Is it ever really possible to feel like your ‘old self’ again?

I used to be obsessed with my old self.

img_3102

By Old self, I am of course talking about my pre-baby days. My twenties. Those care free days when weekends were one long party, social after social. My legs were cellulite free, my stomach wasn’t bearing the scar of 2 caesareans and I could squint in the sunlight without fear that my face had just concertinaed up. My Old self didn’t have to worry about anyone else. I thought this was great.

And it was great. But I got caught up in this gig called ‘Adulting’. I was cheated out of my twenties, by the thirties bug.

I was earwigging to a conversation a group of girls were having recently, one of them was saying that she couldn’t wait to have a bit of time off from parenting so she could ‘feel like her old self again’. Is that even possible? Is it that easy for us Mumas to revert back to those days? Is it possible to shake total responsibility and that dull ache of worry for our children, and, in its place, have a truly carefree head-in-the-clouds break?

I would love to find the ‘off’ switch sometimes. Pop the kids in the cupboard with my very adult ironing board and skip off to an all-day session.

I love a break, mini break, evening break, hell I’d take a coffee break. But it no longer makes me feel like my pre baby self, my old self. I can’t really remember who that person was anymore. Obviously the silly giggly gormless girl still lives inside of me but she grew some wrinkles, I think she found some morals and her head definitely won’t let her get away with buying the cheapest wine on the shelf anymore. Sigh.

The thing is I don’t mind. I’ve stopped looking for my old self. I’m growing really quite fond of this old bag instead. Life in the Thirties lane gets my vote. Over the past 5 years I have grown to love my Muma responsibilities, no I won’t get slushy, but it is pretty cool being someone’s ‘go-to’. However my wardrobe has taken a bit of a nose dive in the fashion stakes: I own a coat with a hood and wear it. Heels feel barbaric (how did I ever run up and down escalators in these) I now look like I need a wee when I walk in them. I love an elasticated waist – and still can’t part with my gigantic caesarean pants!

img_2585-1
But I wonder if hankering after your twenties self is universal to all, kids or no kids? I don’t think my girls should shoulder all of the blame for the loss of my ‘old self’. Cellulite is not exclusive to us Mumas, likewise those long forgotten bikini pogo stick figures. Wrinkles don’t just target those who procreate – although I do claim the baggage under my eyes as being a direct result of 5 years of baby induced sleep deprivation.

Is it really entirely the fault of my children that I own a sewing kit, a ‘general cards’ basket, gift wrapping caddy, a steam mop and a sodding great hose?! Probably not…

That’ll be my old self playing at Adulting then.

 Adulting with my new hose! Twenties self would be puking in the corner.

 

Run Jump Scrap!
Cuddle Fairy

The guilty (professional) Muma

guilty muma

As many of you already know: I am a stay at home Mum. I think that phrase is a bit naff, but it does what it says on the tin (although I am allowed out occasionally…). I used to have a career outside of our home. But now we have 2 little girls, my career is here, in the middle of my family. All day. Everyday.

It’s like any job really: it has its ups- mostly when the bosses are out. No, not at the quarterly finance meetings, but at school and nursery. And it has its downs, like when I miss my weekly washing targets. The hours are slightly longer than I was used to, I seem to be in my office by 6am. But the commute is a staircase and dressing gowns seem to be acceptable office attire. The slight stinger in the tail is that the pay is shit, well, non-existent actually. My bonuses are now paid in kind; lots of snotty cuddles, kisses and the odd punch in the face. Don’t get me wrong, those are priceless bonuses right there for the taking. But they aren’t exactly a lunch-hour-Warehouse-dress-spurge are they.

So this Mummying thing is my profession now. A professional Mummy in my mind creates innovative organic meals, has a home which may as well feature in House Beautiful – a place for everything and everything in its place. The children must attend a host of clubs and after school jollies – ferrying around is quite high up on the JD. Weekends can be nothing but activates and socialfests as all of the house work can be done during the week… surely.

But somewhere I seem to have taken a wrong turn. This isn’t how my approach to Professional Mummying is working out despite my very best efforts to be a real life super mum and nail this job.

Muma Guilt has reared its ugly head once again. And not just guilt that I should be doing a better job at home, but guilt that I DO have all day everyday, to get my shit together, while so many Mumas work long hours on top the full time Muma gig – and seem to be doing a better job!

If I were to have an appraisal tomorrow, I would be issued with a disciplinary. I stopped and glanced around at the chaos that seems to have tied itself around me: my car is always a wreck. From chewed sweets to fruitshoots, abandoned items of clothing and half of shoe zone seem to have a magnetic force to our foot wells. Darcie actually decided that the undetectable smell in our car was in fact, Bum. Great.

It shouldn’t be this way. My car should smell like freaking roses, using tips I picked up on pintrest, during research on ‘How to avoid your car smelling like bum’, because that’s the sort of thing I should have time for. But I don’t.

The wash bin is always overflowing (should I introduce naked Tuesdays?!) even though I am at home all the time. Doing washing. And folding. And putting away. We run out of bread and milk, nappies and formula on a weekly basis – but never coinciding with the weekly shop and at crucial shit-explosion moments, or the breakfast rush.

I dish up ready meals, Ready meals!! I’m at home all the time. This shit is my job and I dish up ready meals. We never seem to have enough time (or calm) to fit in reading the school book every night. I should be devising word games and *crazy* maths challenges to get those intellectual juices flowing through my 5 year olds head. Instead we get our interior design heads on with their Sylvanian world, and cut up Kinetic sand.

I am getting better at remembering own clothes days and those super fun random music shows that the school seem to enjoy springing on us. Clearly the parental form of SATs. So maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps the first 5 years of being a professional parent is just your probationary period.

 

Any other stay at home mums feel this guilt?

Renovating with pint sized helpers

I’ve  put off writing this post about our 2, or maybe it was 3 months we spent camping in a dusty waste land, whilst we undertook some much needed renovation work to our more shabby that chic little home. This was for 2 reasons:

Firstly during this dark period of time I didn’t know my arse from my elbow let alone locate my laptop or half a brain cell. And secondly because I really didn’t want to write a sympathy seeking ‘we had no water last night, woo is me post’ when my new range cooker was sitting, no sorry, sparkling, it was definitely sparkling, in the middle of the deserted kitchen space. It is what all of my domestic dreams are made of. That’s really the only way to describe it; You can murder a dessert in one half while a stuffed bird roasts away in the other. Winning. (I should divulge that I spent the first couple of weeks after the kitchen was up and running still cooking ready meals, because I didn’t want to dirty the new oven!!)

However the reality of tearing apart every room as well as digging up the garden, all at once whilst hubster was still going to work, our biggest baby had just started school and toddlermonster was at her most epic, wa really something of a challenge. And I feel I need to share…

The beginning part was great fun, I can’t deny it: think colour charts and a major overuse of Pintrest. While the end has by far surpassed my expectations: I can’t believe I get to live HERE! But it was the dusty, grey, dirty, messy bit in the middle that was not so jazz hands. Especially when trying to convince a toddlermonster and a 4 year old that although mummy is washing up outside in the drain and we had to uncover and pull out the sofa to watch Paw Patrol this evening, life is totally normal.

I promise that your parents have not completely lost their minds.

We began with packing up the kitchen. Thank god I wasn’t being over looked by environmental health, or worse, Kim & Aggie, as I salvaged tins, packets and unidentified BITS from the bottom of drawer runs, and cupboards. Who knew black holes existed in the back of the carousel cupboard?!

We took over the girls little toy room at the back of the house and managed to shoe horn the contents of the kitchen as well as the rest of the downstairs crud into it. The toys got the raw deal and took a holiday in the loft. (Some of which are still enjoying their trip.) The funny thing is the girls didn’t really notice that their stock pile of stuffed, plastic, boxed tat had vanished. Result.

mess
Spot the Lila…??!

At its peak we were making rounds of tea for around 12 workman. That really tested my memory. White with one. Black with none. It appears that ‘trades’ (lingo – see!) only function with about 2 litres of tea inside them. I needed a bloody urn.

We muddled along with our new extended family for around 7 weeks with Darcie uttering the occasional ‘I hate my house’ with big sad looking eyes. To be fair she had a point, I wasn’t exactly feeling very fond of it myself. Living in a building site isn’t for the faint hearted. I tried my very best but did have a couple of embarrassing moments when the tears just spilled down my face to a room full of shocked builders. I think that might have been the day that the electrician drilled a hole through our new glass roof and water just poured in, power shower style, all over our freshly plastered/ painted walls. Serious cry face. Nothing a mobile Aluminium welder couldn’t fix a few days before Christmas!

Hiccups aside the deadline was breached by only a couple of hours in the end. That’s not bad, and although we are still snagging now, and continuing the never ending decorating, the house is really getting there.

Maybe builders make you live through dusty hell so that once they have finished you are so happy just to have a functioning space that you care little for those imperfections they might have left for you! Various trades are still coming and going to tweak this and that… So I’m still on tea duty.

The result is that our house looks fresh, and in my eyes, perfect. It doesn’t really look like it belongs to our messy slightly bonkers family! Woe-betide the first perpetrator to smear Nutella hands along the hallway. The girls were on a blue smartie style high when they saw their new bedrooms and toy room. So I guess the dust was worth it then.

Hats off to those who take on much bigger projects with children in tow – or even carry out the work by themselves. Huge, huge respect.

Here are a few piccys: happy to divulge the where-we-got-it-from secrets, just ask!

New kitchen

4 picsdoouble back