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After the happy ever after

1
The process of becoming a mother has changed me immeasurably and now my babies are 2 and 4 as the dust settles I’m not entirely sure I recognise myself.

The last 5 years have been a marvellous whirlwind from single ’career girl’ living for the weekend (read binge drinking), living alone in my cute flat, having adventures with great friends to married with kids in a 3 bed detached in a tiny village. Two great extremes. Worlds apart. My life now is all I ever wanted. I did spend most of my pre-mumlife convincing myself and the world at large that I

SelfishMother.com
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didn’t want it, that I was complete without the big love and the family. That I was successful in other ways and that was enough.

I majored in not dealing, burying feelings of self doubt. Not being good enough. I didn’t want anyone else to realise. I was self-destructive (did I mention the drinking?), I chose toxic relationships (read car crash trysts), I put immense pressure on myself at work (the more I did the greater the expectation), I didn’t take care of myself physically (my weight was out of control, fitness non existent) and I completely

SelfishMother.com
3
avoided care related to appearance (especially if it involved a third party, looking in the mirror at a hairdressers, talking about the way I looked was an ordeal). Outwardly I was loud, assertive, I made the plans, first on the dancefloor, last to leave, good for a laugh – you know the type.

My husband and I met true rom-com style, he was the best man and I maid of honour at my bestie’s wedding. We hit it off and after some trepidation (the stakes were high) we took the plunge. I had the security of our context, I was just myself, there was no

SelfishMother.com
4
drama, it was real deal love.

We moved in together when I was pregnant with Lily, a seismic shift. I was constantly battling in my head whether my frustrations with him were normal adjustment amplified by hormones or were we doomed. It was definitely the former but just a tip, don’t google ’I’m pregnant and I think I hate my partner’ you’ll only make it worse.

Birth was pretty horrendous (induced then C-section under general anaesthetic). My first feeling in motherhood being failure (I know, I know, just don’t). I loved my daughter fiercely

SelfishMother.com
5
and set myself high standards for what that should look like. Breast feeding was first, I though it would be so easy, it’s natural right? Bullshit. It’s fucking hard. I persevered bloody-mindedly and this set the tone for my parenting early on.

After 10 months I went back to work but not to the big job I left. I didn’t think I could, how I would meet the standards? I decided the one that could be sacrificed was work (it’s the motherly thing to do right?). I took a more junior role in another department. My pre-mumlife self still grieves and

SelfishMother.com
6
mumlife me has since realised it is not the example I want to set for my daughter. She can be all the things she wants and I want to show her how (or at least try).

I was pretty ill during my second pregnancy (cholestasis and gd) and I learnt the hard way that something had to give and I stopped being so extra. I set more realistic goals as a mum of 2. I didn’t try to pinterest worthy everything. Well apart from our wedding, that was pretty extra! I wanted to lose weight. I’d always hated looking at myself (no mirrors below head height). I

SelfishMother.com
7
didn’t want to feel that way on my wedding day. I joined a group and lost over 3 stone. It made me open and honest about my body image. I enjoyed holding myself accountable each week. Between that and my ’role’ as the bride I had a new confidence. I visited a make-up counter and sat for a demo in store, I started seeing a beautician and had nails and brows done regularly (& made a friend) and I started to enjoy clothes (not just baby ones).

Now the wedding is over, the babies are here and I feel the strain of the drudge. I’m not sure how to

SelfishMother.com
8
operate without a life event on the horizon. My experience from before the whirlwind feels irrelevant. I am trying to maintain my weight, remaining accountable without being obsessive (see @unfatmother), exploring self-care and finding a wellbeing balance (ratio of Kale and cardio to gin and Netflix). I am trying to roll with the parenting punches.

I have no big reveal to end with, just this: if you feel different after your dreams come true and maybe a little lost you are not alone. Ever after is a journey not a destination, keep going.

 

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- 4 Feb 19

The process of becoming a mother has changed me immeasurably and now my babies are 2 and 4 as the dust settles I’m not entirely sure I recognise myself.

The last 5 years have been a marvellous whirlwind from single ‘career girl’ living for the weekend (read binge drinking), living alone in my cute flat, having adventures with great friends to married with kids in a 3 bed detached in a tiny village. Two great extremes. Worlds apart. My life now is all I ever wanted. I did spend most of my pre-mumlife convincing myself and the world at large that I didn’t want it, that I was complete without the big love and the family. That I was successful in other ways and that was enough.

I majored in not dealing, burying feelings of self doubt. Not being good enough. I didn’t want anyone else to realise. I was self-destructive (did I mention the drinking?), I chose toxic relationships (read car crash trysts), I put immense pressure on myself at work (the more I did the greater the expectation), I didn’t take care of myself physically (my weight was out of control, fitness non existent) and I completely avoided care related to appearance (especially if it involved a third party, looking in the mirror at a hairdressers, talking about the way I looked was an ordeal). Outwardly I was loud, assertive, I made the plans, first on the dancefloor, last to leave, good for a laugh – you know the type.

My husband and I met true rom-com style, he was the best man and I maid of honour at my bestie’s wedding. We hit it off and after some trepidation (the stakes were high) we took the plunge. I had the security of our context, I was just myself, there was no drama, it was real deal love.

We moved in together when I was pregnant with Lily, a seismic shift. I was constantly battling in my head whether my frustrations with him were normal adjustment amplified by hormones or were we doomed. It was definitely the former but just a tip, don’t google ‘I’m pregnant and I think I hate my partner’ you’ll only make it worse.

Birth was pretty horrendous (induced then C-section under general anaesthetic). My first feeling in motherhood being failure (I know, I know, just don’t). I loved my daughter fiercely and set myself high standards for what that should look like. Breast feeding was first, I though it would be so easy, it’s natural right? Bullshit. It’s fucking hard. I persevered bloody-mindedly and this set the tone for my parenting early on.

After 10 months I went back to work but not to the big job I left. I didn’t think I could, how I would meet the standards? I decided the one that could be sacrificed was work (it’s the motherly thing to do right?). I took a more junior role in another department. My pre-mumlife self still grieves and mumlife me has since realised it is not the example I want to set for my daughter. She can be all the things she wants and I want to show her how (or at least try).

I was pretty ill during my second pregnancy (cholestasis and gd) and I learnt the hard way that something had to give and I stopped being so extra. I set more realistic goals as a mum of 2. I didn’t try to pinterest worthy everything. Well apart from our wedding, that was pretty extra! I wanted to lose weight. I’d always hated looking at myself (no mirrors below head height). I didn’t want to feel that way on my wedding day. I joined a group and lost over 3 stone. It made me open and honest about my body image. I enjoyed holding myself accountable each week. Between that and my ‘role’ as the bride I had a new confidence. I visited a make-up counter and sat for a demo in store, I started seeing a beautician and had nails and brows done regularly (& made a friend) and I started to enjoy clothes (not just baby ones).

Now the wedding is over, the babies are here and I feel the strain of the drudge. I’m not sure how to operate without a life event on the horizon. My experience from before the whirlwind feels irrelevant. I am trying to maintain my weight, remaining accountable without being obsessive (see @unfatmother), exploring self-care and finding a wellbeing balance (ratio of Kale and cardio to gin and Netflix). I am trying to roll with the parenting punches.

I have no big reveal to end with, just this: if you feel different after your dreams come true and maybe a little lost you are not alone. Ever after is a journey not a destination, keep going.

 

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I am 36, a teacher's wife and full time working mum to 2; my daughter Lily is 4 (a junior sass master) and my son Freddie is 2 (charming between tantrums). I work in ICT projects and lead on all things data. I struggle with self doubt (I prefer self evaluation) and am looking for how to live my best life combining wellbeing, self-care and healthy living (the ratio of kale and yoga to gin and Netflix).

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