I recently read an online article where the author was reminiscing her younger days with her girlfriends. She was reminded that they once talked about anything and everything but as time passed and they grew older, some had become mums. Whenever they would gather, their conversation and topics would never be far from their children. A few raised that all this “mummy talk” was an issue, but the mummies in the group just signed and said: “You don’t/won’t understand.”
What I want to say is; I understand, I really do, because I am also a mum. Not long ago when I became a mum, whenever my childless friends would discuss travel plans, shopping trips, beauty hacks, must read books etc. it just didn’t feel like I could relate anymore. I was so engrossed in protecting and raising this little human being that nothing else mattered.
Did I care about knowing the latest beauty tricks or fashion trends? No, I was quite happy just being able to shower alone, in peace and quiet and having clothes on that didn’t have any milk stains on them. Did I have time to read the next big thriller or watch the blockbuster that everyone was talking about? No, I was too busy pumping milk and simultaneously juggling my baby or reading how to get my baby to sleep, why he cried non stop and why his poo was green. I didn’t even watch any TV for the first 6+ months! So it was only normal that conversations with the people around me were to eventually evolve into talking about my/our kids after a few basic greetings and general chit chat.
It’s time for a change
I mean, thinking of it a bit more now, these were all warning signs. It was essentially telling me:
- The focus of my life is one-sided and leaning heavily towards my child.
- It is time to rediscover myself and to find my own pace.
I’m not saying that talking about your children is bad, I can talk about #JasperBean for a week without coming up for air! I understand the urge to talk about our little ones, the good, the bad and the ugly. We mummies bond over this and it’s ingrained in our DNA. Why I feel I needed a change was because #JasperBean was the main topic with my friends AND S (hubby). I can feel us drifting apart and not bonding on a deeper level. Obviously if someone asked me about my baby, I would be more than happy to tell them everything in between, but is that really what they want to know? Is there nothing else for you to explore and talk about? Am I nothing more than being my child’s mum? I admit, I have set myself up in this little predicament…
What I’ve learnt so far
Indeed, acquaintances can become friends, but nowadays, even meeting friends that I’ve known before becoming a mummy can be such a rare occurrence that sometimes I think: “Why can’t I abandon the mummy identity temporarily?” Obviously I do not need to completely avoid the topic of children, it’s impossible. Yet, there are many other things we can talk about as well.
- It takes 2 (or more)
I’ve learned now that if I don’t want to talk about my child anymore, I just need to voice this out to whoever I’m talking to (without sounding like I don’t want to talk to them at all). And if it’s another mummy friend or S (hubby), we need to encourage and remind one another that being a mum is not the only thing that defines us/me. We have our own interests as well.
- I want to be your real friend, not just a mummy friend.
When two or more mummies meet up, they automatically bond. We’re probably going through the same things or have been through them one form or another. We share our experiences and bond through our children. However, a meaningful friendship cannot be built on our kids. I love to hear about what your kids did, what they are going through or their pooping and eating schedule, but there needs to be room for “us” because if we don’t build on us, what will happen when our kids are old enough to fly the nest? Where does this leave us?
- I want to know you.
Because you are interesting and unique and just because you’ve become a parents does not make you boring. I want to know about the things that make you tick, the things that interest you, the things you’re passionate about, the things that make you who you are, your dreams and your adventures. We already share parenting, so I want to know the wonderful things beyond this.
Don’t feel bad, you deserve it
When we temporarily abandon our mummy identity, this is by no means catering to the needs of others, but ultimately realising a mums life isn’t and shouldn’t just be about her children! They already take up so much of our world, the least we deserve is a chance for a break and engage in conversations and activities that do not involve them. Fundamentally, being a mum is about balance. Now that I am a mum, I find it even more important to add value to my life, to continue learning and broadening my horizons so that I can pass on these learnings to my child and indirectly broaden his world as well.
Some people say, being a responsible and competent mum isn’t easy. However, I believe being a responsible and competent mum who doesn’t lose herself in the process is even harder.
To all the mums out there struggling, I hope you will be able to find the strength to rediscover yourself and enjoy a full and happy life.
Are you finding it hard to cope, do you lose yourself in your offsprings? I would love to hear from you and support one another in the process.
Thanks for reading and until next time…
Love, MsMamaBean x
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