You know when you put something away in a “safe place” and then when the time comes and you need it, you forget where that place was? You look everywhere and can’t find it – it’s not lost, you know it’s there somewhere… you’re just having trouble getting to it. That’s what I feel I’ve done with myself.
The transition into motherhood – especially amidst a pandemic – has, as would be expected, had a significant impact on my life. Having gone from a full-time employee with theatre on the side to a self-employed working-from-home new mum (happily, mind you), I’ve set certain things aside; some deliberately, others perhaps subconsciously or unintentionally. And lately, I’ve been looking for ways to make these things a part of my life again.
One of these things is my love for food. I have always loved food, cooking, meal prepping and planning, and of course, eating. Ever since becoming a mum, however, my relationship with food has changed a lot. I eat to survive and to nourish Ben, essentially, and while I try (ish) to maintain a somewhat nutritious and balanced diet, I rarely actually enjoy eating. Sometimes I hardly realise I’m eating at all. It’s just become a rushed necessity that’s given little attention or importance because I’m too busy feeding or entertaining Ben. And lately, I don’t get to do much cooking either since his bed time has changed, so while I’m eternally grateful for Chris taking over that department, I really miss it. I love cooking and trying new recipes, and I really want to get back into it.
I’m also slowly getting back into the theatre scene, which is super exciting for me – but equally scary and difficult because my priorities and responsibilities have obviously changed. And since Ben is so highly dependent on me, especially when it comes to sleeping and feeding, I’m extremely limited. So attending rehearsals means that I need to work around the very short period between when he goes to sleep and wakes up for his next feed. But sometimes, that’s not really possible.
I love that Ben has such a great routine (I mean I wouldn’t mind if he slept a bit better at night but we’ll get there eventually) – it gives a bit of structure and predictability to our day, so we can work around it as much as possible. But it’s still limiting and doesn’t always work out – like if we’re out running errands or shopping, sometimes he gets overstimulated or too distracted to have a nap, resulting in a lot of tears and frustration (for both me and him). So we’re working on getting him to feel more comfortable around other people so that eventually, I’ll be able to get some things done and know that he’s happy, comfortable, and safe elsewhere.
I know this won’t last forever, and I’m happy to have made these small sacrifices. Looking at the bigger picture, they’re not a big deal at all. I love being my bubba’s person and spending every moment with him. I do also, however, look forward to other things that I’ll be able to enjoy the older and more independent he gets.
I’ll be able to go and get my hair done. Go shopping and actually try some clothes on. Go to a restaurant and order something I can eat with both hands. Go to a rehearsal without coming home to him crying his lungs out for me. Cook and bake and try out new recipes. Write and create more. Work more. Treat myself more. Take care of myself more. And I know that all of these things will help me, in turn, to be a better mother.
Last weekend, after two miserable attempts at shopping and a frustrating lunch date out (and a meltdown), I made a batch of yummy banana pancakes. And I enjoyed every second of it. So here’s to more of that. 🙂
Let me be clear – I didn’t lose myself when I became a mum. I am still very much myself – a different version, sure, and I’ll be honest, I love who I am as a mum. But of course, there are certain aspects of my life that have changed. As one of my best friends put it, I simply put parts of myself on hold. And I have done so very eagerly. But now that it’s been almost a year, I’m trying to slowly find these ‘missing pieces’ of myself again, and revive them even if minimally. It’s taking time, and lots of hard work. It’s a joint effort for myself, Chris, and Ben.
But I’m getting there. One recipe at a time. One rehearsal at a time. One shopping trip at a time. One day at a time. ❤️
And in the meantime, I try to focus on the wins, and count every single blessing – because I know I have many. 🙂
Until next time,
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