My “hold on what am I?” moment was a bit like the time I was standing at the dog park in fairly muddy conditions and our dog, who was a rather large Boxer (we lost him last year at the ripe age of 13), came running towards me and I realised that he wasn’t going to stop, he was going to take me out. He hit the skids, tried to stop but no I was straight down, legs out from under me, flat on the ground in the mud in jeans and an overcoat. It all happened so fast, I didn’t have time to react but despite how I felt, or my husband running to make sure I was okay and concealing his own laughter, I couldn’t stop laughing. I couldn’t stop laughing at the vision of someone else seeing what had happened and how ridiculous it would have looked. I had tears rolling down my face and all I could think of was that someone had filmed it, because I would have definitely taken out the $10,000 Funniest Home Video prize that day.
That’s pretty much how I felt the moment I was standing in the kitchen while the kids ran and squawked at each other and me while they both fired a million questions like bullets racing past my head, arguing at each other about who said what first, who’s turn it was on the Ipad, why weren’t there any clean clothes, where were their homework folders and colouring pencils, it was then that I got mentally (thankfully this time) taken out. Like I was face first back in the mud again and it dawned on me “Hold On, What Am I?” You may call me slow but I am now 37 and I think it happens to most of us that we suddenly realise we are the adult. It’s us. There is no adultier adult to take charge and tell us what to do. Surely there is someone doing this better than me, killing it in the adult department. How did I get here? And how did I get here so fast?
The kids are going to be asking me for advice. What Am I? I am the adult! Ha! I got asked the other morning how did the sky make so many colors. I suddenly thought, wow. I don’t know. How much MORE stuff am I not going to know? I was sure that every single question I asked my parents they knew the answer…Didn’t they? Or did they? Perhaps you are so in awe of your parents you don’t see all the little things that I pick myself apart about now, the little imperfections, the not being adult moments and really having no clue at all and just making the lot up as you go along and stuffing up heaps of times in the process.
I thought I still had time to work stuff out, to get it all together but now I have realized over the last few years… none of us have it together. We are all making it up as we go along.
Some of us claim to have it together but even they don’t really have a clue, they are just better at hiding it. I am a big talker and I have the problem that I wear my heart on my sleeve. I tell my friends how I feel and if I have had a bad day or morning, it shows. I can’t pretend when I am chatting to the mums in the playground that my kids have been angels this morning and packed away all of their stuff, I can’t really hide if husband and I have had some sort of major blue over usually something ridiculous, my house is never perfect in fact it’s a down right mess and I like to throw the word “homely” around a lot. I do raise my voice at the kids because sometimes I just don’t know what else to do and their science projects probably won’t top the class because I don’t have any idea what I am talking about. I’m not perfect but for some reason I just assumed that when you became an adult you got perfect somehow and were worldly and wise and just knew how to do stuff.
I thought I would have worked all this out by now and be a total pro at this age at the adulting thing. The art of mastering work, life, exercise, clean house, organising, being a role model to my kids and other kids who we hang out with, having a clean car, knowing what’s happening in the local community, being able to discuss world issues, understand exactly what Donald Trump is trying to achieve as President, paying the bills, knowing how to hem a pair of pants, not getting too drunk at the party and just all the stuff that I thought being an adult was all about. I look back at my mum and she seemed to just have it all together – worked full time, cooked dinner, everyone’s clothes were always back in their drawers, the house was clean. Maybe she was just winging it too but I just didn’t see it.
I think that my brain that although has matured since around the age of 20-25 actually still thinks it’s about 20-25 just without all the night clubbing, drinking until 4am and spending all my money. I have grown up and matured but I am the role model now, the one who should know the answers, be able to solve problems. When I catch up with friends and we discuss worldly matters (only occasionally) I should know how to talk about these issues, have opinions and be knowledgeable in all facets of life. The thing is I am not. Don’t get me wrong I have some fantastic conversations with my friends about life, what’s important, lots of talking about parenting and lots of ridiculous banter that we keep ourselves amused with, with the odd drunk meaning of life conversation thrown in as always. I find these conversations very meaningful but to someone else they probably seem dumb and not adult enough or mature enough. We talk about the little moments, that to me count so much more.
Age is just a number, and reality is learning there’s no such thing as being an adult, you only grow older and if you’re lucky maybe a little wiser.
Really though at the end of the day, that isn’t what our kids want and I don’t think that is what my friends want. I don’t think they care that we have to google just about every scientific fact they ask us or that we are really bad at the art project. I don’t think my friends care about the fact I have no idea about the American presidential debate or that my house isn’t out of a Vogue magazine. What’s important is how I conduct myself and if that means being silly and laughing like I did at the same jokes I did at 25, well that isn’t so bad. I want to be a great role model to my family and I can do that by just being me. I am a good friend, I try to be a good listener, I set my kids boundaries and teach them manners, I try to improve myself all the time and I can be mature, well sometimes. I won’t get it right all the time and I definitely won’t know all the answers, the kids will be telling me all the new stuff but I am trying to be the best adult I can be and the best mother and the best friend, I won’t get it right all the time but I will always try.