Sometimes my daughter Ellen will frown like she is working out a particularly intractable puzzle and say "didn't you used to be a nurse?" like the notion is so alien that she may as well ask if I used to breathe fire and have scaly skin (although some days that part is true).
|"Hey lady, I TOLD you I was pissed off!"|
Remember Britney Spears singing "Do You Want A Piece Of Me"? Well that could have been me.
Except for the blonde hair.
And the abs.
And the whole looking-like-Britney thing.
But I can belt out that song in the car like a cat in a bag (being ever careful to protect the ears of the public by only doing so behind sound-proof glass. I was a nurse, remember).
So I surprised myself by deciding to become a full-time mum without feeling the need to gouge my own eyes out and eat my own hair.
This threw me a bit, as in nursing there are policies for everything, from hand-washing to bum-wiping. It was a bit disconcerting to have to navigate through life's chaos with the feral creatures that are my children, without the comfort of a rule book.
While I haven't devolved into a child-eating zombie who forages in bins and wears her husband's clothes, I have to make a huge effort not to. Somedays I even look quite nice and can manage to trick people into believing that I know what I'm doing (the fools!!!).
It can be head-wrecking and frustrating trying to figure out which direction to go in, and learning to throw away the procedures manual and trust my instinct has been the most difficult transition of all.
But I get to make (and break) my own rules as I go along, and I can take as many tea-breaks as I like without upsetting the union.
Being a full-time mum has surprised me by being rewarding, enriching and really good fun.
I get to wipe away tears, slay dragons and have the most delicious cuddles on the sofa watching Bob the Builder.
Plus I get to sleep with the staff, which was never encouraged when I worked in a hospital.