Each day in this world as a human has its own individual challenges. Then when you add parenting into it all everything becomes even harder. You are no longer just in charge of yourself; you have people that depend on you… for everything. Of course that is par for the course so why am I surprised? Well I’m not really but I am surprised at the toll it has taken on my emotional wellbeing. I feel constantly drained, constantly tired even when I have slept and constantly on the verge of a grumpy mood. I feel like I have lost myself; so who am I now?
Ellie is nearly four now so in essence I haven’t felt ‘myself’ for four years (more if you count the soul destroying pregnancy I endured). When she was born I was over the moon, we didn’t struggle to bond but I was still in a pretty dark place. Leaving her was unimaginable but in the interest of maintaining some form of marriage I did leave her to go out for dinner. Over the years I have left the girls more and more and now I don’t really bat and eyelid about it. Often I can be found practically catapulting them at my Mother in Law so I can have some time to myself or with Hubby. I don’t even feel guilty about it anymore, not even when they pull out the crocodile tears. Long ago I came to terms with the fact that having some time without them made being with them even more special and, to be perfectly, brutally honest, some weeks it made it bearable. My girls are good girls, but one has only just come out of the terrible two’s and threenager stage and the other one is running into it so hard I’m pretty sure she is going to emerge out the other side with concussion. I need some time away from them or I would feel even more unhinged than normal *twitches slightly.
The other way I keep myself sane and try to claw back a bit of ‘myself’ is I don’t talk about them much. Yes they are my blog focus mostly; yes they are my Instagram focus. But in real life they are not my main topic of conversation. I have always struggled to strike up conversations with other mums at playgroups and the park because all the ones that seem to gravitate towards me want to discuss the ins and outs of their little ones developmental stage. I honestly couldn’t tell you what stage either of the girls are at. I couldn’t tell you how many teeth Trixie still has to break and the only reason I know they aren’t all through is because she still has visible gaps. I couldn’t tell you how many words she can say or how many letters Ellie can actually write. Only that they can speak and Ellie seems to be able to write just fine for her age.
It isn’t that I don’t care because of course I do. It is simply that I refuse to define myself and my whole day by them.
I have a very good memory. Honestly its freaky the amount of tiny details I can remember. Stuff I have been told once 5 years ago is lodged in there. If I had utilised this effectively at University I could have been dangerous (or simply successful perhaps) so, at risk of sounding rude, I don’t want to know what someone else’s child is doing/not doing because I will bloody remember! It will take up valuable brain space would could be better served! So generally I only ask questions I actually want to know the answer to. I think you can learn something from everyone you meet and while a little small talk is great I like to think people can learn more from talking to me than when my daughters both said their first words.
The trouble is I have noticed recently that I am pushing so hard against the Mother side of me I am forgetting to embrace it. I am forgetting it is ok to be needed, it is ok to be wanted, it is ok to pause and appreciate the beautiful children that I (ok we) made! It is ok to cry and be frustrated but that doesn’t mean I am not happy. It is ok to feel a little lost, I have never done this before, we are all learning. It is ok to need comfort and it is ok to on occasion need to be left the hell alone. It is ok to just ‘be’.
So who am I? I am a Mother; I am a Wife; I am a Woman and I am strong. I am Me – Hear me roar!
This post originally appeared on Meet Other Mums.