26.1.16

It's ok


I became a mama a little over three months ago, which simultaneously feels like yesterday and a million years ago. 


In that short time, I've learned a lot. From basic things like feed your baby before she cries out of hunger unless you want half an hour of frantic failed latching, to the enormous things like how much it is possible to love one tiny person (more than words can ever describe). But something I'm learning to be true more and more every day is this: 

You can do anything, but you can't do everything. 

You see, I had grand plans for my maternity leave. I was going to blog every day (you can see how well that's going)! I would make all the curtains for our new house! I would refresh and increase my knowledge of Greek! I would bake and send my love off to work with tasty treats each week! I would start (and, obviously, make a great success of) an Etsy business! I would finally finish that novel I've been threatening to write for years! I know everyone else says those things and doesn't do them, but I would be different! 

Yeah, right. 

Right now I consider the day to be a success if I'm showered and dressed before 11am, and if we manage to leave the house at some point. My blog is woefully neglected, I haven't opened the Word document containing my 'novel' in months, and my sewing machine lies untouched and unnoticed, other than me regularly musing whether I should sell it. 

Do I feel bad about that? Not one bit. I did, for about six weeks, then I remembered that phrase: 'you can do anything, but you can't do everything'. 

I'm doing something amazing every single day. I am raising a person. I'm feeding her, and changing her and rocking her to sleep. I'm slowly going to teach her right from wrong, to know her own mind and to one day be big and strong and independent. I am loving her. That is enough. 

Yes, I still want to do more with my maternity leave than sing nursery rhymes and wipe up poop. For one, I need to figure out how to get where I want to be in my career (more on that later) and get into more of a groove with managing the housework, but I think that's going to be it. And that's ok. You have to pick your battles. I can't fight to try to look after Annika, stay on top of everything at home AND do every single thing on my maternity leave wish list. 

I'm not going to run an Etsy business. That would be great, and I'm totally in awe of those mothers who manage to balance child rearing with successful business. I do need a creative outlet, but I don't think it's going to be that. And that is ok. 

I'm probably not going to be the next Mary Berry. I enjoy baking, I really do. But can I find time to do it every day, or even every week? No. Yes, I could make time, but I'd rather devote the little free time I have to something else. I haven't made pastry since 2013, and that's ok. 

I might open my Greek textbooks once or twice, for fun, but I'm not going to have the time or money for more language lessons. It would be nice to learn more, but there'll be time for that later. Like retirement. 

I might write. It's the thing I love most, and probably the thing I'm best at. I'm definitely not going to finish that novel any time soon, I'm probably not going to write every day, or even every week, but I am going to do it sometimes. Maybe. But I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't. 

It's ok to admit that you can't do everything. Us mothers are put under so much pressure by the media, each other and ourselves to be perfect, to have everything - the Pinterest-worthy home, the perfect family, the successful career. I've lost count of the number of times I've opened a magazine to read an article about some amazing woman who's running a homegrown business from her kitchen table, one hand bashing out orders on the laptop while the other stirs a nutritious dinner, all the while bouncing a pristine, angelic-looking toddler on her knee.

I think it's time we all called bullshit. I'm not saying I don't believe these women exist; they do. What I am saying is that it's ok that we aren't all like that. And that doesn't make us failures. 

I don't want to look back on my maternity leave and wish I'd spent more time snuggling, more time smelling that sweet baby smell and feeling her pudgy little hand clasp around my fingers. That doesn't make me lazy, that just means I want to enjoy my baby while she's still little (totally not meaning to put down any supermums who do manage to do it all!). 

Becoming a mum has meant I've had to shelve certain dreams for the time being. Not discard them completely, but file them away for now in fulfilment of a bigger, better dream. The only real dream I've ever had - to be a mama, and to do my very best to be the best mama I can be. 

Now, does anyone want to buy a sewing machine? 

1 comment :

  1. The last paragraph of this post is so beautiful! I so can't wait to meet Annika when I'm home xxxxxxx

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