I’ve been a mum now for 6 years.
My eldest daughter was born in 2009. I was 25 years old when she entered the world, so still relatively young but my did I take to my new role.
It was the most glorious and overwhelming feeling. I had never been so enveloped in such love for another person before. I found an inner strength I didn’t know I had and vowed with all my might to take care of my new precious bundle.
At the time, I was working full time, so I only took 6 months maternity leave and we placed Ophelia into full time nursery.
And so life continued.
We got up in the morning, Monday – Friday I dropped Ophelia off at nursery and continued on my way to work, picked her up at the end of the day, came home, spent about 30 minutes together before the bath and bedtime routine and then we would begin all over again the next day.
Occasionally at the weekend I might be lucky enough to have an evening out with friends and the rest of the weekend would be spent as a family.
It continued and ticked along like clockwork and this was our family life.
That was me – Full time working Mother.
Skip forward to 2013 and I had given birth to yet another beautiful baby girl, Francesca. This time though I was in a different place in life.
I had gone back to academics and was now a full time student, which naturally freed up a lot of my time as I was no longer restricted to the regimented 9-5 day time job and my role as a parent was much more involved in the day to day things.
I took a year out to spend as much time with Francesca as I could before getting caught back up in the real world.
I wanted to spend all the time I could with her whilst she was still young and as Ophelia was now at school, I was also enjoying being able to stand in the playground before and after school with her rather than dropping her into a before and after school club.
I revelled in the fact I could go to her Christmas and Summer fairs, marvelled that I was able to watch her in the schools biannual productions and cheered enthusiastically from the side lines on school sports day.
All this without having to ask a boss for time off, not knowing if the request would be granted or having to skip a lecture and face the wrath of a rather strict lecturer.
That was me – Stay at home mum.
I adored my time at home with the girls and I was very happy with the choice I had made bringing my girls up at home and not juggling myself between my family and a job/University.
I’m not sure if it was with the realisation of having a second child that I understood just how quickly your children grow but it was this mind-set which helped me to come to the decision that raising the children would now become my full time role.
Somewhere along the way though I seemed to have lost a part of myself and found myself struggling with just being ‘me’.
Simple things such as having an everyday conversation with someone would leave me frantically thinking of something relatively intelligent to say.
Small talk was a thing of the past for me as it became even a battle to form the smallest of sentences.
Who am I kidding the weather is the only thing I had in my repertoire of ‘Things to talk to other adults about’. If it didn’t involve my children or had a child related theme then I was stumped.
I was raising my girls and taking care of the family; Cooking, cleaning, school runs, nappy changes, feeding, taxi service, playing dress up and make believe, to name a just a few but I wasn’t doing anything for myself other than general day to day hygiene and making sure I was dressed.
I’d given up my place at a top university to further my career, I no longer attended the gym or my dance classes that I was so passionate about. I didn’t go to gigs anymore and I barely saw my friends in a setting that didn’t involve a soft play area with mucky hand prints all over the walls.
“Your a Mum now” I hear you roar!
I know that, and I love my time with the girls and right now I don’t want to be dropping Francesca at nursery 5 days a week or Ophelia into before and after school club, leaving me with only small windows of time to see the children I’ve brought into this world.
I want to be the mother that gets to see them bound out of school and run into my arms and I want to witness all of Francesca’s new discoveries first hand while I can. Because I know that this opportunity won’t present itself for much longer.
However that said, I also know that it is vital to make time for yourself, as you and I are more than ‘just a mum’.
So I am now setting time aside for myself again by starting to attend some exercise classes, joining my friends for meals out and enjoying the occasional cocktail.
My sentences are beginning to form quite nicely too and I’m even able to discuss, albeit very limitedly, certain current affairs without the hint of one of my children’s names cropping up.
There’s room in my life to be more than just a Mum and I am now finding the time to also ‘just be me’.