I don’t know how I would have gone about this whole becoming a mother business without my Mum. It’s almost five years since I lay on my bed and wept into the phone hysterically about how stupid I had been, while she calmly told me she’d support me whatever I decided to do. With a broken ankle, she rearranged my childhood bedroom to accommodate me, a load of crap and a cot. When I was in labour, I gripped her hand so tight that I caught her wincing at the the midwife and slipping off her rings because they had cut into her fingers (at the time, I confess that in some sort of warped way, I was pleased that someone else was experiencing pain that might come close to what I was going through.) In the early days, I’m not sure how Mum coped with getting up at 6am and driving to work: Surely she heard the hysterical midnight screaming of a baby who refused to breastfeed waiting while his mother stomped downstairs, slammed the kitchen door and prepared a bottle of formula.
Sometimes, I get emails from girls who are pregnant and don’t know what to do (I never advise them, just offer some comfort and tell them I know what an agonising decision it is.) The thing is, not everyone is as lucky as me and I don’t know if I could have done it without such a tolerant Mum. It works well because Tom loves going to stay with his Nanny as much as she loves having him. A couple of weekends ago, as I waved him off, I told him I’d miss him.
“Don’t worry Mum, Nanny will look after me and the gerbils will look after you.”
When I spent two days and nights partying at Eurocultured, a Manchester street festival, someone asked me where Tom was.
“Oh, he’s with his Nanny,” I said, realising afterwards that it probably sounded as though I could afford an au pair.
I am lucky because as well as Mum, I also get a lot of help from Tom’s Auntie J, a wonderful lady who I worked with when I was pregnant She ferried me and four car loads of my stuff back to Mum’s when I was seven months gone. Auntie J has made Tom a Man United fan (which bothered me at first but isn’t a bad idea I suppose, given the fact he doesn’t have a male role model and all his classmates seem to be little Reds). She was supposed to look after Tom while I went to work at Glastonbury this year. I couldn’t wait for my my lost week on Worthy Farm. Then my job there fell through. I became hell-bent on getting to Glasto, even considering selling things and paying megabucks for a VIP ticket. Then I stopped and asked myself what I was doing: going out of my way to spend a messy, muddy week away from my beautiful son. Silly me.
It’s wonderful to have the Nannies. They certainly made the transition in to motherhood a lot smoother. Having a social life is important to maintain sanity when you become a parent, especially if you’re single, but it isn’t the be-all and end-all. I have started to look at child-friendly festivals I can take Tom along to this summer.
Auntie J was supposed to look after Tom this weekend, while I went to Parklife, another Manchester festival but I have come to my senses: I eBayed my ticket and booked myself and Tom on a very cheap flight to the sun. We’ll conveniently miss the dreaded Fathers’ Day card-making at nursery. Sadly, I can’t afford to bring the Nanny along on holiday, but she is driving us to the airport and sitting on the house (and the gerbils) while we’re away.