I often have moments, flash backs of something that happened years ago or what I thought the future would be like. I’m lucky that I married someone I was at school with (although we weren’t loves young dream, we got together when we were 26) and have lots of friends from my school days and 20s meaning that some days, life is just one big reminiscence. I wonder what the younger me would have thought about my life now? Here are some things I would share if I had the chance to go back:


This Demanding Life Mummy Brigade






illustration by John Shakespeare

You will never join the Mummy Brigade

The thought of NCT groups and sitting around in coffee shops discussing babies/schedules/in-laws/schools etc, filled me with dread. I do not, for a second, regret not doing NCT. I may have 2 children but I don’t feel like a ‘Mummy’. Some days my clothes come dangerously close to the London Yummy Mummy circuit but then I remember they’re either hand me downs or have holes in.

This doesn’t mean that you’re cool (or whatever they call it these days)

You may be ‘cool’ for someone in their 30s and even for a Mummy but the younger generation will never, ever think of you as on their level (and that’s probably a good thing!) 

The older generation will not ‘move over’ and you’ll find yourself bossed around by them as well as your kids 

This Demanding Life BossyWhen we were kids our parents pretty much ruled the roost, running the children with one hand and their parents with the other – this is how most 80s households worked and what we expected the natural order of events to be when we were parents ourselves. However, our parents generation will not move over. You will find yourself continually told to sit up straight, what to say, how to say it, and when having a break from how you should conduct yourself, it will be so you can be told how to parent your children. Stock up on wine. And gin for the tougher days. 

You will raise your children differently from your experience of being raised. Life has moved on and no longer are children seen and not heard, they are actively encouraged to have a voice, to express opinions. Some days they express as many opinions as the older generation. For those days, take wine as prescribed. 

Those people who were ‘so’ important during your teens? 

You won’t know them now and on the odd occasion their name comes up on Facebook, you will cover your eyes until they go away. They will always be a part of the ‘rich tapestry of your life’, however straightening out those threads is no bad thing.

You won’t regret your tattoos! 

Everyone said you would but actually, tattoos have become so socially acceptable these days, it’s a pleasure to still love the design of the big one and you may be considering one more (and hoping it doesn’t scream ‘mid life crisis’).

Fearlessness doesn’t last forever

This demanding life motorbikeRacing motorbikes, being slung in Serbian Jail for not having a visa, being held at borders in a  tiny hut, surrounded by men with guns….. these all become great stories to tell but bear no relation to life now. These days you worry are the children breathing ok? Will you be struck down with illness? What if you lose one of them when out shopping? Not to the point of fretting or being distracted, just these days, if you get to go abroad it’s generally to more family friendly places and you make sure you’re actually allowed to be in the country before you get there! 

Integrity goes a long way

You always had integrity and that will grow stronger and stronger. This is your moral compass, what guides you through life. You won’t do what doesn’t feel right, this comes down to work, relationships, parenting etc. Once you reach my age, a lot of people comment that they like working with you professionally because of your integrity. Hang on to it, it’s a good ‘un. 

Having spent your childhood and teenage years trying to ditch your siblings, they are the people you’ll want to spend the most time wiThis Demanding Life Siblingsth in your 30s.

Seriously. They are the only ones who will really ‘get’ you. Mainly due to all your shared experience and rather random family members. Your kids will want to spend more time with their cousins than any other human being on earth. You’ll like the same movies so cinema trips are fun and every event (even popping to Fay’s on a Saturday) will include booze. 

You will much prefer your 30s to your 20s

Don’t get me wrong, the 20s were fun but all the heartbreak, the loneliness of living alone for years – that’s all gone now. The fact that you drove all the way to an (optional) conference in Derbyshire just to get a night away from the family, shows that loneliness certainly does not prevail. The overwhelmingly brilliant thing, that sets your 30s apart from your 20s is your friendships. You have the most brilliant friends and even those who were still around (being fab) in your 20s, you have an even better relationship with than before. 

Parenting is actually pretty damn great

You always knew that you wanted children at some point in the distant future and that babies and toddlers were good fun but what would being a parent be like? Yes there’s monotony and my goodness can children nag. Doing the school run 10 times a week will drive you to distraction but the trade off of someone else having the kids for 7 hours is too strong a pull. Plus it’s a legal requirement that they go to school (the big one anyway, the little one goes to Nursery purely to test how much he can whinge at drop off). This Demanding Life Parenting Leaving Hospital

Raising kids these days is hopefully, much more fun than it was for parents of the 80s, who didn’t seem to enjoy it very much. The sense of pride the first time your toddler demands to have Bon Jovi playing in the car, the sticky cuddles, the clever things they say and the many opportunities you get to pull them into your interests. You have children who love music and action movies and sports and the dog all from your mind bending approach to parenting. 

When the ‘pretty damn great’ parenting is getting a little much (the kids are nagging, you want to watch Game of Thrones in peace, you’ve run out of child friendly snacks), there is always your mother-in-law who will scoop them up, have them overnight, cook for the whole family until you feel ready to parent again. Pay her in wine. Never let it run out. 

If you had the chance, what would you go back and tell your younger self?