Am I a Bad Mum for Wanting Time to Myself?
When I was pregnant, filled with excitement, anticipation, eagerness and glistening idealistic plans I heard the words of warning “make the most of your time alone because it will never happen again” and I shrugged them off. I listened and I thought it won’t be all bad, sharing myself entirely with another tiny living soul, I’m sure they can come along and join in for the most part with parts of my life I still wanted to enjoy and maintain.
You prepare yourself, you mentally note and acknowledge how changed and different your life will become. That is until the shift rocks and shakes into your reality and nothing, absolutely nothing could have prepared you for the new co-habitation of you and your baby! Newborns, nursing, nuzzling, pacing, swinging, never distant from the security and comfort of mums cocooning chest. Toddler, turbulent, tangling, entwined, hanging from your leg, screaming, squealing, scurrying in step with your shadow. Kindy kids, chaotic, crazy, calamity, billowing noise and bubbling evervesant energy.
Gone are the days of quiet, gone are the days of nothingness, gone are the days of efficiency, gone are the days of idol socialising, gone are the carefree days. For me, it was an adjustment, even more than an adjustment. In truth it is an ongoing learning curve of adapting and often accepting. I love my time with me. Comfortable in my own company I endulged in my time. Movies, books, beach, food, wine, walking, exercise, time with friends, time with family, weekends spent away and weekends spent alone doing purposeful nothing and I miss it, I miss spending time with me.
But does that make me a bad mum? When we become parents does the identity we once knew cease to exist or is it suppressed. Is it hiding, compressed between the new and the old? Does it make me a bad mum when sometimes I want to just be me? I love being a mum. I love the new and different role that each day I am embracing and changing with. I love that I have been lucky enough to even be given this gift and every second of every day I am thankful and overwhelmed by it. But am I a bad mum if sometimes I need to step back, take a breath and spend some time with me?
This may not be for everyone, each of us in our roles play a different part and find beauty in the journey in different ways. What I have found, for me, is that I can’t let go completely of the woman I was before I became mum. Neglecting her wasn’t fair, that woman still burned inside me and would scream out for attention in tears, frustration and a misplaced loneliness. Yet, when I began to give myself just small moments of me, a quiet cup of tea, a chapter of a book read, a half an hour run, a dinner out with friends, a night alone with my husband, slowly but certainly and with comfort she calmed and my new role of mum found the support and balance she so desperately needed.
For me I needed to allow the old to blend with the new and still nurture the things in me, in my identity, things that foster different kinds of happiness outside of the joy and the fulfilment of being a mum. It gives me a breath, a stability and keeps my head above water floating me and helping me to be the best mum I can be. At the end of the day, is that not what we are all trying to do, women who, by whatever means they know they need pull on, trying with the greatest of intents, love and ambition, to be the best my they know how to be?