I’m pretty sure it was just yesterday that I was sitting on a school bench, giggling with my friends about what we were going to be when we grew up. We talked about how old we’d be when we got married, how many kids we planned to have, all the things we were going to do when we were ‘free’ from the shackles of youth. It all seems like a lifetime away. Thirty seemed so old, and the thoughts of us being parents and career women, wives and homeowners, were like alien concepts – far far away in a land we were yet to discover.
All of a sudden, we’re 34, married, with kids, careers and mortgages. Yet when we get together we still look at each other, often erupting into a fit of giggles as we look to see our kids playing together on the floor. We can’t be that OOOOLLD yet! Whose children are they?! They couldn’t possibly all be ours?!
There are also times when we question our capability and readiness as parents. We’re 34, and we’re still finding our way. We’re still growing, we’re still learning, we’re still calling upon our mums and dads for help. Sometimes it feels like we’re playing dress-ups. We’ve sometimes wondered if we’ll ever have it ‘all together’ in the way we envisioned all those years ago.
It’s a strange awakening when you realise that your parents would have felt the same way. When you acknowledge that you never stop needing to learn. You never stop growing. When you realise that there’s really no such thing as ‘grown up’…unless of course by ‘grown up’ we actually mean ‘passed on’. When you look at it that way, it changes your perspective. If we’re not growing...we’re dying.
It’s a lot of pressure hearing a little person call you “Mum” (or “Dad”). It’s hard not to feel overwhelmed sometimes…especially on those days where you feel like you’re just dressed up, playing house, flying blind. But it’s ok. We’re not alone. Millions of parents before us have felt the same way. You pick yourself up and you keep fakin’ it ‘til you make it. Our children will still view us as we viewed our parents. As old, as wise, as safe, as stable and as home.
We need to remind ourselves that if we’re not learning, we’re not living. If we were as ‘old’ and ‘together’ as our 11 year old self envisioned we’d be, we’d be boring as bat poo. There’s colour in our flaws and depth in our weaknesses. This is the light and shade that people always speak of. This is what makes us human, this is what makes us want to keep on living. This is what makes us ‘real’, ‘normal’, functioning and approachable people.
So I’m 34, I’m a wife, I’m a mother, I’m a career woman, I’m a homeowner…but I’m not grown up. I’m growing. With every day that passes I do become a little wiser (and a little wrinklier), I gain a little more experience, and I develop a greater understanding of life in general. But there’s always room for more. I don’t intend on having it ‘all together’ or being all ‘grown up’ for quite a number of decades yet!