Have that glass of wine, let out your inner Beyoncé and eat that chocolate cake!
When you become a mum, things inevitably change.
Your house becomes less of a gorgeous chic image from the John Lewis catalogue with matching fine silk curtains and rug, with beautiful candid photos hanging from the crisp white wall. Instead, it's more of a scene from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (except swap the macabre for glitter and fuzzy felts and "artistic outlets" of wax crayon on your already grubby off-beige walls).
However, I don't miss these material things that once seemed important, like an Instagram tidy home or expensive clothing. They now pale in comparison to the joy I see spread across my son's face when I get the messy play box out, or when we laugh at being covered in mud from head to toe after a rain walk.
But some things are harder to let go of and I'm still not sure whether we should totally give up the small grasp we have left on some of our less 'mumsy' traits. For example, my Friday nights used to be spent getting ready for hours on end, just to prop up a bar somewhere with a disgustingly sweet, overpriced cocktail in my hand, followed by dancing (badly). This was followed by the search for chicken nuggets, before falling into bed and spending the majority, if not all, of the next day suffering under the duvet eating crumpets.
My life is a million miles away from those hazy days and I have to say, that I'm so grateful for my son, for giving me something so much more meaningful and beautiful to fill up my time. But I can't help but feel guilty on those odd occasions that I do decide to have a glass of bubbly, search "90s RnB" on Spotify (much to my partner's distaste!) and dance around the living room on a Friday night. Okay, I'm in my pyjamas and probably still tucked up in bed by 10pm, but when I look at my son the next day, I still can't help but feel guilty that I let my "mum head" slip and spent a few hours not thinking about nappies and play dates.
As mothers, we spent 99.9% of our time and lives thinking and doing and being there for our babies and undoubtedly we would have it no other way. But why should we feel bad for that 1% of the time when we to do something that is just for us and perhaps just a bit silly and carefree?
I hear it all the time; "mum guilt"% It's common enough that there's even a universally recognised term for the feeling. Why do you never hear "dad guilt"? Or "grandparent guilt"%% etc?
I think it's because, as mothers, we place such a lot of pressure on ourselves to be "super mums" and therefore perfect all of the time (hands up, I'm "guilty" of this more than anyone!). But why and how can we be expected to forget that once upon a time, we liked a drink on a Friday night, we like a menthol cigarette, we liked going out and talking about shoes and makeup and trivial things that didn't involve Ella's kitchen and Jo Tantum?
I think the point I'm trying to raise here, is that aspiring to be the best mother you can is a good thing, but being perfect all the time means there's only one way to fall and that's down.
So have that glass of wine, let out your inner Beyoncé and eat that chocolate cake! Because as long as you're trying your best, despite your "imperfections" or vices, you'll always be the best (and probably more embarrassing...) mum in your child's eyes.
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.