'How is being Rosie's mum going?' my best friend innocently asked me the other day and suddenly it hit me. I'm not Cara anymore - I'm Rosie's mum.
I mean, I'm not suddenly going to lose myself but there does have to be a degree of change to how I act and the choices I make. Something as simple as crossing the road suddenly becomes a challenge as I try to find a zebra crossing rather than just dashing across at a break in traffic like Cara would have done. Rosie's mum however is sensible and looks left, looks right, and checks again.
Rosie's mum only orders half pints and drinks a pint of water along side it instead of necking five pints and thinking nothing of it. Rosie's mum checks the weather before leaving the house to make sure my child has appropriate attire rather than chancing it like Cara would. Rosie's mum goes to bed at 9pm to make sure I get enough rest rather than going to bed at midnight.
It's the things that need to be considered because my needs come second now, and they will for the rest of my life. So I thought I'd put together a short list of some of the things I love about being Rosie's mum and also the things I also dislike because as wonderful as it is, becoming a mum, there are things I miss too.
I can't drink anymore
I meant I can. I have been. The odd drink here and there because I'm breastfeeding so have to be sensible, but even if I wasn't and she was on the bottle I still wouldn't be able to get drunk. With all the sun filled bank holidays we've had it's been really difficult to acclimatise to not sitting in the sun, drinking the afternoon away. When I am finally able to have a drink, I know I'm going to have a couple and be under the table. I have to be the responsible adult now and that's been difficult to come to terms with.
I can't have unbroken sleep
Now I know that this will get better as she gets older, and I know that it's perfectly normal with a newborn and to be expected, but God it would be nice to just have one night where I go to sleep and know that I will be able to get a solid 8 hours. I don't even have a bad baby, she's quite a good sleeper, but I do long for a time when I could shut my eyes and the next time they opened it was daylight, rather than gradually watch it get lighter and lighter.
I can't cook
I love to cook but at the moment it's almost impossible. It's just about do-able if I have her in the sling but I can't cook anything complicated. I made fish pie the other day and it almost killed me. After three months of eating steak, broccoli and eggs I am desperate to try out new recipes and remember how it was to enjoy food again but it is just too involved at the moment. It's also impacting my hobby because there's no way I can do recipe blog posts with food photography at the moment. I think it will be a little while until I have free time and that's frustrating. See also - not having eaten a hot meal in 6 weeks.
Seeing her face every morning (and at 12am, 2am and 4am)
Despite the broken sleep being a dislike it's made better by the reason for the wake up. When I peer into her Moses basket and say good morning my heart swells with joy at the day ahead looking after her. They say that nothing beats a mother's love and its cliched but bloody hell it's true. No matter how frustrated I have been with her the day before it all melts away when I wake up and see her.
Boasting about her to strangers
'Your daughter is so lovely,' said the random couple in the pub, 'Thanks! She's five weeks old, she sleeps well, feeds well, is nearly smiling, just made eye contact,,,,etc etc....' Ok, so I don't go into that much detail but talking about Rosalind has come my new favourite thing to do. It's funny because everyone is so friendly when you have a child. They make eye contact, they want to have a conversation. I find this especially refreshing as I live in London. I've spent the last 7 years only talking to strangers if I'm drunk and avoiding all eye contact otherwise. I am so proud of the beautiful, well tempered baby we've made and I want to tell everyone about it.
sometimes she just wants me
She can be screaming and screaming but when I pick her up (sometimes just for a moment) she'll calm down. When she hears my voice she will try and find where I am, turning her head to search. I can settle her if she's fraught and she falls asleep on me almost instantly 90% of the time. Having someone be so dependant on you and need you so much is a wonderful feeling. To know that I can make her happy is so rewarding and cancels out all of the dislikes I mentioned above. When her little hand curls round my finger and she looks at me with such trust in her eyes nothing else matters than being the best person I can be for her. And that is why I'm ok with just being known as Rosie's mum.