I had a job, once. I showered every day, used the bathroom without interruption, talked to people on the phone without a screaming baby grabbing my leg and asking to talk to “Daddy...DADDAAAY!”
I went to an office. I commuted alone and listened to the radio in my car. Usually, I listened to the news, but sometimes I listened to a rock song or morning chat. I chose whatever station I wanted, and wasn’t shouted at from behind by anyone strapped into a car seat to say that it was, “La-la-loud, mammy...it’s too la-la-loud.’
I had an adult schedule. I did my work, attended meetings, went to the bathroom (alone and as often as necessary), went for lunch with “the girls” or did some shopping during my break.
After work, I sometimes met people for drinks. Or I went home for dinner. Or I met my husband at a restaurant and we got a meal. I came and went as I pleased. The only demands placed on me were placed there by my job or me.
I remember Saturday afternoons. We had an apartment near the centre of Dublin, and I used to walk into town: down Leeson Street, through St. Stephen’s Green past the children and jugglers and Spanish exchange students littering the lawns, over the bridge, stopping to admire the ducks, out the gate and onto Grafton Street. Sometimes, I went all the way up to Henry Street. Other times, I went through the Powers Court shopping centre, out the other side, then, nipping in and out of little shops, I made my way over to George’s Street. I browsed, at leisure. I shopped. I remember sometimes meeting female friends for lunch, a mooch through a shop, drinks even. The weekends...gosh, I remember the weekends. Unless there was some reason to wake up early, we didn’t. We just woke up...whenever. Breakfast in bed, and Sunday papers read from cover to cover.
I consider my life before I had kids as “my single life.” I was married, but that’s not what I’m referring to. I mean I was physically single. A sole person. Unique. Just one of me. I was integrated, not disparate. I took walks. I got exercise when I wanted. I spent all my money on me, or on my house, or on my husband. I was not a mommy.