I love being called mummy but sometimes I worry that is all that I am now.
It feels like my life is a snow globe and when my kids came along someone picked it up and gave it a really good shake.
It all looks similar, but different somehow. And messier, much, much messier.
When I get breaks from being the parent-in-chief to my two lovely daughters I find it difficult to switch off from that mummy mode.
When you have children who are very young, it takes a lot of energy out of you. All children are exhausting, whatever their age, but young children are physically and emotionally demanding.
You must cater for their every need and you must do it with a smile on your face.
You have to tidy up their rooms, change their beds, pick out their clothes, wash the clothes, prepare the meals, feed them the meals, get up with them in the night when they cry, carry them when they decide they don’t want to walk and wipe their bottoms.
It’s all-consuming. You feel you have to keep juggling the balls of your life all of the time because you know that the second you sit down to relax, they will come crashing down and it will set you back at least a week as a result.
Because of that my kids are never ever far from the front of my brain. What do they need next? What are they going to ask for now? What are the potential dangers in this room right now?
If I get a move on and prepare well in advance, I can get someone else to step in for a few hours, or even days as happened last weekend when I went away for a friend’s hen do in Bath.
But when I do get those blissful moments of respite, when I can connect with old friends or return to places I used to visit frequently in my childless years (like a bar), I sometimes feel a disconnect.
People who I once could talk for hours and hours with, I find it hard to make a connection with. I struggle to know what to say when I’m asked what I’ve been up to, because the answer would be overwhelmingly boring for anyone who isn’t a parent.
What have I been up to? Well, last night I had to fish poo out of the bath and this morning both children’s nappies had overflowed in the night so there was double the washing to sort out. My life is all about the excitement!
Tales from the front line of parenting are only exciting for parents. I love hearing my friends confess about their parenting disasters or mishaps, it makes me feel so much better about my own crappy days.
But I am painfully aware that when I tell these things to people who do not have children that they have no way of relating to what I’m talking about.
The eyes glaze over and I’m sure they’re wishing they had invited out that cool childless couple next door who know how to mix a great mojito and always have stories about their latest holiday to tell.
If another parent brings up their worries about the temperature of their child’s room I could probably natter away to them about it for a good 20 minutes.
And yet despite this rather alarming shift in my ability to be remotely interesting to other adults, I swear I’m still me deep down somewhere.
I still love to gossip.
I still love to talk boys and relationship drama.
I still bloody love drinking when we’re on a girls night out.
I still like dressing up (even if my wardrobe is in dire need of an upgrade).
I still wish my house looked like it could feature in an interior design magazine.
I still want to browse the shops (and I don’t mean for baby clothes).
I still love a good cocktail.
I still enjoy a night out at the local Indian with a good bottle of wine.
I still love a new pair of shoes.
I still love talking about all the exciting places I want to visit.
I still want to hear everything my friends have to say (even when I’m so knackered all I can do is grunt to indicate I can hear them).
I hope that when my children are older and do not need me to give them quite so much that I will regain more of my old self.
I think returning to work will help a lot, as will fitting in a few more nights out with friends.
So if you ever feel like parenting has caused you to lose the familiar you, the one that you liked being, I know exactly how you feel.
I might answer to “mummy” most of the time, but I am still me deep down.
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