Since becoming a mum my own personal grooming can sometimes take a bit of a back seat. I’m not saying I am some kind of stinking Beast of Bodmin with matted hair where my toes should be, but I am definitely more lax than pre-Bella. So it was with great excitement that last night I made time to descale my legs (you know you are officially past-it when the same term applies for both your skin and the kettle), remove the thickets from my knees and get the angle-grinder out to turn my talons back into toes. I even PLUCKED MY CHIN WHISKER. I once asked a guy to stroke my whisker on the first date. Needless to say, there wasn’t a follow up. So as I slid my SILKEN legs under the duvet that night and didn’t get my claws caught on the sheet (you’ve all been there) I thought to myself, I should do this more often.
Making time for you, whether that’s to grapple control of your own leg hair, to do your life-min, or to just simply SIT DOWN BY YOURSELF and let your mind go wonderfully blank whilst necking gin, is so important. I have been rather bad at this. I have felt the dastardly mum-guilt when I have done this. But time for me is essential. It allows me to retain my sanity and makes me feel like I am more than a rodent on a wheel, running so fast that I can’t see my feet anymore.
When I had Bella the single biggest shift was that I went from being all about my own needs to being all about hers. Pre-baby I was pretty selfish. Not sociopath-selfish, but I was definitely top of my own list. Now I care so much about Bella that her needs have become my needs. Seeing her happy makes me happy, seeing her having fun makes me have fun. I even think sitting in a fetid ball pit is the epitome of LIVING MY BEST LIFE now (and we all know how much I loathe ball pits after the false teeth incident of 1996. Gag). It seems that Bella and I are in some kind of emotional symbiosis. And over time the things that were once important to me (when I was just ME) have decreased in intensity. I sometimes don’t know what I want, in fact a lot of the time I don’t even ask myself this question.
And when you go back to work full-time there is even less time for you. I can feel myself getting trodden down amidst the maelstrom of “get up, get ready, get Bella up, get Bella ready, drop off, wrestle pram into hideously overfull pram room, get on Tube, stand in someone’s armpit, get to work, work, get back on tube, sweat, wrestle pram out of hideously full pram room, get Bella, bath Bella, put her to bed, finish off some work, shovel in dinner, go to bed. START AGAIN”. Ad infinitum. And arguably toddlers make it even harder to do the stuff you enjoy. Vagina-fresh babies can be taken anywhere, so they might drain you of energy, sleep and milk, but you can still sit down in a nice café with your mates and have a rousing cup of industrial-strength caffeine. Toddler-divas will have none of this. Sitting and chatting is not tolerated by Conan the rampaging toddler. So you have to do what they want, like soft play (she shivers), or risk a DEFCON 1 meltdown in the middle of Costa, which let’s face it, is fun for no one.
So I have made a pact with myself to make sure I carve out time for me, time that’s not just hiding in the loo having a solo pee. In fact next week I have booked a WHOLE DAY off work for just that. Bella will be in nursery and I will not look at my emails. I will probably lie prone on the couch in a pool of my own dribble watching Say Yes To the Dress whilst eating Nutella with a spoon and eying up the booze cupboard. But what sweet solo joy it will be.