Here I am, a ‘young’ mum of two beautiful children that I love and adore, but some days I don’t.
Some days I get lost in my head. Some days I re-live my actual youth, which I know isn’t really that long ago, but I feel a little older now that I am a little closer to 40.
I feel a little older because I’m perpetually tired and my svelte yoga body is firmly trapped inside my mum body with all her stretch marks and c-section scar and all this bloody body hair! Where in the name of god did all that come from?
I am wearing glasses more and more, and flatter shoes. I do remember when I could run in my 6 inch heels. I could run, I could dance, I could drink… I could have a one-night stand. Or not, if I didn’t want to. And now, if I wanted to, I couldn’t. Where did that all go?
‘I’m here!’ she says! ‘Remember me fondly, embrace me, I’m still here… Let me out!’…and I sit with my coffee because I can hear my ‘baby daddy’ snoring down the hall, and I know it’s going to be a long night… So I stick on a bit of music and I drift off to when I met himself… awwww – lovely. I should write that down I think. It’ll be a nice one for the kids when they’re older and we want to make them feel superbly uncomfortable.
Then I drift off again – before himself… The dating scene – back when my svelte body was roaming free, sampling, carefree, wonderfully selfish. Nights out and internet dating. And a song comes on that brings me right back to my dating days, and I secretly wish I could have a minor relapse. I say secretly, but really my dearest girlfriends and I talk about relapsing all the time. We’re all talk in fairness, but it’s fun to reminisce and I realise that ‘himself’ will never know or understand that bit of me that I chose to put to one side when I decided he was right for me, and when I decided family life was the next thing on my path. It all felt right.
And it still does, but it’s ok to think back to the random nights out in Coppers (yes, yes I did), and the little rendezvous and booty calls that I am way beyond now. It is also ok to miss that bit of yourself. She’s still there – she’s a big part of you that has made you the understanding patient and streetwise woman you are today. She is the experience that your skills are built on, she is the one that will help you weed out the ‘bad sorts’ for your own kids, or recognise the hurt and the loneliness they might experience.
She is the one, she is the you.
We tend to forget her when we’re embroiled in a battle with dinosaurs and bedtime routines (or whatever the direct opposite of routines are in my house). We forget her when we are in our pj’s at 7.30pm on Saturday night. For me, and maybe for you, some of our identity is not only forged by becoming a mum and a wife or partner, but also forgotten. We do a good job at parenting, juggling, refereeing, chefing, driving, nursing, shopping, budgeting, multi-tasking. We are thoughtful partners, we are firm friends, we are sympathetic and empathetic, we are just about anything we can be.
But in all this, when I sometimes get time to breathe, I am well and truly lost. Lost completely. Me. I. I am lost. Who lost me? ME.
So now I am raging a little with myself and I wonder is it the enormous amount of caffeine. And then I think I should go after this thought and follow where it’s bringing me. I find myself looking at that ‘me’ I seem to be mourning. I hope I’m premenstrual and I’m not having an actual episode now… and while I’m a bit teary and sorry for myself, I drift back on to the dance floor in Coppers and then to the band that I used to go and see because they were seriously cool; totally wasted in the local pub you understand – far too talented for small town Dublin, but I was with the guitarist so I was pretty fucking cool myself, and a little drunk… and I was probably a little drunk in most of my fond memories to be honest… And while I’m a bit teary about – I don’t even know what now, I understand myself a little more. I understand that there’ll always be things that I miss about my ‘previous life’, But by missing them, I miss the present. Instead I need to integrate that ‘me’ into this me.
It’s not like she’s got anywhere else to go. I can be ‘sassy’ and go to bed at 10pm. I can be the ‘yoga’ me and be the taxi, I can be the ‘work’ me and be the homemaker, I can be the ‘friend’ me and be the partner / good wife, most importantly and above all else, I can be all of these mes and be the mum.
Now I’m a little more tired after emoting and journeying through my many me’s, and here I am, writing to you, hoping I make a little more sense to someone else out there than I do to myself. I can’t finish that coffee – it’s cold. I tune back in to the sounds in the house – the snoring is getting louder (I am definitely not going to get much sleep tonight, I may have to kill him and replace him with the guitarist); and I get back to the present me.
Time for a nappy check and bottle run… High ho!