Monday, 8 August 2016

The Perpetual Grief of Motherhood.

People - parents, and non parents - have lots of opinions on motherhood and how to be successful at it. They love to inform, advise, warn, and downright terrify you with stories of what's to come.

But one thing I never remember being told about is the constant feeling of grief that comes with being a mother. Even when things are going well.

When I'm not on maternity leave, I'm normally at work every day apart from Saturday. I work two jobs and don't get to spend as much time as I would like with my children.

So, as you can imagine, I've been mega excited about spending the whole summer with my eldest before he starts school, and getting to know my lovely newborn.

Fun times, yes?

Tell my bloody emotions that! I have spent a good chunk of the past eight weeks crying. Ugly, snotty sobbing in the privacy of my bedroom or discreet, silent tears behind sunglasses.

What the frig is wrong with me?

I'm literally grieving for my children as they grow before my eyes, and I'm fully aware that it puts me in ungrateful, mad bint category.

Anything sets me off. My eldest asks for an extra big cuddle and says, 'squeeze hard, mummy, don't let go!'. Oh lordy. On go the sunglasses.

My youngest clutches my boob and stares into my eyes while he feeds. Cue me roaring and snotting on his face as I savour this magical moment.

The thing is that they grow ridiculously fast. I cannot comprehend that my tiny little monkey - bum is now a lanky four year old, heading off to the jungle of the primary school playground.  I will be a sodding state dropping him off in September.

It's only a matter of time before he doesn't naturally reach for my hand when walking, finds a new bestest friend that isn't mummy, and prefers playing with his pals than baking or dog walking with me.

How long before I become just 'mum'? That precious second syllable discarded as easily as his fleeting, but intense, obsession with Peppa Pig. Will he outgrow me as easily?

I'm fully aware how melodramatic I sound; mum's prerogative. I mean, he's only four. I've got ages until he's a moody, sarcastic teen. But I'm still grieving the rapid changes in our relationship. I'm pushing him to be more and more independent - what school want for him - and at the same time screaming inside, 'slow down, stay a little longer!'

And I know it will continue. Every milestone in their lives will reduce me to tears - not only of grief, but of joy and pride as I see them grow and develop as little (and eventually, big) humans.

And I wouldn't change it. I'll take the grief with the joy. Even if it has made me a right soppy git who can't even listen to ABBA's Slipping Through My Fingers without dissolving into a pathetic mess...

Sunday, 7 August 2016

Preggo bellies - eww, right??

I'm going to share a photo with you. I've shown it to no-one apart from my other half because, shows a PREGNANT BELLY!

Ew, right?

Actually, rather conversely to many ladies who happen to be up the duff, I loved my pregnant body. Even with the varicose veins, the stretch marks, the hairy belly, the itchy skin. Even with all that, it still felt proper brilliant! Empowering, even (hence the rather cheesy, strongman pose - I've covered up my attempt at a 'game face' for all our sakes).

I'm eight weeks postpartum right now, and I really miss that belly. I'm going to get all hippy and soppy, but it's completely magical how your body adapts to house a tiny person, and how the skin doesn't even split apart when they judo - attack your womb at 38 weeks.

My current belly is rather worn out looking. Bit saggy, leathery and wibbly, with a wrinkly belly button that looks like an inside out prune. But I'm not massively bothered. I'm past the age of crop tops and bikinis, and once it's wrapped up in clothes you can't tell anyway (I hope!).  My post - pregnancy body philosophy has always been, 'If it all snaps back, take advantage and have another! If it all to goes shit, you're ruined anyway, so have another! Yay!'

Back to the photo. I was just about to teach my evening's dance classes that day. I was getting changed in the loo and I stopped to look in the mirror - something I manage roughly once a week.

So many of my friends have hated their pregnant bodies, but I saw my reflection and felt frigging awesome. Here I am, going about my daily business, bouncing about to like a loon to chart music in a church hall (as energetically as my old lady hips would allow) and my 26 week old baby is carefully nestled in my little round bump, snoozing away.

I took this to remember how ace I felt that day, and to remind myself later on of how my body has changed so much over the past 11 months.

Plus even though it's looking a tad battered at the minute, my body will change yet again over the coming months as everything heals properly. But it takes time. 'Patience is a virtue, darling', as I would say to four year old Child 1 (which is a synopsis of what I would actually say: 'I've only got two hands and one of them is currently holding your baby brother because today he can't be happy unless I'm constantly jigging. I'm doing your breakfast RIGHT NOW. You've asked me 11 times if it's ready over the past minute and a half - DO NOT ask again, or I will launch the Ready Brek into the paddling pool!')

It also made me realise that I actually feel more body confident now than I did five years ago before I was pregnant with Child 1. How on earth does that work?! I had many less wobbly bits, and I didn't have a skin shelf from being hacked at during two c sections.

Maybe, it's because I know what my body is capable of now. And that makes it chuffing amazing!

Ay up!

So. I've started a blog. Something that lots of mums seem to do these days.

I mean, why not? I've got an over abundance of thoughts and unwanted opinions that no bugger listens to, so I may as well launch them carelessly into the ether of the Internet. Also, not working is genuinely turning my brain into mashed potato.

The deal is that I'm currently on maternity leave with a two month old bundle of joy and my soon-to-be-starting-school four year old. Despite the nightly wakenings, recovering from being sliced open for the birth, and trying not to lose my rag answering roughly 542 non-sensical questions each day, it's like a blimmin' holiday compared to my usual schedule.

During a normal week, I work full time hours squidged into four days and then work as a dance teacher on an evening. On my 'days off' I attempt to keep the house in some kind of order and try not to be a shit mum, not to mention trying to grab six hours sleep here and there, and exchanging a few words with the other half, in lieu of an actual meaningful conversation.

That's all on the back - burner for now while I lounge in the 'land of mum' for a wee bit longer. And frankly, it's bloody bliss. We're going to be brasso for a fair few months but it's absolutely worth it.

Although at the rate Child 1 is growing, I may have to send him down the pits to pay for new trousers #newblog #maternityleave #keepingthegreymattergoing