Something has been happening to me over the last while. It’s a feeling of almost coming full circle. Like I’m finally settling into a newer version of myself. A little battered round the edges perhaps, but one that still bears a strong resemblance to the old me, except with two crazy kids in tow. And if I had to put a title on it, I’d say it was a feeling of ‘becoming mum.’
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.
It’s 4.37am. I mutter a string of expletives as I haul myself out of bed. I spend the next 45 minutes nipping in and out, trying to encourage Henry to have more shut-eye, before he decides he would rather be up for the day. He gives me that grin that says, quite frankly, Mum, it would be boring to go back to sleep. But instead of smiling, I find myself crying. Hot, fat tears rolling down my face, quickly, without warning. I’m cross. Darn cross at the sheer exhaustion of it all. Cross at the fact the day is beginning at sparrow fart yet again. Cross at the fact that I’m already thinking ahead to how wrecked I’ll feel later. Cross over the guilt I’m feeling for even feeling annoyed, when so many people would give anything to be in my shoes.
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.
“That’s a lame excuse for a press up if ever I saw one! Look at those arms shaking! You’ve got NO strength anymore!! And look at those thighs – get squatting NOW!”
It’s a hot, humid morning. I’m sweating it out in bootcamp in the battle against the jiggly bits. At this point, I need to highlight that the above dialogue is my inner voice talking and not the wonderful, encouraging instructor. Yes, over the last few weeks, my ego has been giving me a right old battering. “What’s the point?” it probes. “You’ve got no time!” it taunts. “You need to put in way more effort than that!”
“When will it get better?” asks the weary husband, as we debate the ins and outs of why Henry might be waking like clockwork at 4.30am every morning. “I’m sure it’s just a phase,” I reply as I catch a glimpse of my bedraggled self in the mirror. Ah! “Just a phase.” Those three little words. If I had a pound for every time I heard them (or uttered them to someone else), then I would be a very rich woman!
“I feel like I’m 100 years old!” laments the husband. It’s 3am and we’re lying awake just after Henry’s feed. While he’s back in his cot sleeping peacefully again, Molly has started coughing in her room, interrupting the possibility of sleep yet again. We’re tired. So. Dog. Tired! And in the wee small hours we begin to debate many things: will Henry ever sleep through? Is Dubai the healthiest place to bring up our children? Is our AC full of dust? Will there be a housing crash soon?
It’s the weekend. The day begins at 4.38am with the gentle babbling of baby Henry from his cot at the bottom of our bed. We drift in and out of sleepiness until 5.56am when Molly’s face appears inches from mine. “Mornin’ Mummy,” she says climbing into the bed with her entourage of teddies. Bleary eyes are rubbed, a poo filled nappy changed and bottle dispensed, until half an hour later we’re up and raring to go. (Ok, ‘raring’ might be just a slight overstatement here.)