I am not yet ‘mummy.’ Of course, I am a mummy but baby-Neon is still in a ba-ba-ba, da-da-da phase of communication. I think it’s extremely important to remind yourself who you are as ain individual before you become ‘MUMMY!’ A transitory label can become permanently inked in the skin if you’re not careful.
Going over a little bit of oft-covered ground (by myself and countless other parents) I want to emphasise that I like – no, love! – being baby-Neon’s mummy. But I took a hit to my individual self just as I was starting to like my individual self. Being me makes me a better mummy. Having time away makes me a better mummy. Doing things that are not related to being a mummy makes me a better mummy. But to just delineate life into baby parts and non-baby parts doesn’t solve the problem, it accentuates it. Then you’re still being defined by mummyness (or daddyness) for half – or more likely more than half – of your time. Integration between the two parts is what makes life successful.
That’s not to say that there aren’t some bits that should be kept in a separate box. Work, for example, is something that most people keep in a separate box anyway, and trying to create cohesion between the baby/non-baby parts doesn’t have to mean that all the boxes are ripped open. I work on my PhD while baby-Neon is asleep, or with Mr. Neon or Neon-Nanny (yes, I get a nanny one day a week to work on my thesis, and I know that I am unbelievably lucky to have this). But, I would never take baby-Neon into class or to my tutoring sessions.*
I sound very much as though I have the whole business of being me and mummy sorted out, hut the truth is I don’t. I don’t think anyone does because we are all changing all the time, even in minute ways. And, baby is changing too, and her needs and wants are changing. I once described it as a constant battlefield between self and mummyness but it’s not – it’s a painting that is not quite finished and needs constant tiny adjustments. Or, it’s a dance.that weaves and sways as the music changes. It’s a beautiful, exciting thing. At least it should be. And, at least most of the time.
It’s about buying a child seat for your bike but still allowing yourself to lament the days of solo riding.
*Incidentally, this is the issue I have with the ‘breastfeeding in Parliament’ and similar debates. A man would get lambasted for brining a disruptive infant into his workplace. The breastfeeding isn’t the problem.
Posted on-the-run on my HTC One X