Dear ‘friends.’ I almost unfollowed you today. Perhaps it was your impossible blue sky that got under my skin. Or that perfect beach shot you took, as you dipped your feet in glistening waters in some farflung place. Or your shiny smoothie packed full of ingredients, some of which I’ve never heard of. That killer workout you did with your makeup still intact? Or your glossy hair shimmering in the wind. Or maybe it was that effortlessly chic outfit you’re wearing that pushed me a little to the edge.
We’ve never quite been the best of friends, have we? Always at war over this and that. A bulge here, too many lumps there. Not enough lumps in the right places. Too soft. Too big. Thighs too large. Boobs too small. A wrinkle here, a crow’s foot there. Another line that shows the years we’ve spent together and all that we’ve been through.
I have opened my computer so many times over the past few weeks to write to you, but the words somehow wouldn’t flow. I even googled ‘writer’s block’ to see if that could provide me with any kind of inspiration. Instead it threw up the definition for my ‘creative slowdown’ – a condition that ranges from not being able to come up with new ideas for a few weeks, to not being able to produce anything for years. (Bear with me here, the moral of the tale is coming!)
“F*k sake Mummy. Why do we say f&*k’s sake?” Molly asks innocently as we are driving home one day. The husband and I look at each other, slightly horrified, trying to stifle our laughter.
“We don’t say that Molly, it’s not very nice,” I try to explain. “Who says that? Where did you hear that?”
“But Mummy, you do. You say it. All the time, in the morning.”
“You’re so naughty to me Mummy. You’re always cross,” Molly interrupts my bedtime story to tell me. “You need to calm down, Mummy. Just calm down,” she says, gesticulating by waving her hands up and down with her fingers spread wide. She is referring to the fact that I am cross because she won’t lie still and just listen to the darn story. I keep having to stop and start while she tosses about, chats to some of her teddies and then tells me she needs to get up for some water. “Will you settle DOWN! Are we reading this story or shall I just turn off the light?”
Lately I’ve noticed myself using three certain words a heck of a lot. Now, before you close this page for fear this might be some sort of love story about the husband and I – it’s not those three words. Nor is it the three words that make up the abbreviation FFS, although I do confess to letting those slip from time to time too.
“You’re looking great!” a friend of mine told me this week. “Seriously?” I reply. “Have you seen these dark circles? And look at this belly!” I say, grabbing a handful of flesh from my mid section. In my head, I’m asking myself if she’s actually seeing the same person that I do when I look in the mirror. I mean, I feel pretty haggered most of the time. I look pretty haggered most of the time. Can she not see that too?
I want to tell you the tale of a first time mother. She had read many books in preparation, to help her become the mother she always hoped to be. A calm, centred mother who took the challenges of parenthood in her stride – who rolled with the sleepless nights, the changes to her body, the changes to her life – with complete ease.