Today I realised, once again, that motherhood has left an indelible mark on me. I was walking down a flight of stairs. Counting each step out loud. And I was alone. Alone in the sense of ‘no child with me’. Not alone in the sense of ‘no audience at all for my lunatic behaviour’. Indeed, the older woman coming up said flight of stairs looked intensely amused by the whole event. She smiled and nodded. She understood. She was probably counting the stairs herself as she went up. But she’s had enough time to learn to do it in her head again.
Counting out loud – everything from stairs to mushrooms as you bag them at the supermarket – is one of the indelible marks of motherhood. As is pointing out diggers on the side of the road, even when you’re in the company of adult friends who, really, could not care less. Going to the toilet with the door left slightly ajar ‘just in case’ is one that I’m hoping I’ll grow out of very soon (as, no doubt, is the rest of the household).
Carrying a water bottle everywhere. Keeping an emergency muesli bar in my bag. Keeping an emergency fire engine in my bag (never know when you’ll need one of those).
Never leaving a building without asking everyone in the vicinity (stranger or no) if they need to wee before we go.
An underlying sense of anxiety that never quite bubbles over and never quite disappears.
These are but some of the marks that motherhood has left on me. What have you got?