The other day I bumped into someone I knew (not very well) during one of those kids’ events we go to whenever we know there is one. This woman was someone I admired for always looking good, behaving confidently and being happy. She did not seem like someone who will eat her toast in her pj’s in front of telly (as I do!) on Sunday morning without any make up, covered in her kid’s breakfast. She was just too perfect for that, and more so as she is actually very nice.
That afternoon I had a chance for a quick chat only to notice (while still looking perfect!) she was not her usual self. She looked a bit sad and complained of being depressed about her children starting school and not knowing what to do with herself. I was somehow surprised by this. I was not expecting this from her. She was so perfect there must be something special she does every single day! Then I thought: Hold on, what was it like for me?
I remember weaving goodbye to my little girl who looked a bit unsure of herself that first morning. I remember walking towards my car being careful not to look back. I remember shutting the car door and thinking about the conversation I had with my husband that morning. He asked me what will I do after I dropped her off. Something I didn’t really think about until that moment. I said I didn’t know as yet. “Go out, sit in the café and read papers. You love that!” he insisted. I thought how silly that was. I know what to do I don’t need anyone to tell me. I just left my little girl here, in this strange new place I’d better go home and do something for her!
So I went home. I washed her clothes, I tided up her toys, I cooked her favourite food, I washed some fruit and packed it into a small box so she has something to eat in the car (I know, totally OTT!!), I bought her favourite magazine and got to the school nearly half an hour early all anxious to hear how was her first day. Phew! That was busy. “Go out, sit in the café and read papers. You love that!” –Some people have no idea just how busy my life is…
As it turns out my little girl was fine although a bit out of sorts as I am sure all children are during their first few days. I was fine too, my life was as busy as ever and to be honest I missed her terribly. It is only a half of any day, nothing to worry about, it just flies- I was fooling myself. The next morning came and I confidently dropped her off and still a bit anxious from this sudden repeated separation I got into my car. I came home, shut the front door and took my boots off. Then it hit me!
The house was tidy, the clothes were washed, toys were tidy, dinner was made up the previous day, what am I to do? I was terrified of this new space I suddenly acquired. The empty space in which nothing do. I sat with my mind frantically looking for some urgent activity. I know! I will take out all the clothes from the cupboards and throw away anything I don’t consider beautiful and useful. I always complain I have no time for such things. There you go. Now I will do it. So I did.
Then the next morning came. I arrived home from the school run, took my boots off and stopped. I sat on the stairs in the hallway thinking what to do. I had nothing to do, nowhere to go and nobody to meet. Suddenly it felt that way. I had no idea what was happening. I was thinking what I can do. Nothing came to mind. I cried feeling useless, unwanted and lonely. I have forgotten what I did before I had my lovely child. I forgot who I was or what I was. I became “that girl’s mum”-most people knew me by that name. I realised I used it all the time myself to describe my own identity. Suddenly it was taken away from me for those few hours every day and I had to re-invent myself; for myself. I had to face myself.
My past self was a very busy independent woman who knew exactly what she liked and where she wanted to be every minute of the day. And it never was enough minutes to be and do. I had to dig deep and find this part of myself. I wasn’t sure was I this person still at all. It was hard. Very hard. But I got on with it. Day by day it got easier. I realised I was still me just richer and deeper as a person. I realised I was ok being me and being mum. As I used to be in love with my work before I had my beautiful child I was now in love with her the most. But still, I realised I was capable of sharing myself a little. I realised It was ok to be a mum and a busy woman of my own. I realised I was indeed loving being a mum and being me. For me it took a bit of time. I am still in love with my daughter but am also in love with my life!
By B. Krstovic