Sometimes I look in the mirror, and I do NOT feel like a mum. I have spots, greasy hair and am wearing an oversized t-shirt with leggings. I feel more like a teenager than a responsible parent! I think that we all have little ideas on our heads of what we will be like, look like, act like when we become a parent. I for example, imagined being married for 3 years and living in a 3 bedroom house in the suburbs of London. I would be older, like 30, and have much shorter, un-dyed hair which would fall perfectly in that mumsy way! I would be mature, enjoy gardening and baking cupcakes, own only sensible dresses/midi skirts and cardigans and I would definitely not even dream of having more than 2 sips of wine a week.
In reality, I am a 24 year old, Topshop obsessed unemployed, unmarried bleach blonde women who rents a (very pretty) cottage with my boyfriend. I still get spots, I still feel fat some days, I still slump about in joggers I wore when I was 18! Some days I look in the mirror and think "I do not look like a mum". But I am a mum! And it's just crazy!
These feelings can sometimes hold me back a little. When I hear about my single friends and their crazy nights out I can't help but feel a little down about having to stay indoors and look after Alice. I see friends having amazing careers, meeting so many people and travelling all over the world, and I can't help but feel a little twinge of jealousy. I can't decide to travel round the world at the drop of a hat. I can't just go out on a Wednesday night and get drunk and ride home in a shopping trolley. And I definitely can't call in sick! Even when Alice starts screaming at half 4 in the morning...
I miss being able to spend more than 2 minutes in the shower. I miss being able to take time on my hair and make-up. I miss being able to read a book. And finish it! I miss being care free and being able to go out with my friends whenever I like! I miss the possibilities that being single and childless brings with it.
Having a baby so young (well, younger than the average for the UK) has sometimes been difficult to come to terms with. I'm not where I thought I would be in my life and my close friends aren't even close to having children yet. But now, nearly a year after Alice was born, I am beginning to feel more like a mum. Just walking her down the road in her pram makes me feel like a mum now, whereas before I felt like I was walking someone else's baby! With each milestone that passes, I feel I am easing into the role of being a parent. It has been a long journey, but finally the days that I look in the mirror and think, "I'm a mum" are definitely becoming more frequent!
Alice. I love you. And I am so proud to be your mummy.