So last night, Josh had gone to sleep at a decent time and I had an hour to myself to relax before the husband got home. I’d had my Glamour magazine sitting on the side for about two weeks now waiting to be read, so I grabbed it and settled down on the sofa…..
However out of the corner of my eye I kept seeing the issue of Gurgle, a pregnancy and baby magazine I’d also bought, staring at me also wanting to be read. I then realised I was doing some major skimming through the pages of my beloved Glamour cause I wanted to read Gurgle so much more. And then it dawned on me…… I’m an actual grown up!
OK obviously I know I’m a grown up; I’m 32, I’m married, a mother and fairly… (!) mature. But to want to read about weaning and other peoples birth stories rather than reading about this springs shoe trends, and which fake tan I should be using (oh I love fake tan…. Sorry, digressing)! Now that was a baffling moment for me.
When you become a mother, all your priorities change. Of course they do. But you don’t necessarily have to change in terms of things you enjoy. You don’t have to buy a Volvo, sign up to the waiting list for the local PTA, and become someone who wears crocs (don’t do that….. don’t ever do that). Your identity doesn’t have to entirely change. Don’t lose who you are. And note that I am not saying who you were, but who you are, because you are still you. It just happens that you’re Mummy too.
Things of course change when baby comes along. I can only speak from my own experience but I know I’ve always wanted to keep my own identity as well as being Josh’s Mum. OK, so I can’t do my beloved fake tan as often as I’d like, and going to the hairdressers needs to be organised months in advance so I can get a baby sitter, but I am glad I’ve kept these things a regular occurrence for myself. I know some people may read this and think I am shallow for finding things like appearance and how I dress important. But that’s ME. That’s who I am; I enjoy those things still, I’m delighted to be back in my heels, and my pre pregnancy clothes. That’s who I was before I had Josh, and it’s who I am now.
BUT having said all that I also love what comes with being a Mum. That’s exactly why I wanted to read my baby magazine more than Glamour! It doesn’t mean I don’t still love reading about fashion and beauty, of course I do! But I also really love reading about babies; it’s like you’re constantly learning from other peoples experiences, and discovering what your next milestone with your little one is (hello weaning!!). It’s a constant source of excitement, anticipating what your little one is going to do next; rolling, sitting, giggling, smiling, standing up. There’s always something to look forward to and not only that but this person has the power to make you smile no matter how crappy your day might be! I remember when our boiler broke a few weeks back and cost over £500 to fix; Sam was gutted but he said he then had a bit of time with Josh and it just made him think “it doesn’t matter, I’ve got this little person in my world who brightens up any bad day”.
The hardest thing you’ll ever do is have a baby; you’ll be more tired and overwhelmed than at any other time in your life. You will think you can feel yourself, the old you, slipping away and you may resent that. You may have moments where you resent that you can’t have an hour long bath, or paint your nails or any of the things you used to do which you totally took for granted, because you are now at this tiny persons beck and call. But let me reassure you; that feeling is not permanent! You learn, you adjust, you adapt. Every day is different; sometimes your baby will sleep, and you can have a long hot bath. Other days your baby will cry an obscene amount and you’ll have to shower in the same amount of time as Incy Wincy Spider plays on the iPad which will distract your baby for those beloved 2 minutes and 7 seconds! And on these days you will probably want to rock in a corner, or see off a bottle of wine!
When I used to have a bad day I’d be straight to the shops to cheer myself up; new shoes fix everything right! And as I’ve said I still love my shoes…. And bags…. And scarves…. OK, sorry I’m digressing again! But now if I’m having a bad day, I literally just have to look at Josh and everything else just pales in comparison. And what’s even more beautiful is that he hasn’t got a clue the power he has over me, he doesn’t know he makes me happier than I knew possible. He just loves me because I’m his Mum (and I’ve got the power of the boob)!! And that really does make me happier than any pair of shoes or fancy manicure could. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to say I don’t want or appreciate these materialistic things anymore because I do.
You need to make sure you find time to do those things that make you happy. Have some time for you! Go for a run, paint your nails, watch hilarious cat videos on YouTube (I’m telling you, Superman Cat never gets old). Do whatever it is you enjoy, just for that short time every day. You may be thinking how can I possibly have time for that; you can! Have a bath when baby naps, or get Dad or your Mother in Law to look after little one for half an hour. I remember those first couple of weeks after Josh was born, thinking that was never going to be possible, but it is – especially if you let others help. I’ve said it a hundred times, don’t be supermum you don’t have to do that to prove anything to yourself or anyone else. Let people take the baby off your hands for half an hour whilst you regroup and get your happy back on! Because as shallow as this post may have sounded at the start, what it really boils down to is doing what makes you happy, because a happy mummy makes for a happy baby, and there is little more important than your mental health. Because that is where your happiness stems from. So if having 15 minutes to paint your toenails pastel lilac boosts your mood then do it! Don’t think that makes you shallow, or a bad mummy! It makes you you, and puts a smile on your face and hey, bonus, you have fabulous looking toes at the end of it
So Yes, I think you can have the best of both worlds; you can be glam, you can still love rocking a pair of wedges, or going to the hairdressers and then you can go home to your gorgeous little one who will probably throw up in your newly blow dried hair, but who you’ll love unconditionally regardless!! And I think I’m proof of this; for example the next two blog posts I’ve got lined up couldn’t be more different; one is about the dreaded “mumnesia” and the other is a mascara review! Two worlds collide and it can work. You aren’t shallow for wanting that time to yourself, or to do the things you were so used to doing before baby came along. You’re fabulous, every day you are succeeding at being a wonderful Mum. You’re getting through all the crap that every day can bring; screaming, crying, ten pooey nappies, no sleep, a husband who you feel doesn’t understand! You’re coping with all that, better than you realise. You are doing a phenomenal job at something that is overwhelmingly hard. So reward yourself; chocolate, shoes, plucking your eyebrows, watching Made in Chelsea or simply hugging your beautiful baby! Whatever it is that reminds you that the old you is still there, and which makes you happy, do it. You deserve it!
Oh, and I did read my Glamour magazine again, after Gurgle of course, and it was fab.
*If you enjoyed this post I’d be so grateful to have your vote as Best Baby Blog in the 2016 MAD Blog Awards for which I am a finalist – you can cast your vote here and of course I’ll send cake as a thank you 😉 *