Becoming a parent for the first time is quite possibly the most overwhelming thing in the world. One minute you’re looking after yourself and possibly your partner, and the next minute you have this tremendous responsibility. You have this real life, helpless, totally dependent little human that requires all of your attention. And you have no time for yourself. It can feel like the old you has disappeared, never to be seen and the new you is just a Mum with greasy hair and clothes covered in baby sick.
At the start of my pregnancy, I struggled to get my head around the fact that I was having a baby. I was never maternal. I even admitted to not particularly liking kids that much. But here I was, pregnant and a little bit frightened. Life as I knew it was over and I was scared that I would never be ‘me’ again. What if I ended up being ‘just a Mum‘? Could I live with that?
I was determined. I swore I would never lose my identity. I didn’t want to turn into someone who didn’t care about what they looked like. That wasn’t me. As a new Mum, I chose the shower and hairdryer over much-needed sleep. Did that make me insane? Did it make me vain? Some might say ‘yes’, but I disagree. I did what made me feel good at the time. When your entire 24 hours of every day consists of the baby, and you feel like you’re going a bit insane, there is nothing wrong with doing something that makes you feel like your old self. If that meant jumping in the shower as my newborn took a nap, then so be it.
Being Mum And Being Me
I needed to feel like me. With all of those hormones making me happy as Larry one minute and at rock bottom the next, it was important for me to look in the mirror and see that the old me was still there. That I hadn’t lost her. It was important for me to find her and have a chat (sometimes in my head and sometimes out loud) about how things were going and how old me and new me were managing at the worlds most important job that had been handed out with no training whatsoever!
Most days I chose to be more than ‘just a Mum’. Most days I put some slap on and made my hair look nice and that made me happy. I covered up the bags under my eyes with copious amounts of concealer and I cooed over my baby with a smile on my face. He saw me happy because I was still being ‘me’. If I hadn’t have done those things I do worry that I would have lost a part of myself, which was something I could never do. I’d been ‘me’ for too long.
For me, if I’m only ever ‘just a Mum’, I’m never going to be the best version of me and in turn, I won’t be the best Mum I can be. It’s about getting the balance. If I’m not the real ‘me’, I won’t be happy.
Five Years Later
I’m five years into my ‘Mum’ journey now. Still winging it most days but I am still me and I am still true to myself. I don’t go out much, I will admit. But I have nice hair (at least I like to think I do!) I get my nails and eyelashes done and most importantly I still see the old me when I look in the mirror. I have a few more lines these days admittedly, but by doing these things, I am still me. I am more than ‘just a Mum’. I am Jaki.
Be The Best Version Of You
Yes. As Mums and Dads, we have the most important job in the world but it’s so important to remember that we are still a person. ‘Mum’ or ‘Mummy’ isn’t what’s written on your birth certificate and it won’t be the only thing inscribed on your headstone. You are you. You always have been and you always will be.
A face full of makeup and nice hair isn’t for everyone and that’s absolutely fine. But it was my thing. It was what I needed to do to feel good about myself. For some, it might be a workout. For others, it might be getting lost in a book and for the next person, it might be getting that all-important sleep when they can to feel more with it when they wake. We are all different and that’s what makes us amazing.
A lot of new Mums suffer from Post Natal Depression and I don’t want anyone who has suffered to read this and think ‘but it’s not that easy’. I understand that it isn’t that easy for everyone. I was lucky in that I didn’t get PND, so please understand that I can only write this from my perspective. This is by no means meant to make anyone feel bad about themselves.
Be you. Be wonderful you. Be more than 'just a Mum', so that you can then be the best Mum that you can possibly be. Click To Tweet
It might take time to work out what you can and can’t do to make you feel like more than just a Mum but it’s so important that you do. You owe it to yourself and those around you.
Were you like me after your baby was born? Did you cling on to a part of your old self or did motherhood take over? Perhaps you struggled yourself? Let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear your thoughts.