PARENTS

Toddler Tales: Milestones

17/07/2012 18:49 | Updated 22 May 2015
Toddler Tales: MilestonesGetty

While Diana has a big birthday coming up next month - two! - I celebrated my biggest birthday for almost a decade (I'm from New York, so 21 is a big deal) last week: 3-0.

I feel a lot of different emotions about turning 30. Sad, to be leaving my twenties behind. Scared, that I'm not really more functional or competent at anything now than I was 10 years ago; I just have a lot more expenses and a lot more responsibility. Uncertain - are mini-skirts and crazy-coloured hair still acceptable? When can I not do that any more?

But mostly, I feel relieved: I am glad to finally be a mum in her thirties.

Now, I realise age is just a number and I am not necessarily a better parent today than I was almost two years ago (although I really hope I am because I had absolutely no clue what I was doing then!), but living in London I have really felt that there weren't that many mothers my age going through pregnancy when I did (in NY, too - I was the first of my friends).

And that's normal for big cities - you only had to look at our nursery-cum-storage-space for one of the many reasons why - but I think being younger than the mum peers I met made me feel uncertain about my competency and abilities as a parent, certainly in D's earlier days and during my pregnancy. Now that I've mastered how to use an iPad as well as Diana, I'm confident that I have all of the tools of successful parenting at my disposal (Kidding. Sort of).

Of course, age isn't entirely to do with it. Part of the reason I felt insecure and frazzled as a twenties mum was that I was: far from planning our pregnancy, my now-husband and I were in the early stages of planning our wedding. We had just gotten a gorgeous but (very) naughty bulldog. We were supposed to be moving into a house we'd purchased and had fixed up, but not a place that was necessarily well-equipped for a baby (with our luck, it had more stairs than surface area). And instead of knowing what my career was, I barely had a job when I fell pregnant - I had just graduated from a master's programme and was basking in the post-dissertation glow of not really working but not really stressing out about it... yet.

And all of our friends were also in their 20s, so they were as clueless as we were. And their terrified expressions when we announced the news just mirrored how scared I was feeling about the whole thing.

But in many ways, while I could have been better prepared for having a baby - in terms of career, relationship, living space - not being able to think about it and plan it has been one of the best things to happen to me.

It meant that I've had to throw myself into everything - work, parenting, my relationship - full speed ahead. And I've loved (almost) every minute of it, despite feeling like I'm navigating uncertain territory the entire time.

And now that I'm 30, I'm sure my insecurities won't go away completely, but when I see my sparkling, smiling daughter, I can't help but think that unprepared as I was, I managed to do something right.

Although as I'm thinking this smugly to myself, my daughter is (unsteadily) trying to walk out of the room wearing my high heels...

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