So I am guessing you are reading this because you have or are about to have the title of Mum. It’s more than likely. Or you just want to understand Mums. Maybe you are a Dad. And I am guessing you are well aware that this title will change you. You will probably change or have changed in ways unimaginable before you had babies. It’s inevitable right? Even if you don’t want to. The responsibility of it all might floor you. It did me. This is why this blog post came about. I WANTED to change when I became a mother. I wanted to be more organised, responsible and suddenly transform into a master baker. The first two happened, they had to and the third… well I made a carrot cake out of a packet the other day. But I didn’t want to be stressed, I didn’t want to be lonely and I didn’t want to be ‘mumsy’. That’s the fear isn’t it? That you will suddenly start wearing crocs. For comfort and ease.
You will change or have changed. And that is absolutely fine. You can still be YOU. You can still love yourself and love your babies too. No one is saying you have to surrender your whole self to motherhood and be nothing but. You are still YOU. Whatever you might be- wife, girlfriend, daughter, sister, friend, employee, colleague, lover, Jedi… whatever you want- plus a mum. Forget plus ones we are plus mums. Anything and everything you want to be… plus mum. It’s a new role, and a big one but it’s not your only role. You are a Jaqueline of all trades. That’s how I like to think about it anyway.
When I first became a mum. I wish someone had told me this. I wasn’t sure how Mum fitted in to everything else. The boys took their toll on my hair, face, social life, career, body, skin- you name it they disrupted it. And so they should too. I wouldn’t change it. But I’ve realised it is absolutely ok to take some time for yourself and regain some of yourself. Particularly after child birth, particularly after gaining your new title. Particularly because of all the challenges and hardships you face as a Mum. Any way you can make yourself feel great should be a priority. YOU should be a priority. I really cannot stress that enough. Don’t let yourself slip down the list. That of course is easier to say and write down than actually do. But try it please. Hopefully this will serve as a gentle reminder. You do a lot and you deserve a lot. Put yourself top of that list. Ok, ok maybe not top- the kids will always come first but maybe you could make yourself a very close second?
When it comes to putting makeup on and dressing nice. This is not about vanity. It’s about sanity. Staying sane through the crazy journey that you are on. Keeping hold of your identity because it’s as easy to lose as baby shoes. Fighting some of the inevitable. There is never enough time. That’s a given. So you have to make it, pinch it, steal it where you can. I have been known to paint my nails in the car and fake tan at 2am after the night feed. And blog in between nappy changes and during naps. It makes me feel more me. More time for myself. I can face whatever the day throws at me if I have applied some bronzer and lippy. The term ‘war paint’ has never been more apt. It is all out war with a toddler. And I need to feel like I’m winning.
When I first went to baby groups I was frowned upon for having my hair and nails done. One midwife told me I was going to have to cut my NATURAL painted nails as there was no way I was going to be able to look after a baby with those. What?! Why? If you weren’t bare faced and exasperated you weren’t doing it right. Oh. I must of been neglecting my baby. I must have left him crying for hours on end while I put foundation on. Nope. I have had those days with no makeup and a greasy bun, but generally I like to make the most of myself and look as best as I can with the two tiny humans I created myself hanging off me. I feel better for putting makeup on and like I said it’s all about feeling like I’m winning. I needed to feel like me again, I put makeup on within a couple of hours of my sons being born. Or reapplied should I say- I had it on the whole way through. Not much of it left and my waterproof mascara was tested to the max. Back on the road again driving down the road of my new role. Sanity not vanity. Some midwives didn’t understand this and I observed more frowns, but some were amazing and complimentary and made me feel like I was going to be absolutely fine. The old cliche Happy Mum, Happy Baby was said to me about 437 times. Whatever works for you. For me putting that makeup on after giving birth was two fingers up to the fear of crocs creeping in. I squashed them well away with some red lippy. Like a vampire and garlic- they can’t get me if I’m wearing highlighter.
You don’t have to be anything other than yourself. Plus Mum. I raise my glass to all those mums who prioritise themselves. Prioritise their dreams. Mine was to start a blog and here I am. I love the mums who love themselves. Working mothers. Stay at home mothers. Mothers with a social life. All mothers have done wonders. The days we feel like we can’t do it. When we feel guilty for having our hair done and buying another dress- so we buy up half of Zara Mini too. These mothers are happy and their kids know it (clap your hands).
I am me. Plus mum.