Not long after my little lightening god was born my husband got given a small bonus at work and we decided to use it to take off on a child free 2 day break to Amsterdam. It was literally weeks after childbirth and I was still in that, slightly traumatised, thinking I’d made a terrible mistake phase. It was sort of a rash decision and in hindsight we definitely should have saved the money to help us through maternity leave but I felt like I deserved a holiday after the shitty pregnancy and crappy labour I’d been through and that by November I’d definitely deserve a break.
That was 7 months ago and in the days leading up to our holiday I began feeling slightly anxious about flying away and leaving my baby behind…
…however the eve of our holiday arrived and after we happily waved our baby off with nanny and our dog off with grandad we were alone in our house for the first time in what felt like a really long time, “it feels too quiet” my husband said “yeh” I replied “it’s great isn’t it?” Then got into bed as quickly as possible for maximum sleep before we flew off the next day…
I’ve had a lot of mums ask me if I cried when I left my little Thor, and tell their stories of sobbing at airports and I wondered if I should feel guilty that I didn’t? A tiny tear did squeeze it’s way out when we took off as a tiny panic rose inside me over the thought of being in a different country to my baby, but it passed, he was in good hands.
Amsterdam was great, for two days we drank hot chocolate in coffee shops, drank prosecco in bars, ate lots of cheese and slept the sleep of kings..
I waited for the mum guilt to kick in, but it just didn’t, of course I missed my son terribly, and checked in with mum at bed time and each morning, we brought him lots of presents and I looked forward to seeing him when we got home, but I know that Thor loves hanging out with my mum, he loves seeing people and he would be absolutely fine.
In the meantime I was working on some things about myself that I’ve been struggling with recently.
Being mum has felt like a natural transition in my life, but it’s not been easy, one thing I do feel is it’s somehow limited my creativity and my ability to feel, well, like me, I suppose that’s natural.
The first year of being a mum turns life upside down, I go to bed at 8pm most nights because I’m so tired from being up in the night, early starts and full on days that I can’t keep my eyes open past then. I do so much laundry and cleaning that the idea of a career feels like a distant memory, unpainted nails, scrapped back hair, big pants and extra pregnancy weight all make me feel, well, distinctly un–me–like.
There’s something beautiful about Amsterdam in the winter and wandering around those beautiful, familiar canals it’s hard not to see things creatively. My husband and I got engaged there 5 years ago and under that chilly Amsterdam sky it’s easier to remember who those two people were, drunk on vodka and half stoned, eating waffles and being in love, feeling like the future was ours, a lot has changed in those 5 years, but the future is still ours. It was a break we needed more than we realised, and just reminded me of who I am. Being a mum has changed me and I’m glad, but it’s nice to spend time remembering the things you love in places you love. Amsterdam has such a good vibe and I was so glad to be back in Dam Square looking at Christmas lights, trying to avoid trams, drinking, shopping, eating, laughing, being out after dark without a sense of guilt! I think I’ll have to say goodbye to Amsterdam for a bit (only a bit though) there’s so many places that I want to see and that I want to take our little boy to, I started making a list in my head before we even got on the plane home.
Of course I was overjoyed to see my son when we got home and of course I worried that I didn’t feel heart wrenching guilt about leaving him behind, should I have? I don’t think so. Ok I’m a mum now, but I still need to feed my own soul, there’s a balance, I hope my son always feels love and knows that his family is home, but how am I going to teach my son independence and confidence if I lose my own?
I want him to see the world as the magical and vast adventure that it is, so I need to remember the magic too.
Excited to go away. Enjoyed the break, realised what it was to be a parent,
I’ve struggled to write anything since becoming a mum, it’s so far been a wonderful but incredibly challenging experience but it has somewhat strangled my creativity and quietly turned my world around. I worried before about being the sort of person who could only talk about her child and although I’m actually not like that I kinda realise it doesn’t