There is nothing like being a mum. It is the BEST. I was one of those women who swore I wouldn't let motherhood define me; but yet, here I am, first and foremost: a mum.
When Roman was born, I wasn't ready for how I'd feel with this overwhelming, all-consuming love. Love I'd never felt for anyone before, the kind of love where I would be totally ok with dying to give him what he wanted.
There are so many expectations that come with being a mother, especially in this modern age of social media. Raise your child healthy, happy, independent; to eat a wide range of organic, home-cooked meals whilst also making sure they are exclusively breastfed till the age of whatever; make sure they aren't over-stimulated or bored; they have plastic-free, natural toys; they learn to be inclusive, kind, self-sufficient in a chemical-free, clean environment. You get the idea. Conflicting information is around every corner, and being a new mum can be daunting with everyone telling you different things. The best advice I could give after being a mummy for the past seven months is that no one knows your baby like you. Trust your instinct, it's usually right.
In amongst the pleasures and joys of being a mama, is the stress, the mum guilt, and the all-consuming drain on your time that is having a baby. It's something I just wasn't ready for. I thought I'd be back at work by six weeks postpartum, done with breastfeeding by six months, and basically back to my normal life... I can confirm now that is not the case.
My postpartum body is a far cry from my pre-pregnancy abs, my healthy, vegan, homemade meals have been largely replaced with what I can make really quickly whilst baby naps that will fill me up until I have the chance to eat again, my boobs are still full of milk and I have no plans on letting go of that just yet, and my time? My time is no longer my time. My time belongs to my son.
Recently, Roman's dad went on tour for two months, I have always been a "tour wife," and quite enjoy when he's away and I have that bit of independent me time. I get to miss him and I'm excited to see him when he gets back. I usually clean the house and reorganise and add little bits and bobs. This time, I barely had time to shower.
We have two dogs, the baby, a two bed house, and I'm back teaching yoga 10 hours a week. My plan had initially been to unpack the entire house, redo the garden, organise the nursery, and generally do a lot more than I did.
I have insane mum guilt about going to work and generally doing anything for me. How DARE I choose to have my nails done or get a haircut over spending that hour with my son; but what I have realised is, I SHOULD get that haircut or get my nails done, go walk my dog alone, go for coffee with a friend on my own every now and then FOR my son so I can be the best mum I can be. Now, I know I need that bit of me time, even if its to have a little look in some shops and try things on after I'm done teaching without a crying baby on my case.
Toward the end of my partner being away, I felt like I was about to crack; two months is a long time on your own with a baby, plus two needy dogs that shed fur everywhere and a work schedule to get on top of. I have so much respect for single parents; how do you do it? I literally don't know. I managed to keep it together on very minimal sleep and only being slightly aggy, but it was so hard.
When I was pregnant, my lovely boyfriend gave me a book of self care for new mums, and it is filled with ideas of how to treat yourself because this mum shit is hard; don't ever forget it. However you parent, whether it be single, coparent, married, attachment, breast, bottle, baby led, care it out, cry it out... it is hard, and it is a learning curve. Give yourself a break every now and again, mama. You're doing amazing.