One of my oldest friends has recently had a dotey little girl. A second baby to add to a loving home with an already much doted upon little girl already in residence. My friend -let's call her Paulette- now has a very similar situation to myself. Two of age two and under. This little piece is inspired by you and for you Paulette and your little family!
Parenting is rewarding and lovely and sweet and snugly and magic moments and all of these things in ads, Richard Curtis movies and songs. It is also pooey, pukey, tear inducing and frustratingly exhausting. Sometimes, it just isn’t very Lady Mary to be a Mam.
Do you know Lady Mary? Who she is? Have you been asleep under a rock? Female protagonist of title in much beloved and now deceased series Downton Abbey. There is a way about Lady Mary. An attitude and a set of expectations. You might know what mean. Something in her walk. Her demeanour. She won’t be beaten by a tantruming child. She won’t give into the Bourbon biscuits. She doesn’t have to you see. She is Lady Mary. Shit gets done for her.
Paulette and I have had much discussion and many the natter over said series. Moments of Paulette’s hen party and wedding were often dotted with moments that were addressed as Not Very Lady Mary and as we continue into the parenting time of our life, so continues our comparisons and judgements-to the supercilious yet beautiful, haughty yet occasionally (can’t say warm…) lukewarm, albeit thoroughly fascinating Lady Mary.
So Paulette- I had these thoughts many times over the last few years. Hope they give you a smile, now that you and I are in the same little lifeboat!
What has changed for me…
1. My Swagger. Lady Mary is always so groomed. Anna in tow, there are evening gowns, hairstyles and fashion abounding. As bad as we are pre-baby one, two definitely might mean the hair tie pulled over uncombed hair and the baby ‘uniform’ of sweats and hood ie. may take precedence awhile. Tossing the Ralph Lauren V-neck into the wash basket before 11 am due to violent reflux just isn’t Very Lady Mary. Sigh…
Tip: Indulge in an expensive and beautiful baby handbag. We deserve it. We have no Anna to give us style.
2. Privacy. I just get the feeling LM can wee alone. Whilst we wrestle with toilet rolls, handbasin headbutts and wet floors with an audience and a healthy dose of guilt as baby two whimpers in a crib. Definitely not Very LM.
Tip: The minute you see a responsible adult that you are vaguely trusting of GO TO THE LOO.
3. Meals. We all have the iconic image of the family at dinner in Downton, nibbling and tasting, different wines for different courses and being waited on hand and foot. Delicate, witty conversation delights all with the occasional bit of controversial topic thrown in for spice. Beats the quickly swallowed down, coldish gloop we managed to throw together and the grimaced hellos we throw our partners as we make a bid for freedom (or the loo) in the ‘evening meal’ as a new Mam!
Tip. Order the takeaway. The Waistline can live another day.
4. Our Cash. LM has bags of something monetary in her life and can afford all of the best for her boy. We have our sweeties and spend every penny on giving them the best too but more at our own cost than LM does. Crèche costs are killer. They don’t really do group rates…
Tip: Bear in mind, this is short term. The state has to help us out when they are 3 and up, thank God! Lidl and Aldi will be OK for now. LM doesn’t have such a go-go as Jimmy’s Superstore. Her loss.
5. The Sleep. Oh, the big kahuna. Sleep will be assaulted by midnight banshee wails. The baby might cry too…! LM has a night nurse. Of course! So she gets to bed all cold-creamed and undisturbed. Midnight feeds are not very LM.
Tip: She doesn’t get the personal touch. She is LM after all. A cold fish. She will be Mother. We will always be Mammy to our mites. They are only ‘presented’ to her on occasion in best bib and tucker. Not very You and Me!
6. Bring a Moany Mammy. I feel like I have never moaned so much before. There just seems like a lot to be whiney and whingey about. Apres birth aches and bruises, the physical ones (and the sneaky, silent invisible ones). The weather. The way the day goes. The nights. The lack of sleep. The monotony. We all know what Lady Mary would say…
Tip: YOU are still YOU. So, if you are feeling more complaining than before, it is because you gotta REASON! This too will pass as they say. Cliché for a reason – it is true. Life is a little bit more hard work than it was and even though you feel immersed in your blessings and good fortunes (we love those little people to distraction) your body and mind might find it harder to keep up with your heart x
So to all those new Mothers of more than one- yes, Lady Mary might look to have is sussed. However, she is really not REAL! She wouldn’t last a day in our world, no Anna, no Carson, no meals handed up to her. She would have to actually mind her own baby- no scary Nanny to frighten it out of its wits!
Parenting may not be very Lady Mary at times, but then again, Lady Mary is not very parenting.
I still love Lady Mary. I just don’t really want to be her.
So hopefully, we can see the funny side of when life is Not Very Lady Mary.