Keeping a sense of myself

When I was pregnant, a lot of people told me that my life would change irreversibly (obv.) But what’s been really weird is the expectation by some people that I would completely change my life and who I am now I am a mother. That my life becomes simply about the baby and that everything I enjoy or do for pleasure is forgotten. Interestingly, no one has made the same assumptions about Benn (not to me, anyway.)

18-09-2011 13;30;12

Before I go on, I want to make a point that some things have changed; D is indisputably the most important person in my life. He’s amazing and funny and frustrating and bloody hard work all rolled into one. He’s not the easiest baby in the world, but I wouldn’t change him- he’s mine and Benn’s and I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that he grows up to be a pretty awesome individual.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve found the switch from seeing 100+ people a day in my job to sometimes just seeing D, Benn and the postman hard. The lack of routine, from a world where my entire life was ruled by a work routine, has been very hard, too. I’ve just started to acknowledge how big a struggle I’m finding this change and I’ve begun to ask other people for help. During the hardest time, I forgot about myself. You do. You become so on edge, thinking about what the baby needs, when the next feed is due, whether you have enough nappies, that you don’t really eat much and you get used to sleeplessness. It can drive you barmy, in the end.

31-12-2011 16;59;14

But once that fuzz started to clear, I decided that I wanted to reassert something of myself. At Christmas, I used the vouchers my family gave me to buy perfume. I’ve never really been into perfume, but now every time I go out, I spritz a little bit on. It makes me feel a bit more… human. I’m not just someone’s mum, but I’m someone who has a preference for something.

I also read somewhere that, as a stay-at-home mum, it’s important to get out and also to wear a bit of mascara. It seems a bit flippant, but it is true. The days that I go out are happier for me and D (as long as it’s not for his jabs!) and I will usually try and make a bit of effort (tinted lip balm is my friend!) It’s good for me to see friends and family and D enjoys the interaction and the opportunity to flirt with old ladies. I’m starting to get a bit braver and go and attend mother and baby things now he’s more predictable as well.

One of the hardest points was when we had the snow. We live on a very steep hill and getting out of the house was nigh on impossible. I was trapped in the house for a week with a cranky baby. It was not fun. I started to go ever so slightly mad; I could tell because I volunteered to do the food shopping and I HATE doing the food shopping! Since then, I’ve decided that I’ll go out somewhere, without the baby, one night a week. Benn is really good at helping with D when he’s at home and I get to have really long, hot baths very frequently, but sometimes, I need that complete break. And it’s working. It’s not like I’m going out raving or anything, mind. I usually leave the house at about 5pm and return about 8ish. I might for something to eat or meet some friends to do a bit of crafting. Whatever I do, I come home happier and relaxed- and a happy mum equals a happy baby!

It’s been really important to try and remember that I am my own person away from my son and my husband, because otherwise I’d probably be really bored and pretty depressed. At least this way, I’m the best mum I can be, right?

(BTW- the photos are from a blog I used to run called Ladies in Monochrome. Do have a look if you like old photos!)

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