Making your Mumback
I couldn’t tell you exactly when it happened. And I think there were stages. But as a new mum there was definitely a point when I realised that I suddenly felt a bit less of a greasy, emotional car-crash, milk-maiden zombie and more like myself - a new, but fully operating me.
I always want to tell all my new mum friends how hard it will be at times, but that there is light at the end of the tunnel; that there comes an occasion in which you suddenly realise Mumma’s got her groove back!
There seem to be five areas which you rebuild after the life strip-down a new baby brings.
Some areas take longer than others to revive and its different for everyone. But when one or two of the below start to fall in to place…
…it’s time to recognise and celebrate your Mumback!
Your Health and Fitness
From slowly being able to keep your eyes open, manage 24-hours without tearing up and physically recovering from the trauma of birth and breastfeeding, to actually putting your trainers on or getting on that yoga mat. There are different stages to your physical mumback, but each one, from the smallest healed stitch is as valid and worthy of a little mental high-five to yourself.
Never underestimate the power of getting your muscles stretching and your blood and endorphins pumping. When you’re ready it’ll help you start to feel more in control of everything. For me a little exercise gave me more energy when I’d hardly slept, helped steady my mind and of course helped me to shift some excess baby weight. Even when it’s summer hot outside, get pushing the pram around the air-conditioned malls if you have to.
Sometimes the more books you read, Facebook forums you immerse yourself in and well meaning advice you surround yourself with can dull your innate ability to be a mother to your baby. All these resources can be invaluable and I imagine however old our ‘babies’ get, we’ll regularly - often spectacularly - feel out of depth with the task of mothering.
I daily gawk at the surrealism of being an actual mum myself; “OMG, this is MY CHILD. I’m a mum. WHO LET ME LOOK AFTER A BABY?! How have I got KIDS, plural?! Surely only yesterday I was faking my ID for access to Hollywoods and struggling to to apply even eyeliner* (*that was yesterday).
But, as the days in which you haven’t broken this baby of yours pass and your son/daughter start to give you a little ‘good job’ pat on the back in the form of a smile, a squeeze of a finger and eventually a giggle. You start to realise you’re probably nailing this mum game and you feel a little less of a terrified fraud and a bit more like a …mum.
Of course lots of new mums chose to not feel any pressure in this area, good for you. For many others, dirty hair, tired skin and post-natal tyres can add to an occasional loss-of-control desperation.
And then one fine day, you look in the mirror and feel like you’re stocks are starting to rally again. You’ll brave a dress that you haven’t worn since being pregnant, you might accessorise an actual OUTFIT! You may even go clothes shopping!
With a spring in your step, a bounce in your blow-dry and a tint on your lips you’re making an effort. You find your sparkle and it makes you and your loved ones feel great.
NOTE: that dress and blow dry will probably be covered in sick before lunch and you’ll be back in your sweats with bags under your eyes tomorrow. But this morning was a sign - you’re still in there and the mumback has started!
It’s easy to neglect romance and contact with girlfriends after having a baby and no one should expect much more of you early on. But they are crucial to holding on to who you were before the newest love - and kidnapper - of your life came along.
Good partners and friends will be understanding - the best partners equally tired from sharing responsibilities! Everyone will be more than happy to discuss baby with you non-stop and to never have your full attention when said offspring is around for a while. But when you can, dedicate special time to these relationships; date nights, time away together. Let them remind you of the other women you are; the fun table-top dancer, the sex-kitten (oh yes, she's in there somewhere!), the confidante and sounding-board.
For some mums this might be years away still, or never at all. You may not return to the employment you had before, but something different, or even your own enterprise. But one day you’ll think about and produce beyond your role as mum and boom… a major mum back!
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