First there was the discovery that wearing tights under jeans really does make winter more bearable, then the moment I became incapable of sitting through a film without falling asleep, and then, more recently, the realisation that true happiness isn’t a beach in the Bahamas or a lottery win, but 30 minutes alone at a Marks and Spencer Final Reductions sale.
And now I’ve started talking like her too. All those things she used to say to me when I was younger – those stock phrases that all parents presumably download at antenatal classes – have started slipping into my vocabulary. But I don’t have children; so I just say them to my husband instead.
Of course there are some that just don’t apply to him, such as:
“You need to have an early night tonight, young lady – you are overtired!” (To which I would shout “NO I’M NOT!” because exhaustion makes me argumentative.)
“If you think you’re going out in THAT skirt without tights on, you’ve got another thing coming. Do you want to get piles?!”
“Charlotte – STOP listening to Celine Dion and GO TO SLEEP.”
But there are plenty of others that, with a few small edits, can be very useful in every day married life:
“I’m not angry that you lost the third brand new lunchbox I’ve bought you in a month, I’m disappointed.”
“Don’t forget your scarf/coat/gloves/shoes when you go out this morning – it is seriously nippy out there!”
“Now then, do our socks really live down the side of the bed? Hmmm?”
“That’s funny, I see you’re sat here in the lounge and yet the light left on in the bedroom would suggest that you’re up there – how can that be?”
I’ve chosen to think of this development as evidence that my maternal instincts are starting to kick in, rather than that I am the most patronising woman in the world.
My sentiments are good. I want us to have a tidy home, for us to be warm and well-fed and for us not to wind up bankrupt as a result of too much Tupperware shopping. He does too; he just doesn’t feel the need to mention it quite so frequently.
It’s an odd feeling when you realise that your other half has joined the small group of people for whom you would run through fire, fight a bear or wear an extremely itchy jumper for a whole week to keep safe. You just want to care for them and, seeing as our parents are generally the people from whom we learn how to look after one another, it’s inevitable that we eventually start taking on their traits.
Of course, you can take it too far. It’s important not to make him start seeing commuting face-to-armpit with strangers as an enjoyable escape from my constant chatter about the location of his socks or the cost of
electricity. A balance must be struck.
Now I just wonder which element of my mum’s personality I will take on next. Will it be her ability to send a text message without using a single vowel, her addiction to old, harrowing episodes of Trial and Retribution, or her remarkable chocolate cupcake baking skills?
The latter would certainly make me a lot more popular at home.