Eight years ago today, I was in the third trimester of my first pregnancy, seven weeks from giving birth. I was reading pregnancy books and magazines, preparing to be the 'perfect mother'. *cue howls of laughter* But nothing truly prepares you for parenthood. While I feel that I spent the first few months of motherhood playing by the book, it did not take long for me to find my own way of being a mother. You could even say that I've become a maverick mum. ...continue reading
Ooh, I love Mother's Day. It is the day that Husband really steps up his game. The kids, well Moozles anyway, is thinking about all the presents she would like to 'buy' for me. And Dubz, well, Dubz is trying to figure out how he can get some more superhero toys. But anyway, I don't require diamonds or a Michelin-starred restaurant. But it makes me happy that my family make a little fuss over me. So I thought I would share some things that will be making my Mother's Day a bit special.
It happened. When I wasn't looking. Somehow I got old. Okay, not really old. But just not young. I am no longer 20. In fact, I am now double that. Three months ago I woke up to being 40. Forty! In my teens and twenties, I thought 40 sounded so old and grown-up. Like I should wear dresses that fall just below my knee and blazers with shoulder pads, and that I should wear my hair in a short but perfectly styled bob. I now know that I was wrong about A LOT of things in my early 20s.
Before my birthday, I had thought maybe I should do a list - '40 things to do before I turn 40'. Or perhaps offer contemplation in the form of '40 things I've learned now that I'm 40'. I have considered what it means to be 40, and I've only come up with one answer. Being 40 means accepting the person I am and accepting my life the way it is.
I had always planned to be a career gal. Maybe getting married at the age of 40. I had not envisaged this life - being a Stay-At-Home-Mum with two children, while my husband works full-time. It is a different kind of life. But I am happy. I somehow managed to find the love of my life at the age of 25 and I love him even more now (barf, I know). We have two healthy, happy children who bring us an enormous amount of happiness (and sometimes an enormous amount of frustration - tantrums are not cool, so get over it Moozles and Dubz). And blogging has given me a creative outlet, and the opportunity to make some amazing friends.
I am not thin. I am not rich. I am not the cool girl that everyone wants to be friends with. But after many years of changing, figuring out who I was, then accepting myself, I became the person who I am today. Actually, I have been like this since I was about 34. But hey, why mess with a good thing?!
This week was the autumn mums' meet-up I had organised (and the second meet-up, with the first one being a picnic in August). Five lovely mums, and their darling children, came along to Richmond Park for a play and a natter. This is not the kind of situation that I would normally put myself in. I'm a bit awkward with strangers and I have to force myself to be friendly. But since my mid-20s, I have forced myself to be a friendlier person. This has led me to some really good, and sometimes unexpected, friendships. After all, you're never too old to make a new friend.
Being a mum is wonderful. But it can also be a bit lonely. I have written about how social media has eased the loneliness of motherhood and expat life. They've started Mommy Speed Dating in the USA, but sadly that hasn't taken off here. So how about a picnic? I know how much British people love a picnic.
Amy Ransom started The Lonely Mums Summer Club in Greenwich this summer. I thought it was such a great idea, that I thought I might hold a meet-up for mums in South West London and Surrey. And then when Emma from Brummy Mummy of 2 held a similar picnic a couple of weeks ago, and no one killed her, I knew I had to organise a meet-up. I thought it would be nice for local mums to meet other mums who might be feeling lonely. Maybe your friends are all away. Maybe you don't have many friends. Maybe you have loads of friends but you would still like some more.
I've chosen Cheam Park as a place that people can get to easily from Surrey or London. I even went and scoped it out. There's parking. There's a cafe and playground, but we'll be meeting away from the distraction of them. We'll be meeting by the entrance of Ewell Road, near Nonsuch Park. There are trees surrounding the park, like a fence. Walk into a space of trees, and you will see a purple tree. To the left of this tree you will see some smaller trees near a couple of large tree logs. I will be there at 11am on the 28th August, with my picnic and my children. Unless there is torrential rain. Then I'll be home, safe and dry.
It probably seems daunting to meet a bunch of strangers. But we'll all be mums, so we'll just be happy to natter, moan about our children and sigh wistfully about nights out. I've even begged my friends Heledd from Running in Lavender and Emma from Its Mostly Okay to come along. So if no one else comes, then it will just be us. But hope you can come. xx
For those of us who live in the UK and Ireland, and who are mothers, we will be celebrating Mother's Day on Sunday. I know some mummies who have been thinking about this day all month, looking forward to a day of pampering and treats. I also know some mums who aren't fussed about celebrating it and just want a cup of tea in bed.
For me, I'm somewhere in between. I don't need any fancy gifts. In fact, I'm known for never wanting gifts. I would like a lie-in (maybe til 10am, ooh), followed by a special breakfast (preferably pancakes or waffles) and a family outing. Maybe a cheeky afternoon nap later on. Nothing special, but would mean a lot to me. It is nice being made to feel appreciated.
I became a mum almost seven years ago. And almost three years ago, I became a mum of two. I then gave up my job and became a SAHM. This means that I don't dress as nicely as I used to. I do school runs, prepare constant snacks, moderate tantrums and sibling fracas and procrastinate about cleaning the house. So I appreciate a day in my honour. I love my children. I love my life. I don't need* gifts or flowers to feel like my children appreciate and love me. But mama fancies a lie-in.
*Please note that although I don't need gifts or flowers as thanks for my wonderful mothering, I would be happy to receive both.
Sometimes in my blog, I mention that I am 39. And sometimes lovely people express astonishment at how youthful I look. And they say that I 'seem' younger, which I think is code for 'acting immature'. But what is 39? As a teenager, I used to think of 39 as quite old, as middle-aged. But that is not how I now feel.
I cared more about my age when I was younger. I always wanted to be older, so that I would be taken more seriously. And now that I am approaching 40, I am not that fussed about the number. I am happy. My life is not perfect. I am far from what I want to be. Far from how I want to look. But life has treated me well, for the most part. And even the bad things aren't so bad because they got me to where I am today.
My age, my number means less than my experience. I have lived. I have traveled. And thanks to Husband, I have loved (cheesy, I know but still true). I don't know when my age will begin to be an issue. Maybe I will turn 40 and freak out. Maybe 50 is the number that will send me into a midlife crisis.
All I do know is that for now, my age does not define me. My lack of youth does not make me old. I have a young and lively heart. And though my body, and feet, don't cooperate and party like they used to, I am not old. I am not my age. I am just me.
I am linking up to The Prompt this week, where the topic is Age. How do you feel about growing old?
This week's topic from MumTurnedMom is 'the mistakes we make'. This really spoke to me. I have made my share of mistakes. I think that I am my worst critic. Especially as a mother. Mothers are continually bombarded with issues of parenting perfection. The perfectly cleaned house. The perfectly made meal. Those perfect homemade cupcakes and the perfectly made craft project. All whilst wearing the perfect outfit with the perfectly styled hair.
Sit down, ladies. I have something to tell you. You see, there is no perfection. There is trying, and doing your best. And mistakes. A whole lot of mistakes. But it doesn't really matter. As long as you try your best at parenting. As long as you love and protect your children. It is okay to make mistakes. Your children don't care if the house is clean. They don't care if you've warmed up fish fingers and peas or if you've steamed sea bass on a bed of spinach. They don't care about the dust on your skirting boards. They don't even care if you wear a messy ponytail every day.
Your child probably does care about the crafts and the cupcakes, though. But they can actually be a bit rubbish, and he/she will still think they are amazing. That's the beauty of children. They see the best in things. They don't see the mistakes. They notice the time you have put in. They notice the attention you have given them. So put down the mop, cast aside the hair straighteners. Grab a glitter glue stick and make your child's day.