So today I’m nursing a large bottle of water and wishing the children would be a little quieter, a little less argumentative, a little more gentle on my jangling headache. We were supposed to be having another amazing ‘screen free’ day today with autumn walks, great books and adventures…That might have to wait an hour or so and a decent film may just have to babysit until mummy’s head stops reminding her of last night’s ‘oh go on then, one last gin won’t hurt’ moment. It does now.
You see, last week was rubbish. A barrage of family drama, the remnants of the flu, the same conversations with my husband stuck on repeat and the relentless demands of motherhood wiped me out. My self-esteem had taken a battering. I felt genuinely fed up and not a little desperate.
My tweenager is pushing buttons I never knew I had, my middle child has lost all ability to follow simple instructions (if indeed he ever could…maybe I was just too busy to notice) and my smallest seems to have swallowed an encyclopaedia and has taken to waking me at some ungodly hour with the likes of “Mummy, which is the longest river in the world?” “Mummy, what happens if you split things down into teeny, tiny pieces smaller than you can see?”, “are you thinking mummy, because I’m not thinking but I’m thinking about thinking about not thinking”. No darling, I’m not thinking, I’m trying to grab a few seconds more precious shut-eye before it all kicks off again.
Last night was a rare mum’s night out, with a free pass and a lift home. Only the local watering hole, but with promises of a good meal, a craft gin menu, live music and good friends. What’s not to love? Except, I didn’t want to go. I mean I really, really, didn’t want to go. I felt so trapped in the mum-hamster-wheel that the thought of getting dressed up and heading out was vaguely depressing and the lure of the woodburner at full throttle, a glass of red and a box set was so very tempting.
But this was my idea…
But then I remembered that somewhere way back when, this night out was my idea. I had been having a better week, a loud and lively week full of promise and new opportunities. I wanted to go out and had persuaded others to do the same. The excuses that had been building in my head had to go, this mama had to do this.
So, with eye bags bigger than my handbag, I covered up the dark rings under my eyes, slapped on a full face of make-up and found the energy, from somewhere deep in my soul to wield the ghd’s in the general direction of my head. I dragged out an old faithful black top and some jeans (that were way skinnier than I remembered) and a favourite pair of feel-good shoes. I looked in the mirror.
Smoke mirrors and mascara
Smoke and mirrors maybe, but I looked half way to alright. The person staring back at me wasn’t the same old knackered mother that had stared back at me an hour ago. The person looking at me vaguely reminded me of the person I used to be. The ‘wild mama’ that my kids need introducing to. The mama who loves dancing, a bit of wicked banter and some fun. They did a double take when I interrupted them from their tablets and homework to tell them I was heading out. “you look lovely Mummy”.
Discovering the gin menu
Within five minutes of arriving, my dry October lift had decided the gin menu was a better option. With promises of a lift home from the bar staff (no escape until closing time), we ordered a rather delicious ‘Bath Tub’ gin. With each new gin recommendation the conversation grew louder and more random. We screeched raucously at bawdy jokes and sang out of tune to the music hammering away from the 30th birthday party at the other end of the pub (#whathappensinstockwithstaysinstockwith eh ladies). Those without a rubbish falling apart back danced like teenagers. It was crazy, silly and a whole heap of fun.
There is a lot of talk right now in the media about the slippery slope of the middle class ‘wine o’clock’ mums and how this makes us bad mothers and poor examples. But if a glass of wine with my dinner and the odd loud night out is supposed to be a ‘bad thing’ I disagree. Today my kids are looking at a rather less glamorous version of the mama who went out last night but one that is doing a better job today because she doesn’t feel trapped and miserable, she doesn’t feel like the monotony of motherhood is weighing her down (however wonderful and amazing it is, sometimes it is monotonous) and she caught a glimpse of the person she was, is and should be more often.
More Punk, less Theresa…
So, I might be feeling a tad fragile today but do you know – it was important to be me and not Mummy, to let go of my own apron strings and forget all the crap for a while. Today I feel fragile but energised – my self-esteem barometer is on the up. I’m ready to take up a crazy opportunity that has recently come my way, ready for that bold new hair colour. Those crazy leopard print shoes I fell in love with…they are going back in my online shopping basket (yes Mum, they are more punk and less Theresa I promise) and that biker jacket that is languishing in the back of my wardrobe somewhere…your turn is up – I’m coming to find you.