The me before we

It is not very often that I watch something on TV that makes me stop in my tracks and evaluate my life (probably because I like dirge like Revenge and 90210), but this actually happened to me last week. I can’t even remember the programme nor the character. Just what the character did.

They pottered downstairs mid morning and announced that they were going back to bed with their cup of tea to watch telly?
How? What? WHAT? 
It made me remember that I once could do this. Hell I could stay in bed and watch a DVD, read four magazines, half a book, roll into the bath and back out into a bar.
To have an extra hour in bed in the morning now requires artful negotiation not beyond the likes of Obama in a Chinese trade meeting. You see there are now three small people that own and control me more masterfully than any parent, teacher or boss before them.

Yes – I still get to do “me” things but there is a rigid premeditated aura about them. There is no spontaneous “I think today I’ll nip and have a mooch around Harrods” or “I think I’ll catch that new band in Camden Lock“. It’s more “Yay, I’m in Tesco by myself.”

Most days you don’t care that you have become a watered down version of yourself, that you’ve took your foot of the gas career-wise, but then other days it smarts like hell.

I was once me and I managed to remain a me whilst marrying the he.
As delicious as motherhood is, the whole master of your destiny thing ends the minute that tiny hand wraps itself around your finger and just can’t let go. Destinies are then as tightly entwined as those little digits. You can’t make any decision no matter how trivial without thinking about the ramifications on them. Even if it’s as mundane was taking them out in the rain as you’ve ran out of loo roll.

All three come with their own individual needs and they can be legion. Days can blur into packed lunch-making, baby-feeding, nappy-changing chaos. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s a beautiful, annoying, knackering, fulfilling sort of busy.

But things are slowly starting to change. Liam and Erin are getting older and with it more independent and Gabriel starts his special school for four days in September (and full time the year after). It is a mark in the sand the day your youngest starts school as the next chapter of your life is allowed to begin. But I guess many flounder and ponder on what words this new chapter will hold.

And I will be the same. Where once I juggled and muddled through, there will be time. The house could be clean, there might be clean towels on loop and I guess there is no excuse to not make it to the gym every now and again.

But I don’t want to waste this new chapter of life either. I want to make my days count somehow if that is not too cheesy.

Yet where to begin?

This weekend I found a little bit of that me again – she’s been there all along – a bit squashed amid the wife, the mummy, the special needs parent, the part-time worker, the therapist, shopper, the cleaner, the load the washing machine-dryer-repeat magician.

Did I mention the conference was
sponsored by a wine company?

You see I attended the Britmums Live Conference. A place were 700 “social influencers” got together to debate issues like feminism, blogging, social media. the evolving role of technology and why little babies are like little pissed people. I knew no one, but I felt like I knew plenty – just from reading their blogs, magazine pieces and “chatting” on Twitter. I wasn’t Liam, Erin and Gabriel’s mum. I was Alison. Me.

Each of the women (and the daddy bloggers) I met at Britmums were brimming with ideas, ideals and plans for the future. Whether it was finishing that book this summer, starting a new business, going back to work, taking a year off. I met and heard from people who were bereaved, juggling special children, battling illnesses or watching loved ones fight diseases.

All had their individual crosses to bear, but they were trying to not let them weigh them down. No one was resting on their laurels and waiting for life to give them a break. Instead, they were pulling on their boxing gloves and punching it in the face.

I want to punch some faces too and remember again that there is a me behind the we.

Thanks to the lovely and amazing bloggers who made me feel like a new friend. Check these out if you get a chance:

12 Comments on The me before we

  1. Emma Martin
    June 24, 2014 at 9:21 am (8 years ago)

    I love this Alison, and I love you too. You were every bit as lovely as I'd imagined, and then some. Just wish there'd been more time to chat – it was a whirlwind! But very thankful to have met you xxx

  2. Wally Mummy
    June 24, 2014 at 5:14 pm (8 years ago)

    Thanks for putting me on your list! lol x It was really lovely to meet you too :))) x I know totally why you mean about life before and after kids… you kind of mourn your former self don't you? It's taken me a while to come to terms… the whole first year I juts moaned about not being 'enough' now I was 'just a mum' but I reckon blogging has given me the outlet I need! Thank fuck for that eh! xx

  3. steph Douglas
    June 25, 2014 at 2:10 am (8 years ago)

    Bang on – I have a lot of friends that have had their first babies in the last year or so, and I can completely see that kind of lost 'is this it/what do I do now?' look in their eyes. Love the positive take out you got, and thanks for the name check! Lovely post Comp Gorg!

  4. Jenny Ripatti-Taylor
    June 25, 2014 at 10:28 am (8 years ago)

    Oh Alison it was so great to meet you this weekend at BritMums. And I wish I had more time with you and hopefully next year I will without all the nerves and anxiety of being a first timer I had this time. it was very overwhelming I thought not to recognize people I talk to every day online. It was also frustrating as I made a fool of myself a few times. But nevertheless hopefully next year there will be less of that and more of making friends and getting to know you more!!! Love the list of bloggers that made you feel great. Those are all ones I love to follow myself and was great to meet even or a brief minute or two. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me #sharewithme

  5. Lisa Moore
    June 27, 2014 at 7:08 pm (8 years ago)

    Love this post it made me laugh. Im at the we its nearly back to me stage as mine are wanting me less and less. Now that feels just as strange but in a different way. Maybe I should blog it. Sorry I didnt meet you. Maybe next year..

  6. Carissa M
    June 27, 2014 at 7:41 pm (8 years ago)

    Loved this post, it hit home too as I am desperately trying to get a little bit of me back! I had to laugh when you said having a bit of me time at Tesco as I too find myself slowly strolling down each aisle looking at dog food just to be alone for a bit! possibly the saddest thing ever! especially as I don't have a dog!! It was so lovely to meet you and was gutted that I managed to lose your business card so was glad when you commented on my blog. Would be lovely to keep in touch. x

  7. Judith Hurrell
    June 28, 2014 at 7:23 pm (8 years ago)

    Gorgeous post from the gorgeous one. I know what you mean about it feeling like everyone is out there going for it, but don't be fooled sista, we are all fumbling in the dark, grabbing glimpses of our 'me's whenever there's a brief chink of light. We all long for more time, but when we get it, how much d'you wanna bet we won't know what to do with it? We've been conditioned to think every minute counts cos when you only get a few to yourself every day, you need to make the most of them. But I do think that when the times does come, we'd do ourselves a favour if we just enjoyed it and chilled out for a bit. Until then, keep on keeping on my friend. It was soooo lovely to meet you at Britmums. You were every bit as gorgeous as I knew you would be xxx

  8. Jaime Oliver
    June 28, 2014 at 10:58 pm (8 years ago)

    what an utterly fab round up post my lovely x

  9. Wry Mummy
    July 1, 2014 at 10:58 am (8 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, Alison, I'm so sorry I've only just read this! I've taken a complete break the last few days and not done any blog stuff at all, but I feel really bad! Forgive me please. I love this post. I loved meeting you and was gutted I didn't get to say goodbye on Saturday. Everything you write in this brilliant post is so true. I do get time to myself, but as you say, it is always carefully measured out and planned, so it doesn't quite feel like a true break. I hope you get some great pottering around done when Gabe is at school. Big step for you all, last one going to school! I will send tissues. Also some mags. Hope you are well honey and not offended that I haven't responded before. xxx

  10. mummyofboygirltwins
    July 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm (8 years ago)

    This is lovely, and exactly how I am going to feel too. I blog about all the chaos but I love it and will miss it one day. The twins are growing fast and it's going quickly. Glad you enjoy the conference – I am hoping to go next year x

  11. Mardy Kerrie
    July 2, 2014 at 8:03 pm (8 years ago)

    Alison this is great. I am so glad to have met you – talking to you was like talking to a friend I'd known for years! I hope that we can spend more chat time next time! So glad to have met you gorgeous lady xxxx


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