Plus Ça Change, and All of That

I know that the shift into parenthood involves some dramatic changes. For example, I would find that Ed Sheeran song so much more romantic if it went something like, “I’m in Love With The Shape of You, Although I Realise That Shape Will Change Many Times Throughout Your Life, And I’m Fine With That, I’ll Love All of Those Shapes As Well”.

Overall, though, I think becoming a parent is less like the dramatic caterpillar-to-butterfly ta-da! and more like the frequent shedding of the old self that a snake does. The butterfly emerges suddenly glorious; the snake ends up pretty much the same, only older, bigger, and more worn out.

And for those of us who hanker for our shed selves, may I suggest that having babies and small children is less like a development, and more like a return to the wildest days of youth. To wit:

Wild Youth: At 2.a.m. on any given morning, there will be someone stumbling around, incoherent and glassy-eyed, clutching a bottle.

(New) Parenthood: Ditto. And if she’s not clutching a bottle, she’ll be stumbling around trying to get her bra off.

Wild Youth: Parties get completely out of control: someone always ends up crying, someone else passes out under the table, and the next morning you find vomit all over your patio.

Parenthood: Same same, but children’s parties are much crazier. (Just an aside, here: my husband and I threw a summer birthday party for a bunch of eight-year-olds. In the space of two hours we had to break up three fights, and stop a gang from trying to tip over the trampoline by wrapping the hosepipe around it. Our comparatively tranquil student parties just involved loud music and lots of beer.)

Wild Youth: The issue of beds was a subject of considerable interest. Who was in whose, who had been kicked out of whose, who would be sleeping where next …

Parenthood: More than ever. There’s someone new in my bed almost every night: sometimes Child 1, sometimes Child 2. Occasionally my husband. Once, a guinea pig. One just never knows what to expect. As long as it’s not a Furby, I’m fine with it.

Wild Youth: The shared student house is a disgrace. The fridge is empty. There are piles of unwashed dishes in the sink. Nobody picks up a damn thing.

Parenthood: Ahem. What? Gosh, how is this weather we’ve been having …

As Jean-Baptiste Karr said, “Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.”

And as he didn’t say: Here’s to a very happy 2018, to all Family Matters readers.

Party on.

By Robyn Goss

Robyn is a part-time writer and full-time slave to her two young daughters. Originally from Johannesburg, South Africa, she now lives in a little cow-rich village in Switzerland.

She spends her free time making To Do lists of things she’ll probably never get around to doing (have the car cleaned; vacuum under the bed; run a half-marathon) and putting the finishing touches to her third novel. To read more of Robyn’s writing, click here and here.

Illustration by Laura Munteanu

Laura has studied Journalism and Advertising, and has been working as a journalist and an illustrator. She has been illustrating for magazines, websites, charity and diverse campaigns. She lives in Zurich with her husband and ten-year-old daughter.

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