Honest Motherhood: De-frazzling

It’s Saturday evening and I am for the first time all week, completely alone.No seven year old asking me to play dominoes, no baby vomiting on my dungarees (his favourite place to regurgitate) and no partner wishing to decide on dinner together. One of the hardest and most demanding decisions of this entire year has been what to have for our next meal. It’s a guaranteed mind-blank every time. I now walk into supermarkets and deliberately pick things up without letting myself think it through at all. If I don’t do this, I stand frozen in indecision for far too long, staring at shelves, getting flustered and silently resenting my partner for not giving me more guidance in the form of a list. Thankfully he does most of the cooking and between his imagination and my now decisive shopping, we’re good. Plus now we have one less mouth to feed at lunch time as Maia is back at school. 

It’s been just over two weeks since the long-awaited return and the shift in gears has helped us all feel that bit more normal. (If anyone can recall what “normal” actually feels like..). We had some tears on day one. She didn’t want to go in without me and I wasn’t at all surprised, she’d just spent months with me by her side every day and now all of a sudden she was expected to waltz in there without me? Just like that? It was all a bit much. Surrounded by the chaos of children saying goodbye to their parents at the gate, she stood sobbing, tears rolling down as I cuddled and comforted, trying to reassure her in every way I could. “I don’t want to go in Mummy!”. I almost didn’t want her to either, I half-wished I could go in there and hold her hand for the day. Then seemingly out of nowhere one of her best friends appeared, put her arm around Maia and walked her in. Like magic. I couldn’t believe this girl’s confidence, and apparent emotional maturity. She seemed to have said all the right things because a minute later Maia was smiling and chatting away to her teacher.I paused for a moment, peering through the railings, unable to bring myself to leave.It was a strange and fleeting transition from being needed hours on end each day, week after week, to “Okay bye then!”. Now for six hours with just the one tiny human. 

The first few days were blissful. A space emerged in my mind and I could feel myself begin to de-frazzle. It was quiet. But just the right kind of quiet. A guilt-free, everything-is-as-it-should-be, type of quiet. And then of course the novelty wore off and I quickly adjusted to life at home with my seven month old, minus the headache of educating Maia. Other headaches inevitably appeared. I noticed how little conversation I had with anyone for hours if Joel wasn’t around. I’d talk to Leo, and myself. Sing to Leo, and myself. And then get overly enthusiastic when the Amazon delivery person came and feel disappointed when they left after mere seconds of interaction. 

As baby groups aren’t currently running, I realised I hadn’t actually made friends, in person, with one new mother with a baby. This was not good. I immediately booked onto a local NCT walk and began researching when exactly the baby classes would return. The last thing I wanted was to become isolated, if I wasn’t already. I couldn’t really tell. I’d been chatting to a few Mums on our NCT WhatsApp group, but the closest I’d come to meeting them was through Zoom, and we can all agree one is rather Zoomed out at this point. I yearn for actual faces. Real in person connection. You can’t really beat it. Thankfully as I keep reminding myself, it won’t be long now.