Ten Tiny Freedoms That Mums Really Appreciate

Ten Tiny Freedoms That Mums Really Appreciate

Becoming a mother is a little like being taken hostage, and instantly developing Stockholm Syndrome: you are so in love with your tiny captor that you do everything – anything – to please them and to keep the peace. This entails the giving up of so many freedoms; the freedom to leave the house easily, the freedom to enjoy silence, the freedom to defecate alone.

But every now and then a little, tiny window of opportunity presents itself, and we grab it with both hands and revel in those little glimpses of freedom once more.

1. Using a hand-dryer in the toilet

Children are excessively terrified of hand-dryers. My children will seek a verbal contract even as we enter public conveniences that “we won’t use the hand-dryer will we Mummy”. It’s not a question, it’s an order, so usually I find myself drying my hands on my jeans or my hair.  On the odd occasion when my butt has accidentally activated the hand-dryer I am met with disappointed glares. Bad mummy. But when I’m on my own, I luxuriate in the feeling of the heat on my hands, the lack of damp trousers and hair with volume. The noisy blast is my little rebellion and it feels GOOD.

2. Wearing earrings

I stopped wearing earrings when I first had a baby, because they’re so scratchy and these tiny people spend a lot of time curled up at your neck, right where you could jab a newborn eyeball with one if you were ever-so-slightly sleep deprived. Then earrings became something to be tugged at relentlessly. And then I just forgot that I could adorn my head with these pretty, sparkling things. But when I have a night out, I find the spikiest earrings I own, and walk proudly with these weapons in my ears.

3. Crossing the road when the man is RED

From very early on, crossing the road becomes a super-important way to model good behaviour. We ONLY cross the road with the green man. At first, I could definitely have got away with crossing on red, but, diligent mother that I am, I took the opportunity to teach them their colours and a little road safety at the same time. Before you know it, if you even edge onto the kerb, the small drill sergeant by your side barks you back to safety. But when I’m alone, I can do what the hell I like. Maybe I’ll cross when the man is red. Or maybe I won’t even use the crossing at all. WILD.

4. Listening to your own music in the car

I’ve embraced audio books as a screen-free way to keep the kids amused on long car journeys but this comes at a price. Instead of tuning into the radio, or enjoying my own playlist while my children gaze contentedly at iPads , I listen to The Julia Donaldson Collection A LOT. We have recently upgraded to the Roald Dahl CD set which thankfully, doesn’t include any singing at all. Any attempts to switch to the radio – even when the captors are apparently asleep – will result in another CD being thrust in my ear from the back seat. But every now and then, I concoct an excuse to drive to the local supermarket (3 mins max) just to get a few bits and it’s easier to leave the kids and I GLORY in the sweet sound of the radio. Or alternatively I sing-along to the Gruffalo song like a brain-dead automaton before head-butting the steering wheel as I realise a golden opportunity has been missed.

5. Carrying a really small handbag

Big bags come with motherhood, and not just the ones under your eyes. The kind of bag you never really dreamed of owning that weighs a ton, has multiple pockets and contains small pieces of decaying food. Every once in a while, an opportunity presents itself where you can go out without a huge backpack full of baby wipes, breadsticks, toddler pants and broken crayons. You need to seize this opportunity. Put your mobile, bank card, lippy and door key in a tiny clutch bag and skip out of the door as free as a bird with a really small bag.

6. Wearing pungent perfume

Perfume is a no-no when your tiny newborn needs to smell their mother’s scent, for comfort or to track down the boob milk, and a little like spiky earrings, it’s probably not ideal to smear them in eau de parfum – especially the really strong ones like the bottle of Tom Ford Black Orchid which lasted me for 5 years for this precise reason. But give me a night out and I dowse myself thoroughly in perfume – the stronger the better. I breathe in the deliciously pungent cloud as I step out of the front door.

7. Baking alone

Baking with kids is a great activity and we do it A LOT.  It’s fun. Mostly. Interspersed with poor hygiene, the liberal sprinkling of flour and sugar on the floor and the crunching of egg shells in small sticky hands. But my god, when the kids turn down the chance to bake in favour of an episode of Paw Patrol, my spirit is lighter than Mary Berry’s sponge – I can weigh, whisk and wash up in minutes. Who knew you could knock up some cupcakes so quickly?

8. Sitting on the top deck of the bus

Yes. Of course children want to sit on the top deck of the bus. But getting children on and off public transport is hard enough, even when you are sitting right next to the bloody door, let alone at the top of an incredibly steep, lurching staircase. But alone, you can thrill in the freedom of a ride on the top deck, viewing all the erm, traffic from above, listening to the conversations of local teenagers and wondering what the hell they are on about. The best seat of course, is the one right at the front and on the right, because then you can secretly pretend you’re the driver. Just don’t tell the kids, or they’ll want in on the action.

9. Not being touched for two minutes

Don’t get me wrong, I love the cuddles. But being a mum is INTENSE and can frequently involve at least one other person touching you for 13 hours a day. And then there’s night time… Sometimes all it takes to regain emotional equilibrium is two minutes, hiding in the kitchen (shoving a biscuit in your mouth secretly IS an option) with NOBODY hiding under your top, pulling your hair, ‘stroking’ your face, wanting breastfeeding, using you as a horse/tree/climbing frame. Breathe deeply, enjoy the solitude, and then back into the fray.

10. Swearing

What the FUDGE? Shut the front door! What do you mean I can’t swear any more because I am mother? Even when I stub my toe, or some TOTAL banker cuts me up at the traffic lights, I shalt not swear in front of the children. Okay. The odd one slips out and I have to explain that they heard a grown-up word which they are not to repeat and mummy is very sorry she said it. But, oh the sweet freedom of being in adult company and being able to utter profanities whenever I please. My work colleagues definitely hear me swear more than they used to because I have to get it all out of my system while I’m there, so I find myself liberally peppering sentences with expletives so I can get it all out of my system before I have to go home and be Mary fucking Poppins again.

Alison McGarragh-Murphy

Alison McGarragh-Murphy writes and edits stuff for The Motherload, and is also a radio producer and broadcast journalist, a mum of two and a wife of one. Since becoming a mother she has (mostly) gladly swapped a busy social life of gigs, pubs, art galleries and museums for dancing in the kitchen, drinking on the sofa, finger painting and hanging out at the park. She talks incessantly about not having slept for five years. Follow Alison on Twitter @BertaFanta and on Facebook @ammblogs

No comments yet. Be the first one to leave a thought.
Leave a comment

Leave a Comment