Before we have kids, we dream of how gobsmackingly good looking and smart they’re going to be. After we have kids, all we dream of is dreams really, REM sleep eluding us after the extended sleep-deprivation of nursing newborns. By the time the tyke gets to school, dreams of another sort haunt our waking hours: packing up and running away for a month anywhere, so that we can have conversations that revolve around things other than uneaten school lunches, homework and after-school activities. Adult conversations.
On weekdays, we dream of weekends when there is no early morning alarm to set, when we can just laze about until midday in our pyjamas. On weekends, we dream of weekdays when the kids are off at school and we have a couple of childfree hours to ourselves. Then we find ourselves a nice herbivorous-looking sitter one evening and decide to go and get reacquainted with our other halves. That’s when the penny drops. What we really dream about is a life free of parental responsibilities. But are the childless really having such a good time or are they just pretending to have scintillatingly full lives so that we’d be envious of them?
It’s moments when my child puts her hand in mine, or clasps my face with her grubby paws and says, “Mummy I love you” that I’m left feeling silly for ever wanting different. Then the occasional resentment of it no longer being about me or having any time for pre-parenthood interests melts away and the only dream I have is of this journey that began with the making of this special little person, never-ending.