Hi! I’m Lucy. I’m currently 36, married, with 2 sons – D is 7 1/2 and O is 5 – both of whom are are at primary school. I live in Orpington, which is a suburban town on the outer reach of South East London. It’s not very interesting, but it’s pleasant enough and it’s home. I’m a full-time mum; stay-at-home mum; housewife; lazy drain on public resources – whichever you like 😉 I always had the idea that if I had kids I wanted to be at home for them, but like a lot of people, I didn’t think that we would be able to afford it so, as I went on maternity leave from my dull admin job, I didn’t really know what I was going to do at the end of it. In the end the decision was taken away from me as I was asked to agree to be made redundant. Since we had been managing without my full salary for a while, the idea was to pay myself the equivalent from the settlement to keep me at home for a bit longer. I didn’t have any particular inclination to go out to work and it would have cost us for me to do so, not to mention the task of finding a job at the start of a massive recession when I wasn’t qualified for anything specific. My husband really enjoys what he does, and his brief spell of redundancy taught him that my tolerance for monotony is way above his, so this suits us.
I had a slightly unusual childhood in that we had no TV in the house most of the time, and no pop music as my parents were simply not interested in either. I read a lot of books, listened to a lot of Radio 4 and generally developed a level of weirdness that puts a target on your back if you’re not careful. Fortunately for me, I’m very short, so most people can look straight over my head. One day, when I was around 13, my dad came home with a video player and a crappy old telly and my love affair with movies began. Me and my siblings (of which I have 3) haunted the Blockbuster Video conveniently situated at the bottom of our road and we watched everything and anything we could get our hands on. Regardless of quality. My knowledge of 90s movies is pretty encyclopedic. It also introduced me to scifi, which had the added appeal of my mum considering it “silly”, which led on to other things!
I went to university to study English in Lancaster, where I spectacularly failed to distinguish myself, but wrote my dissertation on Women in Science Fiction, which led to my masters in Science Fiction which I studied at Reading while living back at my parents house. Still not knowing what the hell to do with myself, I went back to the admin jobs that I had done as a student during the holidays and part-time during my masters. After a few more months at my parents house I decided I needed to get away and ran off to the cheapest place I could think of to live where I knew at least 1 other person – Liverpool. There, while working in his university department’s office, I met my now husband (henceforth to be known as Him Outdoors, or HO) and eventually we got married and I convinced him to give up his northern ways and move to South East London, which, after a good few happy years up north, I had started to miss. He managed to move his job, I managed to get one, and then it felt like time for babies and I got pregnant.
I’ve never felt a calling to motherhood, I’ve never been one to coo over babies, I will grin at toddlers these days if they’re being cheeky, but I’m pretty uninterested in other people’s children in general, despite enjoying funny stories about them. I don’t think that parenting is all kittens and rainbows, but I don’t think it’s “the hardest job in the world” either, I’m sure that there are many jobs that are far harder than this one, it’s mainly just quite boring and repetitive. Since I spent my working life doing administration, I was already well accustomed to boring repetitive tasks so I feel I had a head start on that one! I think the one thing I was unprepared for, was the mental drain of being a parent of a young child all day, every day, and the steady drip drip process of a loss of a sense of myself as a person separate from my kids. Over the years, I’ve been clawing back this self, gone are the days when I had no energy to read, or to make anything other than dinner, but I’m still a little unsure of the person I have become and have little sense of where I’m going. In the meantime, my main problem is the sheer monotony and the idea that my brain may just seize up and fail to function, because whatever else full-time parenthood can be, it is certainly not terribly mentally stimulating.
Welcome to my ongoing battle against boredom.