You must’ve been 20 when you had him…

Apparently I look young. I look back at photos of myself from university and think “wow, I look so young, no wonder I was always asked for ID.” I look at myself in the mirror now and wonder why on earth I still am.

The other day as I was walking out of the GP surgery, both children in tow. An older gentleman said to me “you must’ve been 20 when you had him.” I smiled politely and walked on. I’m not sure what the best response actually is to comments like this. Firstly, so what if I had been, nothing wrong with being a young mum. Secondly, I wasn’t. I was 27. Thinking about it, I wish I had been younger when I started having babies, maybe I would have more energy. Now my days are often fueled by one lukewarm coffee after another.

My favourite examples of times when my clearly youthful (good) looks have caused most amusement are as follows…

1) Going to buy kitchen scissors at the age of 28 with my baby bear in a pram and needing to show ID to purchase them. Old enough to be responsible for another human being, but not old enough to be trusted with scissors.

2) Opening the front door at the age of 29 and being asked if my parents were in.  Well I certainly won’t be purchasing a new driveway off you.

3) Having our university 10 year reunion and being singled out to provide ID on the door of the club. Not obvious to the naked eye, but I was 13 weeks pregnant at this point.

4) Getting asked for ID on the Christmas work do. I’m 30, this is my first night away from my second born, yes I need a glass of wine, no my ID is not fake.

One day I’ll miss being asked for ID. But until then I shall continue to provide amusement to my friends.

My New Favourite Photo

I took a selfie a few days ago. I’m not really part of the selfie generation. When I was at university, we used to take a camera on a night out and point it at our faces from arms length if we wanted a group shot. But this particular photo has become a new favourite of mine.

It’s not actually a very flattering photo of me. My hair looks quite dull, verging on grey. I look tired, with obvious bags under my eyes. I have developed crows feet. But I look happy. I have my chubby little fox in front of me and you can just see my smile peeping out. I really enjoy looking at this photo as I look happy, it makes me feel happy, it reminds me that I am happy.

Perhaps as I am getting older, I am becoming more content with who I am.

My Extra Hour

The clocks went back a few days ago, a whole extra hour was granted. This is how I spent “my” extra hour:

  • Washing up the undishwasherables (basically known as wine glasses!)
  • Feeding 2 children
  • Folding all the washing from the previous day
  • Emptying all the bins and the recycling
  • Loading the dishwasher
  • Putting on another load of washing
  • Emptying the potty 3 times and changing 2 nappies
  • Tidying up from breakfast

How childless people (AND MY HUSBAND) spent their extra hour:

  • Sleeping

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The Beginning

A short while ago I was talking to a friend about life with 2 children. She expressed concerns that if she were to have another, she was worried she wouldn’t love them as much. This wasn’t the first time I had heard this from someone with one baby. This thought has never crossed my mind, in fact it was the complete opposite. Mind racing, anxiety creeping in, do I admit that I am worried I love my second born more than the first?

STOP. Why was I anxious about this. She admitted her worries to me, why should I not admit mine to her. As mother’s, we were in this together. I should feel fortunate to have a friend who is willing to share this with me. Being a mother is not a competition, you can’t win, you can’t do everything right. Share experiences and try not to judge.

The real reason I was scared to admit this thought was down to two things:

  1. A life long desperate desire to be liked and to fit in
  2. That I had postnatal depression after my first so motherhood was less than rosy when I had my first

Postnatal Depression (PND) affects 1 in 10 women. Very few people know that I suffered with it. When I had my first I was flung into a new world. None of my close friends had babies, the only people I knew with babies were my new NCT friends. How do you admit that you have a problem when they all seem to be loving motherhood, it came so naturally, they were all still glowing and gushing with love for their new babies. Desperate to keep these friends, afraid of being rejected from the only people I knew with babies, I pretended to be all these things. The chances are some of the mummy’s I met were suffering too, but like me, were too scared to let on.

Some days I feel that twang of guilt as I look at both my children and realise that my second born brings me so much more joy and happiness in this “baby” stage than my first born ever did. Sometimes all he has to do is look at me and my heart just melts a little bit. But then this is what is motherhood is meant to be like for everyone. Don’t get me wrong, I still have the days I want to pull my hair out, have a day off or wish the crying and tantrums would just stop. But first time around everyday was like that.

This time I’m much more honest. A lot of our friends from university and work have now entered the reproductive stage. This year alone we have had 7 sets of friends who have become first time parents! I always ask how their getting on. I never say how wonderful it must all be and they must love every minute of it. Instead I say I hope they are managing to enjoy it despite the lack of sleep and that it really is hard work. I still struggle to admit my PND, partly due to embarrassment and partly because it’s not about me now, it’s about them.