Why it’s a good idea to buy a dog (instead of having a baby).

Second post of my 7 in 7 days and I’m going to write about one of the biggest changes that happened in 2017. If you’re the mother of toddlers, trigger warning… you may not want to read on.

You get through the first, dicey 3 months of pregnancy and think, phew, did it! Then you get through the next six months and the birth and the breastfeeding and the sleepless nights and again you think, phew, done that. Then you get through those first days at school and navigating other mums and who gets which part in the Nativity and you think, phew but then there are SATS (or if you live round my way, the 11+) then the terrifying transition to senior school but it all goes well. You look at your bright eyed youngster, chatting intelligently to you and interested in books and life and you think, phew, we did really well here.

And then one day, you wake up and discover you have … a teenager.

Nothing is quite as terrifying. Nothing has made me feel more helpless and useless as I stand on the sidelines unable to help or intervene as you see the collision of teenager and maturity, like a slow motion car crash. You long for those days when your bones ached with exhaustion but at least you could still solve most problems with a cuddle and some milk. At least you could pick them up and run with them out of danger …

As the mother of an only child, whilst I am somewhat thankful that I’ll only have to go through this once, I’m also aware that I only get one chance to get it right. And the more independent my boy becomes, the less of a mother I am, in any practical sense. That ambition, that need to be a mother, that sense of purpose I relied upon to bolster my self-esteem …. all over in a mere 14 years.

And this coincides with the ongoing peri menopause. I lose my baby at the same moment I lose, for definite, the ability to ever have another. No wonder I keep dreaming about death.

So I bought Mabel. Admittedly her problematic ears have cost me a fortune but at least she will never grow up. She’s as truculent as a toddler, super cuddly and keeps me awake at night. What more could I ask for?

Seriously … just buy a dog.

(OK, so really having a teenager can be fabulous as you watch them blossom. But currently I am finding it quite scary so any reassurance is gratefully received!)