I fell in love just before my 25th birthday. Just before my 26th birthday I gave birth to my first child, a baby girl. We named her Lo.
She is my finest accomplishment, but my goodness, it’s difficult to get ANYTHING done once you have a mewing little infant to take care of – which is worrisome really, as I had grand dreams of working as a freelance designer once she came along.
What was I thinking?
By the time we are both dressed, fed, entertained, changed, fed again and had a few tears just for lols, it’s 7pm, the baby daddy is home from work, and I feel like I’ve accomplished nothing at all.
This is how I felt for the first few weeks of her life, anyway. Then I had to have a serious word with myself. Most women will take 6 months maternity leave to take care of their little one, and here I was stressing that just 5 weeks after Lo was born, I had not been drawing/creating/blogging/writing a man booker prize winning novel.
Herein lies the difficulty in being a mother. I still have desires and dreams. I want to do it all. I want the baby to nap for 3 hours in the middle of the day so I can whip up a series of mono prints, or pen something charming, witty and preferably about any other topic than babies, to post on my blog. But I’m not ready to send her to daycare, or ask for help.
“I still have desires and dreams, I want to do it all”
It’s only now, a mere 17 weeks into my journey as a mama, that I’ve started to see a glimmer of hope. That possibly I might be able to have some semblance of a creative life and *scoff* career… but I have had to take a step back and really analyse and be honest with myself, and accept that my life has changed, my time is more precious, and actually I don’t want to miss any precious moments of my baby growing up.
This realisation led me to Girl Gang, and getting my thoughts down on paper – and writing poetry – something I’ve not done in donkey’s years! I haven’t the energy or patience to draw right now, but certainly I can write about babies, and birth, and vaginas, and raising a little feminist!
I love to draw, but I’m not beating myself up over my lack of productivity anymore – there are other ways to get your creative kicks.
“I can write about babies, and birth, and vaginas, and raising a little feminist!”
I’m using this whole baby ‘thing’ as a giant research project, making the most of just absorbing information and seeing things through fresh eyes. We have started our own little mummy and baby group, BYOB (Bring Your Own Baby) at Rough Trade in Nottingham, which looks set to be a huge success, with the hope of meeting like minded mums.
I save inspiring images to a folder on my laptop, we read books, and I get to watch Disney films all the time, we go to galleries and form opinions on art, I take millions of pictures of the baby, and one day we will do potato printing together.
And maybe then, when she goes off to nursery three days a week, and I don’t feel guilty about relishing this time to myself, maybe then I will pick up a paintbrush again.
Hopefully just before my 30th birthday.