Where’s that girl gone?
November 21, 2011 § 5 Comments
On Friday night I went into Soho to meet a friend who is leaving London to live in San Francisco. A few years ago, Soho was my regular Friday night haunt. I’d pound the streets after work to meet up with friends and roll home at some ungodly hour. But this Friday, I felt like a stranger in my own city. I think I’ve been in home confinement for too long. Sinister cranes have appeared at the top of Charing Cross Road preparing for Crossrail, streets were boarded up, and I could feel a knot of anxiety building in my stomach as I took a dark cut through by Soho Square. Is this what motherhood has done to me? Where has that confident independent girl gone?
Being a full time mum can feel very isolating, especially now I have three so young. I find I can’t do much with my day as I have feeds, meals, naps and school runs to be on time for. Yes, I chat to mums on the school run and at playgroups. Yes, I meet up with friends and their children for playdates, lunch, and coffee. But when I was working, there would be somebody to witness everything I did. If a negotiation over the phone went badly, or if it went well, or I was feeling the pressure of a certain situation, I’d simply turn around and chat to a colleague about it. When at home with the children, there are countless little battles and little triumphs, situations where I feel I’ve done well or badly. But there’s no one to share it with, no one to ask for encouragement or feedback. Not really.
When my other half returns home from work, generally very late and a little hassled, of course I share with him the outtakes from my day. The funny things that the children have said or done, their naughty episodes. But all too often I find myself moaning about how tired I am, complaining about how I haven’t had a chance to sit down, sometimes bursting into tears of frustration. When I hear myself I think “Hold on – this isn’t a fair representation of my day at all. It’s been hard work but it’s also been rewarding and good fun.” The sad fact is that I think I just want him to appreciate how hard it has been. Really I’m just looking for validation. I want him to say “Well done, you’ve done a fantastic job today.” For both our sakes I think I just need to try and conjure up that girl again. The one who went out boozing on a Friday night and had a sparkle in her eyes. I know she’s still in there somewhere.