I was struggling somewhat to come up with a blog post for today. I have a few posts in the works, but they’re all time-dependant or waiting on…something, so there I was. Speechless.
As I so often do in these kinds of situations I mulled over the week I just had, wondering if anything had occurred, or even just floated through my head, that might be interesting to write about. As it happened, I had to go into London on Saturday for a very old, very dear friend’s hen do – I don’t think I would have made that kind of trek for anyone else for just a lunch!
I know Oxfordshire is much beloved of commuters who can’t afford (or pure don’t want) to live in London, whilst still having to work there but My God – they must really like trains in order to do that trip every day. Admittedly I was on the parochial, stop-at-every-station slow train, but apparently that’s only 20 minutes longer than the speedy train. And, also admittedly, the hen do was in the arse end of Shoreditch which involved a series of under- and over-ground trains with some decent walks in between, but 3 hours is a bloody long journey and if A ever reads this I hope she knows how damn special she is to me that I made that effort, because, frankly, I hate leaving my little bubble here in hicksville.
There’s something very special about being part of a small community – people will grab your child for you when he runs away, pedestrians will make friendly comments in passing as you walk by them, dog-walkers nod a curt ‘morning’ at you on the way to the park, you recognise all the regular staff members at the local supermarket and they remark how much your children have grown! Every trip out of the house means you run into someone you know – even excursions into Oxford, 30 minutes away, often mean you running into an acquaintance. Some people may hate that, but for me it gives a sense of belonging, a sense of safety that helps with the kind of isolation you can experience when you’re a stay at home parent and/or self-employed.
I have felt this for a long time, but it was really brought home to me on Saturday when I was surrounded – nay – crushed by people on all sides, but went longer without talking to anyone than I have in, probably, years. All day long I’m with my children, my friends, networking, shopping – just interacting with someone. To go from that constant communication (even if it is mostly saying such things as “no! Stop that! Get your naked bottom out of that colander!”*) to being roundly ignored on all sides was a bit of a culture shock. Especially when I’d forgotten my sodding Kindle.
More expected, but no less uncomfortable for all that, was how out of place I felt sartorially. Just like at school you develop a uniform of sorts so you fit in with your peers and my ‘uniform’ these days is finely honed to fit in with the middle-class mummies I spend most of my time with. Hanging out with trendies in Shoreditch was not really something my wardrobe catered for and my did I feel (and look) like a fish out of water!
I have long been saying that I could do with a style update, but I’m not sure there’s any real point until The Girl is old enough to stop using me as a walking tissue. Nothing like having your jeans and shoulder covered in snot trails to put you off wanting to make any fancy clothing purchases! So for now I will continue to happily moulder away in my self-imposed Mummy purdah that magically renders me practically invisible to everyone bar other mummies and my husband. At least it saves a bit of money…
*an actual thing I found myself saying yesterday morning. Parenting small children finds you saying some very peculiar things.