know myself well enough to know that often, not always, I have a ‘type’.
And recently, one of those ‘types’ has arrived at another office I regularly visit for work.

Tall, confident, sure of himself to the point of being a little cocky, well spoken and interesting – enter the Alpha male.
Having been in a place where I’ve avoided even the very idea of being interested in anyone for so long now, it’s taken me a bit by surprise that I’m attracted to this guy.
I’m not sure I think he’s even all that good-looking – oh laws of attraction, you do vex me so!

Obviously the fact that he’s a work colleague means I would never ‘go there’ even if it were mutual (we all only make that mistake once, right?), but, still, I’m drawn to spend time in his company.
He’s several years older than me – at least ten, maybe more – and has been about a bit, travelling around the world before returning back to the UK.

Today, whilst driving and then walking to meet a colleague, we swapped war stories about some of our life’s disasters and found some similarities.
He waved his hand around nonchalantly whilst he told me about the house he’d sunk his money into in France, and the woman who’d walked out on him.
After, he strode forward whilst telling me about the woman who’d stalked him and needed police intervention.
Running his fingers through his hair, he described the motorcycle accident that had almost cost his life.

He slowed the pace and lowered his hand when I mentioned the man who’d threatened to kill me.
He stood stock still whilst I tried to articulate the man who’d messed with my head so badly, and left me so unsure of who I am, that I can’t always find words to explain it.
We shared a wry smile and a raised eyebrow when I described the man I called my boyfriend, whose girlfriend had phoned me at work to ask what was happening between me and her boyfriend.

I have no idea if there is chemistry between us, but in the last few weeks I’ve felt we’ve sought each other out at meetings or before and after.
I know that if there is chemistry, nothing will ever come of it. It can’t.
I know that all the bad men I described were just as Alpha as he is.
I know that just thinking about something that would never happen gave me goosebumps nonetheless.

I know that entering this slightly familiar territory, hearing these different-but-the-same experiences, it feels like walking into an old bombing range – there’s an air of excitement, but you also risk stepping on explosives too.

Thank you for the music

So it took me about ten seconds to Google some info about a subject that will come as absolutely no surprise to anyone, ever:
It has been scientifically proven that music affects our emotions and mood.

No shit Sherlock!!

The nerd in me wants to research this link between emotion and music and try to understand it more, but seriously, am I really going to tell anyone in this blog anything they don’t already know? (Click for more, here, if you must)
There’s the science, which is undoubtedly interesting and important, and then there’s just the reality – the raw, tangible, undeniable, goosebumps, tears, smiles or memories we all get when a certain song comes on the radio or we dig out a CD just to hear it (yes, I still listen to CD’s).

Today, the song Wonderwall, by Oasis, came onto the radio and instantly I was taken back in time to the man I spent ten years with, from 17 to 27. He was a huge Oasis fan and whilst he wasn’t a classic romantic, he used to tell me that it was ‘our’ song in his mind. It was his version of giving me roses, and I loved him for it.

So here’s some songs that trigger memories/feelings/times and places in my mind.
I’d love to hear some feedback about what songs are important to other people.

The OCD in me is quietly agonising about whether I should post these three songs in some sort of order (chronological? importance? type of emotion?) but I’m fighting that, and am just going with whatever comes to mind first.

All I See Is You – Dusty Springfield
So yes, I know that Dusty had her heyday WAY before my time, but goodness me, I love her. Her voice, oh, that voice that conveys a thousand emotions in a word. She captivates me in a way I can’t explain.
I sing this song, in the car, every few days, It’s about him, the one who broke me. The one I loved more than anything on this earth. The one who walked away.
The lyrics say it all – they say everything.
“The days have come and gone since you were here,” and yes, “In every way, all I see is you.”

Do You Realise? – The Flaming Lips
Call me weird, but I imagine this song playing at my funeral, with pictures of all the amazingly wonderful people in my life. Like it is my chance to finally point out to them how beautiful they are, and they don’t get to argue back with a whole load of ‘yeah, but’ because we’re all programmed not to take compliments.
Does anyone really realise how wonderful they are? Are we all too busy putting ourselves down and feeling angsty to notice?
I look at my friends and think “wow”, so many amazing people, and how much time do we really take to recognise that? Is it so bad to notice how massively cool we are?

To Sheila – The Smashing Pumpkins
I have no idea who Sheila is, but gosh, to have someone write a song like this, for you.
I just think this is the most beautiful song ever written. I love The Smashing Pumpkins, and Billy Corgan’s voice is extraordinary. I’d say this is my favourite song, ever.
Can you just imagine, just one person in your life, thinking enough of you to write this song?
This song?