Can I be a good Mum and a good me… at the same time?

Dear Rosie,

So it’s been a few nappy changes between letters but girl we have been BUSY.

In my life before you, months could fly by and nothing much would change. But life with you is an ever-changing tapestry of trying new food, seeing baby friends, stealing the dogs bed, adjusting to new sleep schedules, appointments to keep you healthy, trying to stop you climbing out of the dog door, story time at our local library and teaching you as much about 90’s boy bands as possible to see if we can avoid the wiggles entirely. Just when I think I have you pegged, you change the game and I just have to try to keep up.

The good news? You are thriving. We had your 8-month maternal health nurse checkup yesterday and your stats make us laugh. Your head is in the 95th percentile… (suddenly my fanny and I are thanking the universe for the last-minute c-section), you’re super tall for your age and you certainly aren’t fading away. You love your food. Wonder where that trait came from? You’ve had a few recent bouts of chest infections which has broken our hearts as you cough your way through the day. But even through the sickness, your cheekiness prevails through the monumental amount of snot and tears.  

Something else really exciting has happened as well. We’ve totally become best mates. To be honest, I was pretty convinced for a while there you weren’t too keen on me. When you ticked over to the 7-month mark, it’s like you tapped into more of your personality. You’ve started crawling and actually playing with your toys and you love nothing more than watching your Dad come through the door each night from work. You love your grandparents and seeing our dog Tess makes you SQUEAL with excitement. You are a bloody delight kid and being with you is my favourite thing in the world.

In my 20’s, my google search history consisted the which bars had the better chick to dick ratio, what alcoholic drink would give me the smallest hangover, where I could fly and not spend more than $87.50 and researching how to know when different food is off without having to taste it.

Now, I spend my nights researching which recipes won’t make you gag and what veggies to cook to make sure your diet is well rounded and you don’t end up eating like your mother. I write on mothers group forums asking about pureeing techniques and the best toys to enhance your development whilst simultaneously signing you up to music classes (we’re crossing our fingers you’re a musical child prodigy, but you know, no pressure). And as much as you hate it, I cuddle you whenever I see a moment of weakness where I don’t think you can be bothered fighting me off.  

Now I’m nothing special here. Mums all over the world research and read articles and talk to other Mums about different ways to do things. This is nothing new. But it’s 100% new to me and at times it can be exhausting trying to do right by you.

But here’s the thing. Whilst you are being loved so deeply, cared for with such dedication and thought… I suddenly realized something. I have completely forgotten to look after myself.

I literally have no idea who I am without you anymore. I haven’t seen non-mummy friends in months and even when I do, I feel myself word-vomiting stories about you doing the cutest burps and farts and “oh my god she waved her hands today and maybe she’s totally gifted” and my friends smile and nod but gee whizz… have I forgotten how to even participate in an adult conversation!?!

When I put you to bed, I walk around the house cleaning up, doing laundry and getting ready for you to wake up. I honestly can’t tell you the last time I had a purely selfish thought (which is not my natural instinct), and this is NOTHING to be proud of. Rosie… I even Marie Kondo’d the house. A small Japanese woman got me so excited I felt compelled to pull out everything I own and put it on a bed. Now that’s some serious power. You don’t know what this all means.. but it’s a sign that I need to get out of the house ASAP.

Before you, my hobbies included leaving the house without needing more than 4 minutes notice, seeing friends at ANY hour of the day without having to consider another humans nap requirements, not being covered in someone else’s puke, going to bed after 10.30pm and actually putting some effort into my day to day appearance.

But I realise these things aren’t actually hobbies. It was just a more straight forward existence.

What do I do for me? What do I do now that makes me feel good? What do I do that energizes me and gives me the strength and fills me with passion about my life?

The answer unfortunately is… not a lot.

Looking forward to our magical man on a pushbike who brings our Uber eats delivery or getting my weekly frozen coke just isn’t cutting it anymore. I’ll miss you Ricardo, your business will slow down for a while, but you’ll find love again with another bored housewife who is craving a beef burrito at 2pm on a Tuesday afternoon.

The truth is. I so desperately want to lose weight. I so desperately want to wear nice clothes. My body wasn’t a masterpiece before you Rosie but this new situation just isn’t working for me anymore. It’s my own fault and I don’t blame you for a split second. You have made me proud of what my body is capable of. The problem is… after a long day all I look forward to is food. A reward for a hard days work.

Survived a baby meltdown? Have some toast. Got puked on? Better have that chocolate milk. Made Rosie laugh? Let’s celebrate over some donuts.

It’s a freight train straight to a life of food issues that I don’t want you jumping aboard. I just don’t know how to fix it.

I think I need to find a better balance my darling. You are still my number one priority and I don’t want that to change. But I think I have to at least start considering myself as a priority in my own life. There HAS to be a balance. I’m determined to find it.

This mumma needs a hobby. This mumma needs to get healthy. If not for me, for you Rosie girl. Because god knows you’re only going to get faster and I’m determined to keep up with you.

All my love,

Your Mum

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