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Without kids, I thought I'd be a changed woman ... turns out I'm still just me

You see, what happened to me is I had four children. Had I not had those children I would be a completely different person.

I would swim a mile every day. I would be editing a national newspaper. I won't say I would have won the Booker Prize, but I sure as hell would have been short-listed.

I would not have a bulge where my tummy should be.

I would wear fashionable clothes because I would have time to buy them - and the figure to wear them.

And as for money! I would have so much money.


I would be working full-time and I wouldn't have spent the last week buying school books or rugby boots or jumpers with crests on them or four pairs of black school shoes.

But my life took a turn one dark night 15 years ago and the rest is history. I am history. That's what I told my husband.

I reckon he thought things were getting a little heated so he's legged it for two days with the kids before school begins.

And here I am, home alone for the first time since my life took that fateful turn.

Time stretching out in front of me like fields without fences. No dinners to cook, no curfews to police.

At first I said I wouldn't eat at all. I would be slim and I would be care-free. I would stay up half the night reading or watching a movie.

I would go through the chest of drawers in the kitchen where all our bills and receipts and birth certificates were meant to be filed but never were.

Then I would tackle the family photos; then I would go into town and shop; then I would swim a mile in the local pool.

But I was just so tired! So I had a little sit-down. Then I had a big sit-down. Then I made a big effort and ventured out for a while.

When I came home it was time for big cups of tea and serious self-love. I'd gone for a walk, hadn't I?

Time to check the email and then onto Facebook and then what about a bit of online shopping.

Sure the afternoon flew in until I suddenly wanted my dinner.

I cooked a pot of spuds big enough for a family and ate every last one of them myself.

That put paid to the idea that I eat too much because it would be a sin to waste the kids' leftovers.

And then I wanted to go to bed. That's when the reality started to dawn on me.

The children hadn't changed me one bit. Underneath the commotion I was still the same slouch who liked nothing better than to go to bed early at the weekend.

There never were any afternoons spent trying on fashionable clothes and I never wore any. I looked terrible then and I look terrible now and the reason is I don't care.


I never got up at six to write amazing things and I never will. I will never swim a mile.

But that won't stop me lorrying into my dinner every night, with three spuds as my opening offer.

I've cruised into middle-age blaming my kids for every shortcoming I have, when the truth is they haven't changed me at all.

I am exactly the same person, just older. And with something big to look forward to.

My kids bursting through that door some time today and turning my life upside down again.

Which is not much different to the way it is the right way up.