A few months ago, you asked me whether I’d changed since becoming a mum. I’ve never been much good at answering a question off the cuff, so I’ve been thinking about the question ever since. And now that you’re pregnant Sarah, I guess it’s time to answer.
The short answer, of course, is yes. I am unrecognisable in every way from the person I was before falling pregnant. Let’s start with the way I look.
I always made a bit of effort with my appearance, wearing makeup every day. I used to get my hair done and keep myself fit.
These days, I wear makeup perhaps once a month and I’d class that as a special occasion. I look terrible, always. It’s become my default state. This won’t happen to you though Sarah, you will always be beautiful.
Aside from the aesthetics, my whole life has changed, but you know that, and I think yours will too. Working away from home, commuting, going out drinking, none of those things matter any more.
I know that from the outside looking in, my life looks pretty crap. I don’t go out these days, I can’t because Lia isn’t ready to be away from me just yet.
I rarely exercise, I’m horribly unfit and you could probably say that I’ve let myself go. But when you come round, the house I am in day in, day out is in a mess. My clothes are always old and my hair scraped back.
The truth is, when the children are awake, I’m with them. We go to groups, we play, we sing, I enjoy every moment with them, even the difficult ones.
When they sleep, I work. Sometimes I’m at the computer until the early hours of the morning. I might be up once or twice in the night, then we’ll be up any time from 7 am for the day, ready to do it all again.
It’s difficult, and I’m tired. I can pack enough luggage for the whole family in the bags under my eyes. But honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. And I have a sneaking suspicion you might feel the same when push comes to shove.
But this does mean that there is no time for you. I hope that you will learn from my mistake and find a way to make time for yourself. Just to be alone, have a bath and a glass of wine. And even more importantly, find time to be a wife.
I am swimming against the tide now to get back to a position where I can do all these things. I should never have let them go in the first place. They were important.
But really, none of these things define the way in which I’ve changed. They are materialistic, selfish and aesthetic. None of them matter.
On the inside, I am different.
My patience is endless, the emptiness that I didn’t even know I was carrying around with me has gone. I’m happier than I’ve ever been because to two little souls, just for now, I’m the most important person in the world.
I am overcome with guilt, there is always guilt. Guilt that I’m not a good enough mum. That I don’t buy things for them, that I don’t pay enough attention to one because the other one is playing up. That I don’t listen as well as I should. That often, I have to work while I’m with them.
I see people looking at me, people that knew me before, people that don’t know me at all. They make their own judgments, jump to their own conclusions. I just avoid those people now, I don’t need them in my life.
You see, I’ve got everything I need right here. My scruffy little troublesome two, my neglected husband, the cat and the dog that complete our family, and a few good friends.
Thank you Sarah for being one of the few people that still keeps in touch, even now I go everywhere with two little troublemakers in tow.
Thank you for not judging me and good luck on your journey into motherhood. You will be a wonderful mother. And will it change you?
Of course it will.