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True self / Mom self

I’ve been thinking a lot, lately, about the different versions we all have within us. This is partly because after my amazing holiday (amazing! so amazing!) I felt like I reconnected with the part of me that has been around much longer than I’ve been a Mom… And then I came home and said goodbye to that part.

For five days, I was totally selfish. I did what I want when I wanted, ate what I wanted when I felt like it, didn’t look after anyone, wasn’t needed by anyone, and reveled in alone time. It was glorious! You know when you really feel like eating a piece of chocolate, and then you eat it? That feeling of satisfaction? That’s what I felt for the whole five days.

I swam in the sea for an hour each day (at least), walked on the beach, read my book till I didn’t feel like reading any more (!), watched movies in the cinema, spent precious time with a few precious friends and hours upon hours of alone time with myself. I shopped clothing sales without looking at kid stuff, didn’t look at the time because it didn’t matter what time it was, and slept as much as I wanted. Heavenly!

And what I realised (or remembered) is how much I love being on my own, in silence. My ideal world would be a quiet, still one with concentrated bursts of socializing with people I love. Instead, my daily life is almost constant noise with almost constant interaction (albeit with two little people that I love very much). Adjusting to real life last week was intense, not only because I was right back in the noise, but because both kids were extremely clingy. As in, cry when I left the room clingy. Totally understandable, but oh my goodness so freaking hard.

The lovely yoga teacher at the Buddhist Retreat Centre was talking about how important it is to listen to your body, and how we don’t do much of that these days: we get up when we’re still tired and stare at screens even when our eyes are sore. I told her that I know exactly what my body wants, but my kids don’t care if I’m tired, it’s time to get up when they’re up. And she suggested reframing it as a choice: I choose to get up even when I’m tired because I love my little people.

And I really, really do. The break was so good for me because it let me see their unique cuteness anew. They are really quite impossibly cute – Arty is full of imaginative stories, Ella is full of cuddles and mischief. Spending time with them when they are not unbearably clingy is a joy. But so is spending time alone, doing things that feed my soul…

And I guess that’s the motherhood dichotomy. Just because I became a mom doesn’t mean I stopped being the Bridget I was for 32 years before I became a mom – it just means I have less time for her. But it was satisfying and reassuring to know she’s still there, waiting in the wings for the right time.

And in the meantime, check out the trailer for this movie that looks like it hits the nail on the head:


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