Today’s post of comparing me as a mum then vs me as a mum now, has taken written form after rereading an article I wrote many moons ago titled ‘The bittersweet loneliness & isolation of motherhood’. It’s an emotional article written completely from the heart, which after rereading & acknowledging my transformation as a mother, hit me 100% in the feels.
It felt like it wasn’t my writing.
It felt like I was looking in on somebody else’s life.
It felt sad.
As much as it felt sad, it also felt progressive.
I felt a huge sense of achievement realising just how much I’ve grown in confidence over the last year, not only as a mum, but as myself too.
Me as a mum then.
I can’t really recall much of being a mum in those newborn days. I remember lots about my baby, how she changed and developed, and how she brought so much love into our lives, but I don’t really remember much about me & how I evolved into becoming a mother. It just sort of happened.
Back in the early days I just got on with being a mum, I took each day (each hour sometimes) as it came & it very much felt like I didn’t have the time to even think about myself, let alone be myself.
Those days were relentless.
Motherhood is relentless.
I couldn’t switch off.
I was incredibly lonely. It’s dificult being a parent at any time, but I feel it’s especially hard going being isolated and not having family or friends close by. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and unfortunately that’s something we don’t have. We both have supportive families but because the closest of them are a 90 minute car journey away it’s something we don’t quite have the luxury of being dependent on.
I remember feeling like I was ‘just a mum’ a lot of the time, and I hate that term with a passion, but it’s the one I’m going to use as I feel it best describes my emotional state back then. I was consumed by motherhood. Everything I did was 100% focussed on and impacted by my child and I just couldn’t fathom another option to living. I was so focussed & trapped by out routine, I was like a woman possessed by the everyday clockwork of parenting.
It was a hard mindset to get out of.
Me as a mum now.
Something happened to me during lockdown earlier on in the year; I embarked upon a rather unplanned (initially unnoticed) epiphany. Lockdown was a really weird, really raw, but equally a really positive time for me; I felt like in those uninterrupted, undistracted three months I truly discovered who I am, and was able to see me as me, not just as a mother. That’s not to say I’ve distanced myself from being a mother, I still am a mum 100% of the time… I’m just now able to unapologetically see that there’s more to me than that.
The days are still relentless.
Motherhood is still relentless.
I still can’t switch off.
The biggest thing I’ve achieved this year is balance; I now realise that in order for me to be the best mother I can be to my child, I need to look after myself & be the best person for me first. Being able to see myself as a human being with my own personality, my own qualities and my own flaws has been a huge eye opener for me on my journey & I whole heartedly believe this has made me a better mother.
I’ve also learnt to shake the guilt! Mum guilt is such a harsh reality, and something I in no way contemplated back when I was pregnant… Oh how naive I was! My mindset has done a full 360 however & I no longer feel guilty if I leave my daughter at home with her father whilst I go out and grab coffee to have an hour to myself. Nor do I feel guilty for lying on the bed in my towel after showering for an extra twenty minutes, listening to an epic tantrum being tackled downstairs. Not guilty your honour!
I’m equally at a place now where I 100% trust my gut when it comes to parenting issues. It’s not very often that I have to consult Dr. Google anymore (we were best friends in the newborn days) & that’s not to say that I know everything there is to ever know about parenting (gosh, that’d be boring) but I no longer care about how I’m ‘supposed to parent’… I’m doing things my own way… And whether you parent that way or not, who the heck cares… Surely that’s what makes it so interesting anyway?
Basically what I’m trying to say is that if you feel lonely and isolated right now as a mother, or if you feel like you’re struggling, it will get better! It will 100% get better.
Time is the best healer!
How do you feel you’ve transformed as a mum? Do you do things differently now to then? Have you grown in confidence?