Up The Duff - In Which Viewing Family Homes And Nurseries Causes Palpitations

23/09/2009 10:04 | Updated 22 May 2015

My other half and I felt like proper parents this week, after visiting a nursery and viewing a four-bedroom house in the same day. I know, I know, it's all getting very grown-up now, but at 37 years of age and 30 weeks pregnant, growing up is long overdue!

There's nothing like staring a £600k spend in the face to make you feel like a proper adult, that's for sure. This Edwardian house, in London, was for certain a 'family home'. It was pretty much way out of our price bracket, but we'd been seduced by the pictures on the estate agent's website (isn't that always how it is?).

I came away from the viewing with mixed feelings. On a positive note, it was a stunning structure and there was a real warmth to it. I loved seeing such very family-ish items around, such as a packed family calendar and lots of family photographs. That did feel like a vision of my future, albeit likely without three kids given that the first one is arriving rather late in the day. It made me feel like the luckiest woman alive, to know that some of this at least is ahead of me, pending safe arrival of the little one.

The downside, though, was how tatty the whole place looked. We're talking stained carpets, bashed skirting boards, mucky walls, half-made beds, a spare room full to bursting with stuff, a kitchen that looked like it needed a good deep clean, the washing machine and tumble dryer both on full pelt, a garden strewn with tricycles and upended buckets. In a slightly depressing way, this also feels like a vision of the future. I suppose this is what happens when you have kids, right?

Both my other half and I are totally anal when it comes to having a tidy house. As I often say, not altogether tongue-in-cheek, I like to "run a nice tight ship". I am the woman who wipes the kitchen cupboard fronts down each time she washes up, and virtually vacuums the cat, never mind the cat hair, off the sofa almost daily. Something tells me I will need to get over myself pretty sharpish.

Visiting the nursery, meanwhile, was a total delight. I was overwhelmed, really, with how lovely it feels to be a parent. Amazingly, I slipped automatically into the role, and seemed to know the right questions to ask about our child's welfare and development. It felt really rather natural, and the instinct to care, protect and nurture our baby in the best way possible really came to the fore.

The children in the nursery seemed very happy, stimulated with a range of activities, and understood well by the enthusiastic staff. I especially loved the pictures of the toddlers doing body painting. Picture a Jackson Pollock scene if you will, only with babies covered in paint and splatting around on large floor canvases. Ace! Definitely one to try at home.

If I can bear the mess that is!

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