Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Keeping a sense of who you are

Some days I feel like Humpty Dumpty, sitting on the wall, trying not to break into a million pieces.

It's a strange feeling. Not completely foreign and neither happy nor sad, this Humpty Dumpty Syndrome has presented itself since motherhood when I now have every reason to keep myself together and be the best person I can be.

It has made me wonder what pieces the King's horses and King's men would find if I should fall off. What unknown golden parts of myself would be revealed, what seemingly important parts would actually just crumble into nothingness, what parts would glitter, what parts would lie dull and forgotten.

I have read about and heard from many mothers who say they lose their identity and individuality after they have children. I can see how it happens. When I look back on the time since my son was born, everything that he's done and everything that he is dominates my memory. All that I now am is tied up with him. I can imagine his childhood will whizz past in a blur, and I can imagine celebrating my youngest child's high school graduation with an equal sense of pride and what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-now?!

I'm very proud to be a mother and am utterly dedicated to my children's future, but I am a woman of many parts, and motherhood is just one part of me. It would be unfair to my soul and unfair to my children if I lose myself in this very important role I am now blessed to be playing. I don't know if it's achievable, but I want to do everything I can to continue to be my own person, pursue my heart's desires, entertain my whims and seek my own enjoyments in life.

I see Humpty Dumpty Syndrome as a good thing. I'm not going to sit but instead walk, dance, skip along that wall because I'm not scared of falling off, particularly if it means I get to leave behind the pieces of myself I no longer have a use for and put myself back together again with all that glitters and glows.

**I would love to hear about your experience / challenges / triumphs in keeping a strong sense of who you are...


Wednesday, 6 February 2013

The 5 biggest surprises of the first 12-months

The blogging stars have aligned. Toddler has been happily playing with his books and toys for more than 5 minutes straight, the cup of caffeine I'm hastily sipping is still steaming, and my laptop is beckoning me over to write a long overdue blog post... so, here I am.

I do apologise for the extended silence thus far in 2013 my lovelies (I still can't believe it's February already!!), it's no excuse, but I seem to have many balls in the air and juggling is taking priority over writing at the moment. Thankfully they're all good balls (can I say that?) - like a family trip to NZ, a poolside holiday 10 hours away and... oh yeah, another very big 'trip' expected to happen in a mere matter of weeks that will involve selling, packing and shifting our entire life. But more on that later.

I know I've already written about the year that was my biggest ever, but while I have a time out from the endless-planning that is my life right now, I wanted to share what I found to be the 5 biggest surprises of my first year as a Mum.

1. He's totally chilled

After being told at every scan throughout my pregnancy that we had a highly active baby, after waking up several times throughout my pregnancy to my belly {literally} shaking from side to side thanks to my darling son having some kind of party in utero, after growing up with Barbie-loving and {for the most part} quiet sisters, I truly believed the universe was about to play a little game by blessing me with an uncontrollable, loud, messy, muddy, insanely energetic, crazy little boy. Instead, he is one cool and calm customer, utterly serene, gentle (he'll often tickle my eyelashes with the tip of his finger, for example), so loving, cuddly, interested, cautious and oh so cheeky. Give the boy a beat and he will dance with moves that even I can't master. And that smile. Oh god, that grin of his will be his biggest weapon.

2. It was easy
OK, before you throw up your hands and log off Latte Mum forever, hear me out. For me, having a little baby around was much easier than I expected - there, I said it. Maybe my expectations were easy to exceed thanks to all the horrendous labour stories I had heard and the articles I read on the perils of sleep deprivation, but at the end of the day I will happily admit I found the predictable routine of breastfeeds, swaddling, nappies and burping a newborn was far more straightforward than I was expecting. What about now? Well, 12-months on I can say that toddlerhood is a whole different story. Snacks, making mash / interesting finger food / soft chicken / banana / yoghurt, playgrounds, hazards, teeth brushing, climbing, trying to eat sticks, trying to eat whatever crumbs are on the unvacuumed floor, attempting to grab {full} coffee mugs,  entertaining {with twenty different things until something works} and an independent little 1-year-old is a lot harder to manage!

3. I have no freedom
Pre-parenthood I just assumed the little poppet would fit into my life and plans; happy to be a cute little spectator to whatever I decided to do during my "leisurely" maternity leave. How utterly wrong I was. There's very little about my life that revolves around me, because it's all about him. And that's exactly the way I want it to be.

4. I still want to party like it's 1999
While very much a dedicated mum, I still have moments (usually on a Friday night when I'm two glasses of wine down and halfway through a TV movie) when I wish I could go back to my past life, just for one weekend. I wish I could still fit into my skinny jeans, still walk in very high heels, and still drink and dance till the wee small hours knowing all I have to do the next day is wake up (whenever) and get takeaways.

5. It's a slow burn
Some women describe a thunderbolt feeling and instantaneous connection when they first look into their baby's eyes, but for me it's been a slow burn. Of course I felt an incredible love for him even before the beginning, but my admiration, affection and bond has grown exponentially since then. In fact, most of the time I feel like he's the cool new kid at school that everyone (read: me) wants to hang out with, and so they (read: me) desperately try to impress them at every moment. I just think he's the best, and I know a lifetime won't be long enough to spend with him.

Tell me, what surprised you the most when you became a parent? Is there anything that continues to surprise you as time goes on?