The year I met you: five ways my life has changed since becoming a Mum

23rd March.

The day the Soviets launched the world’s biggest space station, Hitler was given dictatorial powers and London’s first tram cars began operating.

Oh and, in 1984, Mr and Mrs Downes celebrated the birth of their first daughter… me!

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My 33rd year has been something of a life changer. Sitting here watching my eight month old son playing, I find myself reflecting on just how special it was.

Twelve months ago, my life was very different. So, as I prepare to celebrate my first birthday as a Mum and my first Mother’s Day on Sunday, here are five ways my life has changed:

1. Sleeping

A year ago I was getting an awful lot of sleep! I was unemployed and pregnant, the two best excuses for lie-ins and afternoon naps.

I’ve always loved sleep. People used to laugh when I said I wanted to be a Mum: “You need your sleep too much Amy”, they’d say.

Today, I have just about survived the nightmare of having a seven month old with sleeping issues for nearly four months.

The hours of sleep deprivation made me grumpy, anxious, impatient and sad. I completely lost all confidence in myself but I did learn how to survive on three hours broken sleep.

Looking back, now that he has begun sleeping with only two wake ups a night, I’m proud of myself for getting through all that anguish.

I’ve never known exhaustion like it, 32 year old me did not know what was about to hit her!

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2. Drinking

A year ago, I was lamenting the timing of when I fell pregnant.

That little blue line on the test in December, meant I was about to experience Christmas, New Year and my birthday without any booze.

In the years before I had built up quite an active social life. I liked to keep busy and most of the fun I had involved being in the pub at some point.

The thought of enduring nine months without a drink was actually quite daunting for me: it had become a huge part of who I was.

But, those months of sobriety showed me I could have fun without a pint or wine glass in my hand and I really enjoyed being the ‘new me’.

At the football I focused more on the game than the queue at the bar.

Evenings out with my partner centred round long conversations putting the worlds to right.

Followed by breezy Sunday mornings, when we actually got up and visited nice places together.

Meanwhile family meals no longer included stories of my latest boozy antics.

I was determined to carry these learning into my new life as a Mum, no more midweek drinking or massive nights out at the weekend.

Pfft… that lasted as long as it took for the ‘new Mum’ haze to lift.

Today, 33 year old me plans to make up for lost time this weekend: pizza and all-you-can-drink Prosecco with my sister and best friends.

But, that is a one off. I’m lucky I have the chance to go out for evenings like this, but it is no longer something that happens every weekend.

Saturday will be a celebration of the ‘new me’ that no longer lives for her boozy nights… but can still party like the best of them on special occasions!

3. Career

If you have been following my blog, you’ll know that a year ago I was made redundant while in the early stages of pregnancy.

It was a terrifying time that left me worrying how my career would be affected, I was scared about the eighteen month gap that would appear on my CV.

I’m proud of how I dealt with it though, I was determined to find positives in my situation and take the opportunity to start again with my career.

Today, at the risk of posting spoilers for those following my journey, the time away from work has given me the drive I needed to focus on the career I really wanted.

And my new little family have been the inspiration I needed to make sure it happens.
There’s a folder on my computer labelled ‘writing’ and every time I see it I get goosebumps. I’m finally seeing opportunities to build my dream job and it feels good.
Pat on the back for Amy 2016/17.

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4. Friends

Having moved to Yorkshire from East Anglia just over eight years ago, my family live many miles from me.

So, having close friends I can rely on has been vital over this last year.

A year ago, my best mates were encouraging me to try to meet more Mums once the baby was born.

It was sound advice, but I really couldn’t imagine being one of those women who went to toddlers groups and sat drinking cups of tea, talking about the latest models of prams.

Today though I have proven myself wrong.

I found a group of ladies on Facebook who, like me, were due to have babies in August.We got to know one another and have been together through the births, illnesses, teething and sleepless nights.

My ‘friends in my phone’, as one of the ladies has affectionately dubbed our group, have been my unexpected lifeline in this first year of motherhood.

On top of that, I did try out some groups and met some amazing Mums who I get on well with. I was chuffed to spend my birthday lunch with two of them today.

But the best thing of all? Despite warnings that friends without babies develop an aversion to friends with babies…my pre-baby friendships are all still in tact.

I’ve had to adapt: I’m no longer the one organising impromptu wine nights and I have to make an effort to see them on days that their work and families allow.

But I’ve managed it.

This week alone I’ve had a lunch date, shopping trip and of course my night out on Saturday. All opportunities to spend time with the girls I am lucky to have in my life.

5. Identity

A year ago, my biggest fear was that being a Mum would take over my life.

It had taken years to work out ‘who I was’ and I didn’t want to lose that, I didn’t want being Mum to become all that I was.

A year later, having my son has changed me in so many ways, but none of them are ways I expected.

I’m more organised (sort of), I put more effort into housework (it’s just easier that way) and my first thought in the morning is of my boy, not about wanting to go back to sleep (although that is my second thought!).

But, happily, I am still me.

I still go to the football, I still watch Jeremy Kyle, I still have wine nights with my best friends.

I still travel to see my family, I still spend my spare time writing and I still keep in touch with my social media world.

Thanks largely to my wonderful partner, I have been able to continue doing the things I love and I owe him a lifetime of gratitude because it is that which has kept me sane.

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Because, the truth is, I have found these first months of Harry’s life incredibly tough.

Looking after him has been the hardest, most incessantly tiring thing I have ever had to do.

It’s pushed me to my limits and the hormones have given me mood swings I’ve never known the like of before.

I’ve had to learn about my temper all over again and I’ve not quite got the hang of controlling it yet.

But things are settling down now and, underneath it all, I’m still the same girl.

The same ‘generally positive, fiercely loyal, infinitely passionate, football obsessed, likes to have a moan, find my partner’s stupid jokes funny’ me that I have been all along.

Only this year, I’m a very happy Mummy too.

Cheers everyone!

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3 comments

  1. Hi there, I find this piece interesting. I agree that the same happened for me, however I became even more of a recluse after bub was born. I’m glad that your identity stayed strong; mine changed irrevocably with the psychosis and I’m left with times of yearning for how I used to be. Thanks for writing x

    Like

  2. It was an absolute pleasure spending your birthday with you – thank you 😊. This has put a smile on my face on a day I really needed it. You’re a fantastic mum and a brilliant writer x

    Like

  3. Ahh, what a lovely reflection over how you have, and haven’t changed! I think we can all recognise so much of what you said, but it sounds like you have the perfect balance 😉
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub

    Like

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