Kids, there’s going to come a day when I won’t be your mama anymore. I mean, I’ll still be your mum biologically-speaking, but you won’t need me as much as you do now.
Now and then…
Right now, I am your world. I know that. And it is such a wonderful privilege for me.
I can cuddle most of your problems away, and we work through the bigger stuff together. When your heart is breaking, you seek me out. As your eyes begin to sting with tears, you reach for me instinctively. When we cross the road, you squeeze my hand – only your mama will do.
But one day, you will move on.
I know it’s hard to imagine now, but it is inevitable. It is the natural progression.
You’ll have your own place, you’ll cook your own meals, and you’ll organise your own social life. You’ll probably confide in your friends instead of me too.
Your mama needs me-time
That’s why I need my me-time – because when you’ve up and gone, I still need to know how to be me.
I know you’ve only ever known me as “mummy”, but 7 years ago, I was Lucy. I had my own likes and dislikes, my own favourite restaurants, and my own hobbies.
These days, it’s all about you.
As a mummy, especially a stay at home mummy, my identity is so wrapped up in yours. Sometimes I wonder if Lucy is even still there under this mum costume.
But one day I won’t be your mama anymore, not full time anyway. At that time, I’ll need to know who I am and what I’m about, independently of you. I’ll need to be able to make decisions about what’s best for me and I’ll need my own social groups.
I won’t carry the “mummy” label in quite the same way then – I will just be Lucy. And we could have 30, 40, 50 years in that new chapter, so Lucy and I need to be on good terms!
I know you find it frustrating when I’m scrolling on Facebook, or I insist on listening to my own music instead of Disney Princesses. (And part of me does feel guilty about it.) But, as a mama, I need those things.
Those brief, snatched moments of me-time let me be me, instead of “mummy”.
I’ll always be your mama
Now don’t get me wrong – I will always be here for you. I will be waiting in the wings, ready to help out whenever you need me. However old you get and however distant we seem to be, I will always be your mama. I will always smile when I hear from you and make every effort to see you as much as your busy schedule allows.
This is not me pushing you away.
But my job is to train you up in independence. Every milestone you reach is a step away from my arms and into the strong, confident woman I know you will be one day. That fills me with pride and fear in equal measure!
But the point I’ve missed until today, is that I also need to be retraining myself into the strong, confident woman I used to be too.
I need to be me
Somehow I need to retain enough of my former self to be able to function without you when you are gone.
- I need to be the woman who can stride into a room alone and find somewhere to sit
(it feels strange going anywhere without you tangled around my legs)
- I need to be the woman who calls her friends and arranges to go out for lunch
(instead of sitting at home because you’re asleep upstairs)
- I need to be the woman who can hold a conversation about
(not the playground type)
(not the Justin Fletcher type)
- and art
(not the handprint type)
That half an hour when I retreat into the bathroom for a soak in the tub? That’s when the fragments of Lucy begin to resurface – when I get a chance to be with my own thoughts. Of course most of the time I’ll be thinking about what to buy at the supermarket or what to make you for breakfast. But it’s a time when I can switch off my eagle eyes and indulge in a little rest.
It’s not that I’m distancing myself from you. I am 100% all-in on this parenting gig! It’s just the knowledge that these years are fleeting and one day I will need to be a woman in my own right again…
Are you taking care of yourself properly (not just your mama self)? Are you good at holding onto your identity or do you find yourself merged with your child’s? Do you have any advice for mothers needing to find themselves again?