Getting back

I’ve read a lot of blogposts recently from mums who feel like they’ve lost their way and lost themselves. They are usually stuck at home with a 2 or 3 year old toddler, completely at their beck and call. They probably expected the first year as a mummy to be hard, but didn’t know it would carry on for years and years. They don’t look like themselves, they don’t feel like themselves, they don’t remember who they used to be.

I know exactly how they feel. I’ve been there. Most of us have. Except when my boys were 2 I was also pregnant. It’s not easy being pregnant with a 2 year old. It’s not easy being pregnant with a 4 year old AND a 2 year old. But it’s a breeze compared to having a 4 year old, a 2 year old AND a newborn.

When my kids were small, I used to look at women in their late 30s and early 40s and wonder why and how they looked better than me when I was so much younger. Why was their hair nicer, their clothes nicer, why did they have an air of confidence?

Now I know. Their kids had started school. They were starting to find themselves and get back to who they used to be. I’m there now, I’ve been there a while, so I’m writing this especially for people who aren’t there yet. Just to let you know you will get there in the end. You will find who you used to be. You might be a bit of a variation on what you were, but you will find things you enjoy away from the kids and get your confidence back. When you get there will almost certainly depend on when your youngest starts school. So if you only have one, it will take four years. If you have more, it will take a lot longer… My eldest was 9 when his little sister started school, so that’s how many years it took me to start getting properly back to normal.

It started with running. Almost as soon as my daughter started school, my husband signed me up for a half marathon. He didn’t really ask me, he just did it. And I’m very grateful for that. Because I love the freedom of running and the sense of achievement of covering a long distance and completing a race. I’ve done three half marathons since my daughter started school and have just signed up for my fourth.

Then there was the dancing. A middle-aged bird who loved to dance in clubs back in the day signed up for a street dance class with women 10 years younger than herself. And loved it. And thrived. And got better and better and better at dancing.

And finally there was the blogging. Writing has given me a confidence and an identity I feel can still be lost in day to day life. It’s partly taken over my life. I think I spend almost as much time blogging as I do at work. But I enjoy it and I wouldn’t give it up for the world. It sounds naff, but it’s helped me find myself. It’s also helped with my work because it’s helped my writing to improve. After the endless restructures, I’m basically writing all day every day at work, which suits me down to the ground. I’m not senior, but people know I’m a safe pair of hands. If people want something written or something checked, they know who they can go to.

After nine years with little confidence, feeling like ‘just a mum’, I can say these things about myself:

  • I’m a good dancer for a woman of my age
  • I can run further and faster than most women of my age
  • I am a better writer than most people.

It’s not rocket science or brain surgery, I’m not aware of there being a ‘middle aged street dancing’ Nobel prize. But it’s good enough for me.

 
I already had this post in mind when I received the most amazing Christmas card. We don’t usually do Christmas cards at work – for environmental, money and laziness reasons. But one of the ladies broke ranks. Not only did she send Christmas cards, she made them herself. She is a lovely colleague and we have a lot in common, but we also have a lot not in common. Compared to many of my colleagues, I haven’t known her that long.

But she sent me the most awesome Christmas card. It summed up all that I’ve just written – and it was her view, not mine.

 

You are talented, interesting, creative… Keep being who you are ‘cos it’s ace… and whilst you don’t always get the recognition you deserve… We all appreciate and love you! Keep DANCING! (And don’t judge me for my grammatical errors!) Much love and respect x

I got there in the end. After many years in the mummy wilderness. If you’re still stuck there, hang on in there. You will make it too.

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Author: Sarah Mummy

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36 Comments

  1. What a gorgeous post and I wholeheartedly agree with everything you’ve said (from someone who was once also a mummy of a 4 yr old a 3 year old and a newborn!)

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  2. Thanks very much! I was inspired by all those depressed posts I was reading and realised that altnough I get worn out with all the rushing around, I do have a bit of space for me too.

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  3. Your wonderful, honest post just brought me to new mum, tired tears (in a good way). Apart from the news that I have a minimum of 3 years and 9 months in the ‘mummy wilderness’ depending on if I’m fortunate to have any more, I’m so pleased you’ve found yourself and your confidence. Your colleague is obviously a wise woman whether you have a lot in common or not.

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  4. Thanks very much, Mojo, really appreciate you taking the time to comment and glad you liked it 🙂 If Little One goes to pre-school, you get an early taster of the freedom, so hang on in there!
    My colleague is awesome.

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  5. I love this post. I do hope it gives hope and inspiration to Mums out there feeling the way you did. I’ve felt like that – and probably will again, (after just having had my second.) Sometimes it’s hard to remember that you will come out the other side :0)

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  6. This is a great post, really sums up how most mums feel!I certainly felt like that, and sometimes still do. Megan had just started reception the day Ben and I came home from hospital so I know exactly where you are coming from. Ben is going to be in playgroup 4 mornings a week from Jan and I am looking forward to the mornings at home on my own, when I’m not working, just to catch up on jobs I haven’t done for about 7 and half years, like dusting, hoovering under instead of just around things!

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  7. This is so good to hear, I kind of figured it out already, that I would indeed get more and more of me back as time went on and that school days would bring a whole new dimension back to my life but, you know it’s even better to hear it from a mum who with experience

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  8. Sometimes reward and recognition comes from an unexpected source. Being kind, honest and true to yourself brings respect. What a lovely card, and a timely reminder to us all x.

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  9. Brilliant post and as much as I love my life I am looking forward to one day getting a bit more of me back. As baby number two is not due for another two months I have quite some time to get through though! x

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  10. A brilliant post and just what I really needed to read at the moment. That’s helped give me a kickstart to maybe expect less and enjoy things more for the next few years whilst my two year old grows up. So true you expect things to all be wonderful by the first birthday! x

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  11. That is a gorgeous post, really lovely. It is so true that we do get lost as parents and I know blogging has made a huge difference to me in finding myself a little.

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  12. So true … I’m just there now and I’m starting to find a little bit of ‘me’ time! Lovely words from your colleague too …she’s obviously sussed you out and sees who you are as you, not as a mum of three. 🙂 xx

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  13. Thank you al for your lovely comments, really appreciate them. Glad it’s helped remind some of you there is light at the end of the tunnel.
    The Christmas card really blew me away, Lesley and Joceejo – it’s nice to have someone remind you that you have good qualities.

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  14. What a lovely post. I’ve felt myself slowly creeping towards being myself but I’ve still got 2 1/2 years before my youngest starts school. It’s so nice to know there is light at the end of the tunnel though x

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  15. Oh yes I totally agree! Running and blogging helped me massively when I reached that point. That card is lovely – it would be so great if people took the time to tell others what they appreciate about them a bit more wouldn’t it?
    Now…how about a street dance demonstration? Shall we say a Google + hangout… 2pm ? 😉

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  16. Yep, totally agree. I yearn for something of me back most days, even though I’ve completely come to terms with being a full-time mum for now. Great post.

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  17. Thank you! I live in hope every day and although I don’t want to wish my son’s life away I am looking forward to school starting in 2013 to see how that changes the relentless slog of Mummyhood.

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  18. You are so right. My daughter went to full day (8am-4pm)nursery from 20 months, and that helped me to start getting back to myself. However, even though I was not with her for most of the day, it is only now that she’s turned 4 that I am really finding myself again. Part of it is that we can talk together like real people and suddenly not everything is a battle of wills.

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  19. Thanks very much, everyone. I’d come to terms with being a mum and hadn’t realised how nice it would be just to have a little escape!
    Nursery and pre-school helps, you get a few hours off a week!
    Maybe we’ll save the live street dance demonstration for Brit Mums Live?! There MAY be evidence on YouTube…
    Really appreciate you all taking the time to comment. x

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  20. Great post good to know a time will come when I’m not walking round shop with screaming child covered in sick

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  21. Thanks very much, glad you like it. That time will definitely come, it just possibly takes longer than you’d hoped! Thanks very much for commenting, I really appreciate it.

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  22. Go Sarah, love this post I know what you mean. I have so much more confidence now with lots of things thanks to blogging and running, I just need to start dancing now 😉 thanks for sharing with us at welcome to the weekend hop 🙂

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  23. Thanks very much, Claire Justine! A lot of people have really enjoyed this post and I’m glad it’s given people a bit of hope. Blogging and running are amazing, aren’t they?!
    Really appreciate your comment – and the chance to take part in the weekend blog hop every week.

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  24. Great post as others have commented already. I think life is whether it sounds corny or not a journey and we can learn from our elders (nothing to do with age, just to do with people who have being there, can empathise and are kind-hearted enough to offer their support).
    Consider yourself a our first Naked street-dancing Mum!

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  25. Great inspirational post! Glad to find you through Naked Mums! Totally fab!

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  26. Thanks very much, ladies. Very happy to accept the mantle (if that’s spelled right!) of first Naked Street-dancing Mum!
    Really appreciate your comments 🙂

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  27. What a great post. All I see is mothers going off running. Mine is in preschool so nearly there.

    Thanks for linking up to motivational Monday

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  28. Thanks very much, ladies. Always glad to be an inspriation, Sarah – I really appreciate that.
    It’s a pleasure to link up Pinkoddy – although think I’m all out of motivational stuff now!

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  29. What a great post – my youngest starts in September. As much as I love him, I can almost feel it. Thank you, really.

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  30. Thanks very much, really appreciate that. You will feel a weight off your mind and your shoulders, even though you will miss him!

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  31. Enjoyed reading this very positive post and I hope one day in the future we’ll be dancing at the same venue. (I’m rubbish at running though)
    @nortonmum

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  32. Thanks very much, Nortonmum, that sounds like something to look forward to! Glad you enjoyed the post 🙂

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  33. This is such a fab post and really uplifting, even second time round. Sharing on Twitter 🙂

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