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Opinion: Mum About Town – The National Trust

Published on: 15 Jan, 2013
Updated on: 15 Jan, 2013

Mum about TownThe latest of our Mum About Town article written by “Towny Mummy”. This time she writes about a visit to a National Trust property. . .

Recently we drove for an hour and a half to meet up with friends from our home town (by home town, I mean the one that I and my husband grew up in, the town that has beautiful parks and walks and house prices that are half as much as in Guildford, but the place that he doesn’t want to return to, the place that I secretly pine for..).

We chose a National Trust property because the children love running, and we love sitting down and watching them run in a wide open space, mainly because it means that we don’t have to get up every two minutes to wipe gravel from their hands and knees, pull them out of the way of an oncoming car, stop them from hitting another child, etc.

They both ran off to the edge of the lawn, where I could see what looked like a gentle slope down to the rest of the garden. It was in fact a sheer six-foot drop which I only found out after Sam ran right up to the edge and turned around to us shouting “Nook, nook!” Despite this, he managed to stop and disaster was averted until we decided to go in to the house. This is always a risky choice.

After running through the rooms at top speed, Sam had a breakdown at the top of the main staircase (due mainly to tiredness) and his howls of distress were to be heard from all around the house, so our friends kindly informed us.

I was determined to remain calm. “Do you want to walk down the stairs?” “Nooooooooooo.” “Do you want me to carry you down?” “Do you want to see the big bed again?”  I have learnt to appear unflappable on these occasions, and it is precisely because I can feel glares boring into me from all sides. Of all the things I do with my little ones, it is only at National Trust places that I get looks, you know the sort.

Opinion Logo 2Sam calmed down in the end and we went out to the lawn again to sit down, which was all very well until Ivy, our littlest, decided to pick up a worm. She was delighted with this and then proceeded to pull it in half. Sam looked like something very bad had just happened. Ivy was slightly shocked to see two worms wriggling away where there had been one.

“But it’ll be okay, won’t it?” someone said, “Don’t they grow new brains or something?”

We shrugged and threw it in the flowerbed.

Our friends had recently broken the news to us that they were expecting their first baby and as well as being very happy for them, I felt quite bad for letting the cat out of the bag. Parenting is both hard work and unglamorous. You can’t sit still for a minute and there’s no chance of finishing a conversation. I tried to imagine their conversation in the car on the way home. (“What have we done?” “Are they all like that?” “Do you think we can change our minds?”)

I love our two and our hilarious chaos and I wouldn’t change them for the world, but small children are all-consuming and I don’t think we fully saw that coming. I don’t know if you do until you get there.

Seeing my friend all loved-up, patting her rounding belly, I wistfully remembered my first pregnancy, which was filled with plenty of relaxing on the sofa and dreamy, romantic notions of motherhood. Ah, it seems a long way off now.

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