Today you are You

When I started this blog, the “About Me” page confounded me. For many years I have been a woman, an engineer, a runner, a bookworm, a mountain climber, a sailor, a snowboarder, a triathlete, a nuisance, a perfectionist… For 6 months I have been a mum. Yet when I was called upon to write a short paragraph “About Me”, all I could think of was “I am a Mum”.

When I was pregnant, one of the most common things people used to say to me was that “having a child will change your life”. Although this is true to a certain extent, I think that the more difficult adjustment for me was the reformation of my identity.

Overnight, the main pillars of my SELF crumbled. The job that I loved and spent more than 12 hours a day pouring my energy in to, was put on hold. My healthy, fit body had become a slow, lumbering ache. My inquisitive, positive mind now waded through the treacle of exhaustion, desperately clutching at fragments of memory and forgotten words.

In the first weeks after Gubbins was born, I felt like I had lost my mind. The independent, proud woman, sat broken and humbled on the couch. I felt like a shadow of my former self with nothing of interest to add to “adult” conversation. Even if I had done something more exotic during the day than shaking a rattle and staring blankly out of the window, I lacked the energy and vocabulary to structure a sentence that was brave enough to break the flow of conversation about business and global matters.

G’s first smile broke like a beam of sunshine through my clouded mind. It melted my heart and made me feel like I was doing something of value. We were part of the same tribe, he was mine and I was his. To him, I was the greatest mum ever.

I have subsequently decided that smiling is an evolutionary survival mechanism for babies. G seems to be most generous with his grins when I am about to throw my toys out the pram and leave my husband holding the baby.

As Gubbins grows and learns, I am filled with a sense of wonder at the miracle of life. This wonder has slowly started to erode my surreal sense of discombobulation. I  have realised that there is more to life than the selfish pursuit of personal happiness. I feel a love for this little creature, so overwhelming that sometimes it hurts. This love gives me a sense of purpose and focus on the dark days.

There are still days when I am wrestling the pram through a too narrow door and I think to myself, “who the hell is this awkward, muffin-topped person that I have become??” These are the days when I crave a crumb of my old life. The carefree, unencumbered freedom of irresponsibility. These are the days when I need to be reminded of the very wise words of my life guru, Dr Seuss:

“Today you are You, that is truer than true.
There is no one alive who is Youer than You.”

 


4 thoughts on “Today you are You

  1. You speak so eloquently for all of us Mummy Gubbins, I feel it’s taken me almost 15 years to discover one of the most important parts of me! Maybe it’s more a discovery of who we are at every different stage of their development as it’s so plastic we have to be constantly adaptable without being swallowed up in the process.

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on Liberty on the Lighter Side and commented:
    I love this from Mummy Gubbins, she speaks so well on behalf of all of us Mums. The tension between freedom and responsibility is a fine line of a tightrope with sacrifices and rewards every step along the way. Even though I am 14 years further down the rope I can so relate to these early days and in some ways things are still the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. So true. Unless we are hopelessly self-absorbed, babies take us beyond ourselves and teach us about love and sacrifice. Babies grow. There will be days to reclaim our freedom. We can use our mommy time to train for days ahead, even if that means reading trade books to stay current, or taking a course online. But our children are young for such a short window of time. I didn’t want to miss a moment.

    Liked by 1 person

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