From the moment Beth was born, I stopped having a life of my own. In fact, in those first few months, I didn't even have a mind of my own. I was barely sleeping and my brain had turned to goo. This, I'm sure happens to most parents. I hope you'll forgive my bias if I suggest this is largely a mother's role. Of course, the men become fathers, but, at 3am, who is the person standing over the cot watching a tiny chest rise and fall. Some nights, I would spring from my bed in the middle of the night, terrified she had stopped breathing. I continued this practice for years. It has been about six months now, since my last late night sprint between our bedrooms.
Losing your identity, for the mother, could begin from the moment a second pink line appears on a pee stick. For the father, it is usually when a little, wrinkled newborn cries for the first time. Then life changes. Suddenly, your world revolves around bowel movements of another human being, christenings, themed birthday parties, picky eaters, uniforms and school lunches.
Until quite recently, I hadn't had much of a life outside of my role as mum. I would have nights out with my friends, coffee mornings and the odd night away, but these were few and far between. When I went away anywhere substantial, Beth came too. Spain, London, Blackpool. She is good company and I love to show her new things. However, I feel the time is right to start partaking in activities just for me. Like kickboxing and a local drama group. I'm not talking about dating here, that is still not on the cards, life is complicated enough!
I think it's important for parents to have interests outside of the family home. It is all too easy to live through your kids, especially for the stay at home parent. The working parent has an altogether different set of obstacles before them. They need to balance the time outside of work between family and "me-time". Obviously, "me-time" must be a much smaller percentage when you have kids, but there still needs to be some.
I want Beth to see that I have interests outside of home and writing. I think it will encourage her to be out-going in her own pursuits as she grows older. If she sees me stick with an activity/sport, this will give her confidence to stick at something herself.
We have joined a Martial Arts Academy locally. We are in different classes so we don't have the same training. Beth's Lil Dragon class is good exercise, but they also play games and is an excellent start to martial arts training. My class, well, it's tough. I've pulled muscles I didn't know I had. I reckon I'm finding it tougher than the other newbies because of my age. When I get home after class, I collapse onto the couch and find it hard to move for several hours! I love it! I love the challenge and I'm so excited to be back to martial arts after a fifteen year break ;-)
The drama group I'm involved in will be putting on a show in October. I'll be on stage this time. First time in seven years.
I'm slowly rebuilding my own interests. Writing is a solitary profession and I need to be out meeting people. not spending my free time with imaginary ones. My characters have lives, so should I!
|Beth with her Martial Arts grading class|
|Me with mine|