We stood in Roma Termini Airport, laughing. Laughing about how crap I’d felt for the last few days on Connor's birthday trip to Rome and it was typical this would happen on our city break. It was a hard couple of days, I’d stopped myself from throwing up at the Colosseum and was put off by all sorts of delicious Italian food I’d normally inhale. I stood disinterested at the Vatican, desperately thinking of how I could get rid of this ‘hangover’ but I never for a second thought I was pregnant. 12 weeks later I never thought I’d be going through a miscarriage and a year after that I definitely didn't think I’d be giving birth to the most beautiful 7lbs 6 the-spit-of-his-dad baby.
I had various thoughts whilst pregnant. What will he be like? Who will he look like? How will I know he loves me? My mind was completely driven by this tiny embryo growing inside me and I became fascinated by the person he would become. I took less interest in my partners and my interests and I spent all of my time creating an Amazon Baby Wishlist and Pinteresting all of this useful baby stuff (I’ve not even looked at those boards since making them - I do not have time to make my own organic paint… where is the closest Early Learning Centre?) but not for a second did I think; What will I be like as mum? How will I feel when he arrives? What will I do to ensure I still look after me? 6 months in and I started to get a niggle, thoughts of returning to work, a new found love for exercising and a bit more time to myself and I started to think about me and how I’m so much more than a mum.
Being a mum takes up most of the hours in my day and when daddy’s at work, naturally they’re the hardest but it’s always at the front of my mind how important it is to make time for me and for my hobbies and interests. Taking this time for me essentially makes me feel as though I'm able to be a better mum. It’s not about me wanting to run away from my child or leaving him with a babysitter at the earliest convenience, I’ve just discovered the importance of spending time developing myself and keeping the old Chelsea alive. B was just 6 weeks old when we left him for our first date night and ventured to the Cinema. I honestly cannot tell you what we watched. I spent the whole time thinking about him and what he was doing. I even googled “Can my baby miss me?”. When we went to collect B, it set in that the time apart was good for both of us. He was fine and sleeping like a baby. Did I miss him? Yes. Was it nice to walk alone hand in hand with CPB down the road? Yes. Did Bobby miss me? Of course, he didn't. This for me was the first step in realising that aside from being new-no-idea-whats-going-on-parents we were still the same old goofy couple we’ve always been and once B grows up and goes to university or whatever he chooses to do, we will still be that goofy couple watching Marvel films - just probably with a few more grey hairs and wrinkles
So as a family, we all explore each other's interests and take time out for ourselves. Just because you’re a mum or a dad, it doesn't mean you should give up the things you love or that set your heart on fire.
Currently, I am B’s everyday care, we bond over me making words up to nursery rhyme whilst changing his nappy, encouraging him to pat and not pull the dogs ears off and showing him how to fit shapes into a cube, but later in life he won't need me in the same way he does now. He’ll need me on a different level, an intellectual level for help, advice, guidance and I want him to be able to see that I’m so much more than just his mum - that I’ve got my own hobbies, interests and opinions.
When B is a teenager and we’re explaining to him why he must go to his afterschool clubs and keep up with all his extracurricular activities, it won't be because we’re ‘pushy parents’ - it’ll be because we want him to find his passion. One day, he’ll be an adult and maybe one or some of these activities will stick with him and we’ll be there to say we cheered him on when he was younger and encouraged him to find something he loved doing. I hope when he becomes a dad that he’ll understand that he doesn't have to give up these things too.
B has been my greatest achievement to date but I am so much more than just being Bobby's mum.