Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Entirely Automatic

When it became too overwhelming I stole myself away to the adjoining dining room, pulled out a tired wooden chair, sat down and cocooned myself in the familiar world of blogs, twitter and anything other than direct conversation .......

I used to be a socially adventurous creature. These days I prefer one on one dialogue to the multi layered chit chatter of a group. After being so focused on Little A, I crave my own company. I love solitude. It gives me chance to cloud bust the ever changing climate in my mind. A chance to see myself clearly again. Little A's nap times are often priceless moments I get to check in with hotel ME.

So it was with much trepidation on my part that last week we went on holiday to Snowdonia, Wales, with a group of Younger Dad's friends. The party included four couples with children, one without and two black Labradors. We stayed in a couple of converted rustic barns situated in a peaceful valley inhabited by grass hungry sheep, newborn lambs, weather worn horses and a slow swirling river that meandered lazily somewhere.

I've known Younger Dad's friends for some time now. But for the last two years I've not been much of a  presence in this group; Younger Dad attended various socials whilst I decided to remain at home with Little A. My confidence just wasn't up to it. I was an anxious first time mum. So last week proved quite a challenge as I tried to reconnect with old faces. Becoming a mum seems to have stripped my outer shell of a social persona I could once rely upon. Now I feel nervous and sometimes conversationally clumsy in the company of those I don't know so well. I can feel timid and vulnerable. So on holiday I found myself self consciously retreating to a quieter space when I had nothing to contribute. It was really quite stress full at times.

It also didn't help that I had Delhi belly on the first day thanks to a rogue egg sandwich from a service station on the crawl of a motorway that is the M1. Nor that I was premenstrual; the flood of unfriendly hormones predisposing me to long, jolly bouts of social paranoia; "I'm not fitting in", "all I talk about is being a mum", "they don't like me anymore" ... blah, blah, blah.

But if I had sent you a postcard from Wales I would have told a sunnier, and snowier tale .....

Dear Subscriber,

I'm in a muddle in Snowdonia. Its not all bad though. As to be expected the weather in April is schizoid; it started out Spring like and balmy but by mid week snow had carpeted the valley. And its still snowing. Little A is enjoying Gruffalo hunts with Younger Dad and crunching her footprints into the white icing slowly melting on the lawn. She loves repeatedly running up and down a slope outside our barn, watching twitchy horses in nearby fields and picking frosted daffodils.

Even though I should be appreciating the snow dusted beauty of the Welsh hills, I found myself oddly fascinated today by a cigarette vending machine in an old train station. We'd taken a very excited Little A on her first steam train ride. Her face lit up a thousand nights as the train chuff chuffed and parp parped passed fields of bleating cotton wool balls that fled in a panicked huddle as it sidled by, and passed yachts floating statue still on the surface of a motionless lake.

So anyway, on our steam adventure we stopped at a little run down station where I chanced upon this relic of a machine.


It looked like it dated back to the 1920's or 30's; a time when puffing on a fag was considered a socially appropriate necessity. What I really appreciated about this antiquated box of cogs and wheels was an inscription on the top which ironically read ...

ENTIRELY AUTOMATIC     

It made me realise how much we take for granted in our information age. Back in the day this vending machine might have been the equivalent of an ipad. Things were so much simpler and slower then. And alot smokier and smellier. But it made me think. Even in the midst of the rolling Welsh hills I still couldn't be without my PC and my writing. Not unlike a 1920's socialite without her cigarette holder. Blogging is my addiction .... its entirely automatic.

Speak soon,

Older Mum XXX

Oh, you'll never guess what. I was miraculously voted for the MAD blog awards. I would just like to say thank you to all you kind people who gave me a nod and a wink. So please do keep the votes coming if this blog tickles your fancy ....

17 comments:

  1. Great post! It's mad how becoming a mum rocks you in ways you don't realise it will. I find myself forgetting the end of sentences half-way through and my mind frequently goes blank when I'm in any sizeable group. I think it is through overwork, it literally can't take it. Not sure how I'm going to cope at my first blogging conf on Saturday!!!

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    1. Thank you. Yes, it shook my confidence, but which is slowly returning. My head still goes blank too. Good luck at your blogging conference. I'm going to Britmums, and a little nervous too!

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  2. Entirely automatic it definitely is, from the moment we awake too, not sure I could be without my laptop! I still crave social events & have to still go out & be there, just my nature, being a mum can make us "invisible" sometimes. TC's naps have disappeared the last 2 days, hope this is not a trend, could Little A have a word please :)

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    1. I'm not looking forward to the day Little A drops her nap - I think I might encourage her to have quiet time with a book so I can have a little time to myself.

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  3. Sometimes I wonder, if I stopped blogging, what I'd devote the headspace to instead. I think I'd still have similar thoughts, I just don't think I'd develop them to such a degree. This blogging malarky is good for the old brain cells...will keep us from going senile in old (er) age!

    I crave solitude too. Just peace, quiet and time to read, cook or blog on my own. I find even just an hour or so of that can really restore me.

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    1. Me too! Blogging is the one thing that has kick started the grey matter again. Its been a life saver .... or a sanity saver.

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  4. What a great post and oh so true. I love the social media side of things and I think working with computers all day helps me keep to it. x

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    1. Thank you! My computer keeps me sane .... and it can be useful social camouflage too!

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  5. I can so comprehend with you on many of these points. I sometimes wish we could go back to a good old fashioned day where the world wasn't over run with technology and love taking a step back if I go on holiday, but I have to admit I can't resist the lure of the laptop when I get back home. Especially now I am blogging and writing again. I do take a note pad to still write whenever I am laptop sans, but I can't long hand as fast as I can type! I would have also been in awe of the cigerette machine, things like that fascinate me. We took the boys to the Steam Railway near us last year and they were having a special WWII day, everyone was dressed up and they had memorabilia and photos and old newspapers, it was absolutely fascinating (for me and the Hubby, the boys not so interested!). I love the vintage signs and stuff! Group holidays always used to leave me feeling funny in the tummy, I was always so quiet at school it was difficult to join in. Although I lost that (well forced it out of myself really) as I got older - the deep down fear never left and after a few dreadful group holidays with a (horrible) boyfriend of the time I have not ventured on them since. Holidays are precious and expensive (generally) so I decided they will only be happy occasions now. I hate how PMT can really make you doubt yourself, I am the same, right down to walking along with my head down. Luckily it only lasts 2 or 3 days but I have decided that is 2 or 3 days too long! Sorry for length of comment, like I say though, I did really relate to this post.xxx

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    1. Thank you for your wonderful comment. Its nice to know this post struck a chord with you. I really don't like PMS - really messes with my head. The WWII day sounded really interesting. Next time we need to think carefully about how we holiday and if we go as a group again, how I'm going to manage my space and time, so that I am relaxed and happy. Carrying a notebook book around is a very good idea. I need to do something similar. That was such a thoughtful comment. Thank you.

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  6. I heard of a woman who, when she was in the car on her own, wouldn't even have the radio on because her time otherwise was filled with constant noise and she needed that precious time when she could be completely quiet. I have to say, though, I wouldn't want to go back to the days of even when I was small. Soft plays didn't exist, families only had one car if they had any at all, and playmates were the other children in the street and computers weren't something that we all had. I would be very isolated without all that. I love this kind of interaction that I can pick up in between demands from a 4 year old, short and sweet. Keeps me sane too! I'm with you about the holidays, they are precious and expensive and should be enjoyed, not endured. Great post. Polly x

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    1. You make a very good point. Back in the late 60's, 70's being a mother I am sure was much more isolating. Now we have the freedom of technology we can connect with others easily and feel in touch with the outside world. Little A is currently napping, which gives me chance to enjoy my blog and chat to you!

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  7. Oh, I can empathise entirely with your need for solitude and vulnerability/solitude in unknown company!

    I used to be pretty outgoing, but can get frozen in a panic of 'they have such a more exciting, different, sociable life to me! I have NOTHING to contribute!'

    I'm sure this is partly true, but people are generally lovely and don't think the same as I do.

    You've described Snowdonia beautifully - enjoy the memories!

    mammasaver

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    1. Cheers Mammasaver! Funny how motherhood impacts on you. I'm getting there, but things have changed since having Little A. Its probably more my paranoia than other people.

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  8. I completely agree with you - it's just about being yourself sometimes, but you have to find it before you can be it and we need peace for that. You are going in the right direction - that's what matters! XXX

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    1. Wise words ... I didn't have the space or peace to feel comfortable in my skin so the holiday became a bit of a chore. But I am moving in the right direction.

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  9. I hate being in situations where you just don't feel comfortable. I hope that you managed to find some kind of enjoyment out of the weekend....the place sounds idyllic. Thanks for linking up :)

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