I gave birth ten weeks ago and I adore my new daughter. When she smiles at me it actually hurts me because I love her so very much. I love the smell of her head, and the way she tries to hold onto things with her feet. She amazes me. I am amazed I created her. She is a miracle...
Why then, cannot I not give myself the break I deserve and enjoy her instead of worrying about my baby weight?
I don't have a job to go back to, or a social life to dress for. I don't even need to leave the house if I don't want to. Why then, am I in such despair about the way I look? Who do the extra rolls of
flesh around my middle matter to? Not my daughter, and not my husband. He has long since learnt the "nonsense you look great, give yourself a break, I still fancy you" mantra.
I don't know who is judging me, but I feel it. I feel the need to be a size 8 perfectly groomed yummy mummy and I hate myself for it. Why can't I just immerse myself in milky maternal motherland and not worry about the extra stone I am carrying or the grey hairs that sprout like
wires from my head. Why do I care that my skinny jeans don't fit me anymore - where on earth would I wear them to anyway? (and the bloody things were never comfortable anyway)
And who is to blame for me wanting to be this way - Celebrity mums? Not really. I don't have time to buy the magazines that flaunt their flat-as-their-career-tummies-four-weeks-after-their-c-section-mummy-tucks.
TV then? I spend most of my life watching Peppa Pig snorting whilst rolling around in mud, and feel just about on par with the way she looks, so no pressure from her, just a smidgen of jealousy that I am not as happy as a pig in poo.
Perhaps it's not other people then, just my perception of them.
Take today for example. Daughter number one started at her new nursery. A big step for both of us. She met the people she will be spending the next ten or so years in education with - pretty scary for her.
Even more scary for me...I was meeting their mothers.
So I set my alarm, tweezed my eyebrows (took longer than planned), dressed the girls in their best and set off early.. and then it all went wrong.
I got caught in the 4x4 cars on the road driven by mums who cannot see over the steering wheel brigade, could not find anywhere to park, almost reversed into one of Grace's new school friends and finally arrived, flustered and flummoxed, dragging one sullen toddler who had snuck jammy
toast into the car and rubbed it all over her face, and a newborn who had done a massive honky poo which had gone all through her best trousers and right up her back.
No one wanted to stand near us, everyone was wrinkling their perfectly powdered noises (kids included) and I ended up slinking off (or should that be stinking off) back to the badly parked car to sob all the way home.
But upon reflection, maybe no one noticed my shiny forehead and puffy eyebrows after all?
Maybe all the mums there, whilst seeming completely A OK to me, were all fighting with their own "I am not a good enough mother/wife/woman/sister" complex too? Perhaps they were all wrapped in spandex under those skinny jeans, or were hiding legs as hairy as a gorilla's armpit because they had not quite worked out how to divide the day into pieces of being perfect either?
I like to think that if I dared be brave enough to confess "It's bloody hard, this mother lark isn't it" at one of the many boring coffee mornings I try my best to fit into, that floodgates of agreement would open and we would all break down in tears, hug one another and end the session chanting (a bit like that scene from About A Boy where they all sing "Single Parents Alone Together" and hold hands)
I don't think that would happen in this stiff-upper-lip nation though. I think people would eye me with suspicion and the health care visitor would start popping around alot claiming "I was
just in the area".
Instead we must keep it in, try harder, get up earlier, burn the candle at both ends, laugh in the face of exhaustion and LOL at everything going on facebook to prove we are not just boring mummies, and do still have a sense of humour hidden under all the rolls of flab.