Write Like No One's Watching: Chameleon Mum

Monday, 28 July 2014

Chameleon Mum



Do you ever feel like you need to be different things for different people?

I've always been an adapter of sorts. Like those special plugs you get so things still work in a different country. I'm good at making things work. And making people work. 

I want to be that person that walks into a room and people want to talk to her. That confident girl with swishy hair and brilliant banter. And I'm still trying - trust me I am. And I want to have interesting things to say about life and politics. I want to know the good jokes and have that witty sarcasm that speaks of an intelligent mind. 

But really I'm last year's knock-knock joke. I used to have a joke that was about artichokes being two for a pound. I used to tell it for years, until I realised that I was lacking in delivery and that, actually, it really wasn't that funny. And for those reasons, I won't take that any further.

I want to be a head-turner. I do. Yes. I want people to look at me and go: "Gosh, doesn't she look nice?" Because that has not happened to me before. I've always be the woman who has been head-down, toe-focused, and hidden in clothes that may deceptively cloak a wobbly bit or two. Even now, I can't follow fashion, because fashion doesn't fit my body all that well. You will never see me bearing my midriff with a floral crown. Because my midriff probably wobbles a bit when I walk, and looks like it's been attacked by one of my cats. And a floral crown will make me look like an 80's bridesmaid, despite looking good on everyone else.

I want to fit in around the Northern Quarter. But the fact of the matter is - I quite like Primark (because I can't afford to buy something suitably vintage), I don't mind bringing in my own lunch, and I don't want to pay a tenner for a coffee and a 'panini', which I'm not entirely sure isn't a squashed baguette that is hot and cheesy. And don't get me wrong, I love the cocktails. And I love the way everyone is so understatedly cool and...there's another reason. I say 'cool' like a mum. Because I am a mum. Go figure.

I used to think that I had to play down my son to non-parents. I used to think that I had to know who was in the top 40 and give a shit. And I used to think that I had to say things like: "GOD YOUR NON-PARENT LIFE IS AWESOME." But, actually, as awesome as it may be, I actually adore my son and now talk about him non-stop. Because I really do feel that people should hear the story about how he woke me up by knocking on my bedroom door, wearing absolutely nothing and carrying a basket full of toy animals. 

And sometimes, I feel like, hang on, oh shit, I'm a mum. I must not contribute much to society. I must have pushed my brain out of my vagina when I had a child. And no, I can only count to ten, but we are toying with the early teens now and again, but numbers are SO HARD. When really. I'm clever. I have a degree and plenty of experience. And I can write. And I can make things happen and I am ferocious, I know what day is bin day, I can cook a variety of dishes, and my spelling is pretty impeccable when not incensed with wine and over-keyboard-tapping-enthusiasm. And I can change a fuse wire, with my teeth*. 

And sometimes I am so happy and I woke up on the right side of the bed, so much so that the sun is practically shining out of my arse. And then I run into someone who doesn't only wish that I came with a dimmer switch, but who also just wants to use me as a punch bag because I'm "too nice". 

And I'm really good at cooking (bragging rights - I can't run for shit) but sometimes I feel like I have to photograph pictures of me eating beans on toast, which I wholly support as a staple meal, just because I don't want other mums to think I'm perfect or a food snob. And I really, genuinely get giddy off crafting and upcycling furniture because I want to be a Kirstie Allsopp, but not, but better. And I have two rooms in my house that are suitable for photographing in, because the other rooms look like I'm bringing my child up in a derelict house which is a) not on, b) a bit dangerous and c) do you think my Instagram followers know anyone in social services? When really, I'm trying really hard to do my house up so I have at least three rooms to photograph in. You know, for variety. 

And my son sometimes has a snotty nose. Because he just seems to breed colonies of the stuff in his little nose. And sometimes I let him wander around in a nappy and nothing else, because he's like me and likes to feel airy and free**. And sometimes he eats an easy, bung-it meal, when I'm having a steak. Because he would waste the nice steak and I would have less steak and I like steak. So, he can have fish fingers. I'll make him a butternut squash and goats cheese risotto for tea tomorrow, don't worry. 

And I have never co-slept. I have got my breasts back now after 18 months of breastfeeding, and I kind of pushed us to end, because I felt like his...well, his mammary slave. I don't believe in rushing to his side when he falls over because he's a crafty monkey sometimes and will do, as all children do, a little sneaky look at me to gauge my reaction and then decides on: "Oh Mama. Hurt head." And so I kiss it better and we run around and then I fall over and he does the same for me. 

And oddly enough, this sounds ranty, but it's not. It's just - I've learnt recently, that people prefer me just as I am. 

Maybe not as many people prefer me. But I'm pretty much done trying to please those out there who think breastfeeding is weird or that William looks a bit cray in the neon lime shorts that my dad got him. Or that I take too many selfies because, again, bragging rights, I've lost over two stone and used to look like I was eyeing my small child up as a snack. 



See.

So of course I celebrate myself and the person I am and the way I am. 

I'm exactly who I'm supposed to be. 

And I'm no chameleon. The only time I change colour is when I've had a bit of sun or I've done the fake tan dance the night before. I'm not "just a mum", nor am I just a single one, or a working one, or a still-a-bit-chubby girl, or a brunette at 5"6. 

I mean - who am I pretending for? 

*Lies. 

**Note: Do not wear nappies.

6 comments:

  1. Is it Oscar Wilde who said "be the best you you can be - everyone else is already taken"? Sounds like you've got it nailed!

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    1. Carie, you are a total babe. WE have got it nailed. It's funny what a little perspective and growing up can do for you. Hurrah for being quite fab! xx

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  2. Charlotte, you are awesome. Simple as. Xo

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  3. Love everything about this post. :)

    Jenna at Tinyfootsteps xx

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  4. Hi Charlotte, am a new follower to your blog, this post is great and can totally relate to lots of things! Sounds like you are an awesome mum and well done on the weight loss, I need a kick up the arse to shed some!!

    I'm still breastfeeding my daughter who will be 1 next week and I totally feel like it's time to stop now, I'll probably get judged for wanting to stop by people, it's silly that I'm worrying about what others will think! Anyways, did you wean him off, if so how!!? I've got a feeling it's going to be a little tricky for Sophia!

    Emily xx

    www.londonmummyoftwo.com

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  5. Charlotte been following you for a while and love reading your style and blog ! Can relate to so much of your writing especially this post !
    Kayla xx



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