This time next week I’ll have finished my first day back at work. Admittedly I am only going in for one day next week and I probably won’t have the chance to do any proper work, but the week after it’s going to be For Real.
I’m feeling quite excited about it because I will get to talk to adults all day about lots of different things, make some important decisions (more important than, say, what to have for dinner), eat my lunch without making YUM YUM YUM noises, and go to the toilet with the door closed.
However, I am quite scared about going back and the reason is that over the last 8 and a half months I have developed some undesirable habits as a result of spending all day every day with a baby.
I am going to spend the next 6 days going cold turkey on the following so that my employers can expect great things from me:
Bursting into song
Unfortunately I’ve only just realised I’ve been doing this. God knows how long I’ve been doing it for, and with whom. They were obviously too polite to mention it.
I realised I was doing this on Sunday when I was walking down the road in Edinburgh with my partner and I said to him, ‘I’ve got La Cucaracha stuck in my head,’ and I proceeded to sing it in a Vic Reeves club singer stylee. I got from the billboards at Haymarket to the corner of Grove Street before I realised what I was doing.
A variation of this is when someone mentions something like, ‘It’s raining,’ I will sing a song about rain. Usually in a silly voice.
I fear that my daughter thinks this is the correct way to express oneself. I hope I haven’t done her any permanent damage.
Overindulgence in social media
Like I said in a previous post, for the stay at home mom, an iPhone is your direct connection to the outside world. You socialise with other mums on Facebook, you post desperate questions on forums in the middle of the night, you watch Twitter like a hawk to see if anything interesting is happening. Your iPhone gives you a sense that you are part of the rest of the world. Whenever your baby is asleep, or happily playing, you sneak a peek at what’s happening out there.
When big news breaks out, like Margaret Thatcher dying, you wish you had colleagues to say, wow, Margaret Thatcher has died, to. Instead, you Tweet people, comment on their Facebook and blog posts, and pretend you are at your desk at work talking to human people.
Except you’re not really… Nothing beats being out there in the world. I’ve got new insight into the importance of social media and the things that can be done with them – but I’m hoping that my reliance on them will decrease once I am out there again.
Incapacity to make conversation
‘So what have you been up to?’ is a question I don’t really like because I don’t really have a good answer. It’s not that I haven’t been doing anything, it’s just that looking after a baby is quite a subtle experience. It’s a bit like one of those long running northern European serials where nothing much seems to happen and then boom! the whole point they’re trying to make hits you and you feel very gratified for all the hours you’ve spent reading the subtitles and admiring their sweaters.
So when people ask me what I’ve been up to, I usually say, ‘Not much. Lucy can do this now, Lucy can nearly do that. We went to the park yesterday.’ I simultaneously feel triumphant and a bit foolish.
I’ve been getting used to in-depth mum conversations about sleep and poo and weaning and so on. And I can talk about what the big thing on Twitter is today. I can sometimes remember the details from a Guardian article I read on my phone. But the idea of making conversation with grown-ups not in a baby group setting slightly scares me… I will try and get some practice in between now and next week.
If you do happen to find yourself talking with me, don’t ask me what I’ve been up to, ask me what I’m going to do.
Goldfish-like attention span
Part of the conversation problem is the fact that when you are with a baby it’s hard to concentrate for very long on anything. I had all sorts of plans for this blog while I was on maternity leave and you know how many articles I’ve written here since I’ve been off…
However, rather than the blog, the main casualty of this attention problem seems to be the threads of conversations. I have been in many chats where two or three hours later I will remember the thing that my friend and I started talking about before we were distracted by something and I want to phone them up and answer their question, ask them what happened next, or get the number of their really great plumber or whatever it was we were talking about. It is quite frustrating.
Not finishing sentences
I don’t even have to be distracted by the baby to forget what
Not finishing anything