More Than a Mum
When I first became a Mum, it completely consumed me. As it should, of course. I was breastfeeding then, single, and in recovery from major/multiple surgeries, I had nothing else to do, apart from blog. I loved it. I never felt happier, and gushed about being a Mum. It was my Mum that kept telling me that I needed to not lose myself in it, and I even saw multiple bloggers talking about how they're 'not just a Mum.' In fact, Lauren recently spoke about reclaiming her identity post-partum too - but much more eloquently than I have.
I am still a single, full time Mum. I change every nappy (unless my Mum or Ash is around), I do every bedtime, mealtime, all the teaching and play time. I do love it, but it is so exhausting. Some days I do think about what I could do instead of being a Mum, but I soon realise that, given the choice, I wouldn't swap life as Charlie's Mum for anything. But I do like to find ways to make me feel less like a "stereotypical" Mum.
It took me a good few months to realise that I had sort of lost myself. Which is ironic really, because in those first few weeks of motherhood, I had never felt more like myself. It's an odd feeling. Even my counsellor kept telling me that I needed to think about what I wanted, and get myself back out there, put myself first etc. To an extent of course, Charlie will always come first. I started by dating again. I met (what I thought was) a nice young man and had a lovely month of getting dressed up, spending time with someone other than Charlie, and being made to feel like a million dollars. Until he disappeared of course, but nevermind! It was nice while it lasted, and will be a time I'll cherish.
Fast forward a couple more months and I start to feel it again. Who am I? What do I enjoy? What do I want out of life? Why am I here? So I took on the 40 New Things in 40 Days challenge I actually figured out so many things I wanted to do (a lot I still haven't done) and made me challenge my anxiety head on. I'm still quite proud of what I achieved in those 40 days, and would love to give it another try soon!
These days I still struggle to answer those questions, but I think it's getting easier. I still don't know what my dream job is or what I want to do with my life but I am working on my own identity. A lot of this is how I dress. Previously, I've hated a majority of my clothes and felt really 'Mumsy.' I was 22 and a lot of my clothes reminded me of my 58 year old Mum. So, I treated myself to some new clothes, shoes and a bag, I started wearing chokers and other jewellery again, and I received a gorgeous pink jacket from my sister as an early birthday present. I still didn't feel 100% comfortable in myself due to my weight, but loving my clothes and changing my style was a great start. The Mum-bun is still a daily occurrence but when it's so practical, why change it?
Even changing my makeup helped. Liquid eyeliner changed my life a couple years ago but lately, I've started to hate it. I ended up buying a £1 MUA pencil eyeliner back in August and I don't think I'll go back to liquid eyeliner! Okay, so it's not as bold as a liquid, but I seem to line my eyes better with a pencil so why fork out for something that I can't work with as well?! I know, it's a TINY little thing but it has made a world of difference. Changing my hair colour to black has improved my confidence the most though. Before, when it had a hint of red, I didn't really like to stray from wearing black, grey, or red. Bit awkward as all I wanted to wear was pink but I hated the thought of clashing! I know it's stupid, but that just shows what my self esteem was like. Having black hair has led me to make bolder choices with my clothing and makeup colours, and I don't feel so paranoid now! I fully feel like I'm reinventing myself, and so far I'm happy with the way it's going.
This is probably going to sound silly, but the best thing I did was buy Charlie his own backpack. Changing bags have been the bane of my life as a Mother, and after a year, I have given up on them. I got Charlie this lovely little elephant backpack, and it's just big enough to hold everything I need to change his nappy a couple times, some small snacks and a bottle. This means I'm able to use a pretty handbag when we go out for the day, and is just another thing that makes me feel a bit more Saph. Okay, yes, so I have to take two bags out now rather than one but it makes it so much easier to find something when I need it! No more scrabbling around in a giant bag for my purse or a tissue, it's great!
Even though I rarely get to go out without Charlie, all of these things still help me to feel like myself rather than 'just' a Mum. Yes, I'm still going to change all the shitty nappies but I'm going to do it feeling and looking sassy af, rocking the Young-Mum-Who-Loves-Her-Son vibe.
Moving to Sheppey has done me wonders. Although Charlie benefits from it massively, this was something I 100% did for myself. I get more independent every day, anxiety barely bothers me, and I finally see myself leading a healthier lifestyle. I have a lovely canal walk literally round the corner, the swimming pool is 30 seconds away from my home, and they're going to build a gym on site next year. I'm finally going to join a spinning class! Plus, my Mum is literally a two minute walk away if I desperately need her. Did I mention I own my own home?! It's lovely only having myself and Charlie to worry about!
Now, as for hobbies, I still adore blogging of course, it's just that during September and October, I hadn't been able to publish as often as I would have liked to. However, I feel that may be helping my blog, as I have had a long time between posts to work on them, rewrite and edit them, and I have even considered changing direction with my niche! I definitely don't plan on giving it up any time soon - though the thought did cross my mind shortly after moving here. I don't think I could ever give this up for good though!
Obviously reading is a huge part of my lifestyle, I feel like that goes without saying now. Exercising has also become very important to me. Since I decided to lose weight, I've loved working out, I just don't get to do it very often. Mostly because I'm shattered. But again, the walking helps with that, though I do plan to start working out properly again ASAP! Photography is still pretty important to me, though I haven't actually used my camera since June. I definitely need a photography day soon!
I feel like I need something to do outside of my home and away from Charlie though, to really feel like myself. Before I had him, drinking was my 'thing' and I would regularly go on nights out with my mates, having a drink and a dance. I do miss those days but the thought of looking after a toddler with a hangover is enough to give me a headache without the drink! As I said earlier, a spin class will be running once the gym is complete but I don't know if that will be enough to satisfy me.
Although honestly, I think I miss having a companion. I don't need a partner, but it would be nice to have someone to hold whenever I want to. What can I say, I'm a very loving person. I'm not about to hop back on Tinder or start flirting with anyone who catches my eye but it would be nice to actually meet someone whose actions match their words.
I'll never stop being a Mum. I haven't always loved being a Mum, but I think separating myself from it slightly does me some good. It's not like I'm about to abandon Charlie, that's not what I'm saying at all. But if simple things like changing my style and joining the gym are helping me find myself, and making me happier, then it's worth being a little less 'Mum.' It doesn't mean I love my child any less.