“Excuse the face,” and other things Mums need to stop saying

“Excuse the face,” is probably something you’re either guilty of saying or privy to hearing amongst your Mum friends or maybe just your female friends in general. If it’s not that then maybe it’s, “I haven’t even put any makeup on today,” “gosh, I look so rough,” “excuse the bags under my eyes” or, “sorry I look such a mess.”  We are full of these apologies, prefixing conversations or meet ups with friends with a comment about our seemingly less than acceptable appearance, as if the need to do so comes as a priority before anything else we may want to say.

I am so guilty of this. So guilty. I apologise for the way I look or the way my house looks all the time….even to my best friends! Although it’s often very true that as a busy and extremely sleep deprived mum of two, I haven’t put makeup on or do in fact have bags under my eyes, this is just my daily reality. I don’t feel my best or my most confident but I do not need to apologise for this. If I take a photo to capture a real and present moment of my motherhood life and see my bare face, my dressing gown and my wild postpartum hair, my immediate reaction is to find fault. Even when it’s a moment I want to cherish or share, I see my greasy hair in a mum bun and those pesky tired eyes and feel like it’s not good enough, that my appearance or the dirty dishes in the background take centre stage over the looks on my girls faces as we cuddle on the sofa first thing in the morning.

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Although it may be stating the very obvious, we do not need to apologise for our appearance to anyone and especially not to other Mums. We are a collective group of super women doing the hardest job in the world and we are worth so much more than our appearance. We are up all night, surviving on very little sleep, making sure the needs of small people are met all day long and yet we still feel the need to look a certain way in order to feel OK about ourselves.

Our tired eyes and messy hair exist because we are working our butts off with barely a second to ourselves. Our clothes are stained and our floors are dirty because we are mothering all day long and getting the kids’ breakfast ready comes higher up the list than applying foundation.

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Do you know what the most crazy part is? When we bring children into the world we are at our most vulnerable. Our most exposed. We are raw and unfiltered, often amongst total strangers. Nature forces us to let our guards down and become the most natural, powerful and miraculous versions of ourselves that we may ever be. Then we spend the months that follow fulfilling a societal pressure to look good (thanks Patriarchy) and apologising when we feel that we don’t. Our children hear these phrases. Our children copy our every move and learn so much of their own self worth from our actions and our words. Our children hear their mothers apologising for how they look but not their fathers.

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Of course there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel good in our own skin and if you choose to make that a priority, more power to you! I for one would love to have time to blow dry my hair or put makeup on every morning and I know in many ways I would feel better for it. I would feel more confident, more uplifted and more like myself. Makeup can give us that little boost when we don’t otherwise feel great, but please, let’s stop excusing ourselves to others. Let’s talk about what we are achieving, succeeding at or most importantly how we are feeling. “I had such little sleep last night so I’m not feeling great,” is so much better than, “I had such little sleep last night so I look awful,” because I think really, that is what we are trying to say. I’m not feeling great and could really use some more sleep. I’d love some time to myself because I’m feeling overwhelmed. Can you help with the dishes because I’m feeling like there’s too much to do. That’s what we really want to say, isn’t it?

So next time you’re about to utter an apology for your face, just remember this. Our children never judge us for the way we look. I’ve often thought about how I get the same happy smiles and the same kisses and cuddles from my girls whether I’ve just rolled out of bed or whether I’m wearing makeup and have my hair done. It’s like they just don’t see any difference or even if they do, it changes nothing for them. I’m just their Mummy and any version of me will do just perfectly.

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Is it just me?

Is it just me who loves being a Mum
But also wishes I could have more fun?
Is it just me who finds it so tough,
Day in day out, it can be so rough.

Is it just me whose house is always a mess,
Who frantically tidies before having guests?
Is it just me who feels like a winner,
When I don’t just make pesto pasta for dinner?

Is it just me who wishes for time
For yoga and books and other things mine?
Is it just me who always feels tired
But being a good mum keeps me feeling inspired.

Is it just me who plays all day long
Whose baby smiles at her favourite song?
Is it just me who worries too much
Because I’m not doing enough of such and such?

Is it just me who wishes for sleep
Who hears the baby wake as soon as they peep?
Is it just me who sometimes cries
When you suddenly realise how time flies?

Is it just me who opens the door
To check on her babies just one time more?
Is it just me who wants to run away
To forget my responsibilities just for one day?

Is it just me whose eyes fill with tears
As I think about my hopes and fears?
Is it just me who never quite knew
Just how much I’d change having you?

Is it just me who learns every day
Because you are the ones who show me the way?
Is it just me who stares into your eyes
And wonders how I won the prize?

Is it just me who is awake all the night
Feeding and cuddling and holding you tight?
Is it just me who needs to be told
“You’re doing great,”… that never gets old.

Is it just me who needs a break
Perhaps a hot tea and a big piece of cake?
Is it just me who gets driven mad
Who feels everything in between happy and sad?

Is it just me who worries about you
Like sometimes I just don’t know what to do?
Is it just me who can’t do it alone
And is thankful for all the mums in my phone?

Is it just me who escapes to the shower
For 5 quiet minutes but wants a whole hour?
Is it just me who can’t stop kissing those cheeks
Who wants to slow down the passing weeks?

Is it just me who feels incredibly proud
Who wants to show the world and shout it out loud?
Is it just me who never feels good enough
I should probably be doing more crafty stuff?

Is it just me whose dream has come true
By becoming a mummy to both of you?
Is it just me who doesn’t want you to grow
Yet wants you to, so there’s more I can know.

Is it just me who needs more time for self-care
For exercise, napping or washing my hair?
Is it just me who thought I knew how it would be
But then becoming a mother truly humbled me.

Is it just me who has a big dark fear
That something bad will happen when I’m not near?
Is it just me who does the same as my Mum
Giving a magic kiss better when you hurt your thumb?

Is it just me who needs her friends
To help with all that motherhood sends?
Is it just me who gives a laugh and smile
When I watch that old video I haven’t seen for a while?

Is it just me who wants to protect you from bad
In a world that can sometimes seem a little bit mad?
Is it just me who has marks on her skin
From the days from when I grew you within?

Is it just me who wants to give all Mums a hug
To offer support with a drink in a mug.
Is it just me who wouldn’t change a thing
Who can’t wait to see what the future will bring.

Postpartum Hair Loss

I was in the shower the other day, enjoying my five minutes of relative peace and quiet, when all of a sudden it started. After almost a year of my hair growing ever thicker thanks to the miracle combination of pregnancy hormones, it has once again started to fall out. When I’m pregnant, my hair habits change so much and I’m always intrigued as to why nature has evolved in this way. My hair rarely needs washed and barely a single hair ever falls out resulting in a rather untamed lions mane! I’m not quite sure why thicker, cleaner hair is an advantage for pregnancy but I’m sure somebody somewhere knows the answer.

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9 months pregnant with Summer

The postpartum period or the fourth trimester as it’s also lovingly known, is like a place between two worlds. You have a new baby and are no longer pregnant but your body is still in a state of recovery, no matter how fast paced life is all around you (if you have a toddler that is!)  All of a sudden, 3 months after giving birth and at almost an identical time to when it happened after having Jasmine, my body is sending me a sign that the precious fourth trimester is now coming to an end. Perhaps pregnancy makes you more attuned to what is happening in your body but I certainly notice these subtle and not so subtle changes all the time. Now I need to wash my hair more often and it’s falling out at a rate fast enough to make me think I’ll be going bald by the end of the month. What is this strange phenomenon?

To me, this sudden and fairly drastic change is another reminder that there’s a whole system working it’s magic inside my body that knows exactly what to do and when. Hormones! Hormones doing their thing just like they did throughout pregnancy, birth, postpartum and now. This change is significant for different reasons though. My body is changing again and it’s like I’m now leaving this pregnancy behind, saying farewell to the sacred journey I had and preparing for another move forward. Now I don’t feel so, “just given birth” and feel more, “full on mum of 2!” My muscle separation is healing and except for lack of sleep and breastfeeding, my body feels much more normal, like it’s wiggling back into it’s comfort zone, not quite the same one as before but a comfortable one none-the-less.

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Enjoying my mop of thick hair whilst it lasts!

Summer is changing too, all at once. She’s no longer content with days at home, cuddles, long sleepy feeds and staring at our faces. She suddenly needs toys, outings and experiences and she loves everything we’re showing her. Perhaps it’s her way of saying she’s ready for the world now too, no longer a newborn but a fully fledged baby!

The transformation into Motherhood is really never ending and there is a constant ebb and flow both physically and emotionally that when you stop to notice it, is really quite the wild ride. Now things are settling, it seems. Our family structure feels as if it’s always been this way. Jasmine has fully accepted Summer into the fold and their relationship is blossoming every day.

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Jasmine and Summer

So today I’m feeling grateful for my human experience. Thankful that I get to witness the miracles of the human body, my body, and what it can achieve. I continue to feel humbled by the way our bodies know exactly what to do and even when I might not understand the reasons or enjoy all the sensations, I know it is all to be embraced.

 

New beginnings

Jasmine fell asleep ridiculously early tonight and Summer is currently in her Daddy’s arms so I’m using this rare moment to sit here, and write. I recently came across several posts online that all carried a very similar message and one that spoke so strongly to me, I couldn’t ignore it. This message was one about doing the work in order to manifest your dreams and working out what may be blocking your ability to expand and achieve the things you can so clearly visualise but never seem able to do. Of course with a toddler and a newborn ‘time’ is not something I have a lot of, however, sometimes you can’t ignore signs from the Universe that all the right things are coming into alignment just at the right time so what better time than now to begin.

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In recent months I have written enough words to fill an entire book but the problem is these words are just stored in my head, the odd note written in my phone or as pages in my journal. They are words that have streamed out of me in a moment of pure emotion, in a moment of clarity or in the moments that follow a particular experience or conversation. Every single day I think about writing them down ‘properly’. I think about saving them somehow, sharing them with others, getting them out into the world. I think about whether my girls will read them one day and whether they would want to. Then something stops me. It’s not that I don’t want to share these words because I desperately do but there’s something there, something I can’t quite pinpoint, that holds me back. Perhaps it’s the fear of being so vulnerable, opening my heart up to the world? Perhaps it’s the work and time it will take to write these things in a way that can truly portray how I feel? Perhaps it’s the fear that it’s really just a pointless exercise and I should keep these things to myself? Perhaps it’s the fear of what people will think? Perhaps it’s everything.

I don’t really understand why my desire to share such personal things is so strong. Why do I feel that my words belong anywhere other than in my journal? What makes me someone who has an experience in life no different to that of millions of others, but one that comes with a whole narrative of its own? A narrative about my daughters and about motherhood. A narrative about women and our experiences. About feminism, about learning. About veganism, spirituality, personal growth, marriage, relationships and life. Narratives come to me almost every day and I now feel that if I do nothing with these words, at the end of the day, that would be just a big waste.

I want to keep these words for my daughters and my family so that one day they can read them and not only be able to learn about me as their mother but about themselves as young children and my experience raising them. They will be able to learn about the world as it is now with all it’s problems but all it’s beauty. The journey of motherhood, of which I am just really at the start, has truly been transformative in so many ways and to capture that is beautiful and has become my passion. It is my life and my experience on this planet and in so many ways being a mother, being your mother, is wrapped up in everything I do.

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The experience of Motherhood is a universal one. My girls, Jasmine and Summer, are unique in themselves and unique to me but my experiences as a mother are shared by millions. The highs and the lows, the struggles and the doubt, the learning and the reward and above all the love. Oh, that love!

So it’s time to start the work. I don’t want these words to disappear from my head. I want to capture them now, as they are, real, raw and authentic. They are me being vulnerable, emotional, unsure. They are me seeking growth, guidance and connection. They are me being passionate, brave and truthful. With all that, and all the fear, I question again why I feel so deeply compelled to share but then, I do know. I know the power of sharing because words others have shared have helped me. I know that words I’ve read about motherhood have brought me to tears, have made me feel less alone and part of something bigger. So part of me, a big part of me, believes that my words might just be able to help someone else too. Perhaps also, one day my words will help my daughters to carve their way through their own motherhood journey and know that I came before them just like my mother before me. If that’s not a reason to write, I don’t know what is.

This is for you my girls, my daughters, my heart.

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Jasmine!

Dear Jasmine,

Being your Mummy has been very special for me since the very first day you were born but today it’s extra special because it’s your second birthday! Two whole years have passed since you came into my world and every single day I am overwhelmed by my love for you. This year, although it might be an unusual birthday present, I’ve decided to start a blog for you! A blog is something that wasn’t even invented when I was a two year old and no doubt at one point when you read this in the future, you’ll probably laugh at me for being so old fashioned!

Since becoming your Mummy, my life has changed so profoundly and my head is full of a million things that I long to share with you, many of which you’re too young to understand yet. There’s so much I want to tell you but I also want to keep everything in a way that can last you forever. I want to share things with you about yourself so you can have stories about times you won’t remember, like today when you asked a random lady on the train where her glasses had gone. You notice everything! I want to tell you about being your Mummy and everything that means to me, including the mistakes I’m making along the way!

I want to share all this with you because, in truth, you and me are connected little girl. Ever since the day you were born, I’ve felt a deep connection with you. Mother to daughter, female to female, human to human. It’s so strong and full of energy that I almost don’t have the words for it. But this connection and this love I have for you is driving me to write. To share. To create. To give. I recently read a book that said, if you want to be a writer, write every day. Now, I’m not sure I want to “be a writer” but there’s certainly no better time to try writing than right now.

It’s now 15th March 2018 and the world is changing at an incredible pace. There is brilliance in our world. There is change, there is beauty, there is art, there is laughter, there is feminism! There is also some not so good stuff but it all makes the world we live in what it is today. I want to tell you about it all. I want to capture what it means to live in this time for you as a 2-year-old girl and me as your 30-year-old Mummy both growing up, just in very different ways.

One day, I want to share your birth story with you and tell you about my first few weeks as a new Mum. I want to tell you about the time I had a miscarriage and about being pregnant again with your little brother or sister. I want to tell you about your family, your Grandparents and Great Grandparents, your Aunties, Uncles and cousins. I want to tell you about the world, about important things that are shaping your future. I want to empower you as a female and help you navigate life’s challenges. I want to teach you to be open minded, to be kind (you are already so kind), to challenge injustice (I have a feeling you’re going to be great at this too!) and to give back to the world as much as you get from it. I want to answer all your questions and ask you some back in return. I want to tell you I don’t know all the answers but that together we can find them out.

Mostly, I want to be honest with you. Being your Mummy is my number one job and my most privileged one but it doesn’t come without its challenges. I’d never been a Mummy before you came along and so, quite frankly, you’re teaching me everything I know!

I’m starting this blog for you now because I am trusting that this instinct I have to start writing, really writing, could be something special. I sit down sometimes with the thoughts in my head and honestly feel I could write a book (not yet)! The words pour out of me and almost always, I find myself writing them to you.

Happy Birthday, Jasmine. I hope you can enjoy this gift for many years to come.

Love from,

Mummy

xxx