Children are funny creatures aren’t they? They have such a unique perspective about life. And they are so full of questions. Many many questions actually. There are the annoying ones: “Are we nearly there yet?” And the intriguing ones: “What does the sky smell like?” Some are thought-provoking: “What’s it like to be an adult?” And some are just weird: “Before a spider eats a fly, does the fly see 100 hungry spiders or just 1?”
I dunno kid, what’s it like?
A lot of the time, I have no clue how to answer the constant barrage of questions I face. Occasionally I just want to snap and say “I dunno *insert kid’s name* What’s it like?” Just to see if they have any answers. Obviously I know children generally expect their parents to have all the answers. But this one ain’t got a clue.
How do they even think up such random questions? And then think that I’m the best person to ask? (There is no point asking me. Because if I haven’t already Googled it, the first thing I’m going to do is Google it. So they may as well cut
the middle man me out and just Google it themselves).
However, they do not choose to do this. Which is why my Google search history is so incredibly random. My recent searches include;
- What’s a jughead?
- What’s it like to be a worm in the rain?
- Who first drank cow’s milk?
- Why do you have to spell numbers?
- Why is an orange the only food named after its colour?
- Who decided to dig up a potato and then bake it?
All good enquiring questions, but not so easy to answer. However. I do now know a load of useless trivia. So if you’re ever on Who Wants To Be A Celebrity, I would be an ideal ‘phone a friend’ choice.
I did find the answer to the baked potato thing though if you’re interested? Click here.
What’s it like to be an adult?
This is one of the harder questions that I have been asked. I don’t even feel like an adult half the time. Let alone know how I feel about being one. When I say that I don’t feel like a real grown up, it’s largely because when a situation requires a responsible adult, I normally want my Mum. She always knows what to do.
I do adult things, definitely, like voting, paying bills and making sound effects every time I need to stand up off the floor. But generally, being an adult is pretty crap for me.
I can’t really tell them that though, I don’t want to put them off growing up. They might develop less annoying habits when they’re older.
I’m sure there are adults out there living their best lives and all that. And I’m happy for them. Or for you if you’re one of them. But personally, I’m not a fan.
Although my parenting style is probably best described as ‘winging it’, I do have a sort of policy of being honest with my children about the big stuff. (Santa and the Toothfairy are excluded from this). So when they ask a serious question, I like to answer it with as much honesty as is appropriate for their age.
So when Ruby asked “what’s it like to be an adult, Mum?” I thought I’d give her a serious answer… rather than just going with my gut and saying, “well it’s fucking awful actually.”
I started my spiel off by talking about responsibilities. Those lovely things that you basically have none of as a child, but increase exponentially as you age. You start off with something easy, like doing your own washing. But before you know it, you’ve got to;
- Get a job
- Do the job
- Rent or buy somewhere to live
- Run your home
- Decide what to eat every day
- Tidy up
- Maybe have children
- Bring the children up
- Be happy
- Look after a pet you didn’t want to get
- Plan your retirement
- Think about your funeral
- Hyperventilate at the thought of all the other responsibilities there are that you’re not mentioning.
She was starting to get bored listening to all these responsibilities, and I was close to having a panic attack. So it was definitely time to move on to the next thing.
Like I said, I like to be honest, and let’s face it, being an adult is pretty boring. We don’t get to have sleepovers with friends. The thought of going to McDonald’s rarely fills us with much excitement. Because we know the chips will be cold and there’s never anywhere to sit. And hanging around a soft play area, trying to get a tiny bar of 4G signal so we can scroll through endless posts on Facebook about parking, politics and potholes is nowhere near as much fun as it is to be in the soft play. (Going in to rescue a child doesn’t count).
Moving swiftly on to my next chapter of the adulting story..
Not just painfully boring. Being an adult is actually painful. Although, trying to explain to Emily and Ruby that there will come a day when walking barefoot across the stones on the beach will hurt, is a pretty painful conversation.
Being an adult hurts. Financially, mentally, emotionally and physically. And the older you get, the more chance there is of getting hurt accidentally. Like the time I tried to rescue one of them when they were ‘trapped’ at the top of the soft play equipment. I accidentally pulled a muscle in my vagina that I didn’t even know I had, trying to climb over a rotating padded log. That prompted lots of giggles from the girls when they remembered how I was walking for days afterwards.
In a bid to halt the giggles becoming the hyper silly mood they often get in to, I moved on.
I am REALLY shit at remembering stuff. Well, shit at remembering the stuff I need to remember. Like parties, play dates, car keys, school events, things I might have said I would ‘think about’, replying to text messages and where on earth my safe place is. But I can rap every word of the Fresh Prince of Bel Air Theme tune.
The realisation on their faces that this has something to do with being an adult, and it’s not just me being an idiot, was a picture.
Having to say no
Being an adult means having to say no to some things.
Ok, a lot of things.
“What’s it like to have to say no a lot Mum?” Said Emily. “Horrible. But necessary.” I replied.
And it’s true. I spend a lot more of my life as an adult saying no to things than yes.
It’s not that I don’t want to say yes, because on the one hand, I do just want to say “fuck it, yes, let’s do it!” But then on the other hand, I think about all the boring chores that need doing. The things that don’t get done unless I’m at home doing them. And, I have to say no to whatever elaborate day out they’ve been planning between themselves. Because it usually involves something crazy like flying to New York to taste their kind of pizza. .
I have to say no when my financial situation is, (to put it in British terms) “a bit ropey”. Which is at least once a month. A little bit like Aunt Flo. But with less blood, hormonal imbalances and junk food cravings.
Other things I have to say no to;
- A second piece of cake
- Climbing on the garage roof
- Taking the cat to school
- Swinging off the curtain poles
- Requests for raccoons/ferrets/micropigs/goats as pets
- Lifts, after 10pm
- Whether I’ve watched any Game of Thrones episodes
- Sliding down the stairs on inflatable mattresses
- Endless requests for cash
- Using my phone when they all have their own
- Demands for ice cream for breakfast
It should be noted that I’m not actually a killjoy, I just have maybe 1/2 an ounce of common sense.
Oh this girl. After sitting, mostly quietly and attentively to my miniature rant about adulting , she looked me straight in the eye and said ;
Oh. I thought you were going say that it’s really cool because you can get your boobs out and then stuff them back in your bra whenever you want to.Ruby 2020
“Yes indeed Ruby. But as well as that wonderful joy, that I have clearly been overlooking, what other things do you think being an adult is?”
“Erm. Well, obviously you can do whatever you want to whenever you want. And you can also go to bed whenever you want to. And you don’t have to go to school anymore. You don’t even have to do homework or do maths. Do you Mummy?”
I didn’t have the heart to tell her that my day is dictated to me by her and her siblings. So I never get to do what I want to do. Nor do I ever get to go to bed when I want to. And that managing a household on a limited budget requires more maths than she ever does at school.
I’ll let her find that one out for herself when she’s older. It’ll be karma for never letting me sleep.