24/01/2019

I'm more than just 'Peyton's mummy'

There's one thing I never, ever wanted to happen when I became a mum, and that was to lose my own identity.
Obviously I am going to change, and have to adapt my life to better suit my new role, but I didn't want to lose who I was. Confident, fun, outgoing, chatty, a big fan of Friends, a bigger fan of chocolate, a lover of red wine and cocktails, and a new fan of gin... anyway, I digress.

It's important for new mums - and just mums in general, actually - to remember who they are, and not just become someone's mum.

I am more than just Peyton's mummy. And some days, I forget that.


I forget that I need to have time for myself. I feel guilty for wanting to leave her and do something for me, but I shouldn't. Because self-care is important. If I don't look after myself I won't be the best mum that I can be to P.
The few baby groups that I have taken Peyton to were awful for stripping parents of their identity.

Her swimming lessons I was just "Peyton's mum". I didn't know the names of any of the other parents, and they won't have known mine either. I just knew so-and-so's dad and so-and-so's mum.
Her first lesson, I remember the instructor going round and saying to the newbies to introduce ourselves. I almost started to say "hi, I'm Natalie, and this is Peyton" until she interrupted me and said "ah well this must be Peyton."


Yes, but, hello? I am here too! The 5ft 9" blonde keeping her afloat in this pool? Aside from the fact she's 10 weeks old and can't actually reply to your question of name and age, you're obviously addressing me so surely it's courteous to at least ask my name?

But it was like I didn't matter. The teacher would even address us as so-and-so's mummy and so-and-so's daddy during the class.




The music class I went to was the same. I know these are all about the babies, but they are important for mums to socialise too. Especially first-time mums! And you're not going to get very far when you search on Facebook just for "Matthew's mum" because Sheila who was running the group didn't actually ask for any of your names.

It's one of the (many) reasons I'm not a big baby group fan. Especially going on my own, just me and Peyton. There's always mums there in little groups and cliques who don't speak to you, and it's even worse being on your own surrounded by a group of people.


I've come round to playgroups more (although these can, too, be mega daunting when going on your own when there's no structure and a real risk that you'll just sit there on your Jack Jones wrestling toys out of your baby's mouth for an hour) because the chat is more natural and less forced. The ones with structure, while removing the element of being a Billy no mates in the corner, never give you the chance to affirm any kind of identity to the group other than just being another mum.

Don't get me wrong, I love being Peyton's mummy. But I'm also a wife, a best friend, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a career woman, and so, so much more.

My whole life revolves around Peyton now, and that's how I always wanted it to be. I'm not sure I'm at the attachment parenting end of the scale, but Peyton is my world and she always, always cones first. But, while that's the case, I should still get to be me. I should still get my time.


Next month is my last full month of maternity leave before I am back at work and, while I am so excited to do lots of things with her before everything changes, I have some things planned just for me, too. I haven't really done anything for me in the last eight months, aside from my 45-minute nail appointment once a month. Don't get me wrong, I know that's more than a lot of mums get, but I would like to do more. So, I have booked myself in for a full body aromatherapy massage and me and my mum are going on a full day spa day with treatments and lunch and the lot!! I can't wait.

Tom and I have also said we'll try to have a date night, just the two of us, once a month. Nothing extravagant, because we're not made of money, but even if it's just a trip to the cinema like we used to do every week before we became parents; something that is just 'us' time. We've only had date night once since Peyton was born and that was only when my mum and dad basically told us they were babysitting and we were going out! They've done the same thing for Valentine's Day so we have booked somewhere to go out then, too.

It's so important to remember the person/people you were before you took on these roles of a lifetime, and they should never change as a result.


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