Who am I?
That’s a question I have asked myself hundreds of times over the last twenty years.
I was never one of those kids who grew up knowing exactly what they wanted to be, I can’t really remember much of my primary school years, I loved secondary school, enjoyed GCSE’s and hated my A-levels. And consequently failed them twice. For no reason other than I just didn’t study and had no desire to.
I remember being 17 and on my first holiday in Italy with a friend and her family, having the absolute time of my young life when I ‘checked in’ with my mum to get my (first set of) A-level results. To say the call didn’t go accordingly to plan was correct. From memory I got an E and two D’s, a newly bought flight home that very next morning plus a stern word of warning which simply meant if I didn’t get on it…well I wouldn’t want to know what would happen next. So I abandoned my friend (with her three A’s) to enjoy our last week of our holiday without me.
I’m not entirely sure why I didn’t study. Why I rebelled. My parents were (quite rightly) exasperated at my lack of enthusiasm and diligence and I vividly remember going through uni options (during my A-level retake year) with a teacher who just kept asking me “So, what do you want to be? You must have some sort of idea?”, and I truly and honestly really didn’t!! There wasn’t a single subject I ever thought I was really good at, or had a genuine passion for and even though I was surrounded by friends who had very clear ideas of where they were heading, I just didn’t.
I was given every amazing opportunity to do well, and I could have gone to uni but it just wasn’t of interest to me. And the problem was I simply didn’t know what I wanted to do and that feeling alone made me feel like I couldn’t do anything.
My first full time job (aged 17) was in the box office at Chelsea Football Club. Such great fun but I had zero interest in football, and it didn’t last long.
At 18 I started dating a pretty badly chosen boyfriend and at 19 left home to live with him (shocker). I’m a massive believer that you should never regret anything but I definitely feel I wasted six of my early and very important years when I could have been doing so much more. Luckily it was only 6 years.
During that relationship, and aged 20, I managed to wing it through an interview as PA to the CEO in a digital advertising agency in Westbourne Terrace. I remember feeling sooooo incredibly happy, so grown up and so proud of myself that I’d managed to bag a job in such a cool industry! And this is where I really did have the time of my work life. Cool parties until 4 am, back in the office for 7 am to finish a pitch and repeat…almost every week. And I met some incredible people and life long friends.
But I wasn’t really going anywhere. We were bought out by WPP a few years later (I know right…Martin Sorrell himself), and I moved around in the company for the best part of the next seven years…I started new roles, organised some of our most fun events but still didn’t feel like I was doing what I truly should be.
At 24 I thankfully saw the very bright (in your face) blinding light and finally left the badly chosen boyfriend in search for a simpler (and much happier) life.
I had all the intentions of being single for a while, enjoying life just as me living back at home with my mum and sisters who were so over the moon that I was ‘back’. Ahhh, but my subconscious clearly had very other ideas, and just three weeks later I went on my first date with this guy…
I mean…I didn’t hang around, did I. Thankfully.
I realised so much about myself in that first year of being with him (Mr LMA). He unclipped my wings and allowed me, for the first time in 6 years, to be…well…me. He gave me so much space, where my ex suffocated me. He held me close and set me free all at the same time, where my ex manipulated and held me back. And more importantly than anything he just loved me, where my ex controlled me.
You really don’t realise how important those late teens / early twenties are until you’ve come out the other side.
So (I hear you ask), maybe this is when I found ‘me’?
Most of me yes, but not quite all. Mr LMA always knew exactly what he wanted to do. He had always dreamt of working for himself and becoming a London taxi driver which I realised pretty soon after we first started going out, and while he was studying the Knowledge. I stayed in advertising for a further 7 years going through the motions, moving around with my boss but still not really knowing where I was going to end up.
During that time (in 2006) we decided to try for a baby and two years later, just before we were about to start IVF, I magically fell pregnant with Jack.
Ahhhh, and then there he was…all 8lbs 13oz of deliciousness.
Oh hi there… There I am.
I see. Now I get it. So, this is me. This is what I have been waiting for…
Becoming a mum was definitely the most pivotal moment for me. In those first few weeks it felt like the last 12 years (since I left school) of not knowing what I was doing, where I belonged, and who I was completely fell away to make room for me. I felt such overwhelming euphoria, like a spark had been lit and the whole world seemed to open up in front of me. And it didn’t stop.
I loved being a new mum, I loved going back to work when Jack was 3 months old as the new me (a mum). I loved spending every waking hour at the weekends being a mum. I loved hanging out with friends (as a mum), I loved telling anyone and everyone (who listened) that I was a mum.
For the first time ever I felt totally confident in me, my purpose and I felt I had a genuine direction in life.
And then after six years of having Jack all to ourselves, he became two…
I know it’s a total cliche but becoming a mother really has been the making of me.
It has made me ambitious, it has made me appreciate (rather than regret) my youth for shaping me, it has made me more confident, it has made me want to work hard, it has made me adore my parents even more, it has made me feel like I can achieve absolutely anything and ultimately it has made me a better person.
Those floating pieces in that unsure puzzle have all of a sudden slotted into place.
It’s strange isn’t it…sometimes you’ll come across the most confident, ambitious, and maternal person who will shatter once they become a mum for the first time. Another who never ‘wanted’ children, falls pregnant, panics and then becomes the most natural, nurturing mum you will ever meet.
This ‘thing’ called motherhood really does bring something quite unexpected out in all of us, in so many different ways, but what it does do (very wonderfully) to us all, is create a very common ground. It doesn’t matter if you’re the natural one, or you’re the one who feels the most awkward, or the one who needs regular ‘me’ time, or the one who doesn’t want to leave their babies side…there is no right or wrong way to feel but we do all feel something.
I have spent a lot of my 39 years making quite a few very bad decisions, but I personally feel like I have also made some of my very best. And I am quite sure there will be plenty more to make for our children (like my parents had to make for me), and I (we) won’t get all of them right but we’ll do our very best. And that’s good enough.
That really is, motherhood and me.
OUR FAMILY WEEKLY ROUND UP
- Jack sprained (might have even chipped a bone on) his ankle playing football.
- Mr LMA went to watch Liverpool v Roma and slept overnight in his taxi.
- I ordered ‘that’ polka dot skirt from H&M (yet to eagerly receive).
- Finn had a referral to the eye hospital, but all is fine.
- Finn’s new sayings are ‘oh flip’ and ‘hi peeps’. Say what?
- The wash basket is full to the brim (again) after non existent washing all week.