For those of you who have read my ‘Happy Half term’ post, you may have picked up on my feeling that my role in this madhouse has changed. At the end of the summer I reached a point, which to be honest, I suppose I knew deep down would happen one day. My boys are now 8 and 6. I have had 2 years now of them all being at school, giving me the chance to get on with all the jobs and trying out a few new things during school hours, whilst being grateful that I have not had to return to work. I have always been committed to being there for my boys after school and during the holidays. However, they are needing me less, wanting to do things which often don’t involve me (cricket camps, after school sport clubs) and as they move through the school years, into secondary school, they will increasingly need me less. So I have been thinking more about my role in this madhouse. And actually now I need more (not babies, that is).
When I was 29, before I got married, I was just me. Simple. Then I got married, I became a wife. Ok. Then I went on to have 4 children, and for 4 little boys, I became a Mummy. As every Mummy knows, this responsibility at times can be over-whelming. So I was me, a wife and a mummy. Then it came to me one day when thinking about what it would have on my grave stone when I die (is that morbid?). I would be a mummy, wife, daughter, sister, daughter-in-law, auntie, niece, friend…. and crikey, that is a lot of things to lots of different people. And again, it is over-whelming. And in all of that, there is someone else. Me. And it doesn’t have on peoples’ headstones ‘just her’ does it. What about the ‘Me’?
My main role for the last 8 years has been Mummy. I continue to try my hardest at wife and other roles. And occasionally the ‘Me’ popped up in there. If you stay at home with your children, the ‘Me’ may not come out as often as it does if you go back to work. It may be harder to get time on your own, to remember who you used to be. Yes my supportive husband would send me off to the shops at weekends and would take over the milk routines, so I could get out and be ‘Me’, but this is only a fleeting glance at the ‘Me’ side, because after a few hours, I would be back to reality of what it actually is, and that is ‘Mummy’. We had meals out, the odd night away, so I could see my ‘Wife’ side, and again, it was fleeting. The effort to make arrangements so we could go out, then the impact of coming back into the house again, on the back foot because the routine was out of kilter, the house wasn’t how I had it, impacted on how much of the ‘Wife’ side really came out. After all, it is not reality. A night away is simply that. A night away. Then back to it. Back to the reality. The intensity. So I guess I just rode with it for the years. Being just ‘Mummy’.
Often at bedtime my boys choose a Mr Men book for me to read to them. My favourite is Mr Nobody. It starts with Mr Happy starting his happy day, then bumping into Mr Nobody. Mr Nobody couldn’t remember where he came from. All he knew is that he used to be somebody, but couldn’t remember who, or what, or where, or when. He was convinced there was nothing you could do about a nobody. With the help of Mr Happy, a wizard and a cup of tea, Mr Nobody turned into someone like Mr Happy, and well, ‘Everybody’s a Somebody’.
So whilst I was never really a nobody, as I am such a lot of things to such a lot of people, I possibly have been guilty of forgetting (or most probably not having time to remember) that I was once a somebody. It is hard to find time to remember when you have your head down, managing babies, day after day, week after week. I would have never changed the way I have done things, and can honestly say I happily surrendered myself to my boys. But what I do know now is that whilst I am still a mummy, wife, daughter, sister, friend and all of those other things, I have more time to find my somebody, my ‘Me’. And that is an exciting if not daunting time.
I always like to think that we all have different hats to wear depending on what we are doing that day, and where we are in our life. We just have to wear which hat we need to that day, recognise we have different hats to wear, and do our best whilst wearing it. So one day, like me, you may get to the stage when you have time to look up and remember your ‘somebody’ hat is picking up dust somewhere in the back of the cupboard. It will always be there, to get out, dust off and wear again. And whilst it may feel a bit funny and daunting at first, it will still fit perfectly.